Regeneration and its effects, repentance and faith, have been considered. Next follows planting in Christ.

Believers are said to be planted in Christ, when they are graffed in Christ by God the Father, that is, are made partakers of Christ, and meet for becoming one with him. Matt. xv. 13. "every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." John xv. 1, 2. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman: every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away." 1 Cor. i. 30. of " him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." iii. 22, 23. " all are your's, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Eph. i. 3. "who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Heb. iii. 14. "we are made partakers of Christ."

Of this implanting, combined with regeneration, the effects are newness of life and increase. For the new spiritual life and its increase bear the same <26> relation to the restoration of man, which spiritual death and its progress (as described above, on the punishment of sin) bear to his fall.

Newness of life is that by which we are said to live unto God. 2 Cor. iv. 10. "that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." Rom. vi. 11. "likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." v.4. "even so we also should walk in newness of life." viii. 13. "if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Gal. ii.19. "that I might live unto God." v. 20. "Christ liveth in me." Col. iii. 3. "your life is hid with Christ in God." 1 Pet. iv. 6. "that they might live according to God," that is, "in the Spirit."

This is also called self-denial. Luke. ix. 23. "if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

The primary functions of the new life are comprehension of spiritual things, and love or holiness. And as the power of exercising these functions was weakened and in a manner destroyed by the spiritual death, so is the understanding restored in great part to its primitive clearness, and the will to its primitive liberty, by the new spiritual life in Christ.

The comprehension of spiritual things is a habit or condition of mind produced by God, whereby the natural ignorance of those who believe and are planted in Christ is removed, and their understandings enlightened for the perception of heavenly things, so that, by the teaching of God, they know all that is necessary for eternal salvation and the true happiness of life.


By the teaching of God. Jer. xxxi. 33, 34. "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Isai. liv. 13. "all thy children shall be taught of God," namely, of God the Father, for so Christ explains it, John. vi. 45. "it is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God: every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." Matt. xvi. 17. "flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." 1 Thess. iv. 9. "as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you; for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another."

By the Son. Matt. xi. 27. "all things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Col. iii. 16. "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom."

And by the Holy Spirit. John. xvi. 13. "when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself." 1 Cor. ii. 10, &c. "God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit..... the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned: but he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet <28> he himself is judged of no man." 1 John ii. 20, 27. "ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things..... the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

Necessary to salvation. 1 Cor. ii. 12. "that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." Tit. i. 1, 2, "the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness, in hope of eternal life."

In the present life, however, we can only attain to an imperfect comprehension of spiritual things. 1 Cor. xiii. 9. "we know in part."

The other effect is love or charity, arising from a sense of the divine love shed abroad in the hearts of the regenerate by the Spirit, whereby those who are planted in Christ being influenced, become dead to sin, and alive again unto God, and bring forth good works spontaneously and freely. This is also called holiness. Eph. i. 4. "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."

The love here intended is not brotherly love, which belongs to another place; nor even the ordinary affection which we bear to God, but one resulting from a consciousness and lively sense of the love wherewith he has loved us, and which in theology is reckoned the third after faith and hope. 1 Cor. xiii. 13. "now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." This is the offspring, as it were, of faith, and the parent of good works. Gal. v. 6. "faith which worketh by love." It is described 1 Cor. xiii. and 1 John iv. 16. "we have known and <29> believed the love that God hath to us: God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

Shed by the Spirit. Ezek. xxxvi. 27. "I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes." Rom. v. 5. "hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Gal. v. 22. "the fruit of the Spirit is love."

Who are planted in Christ. John. xv. 4, 5. "abide in me, and I in you: as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me: I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." Eph. iii. 17, &c. "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye being rooted and grounded in love," &c.

Dead unto sin. Rom. vi. 22. "but now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness." 1 Pet. ii. 24. " that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness."

Alive again unto God. Rom. vi. 12, 13. "yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead."

Spontaneously and freely; for our own cooperation is uniformly required. Ezek. xviii. 31. "make you a new heart, and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" Rom. vi. 12, 13. "let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof, neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin." xii. 2. "be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of <30> your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." 2 Cor. vii. 1. "having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Gal. v. 16. "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." Eph. iv. 20-24. "if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." 2 Cor. vi. 1. "receive not the grace of God in vain." Col. iii. 5, 9, 10. "mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, &c. —lie not one to another, seeing that ye 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 created him." 2 Tim. ii. 21. "if a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." 1 John ii. 3. "hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." iii. 3. "every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

In consequence of this love or sanctity all believers are called saints. Philipp. iv. 21, 22. "salute every saint in Christ Jesus;" and to the same effect in other passages.

The holiness of the saints is nevertheless imperfect in this life. Psal. cxliii. 2. "enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living <31> be justified, cxxx. 3. " if thou, Jah, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" Prov. xx. 9. "who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" xxiv. 16. "a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again." Rom. vii. 18, &c. "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I know not." Gal. v. 17. "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." James. iii. 2. "in many things we offend all: if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man." 1 John i. 8. "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Thus far of newness of life and its effects. It remains to speak of the increase operated in the regenerate. This increase is either absolute, which is internal, or relative, which is external.

Absolute increase is an increase derived from God the Father of those gifts which we have received by regeneration and implantation in Christ. 2 Cor. x. 15. "when your faith is increased."

Derived from God the Father. John xv. 2. "every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." Philipp. i. 3, 6. "I thank my God... that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." 2 Thess. i. 3. "we are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all towards each other aboundeth." Heb. xiii. <32> 20, 21. "the God of peace... make you perfect in every good work, to do his will."

Through the Son.Heb. xiii. 21. "working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ." xii. 2. "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." So also Luke. xvii. 5. "the Apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith."

Spiritual increase, unlike physical growth, appears to be to a certain degree in the power of the regenerate themselves. 2 Cor. iv. 16. "for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." Eph. iv. 15. "speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." Philipp. iii. 12. "not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." Heb. v. 13, 14. "every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe: but strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." 1 Pet. ii. 2. "as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." 2 Pet. iii. 18. "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Thus much of increase. With regard to perfection, although this latter is not to be expected in the present life, it is our duty to strive after it with earnestness, as the ultimate object of our existence. Matt. v. 48. "be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." See also 2 Cor. xiii. 11. Col. i. 28. "that we may present every man perfect in <33> Christ Jesus." iv. 12. "that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." James. i. 4. "that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

Hence the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit in the regenerate. Gal. v. 16. "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." 1 Tim. vi. 12. "fight the good fight of faith." 2 Tim. iv. 7. "I have fought a good fight." A similar struggle is maintained against the world and Satan. John. vii. 7. "the world hateth me, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." xv. 18, 19. "if the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." See also xvii. 14. Rom. xii. 2. "be not conformed to this world." Gal. vi. 14. "by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." James iv. 4. "ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." 1 John iii. 13. "marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you."

There is also a victory to be gained. Rev. ii. 7. "to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life." v. 26. "he that overcometh... to him will I give power over the nations." iii. 5. "he that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment." v. 12. "him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God." v. 21. "to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne." xxi. 7. "he that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Over the world; 1 John ii. 15. and v. 4. " whatsoever is born of God overcometh the <34> world, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." Over death; Prov. xii. 28. "in the way of righteousness is life, and in the path way thereof there is no death." xiv. 32. "the righteous hath hope in his death." John viii. 51. "if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." Rev. ii. 11. "he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." xiv. 13. "blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth." Over Satan; Eph. vi. 10, &c. "be strong in the Lord... that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil:" being clothed with "the whole armour of God " to oppose him. James. iv. 7. "resist the devil, and he will flee from you." 1 John. ii. 14. "ye have overcome the wicked one." Rev. xii. 11. "they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony."

Hence such as are strenuous in this conflict, and earnestly and unceasingly labour to attain perfection in Christ, though they be really imperfect, are yet, by imputation and through the divine mercy, frequently called in Scripture perfect, and blameless, and without sin; inasmuch as sin, though still dwelling in them, does not reign over them." Gen. vi. 9. "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations." xvii. 1. "walk before me, and be thou perfect." 1 Kings. xv. 14. "the high places were not removed; nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with Jehovah all his days." See also 2 Chron. xv. 17. Philipp. iii. 15. "let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded." Heb. x. 14. "by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." 1 John iii. 6. "whosoever abideth in him sinneth not." See also <35> v. 18. Coloss. ii. 2. "that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God and of the Father, and of Christ." Eph. iii. 18, 19. "that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."

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Professor Rob Iliffe
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