Whatever is the outgrowth of the grace of God, as it is ministered through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to the inhabitants of Zion, it is of vital importance to them. No point of the doctrine in the economy of grace can be at any time laid aside as valueless to our well being. Our aim and our constant desire surely is to know more and more of the new and living way, into which we hope we have entered, by reason of that life of faith which we now live in the flesh. When we talk or write of the things which we hope have been revealed to us, we are not teaching some new thing to, our brethren, neither do we set ourselves up as teachers in any sense; but we present to the already enlightened minds of the saints, the avenues through which our gracious Lord has led us, and point out (by way of calling to remembrance) the beauties that have been shown to us. And our reward is not one of merit for doing something, but the reward is in the testimony which we have given, as being witnessed by the faith of those who have traveled the same way. Sometimes we can get at the definition of a subject pretty clearly by telling what it is not, for contrast often throws light where we cannot otherwise obtain it. The so-called religious teachers would have us believe that regeneration is the change produced upon the soul of man by the infusion of spiritual life or grace, either chemically or synthetically, and because of which he can live holy unto God. They also tell us it is the new birth; they call it also a renovation of the soul. But they leave us very much in the dark when in much display of their wisdom they favor us with the information that the soul is the immortal part of mortal man, and we are foolish enough to wonder how an immortal soul could need renovating, or what material change could take place when more immortality is infused into that which is already immortal. But alas, we are not endowed with so great a store of this world’s merchandise of wisdom. The saints of God, even in this enlightened age, seem to be willing to plod along, accepting the Bible as the truth of God, rather than the teachings of men. The word regeneration occurs (as we believe) only twice in the Bible. The word itself has a special and distinct meaning, relating alone to the members of the body of Christ. To generate is to beget, or to propagate a species like unto the original creation, after its own kind, while the regeneration is a bringing forth out of the generation of Adam a new life, distinct and separate from the life in Adam, by the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost. The so-called “new birth,” or properly speaking, to be born again, is not regeneration, but is bringing into manifestation that new life in the generation of Jesus Christ. In the opening chapter of the gospel as recorded by Matthew, we read, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac,” &c. When Abraham was commanded of God to get him away out of the land of his fathers, he immediately separated himself from his family, his worship of idols, and all things pertaining to his life in the flesh, and he entered into a new life, a life of faith. Old things had passed away, and all things became new, in the worship of the one true and living God. For God had established him as the typical head and father of a nation which he separated out of the world unto himself, to represent in type and shadow the church of Christ as “a peculiar people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation.” And this is, as is declared, “The beginning of the generation of Jesus Christ.” Jesus therefore, is the royal seed, the first-fruits, the generation into which is regenerated every member of his body, which when they have entered into the new life, like unto the original royal seed, after its own kind, they “have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that has created him.” It is not a New creation, for it is written, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” And again, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Yet it is A new creature, because it is a present “manifestation of the life that was given us in Christ before the worlds were made. The people of God as they are manifest in the flesh, or in the world, in the character of the saints of God, possess two life principles, “As it were the company of two armies.” The one is embraced in the generation of Adam, from which emanates all things pertaining to the flesh: a carnal mind, a deceitful heart, divers lusts, fleshly ambitions, a soul that has sinned and is dead, and above all, in all things enmity to God by wicked works. No immortality of soul, for the word of truth declares, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” The other life principle is not at all brought to view in the generation of Adam, but in the generation of Jesus Christ of the seed of Abraham, by the power of the Spirit of God. “And the angel answered and said unto her, [Mary] The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Now I do not wish to be understood that this life principle does not embrace the Adamic creature, for that is the very essence and meaning of the regeneration. It is the Adamic creature that is regenerated; therefore the same creature is born again. This is the foundation of our hope in Christ, that we ourselves, the creatures of Adam, dead in sin, are brought to life by the regenerating power of the Spirit of God, and are born into the kingdom of Christ to walk in the light of his countenance. “That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” When Peter, as a mouthpiece for all the twelve disciples, asked Jesus, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee: what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Wonderful and precious things are here pointed out to the inquiring disciples, the truth of which they were not to understand, nor could not, until all things be fulfilled, as spoken by the prophets concerning Jesus, and he should sit upon the throne of his glory. The seed of the doctrine of Christ concerning which weighty responsibilities awaiting them, was being sown in their hearts, and in their minds, and like the corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, so also the seed sown in their hearts through his teaching, silently, and without their knowledge, laid the foundation, enabling them to become competent and proper judges on the twelve thrones of Israel. Jesus died, and descended into the bowels of the earth, and arose again a triumphant conqueror over death, hell and the grave. Now, the life of Jesus which was in the seed sown, bursts asunder the prison walls of the tenement of clay which confined it, and wherein it had lain until light sprang out of darkness. The roots of wisdom and knowledge descended into every avenue of the fleshly heart. Then reaching out into the light of the gospel day, came forth the tiny blade of precious remembrances, of profitable hours spent with Jesus. “Then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear,” manifesting the full fruition of the knowledge of the fullness of the glory of the salvation of God. Now they follow Jesus in spirit and in truth, walking in the light, as children of light, giving testimony to the sonship of the generation of Jesus Christ, in their regeneration coming forth out of their earthly tenement of their prison-house of sin and death. And this experience applies to all the members of his precious body, for Jesus sweetly assures them that, “Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lauds, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Again the word regeneration occurs in Titus iii. 5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Let us keep in mind our dear Redeemer, and behold him in his agony in Gethsemane’s garden, and his frightful suffering on the cross, burdened and heavily laden, as a cart under many sheaves, with the sins of all his people, and then remember the words of inspiration by one of old, “In his pity he redeemed them.” How, as the “corn of wheat,” he fell into the ground and died, and as the “corn of wheat” when it appeared again pure as the lily in the radiant morning light. So also the gracious Redeemer, as he appeared on the morning of the resurrection, we now with joy unspeakable behold him, as did the dear old prophet: “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” His train! Every member of his body have followed him in the regeneration, and now we find dwelling in our heart the precious words, “And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin.” During all that process of regeneration under the law, in the grave-clothes of death, buried in sin, we are brought forth as sheep from the washing. The cleansing power of the pure water of the word of the spirit of God’s grace, through the efficacy of the blood of Christ, is manifest in “the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost,” by our appearing in his train, “as a bride adorned for her husband.” “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin,” and through this death, “By the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” we are manifest as sons of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ in that inheritance of the saints which never perisheth, nor fadeth away, but is reserved in heaven for us.
B. F. COULTER.
Philadelphia, Pa., March 25, 1899.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 67, No. 9
May 1, 1899