HOW   AND   WHEN

  —DO WE BECOME—

CHILDREN OF GOD?  

 

Taken From Short Words Written About 1910

 

Life in a Look

  By MAURICE BALDWIN, D.D.,

Late Bishop of Huron.

 

AM I wrong in supposing you wish to know HOW TO BE SAVED?  If I am, and you really care nothing for the subject, please, nevertheless, read on. In these pages, you will find nothing but that which really concerns yourself, and that which concerns ourselves demands at least our careful attention.  If, on the contrary, you really wish for this knowledge, then the very first truth you have to learn is: the vital necessity of the NEW BIRTH.

This was the first doctrine our blessed Lord taught Nicodemus, and this is the first, I am sure, He would teach YOU.

In the third chapter of John's Gospel we read that Nicodemus, a learned ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night, apparently to enquire of Him the way of salvation.  " Rabbi," said Nicodemus, " we know that Thou art a Teacher come from God : for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him." And now, I will ask you carefully to weigh our Lord's answer to Nicodemus.  Its striking peculiarity is, that it seems to have no apparent connection with the words of Nicodemus; and yet, doubtless, it was the exact answer he needed.  The learned Jew had begun the interview by saying: " Rabbi, we know that

Thou art a Teacher come from God." This remark the Saviour passes by; and, addressing Himself to the great truth of which Nicodemus was most profoundly ignorant, namely, his need of a NEW BIRTH.    He utters these memorable words:

  " Verily I verily! I say unto thee. Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God."

  These words of the Lord Jesus are as directly addressed to YOU, reader, as they were to Nicodemus; that is, if you have not yet experienced this new birth.   Seeing they are for your everlasting life, and that the Speaker is none other than Jesus Christ Himself, I implore you both earnestly and prayerfully to weigh them.

  Observe, first, Christ goes to the very root of things. He says spiritual life begins with spiritual birth. Men see physical activity all about them, and they know that in each case this activity had its origin in birth. There was first birth, then development, then manhood, and with manhood, ceaseless industry of mind and body.   In spiritual matters, however, thousands, who fully admit the above, will persist in reversing this well known law.  The idea to which they most tenaciously cling is, that if they can only do those things which are pleasing in God's sight, then God will grant them life.   But in Spiritual matters, as in physical, life is first, activity afterwards.

  How often, for instance, do we hear this text given out: " So run that we may obtain," and then the glorious and completed salvation of the SON of God is described as a race in which the swiftest runner alone obtains Eternal life.  The congregation, largely composed of people absolutely dead before God, are then exhorted to run this race, and by all means to obtain this life.   It is just this outrageous perversion of the Word of God, which utterly misleads thousands; it bolsters them up with the false idea that they are the children of God, when they are not; it is a going to the dead to give them employment; assigning labour to those who have no life ; and the result is utter and hopeless failure.   Spiritual life only begins with spiritual birth; and as those to whom I allude, have not been born of the Spirit, they can no more fulfil the precepts of the Christian life, than you, reader, can fly with the eagle, or race with the lightning of heaven.

  Literally, the word " again " is " from above." Now, we have all had one birth from beneath; that is, our natural, physical birth, when we came into the world; but Christ says we need another—one from above. WHEN, therefore, we have this birth from above, we are, in our Lord's language, born of the Spirit; we have experienced this wondrous birth, without which no man can see the Kingdom of God.  I would have you also notice that the two births, the physical and the spiritual, never occur together. Man was altogether " born in sin," with a "heart deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."

Born, therefore, with such a heart as this do you not indeed need to be born again?

  With this subject, I wish to draw your attention to an expression, very common, but one thoroughly unscriptural.  I refer to the oft-used phrase, " a change of heart."  It does not occur in the whole range of Scripture.  We find such expressions as a " new heart," " another heart," a " new spirit," but never a changed heart. The truth is that God never mends, renews, or changes the natural heart.

  Our Lord, therefore, in speaking to Nicodemus, did not say:  " Except a man's heart be renewed or changed, he shall not see the Kingdom of God," but, "Except a man be BORN AGAIN."

  Not the faintest idea of the truth He uttered, passed through the mind of Nicodemus; for he asked with astonishment, " How can a man be born when he is old," etc. To this the Redeemer makes the memorable reply, " Verily I verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God."

  Our first enquiry must be, What did our Lord mean by the expression "born of water"?

  Now, there are many who believe that by this word " water " we are to understand baptism.  I wish therefore, to say on what ground I utterly dissent from such an interpretation.

  If water be explained here as being the literal water of baptism, all mention of the Redeemer's work in the regeneration of man is excluded from a sentence in which Christ is teaching what is the very nature of regeneration. This is irreconcilable with the fact, that the Bible teems with statements to the effect, that we have life only from the Lord Jesus Christ.  He Himself says: " I am the life." John adds: " He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

  Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, says: " In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel" (i Cor. iv. 15).  So also James: "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth " (James i. 18).  Peter's testimony is also to the same effect: " Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever " (i Pet. i. 23).

  To be born, therefore, of water, is to be born by the agency of GOD'S WORD; and to be born of the Spirit, is to be born through the Holy Ghost using that Word.   The time WHEN this new creation takes place is that moment when the sinner first, with the heart, believes in Jesus Christ as his Saviour,

  What Nicodemus was anxious to know was, "How" a man could be born when he is old?

  Our Lord said it was by faith in Himself as uplifted on the cross. Standing before this tremendous Sacrifice, and believing on Christ thus offered, the sinner not only obtains the full and eternal pardon of his sins, but also full spiritual health, that is, he is BORN AGAIN. Thus we see Christ has forever connected regeneration with faith in Himself as God's appointed Sacrifice for sin; and so close and so real is this connection, that whenever a sinner believes in Jesus Christ as the bearer away of his sins on the cross, at that moment is he also born again at that moment he receives power to become " a Son of God " (John i. 12).  

 

"By Nature Children of Wrath"

  By W. H. BENNET, Yeovil.

 

It has been suggested that a few words of personal experience might be a good answer to the question,

"How and when do we become children of God"

  I was baptised as an infant, and, as I grew up, was taught that in my baptism " I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of heaven." Having from the age of seven to be more in bed than at school, probably caused me to be more thoughtful than some, and I became a religious boy, being so trained in High Church doctrines by the clergyman (not by my parents) that I looked upon any form of "dissent" as sinful. At the proper age I was "confirmed" became a regular communicant, and was diligent in Church services and religious work. When I was about sixteen my friend the clergyman left, which was a great trial to me, but, on principle, I was as loyal to his successor as to him. He was evangelical, and imperceptibly his teaching led me to see things in a different light.   When I was seventeen, I was moved by a sense of the need of the pea-pickers of Middlesex (better known as the hop-pickers of Kent, where they go later), and obtaining some tracts 1 visited them in their camps, and was permitted to read the Scriptures to them.

But even up to this time I had no true knowledge of my own need, and it was only after I began this service that I was brought face to face with the fact that instead of being a child of God I was a Sinner, and became concerned about my own salvation. I read the Scriptures and prayed, and one-night, after being a good while on my knees, I definitely cast myself upon the Lord Jesus and what He had accomplished for sinners. Still the question of being born again perplexed me.  I was introduced by correspondence to a servant of Christ in South Devon, and wrote to him somewhat thus:

"I do trust in Christ alone for salvation ; but how am I to know that I am born again?"

  His reply was substantially: "The very fact or your being able thus to trust in the Lord Jesus, and to rest in Him alone for salvation, is itself an evidence of new birth."  Two years later exercise of conscience about various things led to my leaving the Church of England; but into that I do not enter here.

  Since those days I have learned more clearly from the Scriptures that the only way in which a sinner can become a child of God, is by new birth, and therefore I feel more than ever the importance of the question how this new birth takes place. In John iii., the Lord Jesus reiterated the absolute necessity of being born again in order to enter into the Kingdom of God, and then, in answer to the question of Nicodemus, "How can these things be?" He said, " As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son o[ Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."  Therefore it is by looking to Christ as the One lifted up on the cross to atone for sin, or, in other words, trusting in Him as the One who "died for our sins" that we are born again or receive eternal life.  It is then that the Holy Spirit, who quickens us, begins to dwell in us and to lead us, and as the Apostle Paul declares, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. viii. 14).

  The grand truth of Sonship shines too clearly on the inspired page to be denied, but who wilt be surprised that Satan should seek to obscure and make void such a stupendous truth? His two chief ways of doing this are (1) by the delusion of baptismal regeneration, which is the foundation of all national systems of so-called Christianity, and (2) by the fearful teaching that all men are by nature children of God, and that the Gospel simply calls upon them to believe it.  For both he who affirms that a child of Adam is made a child of God through a ceremony of human devising, and he who asserts that a sinner dead in sin is a child of God are alike rendering service to the great enemy of all truth, and are denying the Word of God which asserts that those who receive Christ become children of God, and that it is by divine birth alone that they do so (John i. 12, 13),

  It will be found that those who are ensnared by either of these false teachings have no true sense of the reality of the relationship to God of His children, of the dignity of such a position, or of the glory that awaits them as " heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ."

  Since the above was written, my attention has been drawn to some words of a popular "Evangelical" teacher, given in a widely circulated "Evangelical" weekly paper. This teacher describes men generally as those who have never claimed their inheritance, and he adds, "It is for us to tell them they are heirs who are being advertised for."

How different is this from the teaching of Holy Scripture! The apostle writes, "If children, then heirs," and shows as we have seen, that men can only become children of God by new birth and faith in Christ.  What a delusion to tell sinners dead in sins that they are "heirs of God"!

  What is more calculated to hinder that true knowledge of their state as sinners which shall lead to a desire for Christ? Beware then, dear reader, of the soul-destroying errors against which this little paper gives warning.  

 

 

"Ye Must Be Born Again."

 

By HUGH D. BROWN, M.A., Dublin.

 

ALTHOUGH God created Adam perfect in innocence, yet he lapsed from this slate, and great was the fall, and "so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned."   The Hebrew words for sin suggest an awful crash as from cosmos to chaos, ruin of a terrible and blasting description, a missing of the mark as even by a hair's breadth, a coming short of the goal of perfect attainment.   The damning evidences of the fall face us in every sorrow, bereavement, asylum, jail, and cemetery.

  These facts cannot be gainsaid, and in their light it is not merely folly, but wickedness to speak of sin as "a quest after God," "a mental indiscretion," "a falling upstairs."  The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament speak clearly and decisively concerning "the exceeding sinfulness of sin," that its wages is death, separation from God, from purity, and from heaven unto "wailing and gnashing of teeth."

  Thus Christ, our blessed Lord, speaking to one of the most moral, religious, amiable, and educated of men, lays down God's clear cut ultimatum to the sinner, "Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God." This goes, of course, at once to the very root of matters, showing that neither reformation, education, nor evolution can bring eternal life to the souls of men "dead in trespasses and sins."  The statement may seem narrow and bigoted, but Christ Himself asserts that, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," and by no process of moral improvement can it be transformed into "the spirit."   There must be birth from above, a new nature, God-given, God-nourished, and God preserved, and to those only who have received this blessing do the Holy Scriptures hold forth hopes of eternal life and heaven. The distinction between the children of God and the children of the devil is clearly revealed from the utterances of the Lord Himself, and of His Apostles Paul and John, this distinction culminating in a final and eternal separation, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" — "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

  Gazing down upon a ruined world in all its pollution and despair. God, in His free, absolute sovereign grace, resolved in His eternal counsels to lift out of this abyss of pollution "a great multitude which no man could number," and to make them by the impartation of a new and eternal life His own children. To effect and carry out this loving programme, our Divine Lord, the only-begotten Son of the Father, was incarnated at Bethlehem, and "became obedient unto death even the death of the cross" at Calvary, there "giving His life a ransom for many”, and through His work as a substitutionary Saviour effecting their justification.

To thus accomplish the Father's will and make a sufficient atonement, "the Just for the unjust," " Christ died and rose and revived," and through the merits of His death, followed by burial and resurrection. God, the holy One, can thus "be just and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus," imparting through the Spirit's mighty and enriching power faith to the unbelieving, life to the dead, and salvation to the lost. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

This deep mystery may stumble some, yet it is God's way of saving and regenerating fallen men.

  How simply our Saviour Himself puts it when speaking to Nicodemus, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life"—

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God"—"For ye are all the children of God by FAITH in Christ Jesus."   The moment a poor, needy sinner looks away from his sins, surroundings, and fears, to the crucified Saviour hanging on the cross, there and then he becomes a child of God, or, as it is put in another Scripture, " As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name : which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."  The reception in all our need, of Christ Jesus as God's provision and Saviour for us sinners (not the efficacy of baptismal waters, nor the feeding upon the mere emblems—bread and wine) immediately entitles us to the assurance that we have the full privileges of eternal life as members of the family of God.   If anyone reading these lines desires to share in these privileges yet feels his faith dim and his heart powerless, let him call upon the Lord even now in his helplessness, and he shall receive this blessing from the Lord for "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Yea, even a groan of honest confession and heartbroken contrition, if but the sigh be directed towards God in Christ will secure our pardon, for salvation is not so much in our faith, as in His grace, not in our trust, but in the object of that confidence—the Christ of God " Who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification."

  It is our joy having thus once believed on Him to know without a shadow of doubt that "Now are we the sons of God"; "Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Now, though still conscious alas of inbred sin, now, though still battling in sternest conflict with a host of foes, now, though shadowed by sorrow and death, now, on this the earthward side of Heaven's gates, it is now our privilege to have the comfortable assurance that we are the children of God, because the Word of God bears witness to the fact (i John iii. 1-2). Only let us be careful that we are real and true in this matter, for children must have some resemblance to their Father "And we know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (i John iii. 14).

  Are you, my reader, the possessor of this happy gift of God's eternal life? If not are you going to lose it by drifting carelessly past God's "so great salvation," out towards the open ocean of a lost eternity?  Oh friend deal not, I plead with you, merely with side issues concerning the fate of the heathen in China or mid Africa, but know this, that here and now the gospel of God's grace in all its winsome charm and solemn sternness is facing you. "He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God."  It may be that early memories cluster round your heart of when you learned the songs of Zion, and lisped petitions after a godly parent's prayers; it may be that you recall the day of vow and resolution when raised from sickness or moved to tears at some revival gathering; or it may be the gracious memories of the sainted dead rise up and plead for the surrender of your soul to Christ, or disappointed hopes and a shallow empty world or thunders of the broken law combine to bid you turn away from self and sin and unbelief and with a great cry for mercy cast yourself upon the broad love of God to broken and contrite hearts; one thing I know, the Christ of God now stands with outstretched pierced hands and He would woo thy soul, and cleanse thy guilt, and clothe thee with divine righteousness and crown thee with His glory. He waits, He pleads. Oh, sinner, break not past that living barrier of flesh and blood, trample not God's incarnate love and Christ's atoning blood beneath thy feet, lest wrath indeed arise bitter, cutting and eternal, and thou "suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy." Rather, looking into the face of Him who "died for the ungodly," receive this present, priestly, irrevocable absolution, "Thy sins are forgiven thee; thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."  

 

Conversion a Vital Necessity

 

By J. R. CALDWELL, Glasgow,

  Editor of "The Witness."

 NO two faces are alike, and no two Christians have passed through exactly the same experience, but there is only one way today by which a son of Adam can become a child of God, and that is by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

  When I was quite a young man 1 came to know that I was not saved.  My sincere desire was to become a true Christian, and at this stage I remember marking in my Bible the words, " Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matt. v. 6).   I hoped that by being religious I would gradually become so good as to be satisfied that I was a true Christian. Part of the process was my becoming a member of an Evangelical Church.   I was interviewed by two deacons, asked if I believed the Scriptures to be the Word of God? I could honestly say I did: asked if I had any confidence in my own righteousness? I answered, No, none whatever, I knew it to be only filthy rags: asked if I believed on the Lord Jesus? I answered; I did, for I knew unless He saved me none else could.  I was well reported of to the church, and was received as a member. I taught in the Sunday school, joined the Y.M.C.A. belonging to the church, and passed for a Christian with all who knew me. But with an orthodox evangelical creed I had never been born again, and sin and the world retained their power over me. Had I been asked, " Have you peace with God? " I would promptly have answered, " No; can you tell me how to get it? "

  I would here most earnestly warn all who read this to make sure that they are on the right foundation.   Thousands upon thousands, we fear, are respectably and religiously going to hell. They have religion, they are church members, they "take the sacrament," they engage in good works; but they have never been "born again," they have never had "peace with God," they have no personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; they have known no such change as "conversion," they cannot even say, "whereas I was blind now I see." May this paper be used of God to show them that they are still unsaved and dead in trespasses and in sins.

  It was some time after this that a well-known evangelist of fifty years ago came to have a series of meetings in the church. The truth was so forcibly put that I felt 1 had not experienced the great change, and at the close of one meeting I waited as an anxious one among many, and heard from John v. 24, "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed out of death into life."This was indeed good news to me.

I heard, I believed, and I had everlasting life.

There was nothing about my character good or bad, whatever I was, it was simply to hear, to believe, and to have.

  But still, this did not yield me the peace I needed.

  Another evening again I waited, and the preacher said, "I will read two words from this Book, and if you believe them you are saved."   I waited breathlessly to hear the "two words," I thought, if they are in this Bible they are true, and believe them I will!  He read from Col. i. 20: "PEACE MADE." A finished work; nothing to be added to it; God's own work for me the sinner. "Peace made by the blood of His cross. "Now I saw that I had all along been looking in the wrong direction for righteousness.  I had been looking in, instead of looking unto Him who made peace by the blood of His cross, and who is "made of God unto us RIGHTEOUSNESS." Now I saw that it was not by righteousness wrought in me but by righteousness imputed to me apart from works that I was to be saved-I might say the great change took place through believing three plain Scripture truths :

  1st (John v. 24). Heareth, believeth, hath everlasting life.

  2nd (Col. i. 20). Peace made by the blood of His cross.

  3rd (Rom. iv. 1-6) Righteousness imputed without works to all that believe,

  From this time the Bible became a new book to me, my constant and loved companion. I read it with opened eyes, and beheld in it wondrous things.

  Up till then I had no special regard for children of God, especially if I thought they would ask me disagreeable questions as to whether or not I was saved. Since then, by a kind of divine workmanship, I am one with all saints, and find my companionship with such. Prayer became not a mere formal duly, but a great necessity, "the Christian's vital breath."

  It was not long till I found the joy of making known the glad news to others.  In a sunk kitchen, with an earthen floor, several of one very poor family were led to trust and rejoice in the Lord.  That is now between forty and fifty years ago, and several of them remain to this day witnessing for the truth of the Gospel. Truly we need not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it (and nothing else) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.   The subsequent experience of conflict within between flesh and spirit has been very real. "In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. "But the Lord Jesus Christ is "able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb. vii- 25).   He saves, and "He is able to keep us from falling" (Jude 24). "And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins" (i John ii. i, 2). " If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (i John i. 9).

 

 

The Necessity of the New Birth

 

By W. D. DUNN, Cambuslang, N.B.

 GOD'S great master-piece is the work of REDEMPTION by His well-beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ : a work so infinitely great, that no man or angel can fathom its depths. It will form a theme of praise for the redeemed throughout all eternity.

"And they sung a new song, saying. Thou art worthy to Take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed as to God by Thy blood, out of every kindred; and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. v- 9).   Another divine master-piece is the work of regeneration; that of creating a poor, lost sinner anew, and trans-forming him by His Holy Spirit into the very image of His Son, in order thus to share His glory in the coming ages.  "We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (i John iii. 2).

 Redemption is necessary to make it possible for a guilty sinner to be saved ; and REGENERATION is necessary to make such fit to enter into the kingdom of God.

 Our blessed Lord said, "Ye must he BORN AGAIN" (John iii. 7). So the great question of the hour is—Have I been born again?   Everything hangs upon the answer we give to this momentous question- If we have not experienced the new birth; if we have not been born of water and the Spirit—that is, by the word of God applied to our souls by the power of the Holy Ghost; then we are still "dead in trespasses and sins," far from God, and on our way to hell.  It matters not, in the least degree, what position we hold in the social circle, or in the religious world—Am I born again? that is the question. And I pray you, remember it is not the old flesh improved, but the new nature imparted: no moral reform; no self-improvement; no empty form of religion, or even the profession of Christianity, will satisfy the holy claims of God; there must be a new birth." That which is born of the flesh is flesh," and is of no value in the sight of God.   "The flesh profiteth nothing." "They that are in the flesh cannot please God."  And all unregenerate persons are "in the flesh," that is to say, not only "in the flesh" in the sense of being alive in the body, but in the sense of being in their natural evil state before God, as children of Adam.

 What communion could there possibly be between a holy God and that which is incurably evil? Nicodemus, the religious Pharisee, the ruler and teacher in Israel, and the poor Samaritan woman in all her degradation and shame, were alike unregenerate- There is no difference, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Therefore, we must be born again. This is the Lord's message to you. Let nothing induce you to neglect it.

 

"HOW   CAN   THESE   THINGS   BE?"

 

A solemn question, asked, I believe, by a deeply exercised soul; one who was anxious to know the truth. Have you ever asked this question, "What must I do to be saved?"

 If you are longing to become a child of God, hear what our Lord said to the religious ruler: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whoso-ever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The brazen serpent lifted up by Moses in the wilderness, by the command of God, was the object of faith for the serpent-bitten Israelites; and the moment they turned their dying eyes to it they were healed, because it was the divine provision for their need.

 So the Lord Jesus Christ, lifted up on Calvary's Cross, and now exalted to the highest seat in glory, is the object of faith for the needy sinner; and the moment we look to Him, receive Him, believe on Him, we become children of God. Not works, not feelings, not visions; but simple faith in the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who died and rose again from the dead, gives the children of Adam a glorious place among the children of God.

 Over forty years ago, I turned my burdened heart, and tear-dimmed eyes to the crucified Lord, and my burden rolled away, and the true light shone into my soul; and His matchless grace has kept me all these years in the place of service for Him.  He will do the same for you; only look and live.

 WHEN.

 "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. vi, 2). "All things are now ready." Salvation, ful], free, personal, and present, is ready and waiting for your acceptance. There is nothing left on God's part to be accomplished. He has done all, and given His best for you.  The Lord Jesus Christ has done His best for you, when He poured out His life's blood on the cross; and the blessed Holy Spirit has done, and is doing, His best to win you to Christ. Why not be saved now?

 There was only one thing that kept the Jews from Christ.  He was in the midst of them proffering living water, but they would not drink.  He was the eternal life, but they would not come to Him. "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killed the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not" (Matt. xxiii. 37). He would—They would not.  Reader, what say you?

He is at this moment calling for you.  In your path to eternal death, the cross rises at this moment as a barrier to stop you. "Why will ye die?"

Before you put this book down, make choice of Christ as your own personal Saviour; yield up to Him, and the controversy between your soul and God will be settled by trusting the slain Lamb of God; and you will be at peace with Him." Fear not, only believe," and from. this moment, if you are a child of Adam, you will become a child of God.

Oh, wondrous grace!

 Then the sweet knowledge of His pardoning- love will flow into your heart, removing all your doubts and fears; enabling you to say without any reserve,

"My Beloved is mine.', and I am His." The apostle says, "The Holy Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God"; "And because ye are children, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."

 "Blessed assurance—Jesus is mine!

Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! 

Heir of salvation, purchase of God;

Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood."

 

Life through the Living One

 

By J. C. M. DAWSON, B.A., Belfast.

I desire to answer this question as clearly and briefly as possible.

 (l) No person enters this world a child of God.

We have all inherited from Adam a fallen, sinful nature, and David's statement is true of each member of the race, " Behold, 1 was shapen in iniquity ; and in sin did my mother conceive me " (Ps. li. 5). The children of Adam are "by nature the children of wrath" (Eph. ii. 3), and each possesses a heart "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jer. xvii, 9).  "There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. iii. 22, 23), and are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. ii. 3) to God, and have only the "wages of sin" to expect which is "death" (Rom.vi. 23), and that death the Scripture describes as the lake of fire (Rev. xx. 14, 1$), where the sinner, who dies in his sins, is eternally separated from God, and deprived of every blessing. Consequently each person needs to be made alive unto God—each is absolutely without eternal life by nature.

 (2) How a person becomes a child of God.

"God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. iii. 16} in the person of Jesus Christ. The life of the sinless Christ was unforfeited, death could not claim it, no one could take it from Him (John x. 18). He gave up His life for the sheep (i.e., those who hear His voice, are known of Him, and who follow Him, John x. 28), and in resurrection He has taken it again (John x. 15, l8), and the person that believes in Him, though up to then dead in sins, has everlasting life (John iii. 15, l6, 36; vi- 47). He has become a child of God, being born of God (John i. l2, 13; i John v. 1). Having "received Him" he has received the "gift of God" which is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. vi. 23).

 (3) The time when a person becomes a child of God.

Until the sinner believes in Christ he is without life (John iii. 36; v. 24; i John v. i2); on believing in Him he has it (John vi, 47). That moment he is a child of God, "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (i Pet. i. 23), and, being God's child, has been made a partaker of the divine nature of the One who has begotten him. As a child of God, he is exhorted to lay hold on eternal life (i Tim. vi. 12, 19), i.e., to enjoy it, live it practically, possess it so thoroughly by abiding in Christ that it may indeed be manifest that Christ liveth in him (Gal. ii. 20) by the fruit of the Spirit being very abundant.

When the Lord comes, mortality shall be "swallowed up by life" (2 Cor. v. 4), for He "hath brought life (for the living saints) and incorruptibility (for

the sleeping saints) to light through the Gospel" (2 Tim. i.10). Then they shall be "the sons of God, being the sons of the resurrection" (Luke xx. 36).

 (4) My personal experience.

I left home about 11.30 a.m., on 13th February, 1883, dead to God in my sins, and on my way to a hell, well-deserved, yet anxious to be saved. About five minutes afterwards, through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, I had eternal life (John vi. 47), and was assured of it in the authority of the Scripture, which cannot be broken (John iii. 16). In a moment I had passed out of death into life, I was a child of God, and bound for my Father's home on high.

 

 

 

To be continued