truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot
enter the kingdom of God. . . . You must be born anew. John 3:5-7, R.S.V.
He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting
an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion,
a form of godliness. The Christian's life is not a modification or improvement
of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin,
and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual
working of the Holy Spirit. . . .
may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances
in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted.
By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the
heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions
are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. . . . Suddenly, as the Spirit
comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus.
By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing
by the Spirit of God,--a patient, protracted process.
wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the
work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who
has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the
heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are
renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife.
Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of
heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend
from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders
itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being
in the image of God.
It is impossible
for finite minds to comprehend the work of redemption. Its mystery exceeds
human knowledge; yet he who passes from death to life realizes that it is
a divine reality. The beginning of redemption we may know here through a personal
experience. Its results reach through the eternal ages.
From Maranatha - Page 71