Friday, April 24, 2009

All is Ascribed to Grace

"THIS QUICKENING WORK IS WHOLLY SUPERNATURAL; it is the sole and proper work of the Spirit of God. So Christ himself expressly asserts it: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit: the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." John, 3:6-8. Believers are the birth or offspring of the Spirit, who produceth the new creature in them in a manner unintelligible even to themselves. So far is it above their own ability to produce, that it is above their capacity to understand the way of its production: as if you should ask, Do you know from whence the wind comes? No. Do you know whither it goes? No. But you hear and feel it when it blows? Yes. So is every one that is born of the Spirit; he feels the efficacy and discerns the effects of the Spirit on his own soul, but cannot understand or describe the manner of their production. This is not only above the carnal, but above the renewed mind to comprehend. We really contribute nothing to the production of this principle of life. We may indeed be said to concur with the Spirit in it; there is found in us a capacity, aptness, or receptiveness of it; our nature is endowed with such faculties and powers as are meet subjects to receive and instruments to act it; but God only quickens the rational nature with spiritual life. "Who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" 1 Cor. 4 7. The Scriptures not only assert that without him we can do nothing, and that our sufficiency is of God, John, 15:5; Mat. 12:34; 2 Cor. 3:5; but they declare that the carnal mind "is enmity against God ;" and that we were "enemies in our minds by wicked works." Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, a perishing thing; but this principle of spiritual life is not subject to dissolution, it is the water that springs up into everlasting life, John, 4:14; the seed of God, which remaineth in the regenerate soul. 1 John 3:9. And all this, because it is born not of corruptible, but of incorruptible seed. 1 Peter, 1:23. Our new birth is represented to us in the Scriptures as a resurrection from the dead, a new creation; Eph. 5:14; 4:24; and thus all is ascribed to grace." —John Flavel (1627 - 1691)

Excerpt taken from "The Method of Grace" by John Flavel (1627 - 1691)

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