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Home arrow Writers arrow Gregg M. Thompson arrow The Primitive Preacher: Chapter 4
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Written by G.M. Thompson   



Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new; II Cor., v, 17.

     The apostle's scope in the context is to teach Christians that they should dedicate themselves wholly to the service of Christ who had purchased them with his own blood, and to dissuade them against a sinful partiality in respect to men; that they should know no man after the flesh, or regard them after the manner of the world, or according to external differences, wealth, or bearing, but according to their internal worth and excellence, or the evidence we have that Christ dwells in them. He that loveth him that begat will love him that is begotten of him, for it is this second begetting that imparts new graces to the soul, and binds the whole redeemed family together in the bonds of love and fellowship. It is to be regretted that the teaching of the apostle is so little regarded among those professing Christianity, and that so much fleshly partiality is manifested; the rich and the well clothed are invited to sit up here in a conspicuous place, while the poor are pointed to the footstool, or a back seat. Such partiality is condemned by the apostle James, ii, 1-5, and shows that we judge after the flesh. Such partiality is not of God, for he hath chosen the poor of this world, and made them rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom. There is no better evidence of a worldly church and an unregenerated membership than to see them conform to the world and seek popularity with the wise and wealthy of the earth. If the rich and those filling high positions in the world, join their church, their name will be sounded abroad, and they will boast of the influence they have acquired. The apostle speaks of such "walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage;” Jude, 16. To gain popular applause and worldly influence they will desecrate the house of the Lord, and by their festivals, suppers, and other tricks to get money, make it a house of merchandise, such as Christ would call a den of thieves; Luke xix, 46. Such worldly churches give evidence that with them old things have not passed away, they still live after the flesh, and think that the end justifies all the unhallowed means used by them to gain members, influence, and wealth. They pander to all the fashions and whims of the world, that they may thereby gain influence and wealth, and do not possess that new spirit by which the Christian is actuated.  They that are in Christ are new creatures, and are to judge and measure all things by a new rule; “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old thing have passed away,” the world has lost its charms, we are done with the low, selfish spirit of the world, which is wholly governed by carnal interests; we have a new spirit within us, are to judge by a new rule, and to be actuated by a new principle, aim at a new and more noble end. "Behold, all things are become new.” These old things have lost their" charms, have passed away from our affections, and are at war with the life we now possess;” I Pet., ii, 11.

    The great question now before us to be determined is, whether a man be in Christ or not? a question upon which our eternal destiny hangs, and by it we must stand or fall forever. O, how momentous this question is, and with what deep and solemn interest we should examine it in reference to our own personal condition, and the spirit that dwells in us. If we have hot the Spirit of Christ, and are not new creatures in him, we are none of his. A mere general profession of Christianity, and submitting to, and observing the ordinances of the church, may deceive the world, and get to ourselves the reputation of being in Christ; in fact we may deceive ourselves, and think that external obedience is all that makes the Christian; but all these things we may do and not be in union with Christ, or have any interest in his blood, or participation in his benefits. A personal interest in Christ and a vital union with his person and a participation in his benefits is the all important question to be determined by us. Nothing can be more solemn and important, for without it our destiny is fixed, and we are undone forever.

    The apostle has given us the rule by which this great question is to be determined, namely, the new creation. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” By this rule, all our claims to an interest in Christ are to be tried and determined. If any man, no difference what his state or condition may be, high or low, learned or illiterate, young or old, or what his pretentious may be to an interest in Christ, however zealous he may be in attending to the external ordinances of the church, he must be tried by this standard. For, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” and if he is not a new creature, he is not in Christ, let his profession, his endowments, his work, his confidence, and reputation be what it may. It is not that he is a new creature physically; he is the same person he was, his flesh is not changed and immortalized, as it will be in the resurrection, but he is renewed in the spirit of the mind by a gracious principle imparted from above, which changes the affections of the soul, which sways and guides him in another way, and to a different end than he ever acted before. These holy principles and gracious influences not being educed out of any thing preexistent in man, but imparted from above, are called "a new creature,” and by this rule all of our claims to an interest in Christ must be determined.

    The apostle does not satisfy himself by giving us this general rule by telling us that the man in Christ Jesus must be a new creature, but more particularly shows us what this new creature is, and how he may be known and distinguished from the world. "Old things are passed away; all things are become new.” By old things passing away is evidently meant the old desires, principles, and lusts we once delighted in, but of which we are now ashamed. They belong to and constitute the old man that is to be put off and crucified; the new creature, the regenerated soul, is dead to sin, can live in it no longer; his affections and delights for it have passed away, so that he now "hates the things he once loved,” and his hope and expectation is, that hereafter he will be wholly freed from sin and all corruption when these vile bodies shall be fashioned like the glorious body of our Savior. The apostle still further expresses this change wrought in the soul by "All things are become new.” By this he means the affections, feelings, and desires of the soul are so changed that we love the things we once hated. Our bodies may be said to be new bodies by the change wrought in them, and the endowments bestowed upon them in the resurrection. So the soul is now resurrected from a death in sin, and renewed by imparting new principles to it in the work of regeneration.

    These two expressions, the passing away of old things, and all things becoming new, comprise the great change wrought in the soul in regeneration, and in other scriptures are expressed by equivalent phrases; sometimes by putting off the old man and putting on the new man; Eph., iv, 24; and sometimes by dying unto sin, and living unto righteousness; Rom., vi, 11; which is evidently the same thing the apostle here intends by the passing away of old things and making all things new. This is the most glorious work of the Spirit wrought in man in this world, and is noted by the apostle by a special remark and observation, “Behold!” Behold this wondrous, surprising, and marvelous change which God has wrought in man, this new and spiritual relation that is now created between the sinner and his God; the stranger and foreigner is now made a child and fellow citizen in the household of God; John, i, 12, Eph., ii, 19. They have come out of darkness into his marvelous light; I Pet., ii, 9; out of the old as it were into a new world. “Behold' all things are become new.” They can now call God their Father. What a miraculous work of grace, O what a note of wonder. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God;” I John, iii, 1. How is it that any who believe the Bible, and have ever felt the regenerating power of God's Spirit in their souls, can deny that any part of the sinner, either in soul, body, mind, or spirit, is changed in this new creation?  When infidels and unbelievers scoff at these things, and call them vain delusions, and the wild fancies of a superstitious mind, we do not marvel; but when they who profess Christianity, and teachers of the Bible, will deny any such change, and ask, "By what the supposed change is effected,” and say, “My heart has never been changed; I love sin as well as I ever did,” we may wonder, but can come to but one conclusion, and that is, that old things have never passed away, and all things become new with them. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned;” I Cor., ii, 14. Thus the apostle explains why it is that men will deny these solemn truths and call them delusions and vain fancies. This new creation is a super-natural work, the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul of the man, and is infallible evidence of a saving interest in Jesus Christ. Contradicting those who deny this change, and explanatory of the truth, the apostle uses these words, “But ye have not so learned Christ:  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; Eph., iv, 20-24. Here we have, in other words but of the same import, the self-same description of the man that is in Christ, that the apostle gives us in our text. In further illustrating this subject, I shall try to show, 1st. Why the regenerating work of the Spirit is called a new creation. 2nd. In what respect every soul that is in Christ is renewed or made a new creature. 3rd, What are the remarkable properties of this new creation. 4th. The necessity of this new creation. 5th. How this new creation evidences our interest in Christ.

    1st, Why the regenerating work of the Spirit is called a new creation. That there is analogy between the work of regeneration and God's work in the first creation is plainly taught by the apostle, for it is the same almighty Author who created the world, and said, “Let there be light, and there was light,” that creates this work of grace in the soul, and enlightens the mind blinded by sin. "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ;” II Cor., iv, 6. It is the same powerful word which created the natural light, that creates the spiritual light, and gives light and spiritual sight to the sinner. It is just as absurd to say that we made ourselves new creatures in Christ, as it is for us to say we created ourselves in the first creation, and it would be just as absurd for us to say we made ourselves to repent or believe, as to say we made ourselves to exist. The analogy in the two creations is still carried out, for the first thing God created in the first creation was light. And the first thing God creates in the spiritual creation is the light of the spiritual knowledge. “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him;” Col., iii, 10.

    Again, creation is to bring something into existence, something out of nothing. It requires no pre-existent matter. It does not bring one thing out of another. It gives a being to that which before had no being. So in the new creation there was no pre-existent spiritual life or light in the sinner. "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which. is spiritual;” I Cor., xv, 46. The new creation is thus described by the apostle: “Who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; which in time past were not a people, but are the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy;” I Pet, ii, 9, 10. The work of grace is not educed out of the power and principles of nature, but is a pure work of creation, for in the unregenerated man there is nothing spiritual, he is wholly natural. Heathen philosophers could neither understand nor acknowledge the creation of the world, because it was repugnant to the maxim, "Out of nothing nothing can be made,” and the philosophers of the present day are no wiser than they, and make the same mistake through their reasoning, and after the same manner some great pretenders to biblical knowledge declare it an absurdity to affirm that the work of grace is not virtually contained in nature, or some pre-existent created substance.

    God, by his almighty power, gave the world its being by creation; Gen., i, 2, and imparted to the rude map a quickening influence; Deut. xxxii, 11. So in the new creation, the spiritual birth, a quickening and life-giving influence must come from the Spirit of God; “So is every one that is born of the Spirit; John, iii, 8; "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit;” verse 6.

    God, by his almighty power, created the world, and it is the same almighty power that  supports it, and continues its being; the world owes its preservation, as well as its existence to the power of God. So in the new creation, the same power that creates the sinner anew must preserve and keep him in his new life. "Preserved in Jesus Christ;” Jude i; “Who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation;” I Pet., i, 5. It is in God we live, move, and have our being; Acts, xvii, 28; and it is equally so in a spiritual sense, for it is by the quickening, renewing, and reviving, influence of his Spirit that we continue to believe and delight in God and his service, and without this continued influence upon our souls, we would perish; John, xv, 5.

    In the first creation God beheld the works of his hand, and approved them as very good; Gen., i, 31. So in the second creation, there is nothing God delights in more than the work of his grace in the hearts of his people, preparing and polishing them as lively stones do adorn his temple, and reflect his glory forever. It is not an outward privilege of nature, or natural polish put on by human instrumentality that commends any man to God, for circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but a new creature; Gal., vi, 15.

    2nd. We are to inquire, In what respect every soul that is in Christ is renewed or made a new creature? He is renewed, in his state, for he is born of God, passed from death to life, from a state of condemnation to that of justification; I John, iii, 14. He was a sinner condemned by the law, but is now freely justified by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; Rom., iii, 24. He was under the curse of the first covenant, and without hope and God in the world, but is now under the blessing of the new covenant, and sealed an heir of God and of glory. He was afar off, but is now made nigh unto God; was once a stranger, but now a new citizen and member of the household of God; Eph., ii, 12,13. This is a blessed, glorious change from a sad, helpless, despairing condition, to the most happy one ever enjoyed by mortals on earth, for of such the apostle says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus;” Rom. viii, 1. It is not a mere change of conduct, but a change of state and condition, they that were once darkness are now light in the Lord; Eph., v, 8; they that were dead in sin are now quickened with Christ; Eph., ii, 5. The soul that was filled with despair and felt that he was under the wrath of God, and that his sins must forever separate him from his God, sees the thick cloud removed, the Sun of righteousness shines upon his soul, and God comforts him; Isa., xil, 1. You that have felt this change, will never forget “that day,” that happy day, "when Jesus took your guilt away,” and filled your soul with hope and love. It was the day of your espousal when the mutual pledges of love were given, and without a doubt or fear you could say, “My beloved is mine, and I am his;” Songs, ii, 16. Whatever have been the trials, afflictions, doubts, and fears, you have passed through since "that day,” you still look back to and date your spiritual existence from that time. Paul never forgot the day when he traveled towards Damascus, and the light shone around him, and by the power of God's grace and Spirit, he was changed from a persecutor to a servant and friend of Jesus. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature;” in regeneration the affections of his soul are changed so that he loves the things ha once hated. His conscience was dead, seared as, with a hot iron, hard and without feeling, full of guilt and condemnation, but is now made alive, is purged, is tender, watchful, and full of peace; Heb.. ix, 14. His will was rebellious, inflexible, and opposed to God, but is now obedient to the will of the Lord; Ps., ex, 3. His desires were once carnal, sensual, and pursued the vanities of the world, but now delight in God; Isa., xxvi, 8. His love was fixed upon earthly objects, was carnal and fleshly, now it is swallowed up in the infinite excellencies of God and of Christ; Ps., cxix, 97. The joys and delights of the soul were once in the trifles and vanities of this world, now its rejoicing is in Christ Jesus; Phil., iii, 3. His cares and his fears were once about worldly things, now he loves, fears, and reverences God; Acts, ix, 31. Once sin was his delight, now it is the object of his dread; II-Cor., 7, 11. Once his expectations raised no higher than this world, and were of the world, but now from above; Heb. vi, 19. And look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are not seen; II Cor., iv, 18. Once they yielded their members servants to uncleanness and iniquity, but now to righteousness and holiness; Rom. vi, 19. The change is a great one and those who have experienced it may well be called new creatures, created in Christ Jesus unto good works; Eph., ii, 10.

    The man that is in Christ is renewed in his practice. The regenerated not being what they were, can not act and live as they once did; Rom., vi, 2; for they have been quickened into a new life. "And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world;” Eph. ii, 1, 2. They were carried away in the stream of sin and iniquity by the strength of their corrupt natures and the customs of this world; but their case is now altered; they are lead by a new spirit, and walk in the paths of righteousness; Ps., xxiii, 3.  When the apostle calls the mind of the saint back to his old companions in sin, and describes their corrupt practices, he says, "And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God;” I Cor., vi, 11. This indeed is a wonderful change in practice, and in the state and condition of the soul; this change is so wonderful and remarkable that it sets all the world wondering at them, for they know not the power by which it is effected, ”Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you;” I Pet., iv. 4. They “think it strange;” they stand and gaze with wonder and amazement, as a hen that has hatched a brood of ducks will stand at the water's edge, and gaze at the young brood floating upon the smooth surface of the water. She can not understand how it is they float upon the water, and think them very silly to venture on the dangerous waves. Thus do men of the world stand amazed, and wonder to see their old companions in sin, whose profane lips would often blaspheme the name of God, and run into all the excess of riot and wickedness of the world, now praying and speaking of God, of heaven, of Christ and the sweets of salvation, the riches of grace, and of things spiritual, having no more to do with them, or the vanities of the world. This astonishes them; they know a great change has been effected in their former companions, but they know not by what power, or from whence the power came that has wrought this wonderful change, no more than they know from whence the wind came that prostrated the sturdy oak; John iii, 8. Vain and ungodly professors who deny that any change-is wrought in the nature, heart, or affections of the sinner in this new creation or regeneration, are more blind and ignorant of this gracious work, its nature and effects, than the world itself; and their language proves that they have never been made new Creatures in Christ, or felt the power of regenerating grace in their souls.

    3rd. We are to inquire into, What are the remarkable properties of this new creation? O, how little we know of the nature and operation of this new creation. The Savior himself speaks of it as a thing of great difficulty to be conceived of, or understood by the mind of men; "The wind bloweth where it listeth,”(pleaseth,) “and thou nearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit;” John, iii, 8. Who can explain the wind and tell from whence it cometh? It has puzzled the brain of the philosopher. We can hear the roar of the wind as it rushes through the forest, we can feel its force and see* its effects, but from whence it comes and whither it goes, we can not tell. While we are sitting in this house, and the wind is whistling through every little hole and crevice, if I ask you, Do you hear the wind? you will answer, Yes.  Do you see the effects, as the leaves are shaking on the trees? Yes, very plainly. Do you see the wind? No. Can you tell from whence it comes, and whither it goes? No; this is a mystery I can not understand or explain. Just so in this new birth, regeneration, or new creation. When the Spirit blows upon the sinner, by its invisible power, he is carried away from his former delights and companions, the affections of the soul are changed, he is filled with holy desires and pants for the living God; Ps., xlii, 1. The change is so great and visible that all can see it and be filled with wonder, but the power that has wrought it is invisible, and can not be comprehended by the natural mind, and for this reason they will call it a fancy, a delusion, a whim of the brain, but they who have felt its power, whether they can tell or not from whence it came, know that it has wrought a great change in them.

    The work of grace in the sinner's heart, and the effects of this new life imparted to the soul may be a great mystery that human philosophy can never explain, but it beautifies and makes lovely the new creature, for the beauty of the Lord himself is upon it, it is God's work, and his divine beauties will be impressed upon it; Eph., iv, 24. When the artist takes a picture it is drawn after the man, and reflects his face and countenance; so this is God himself delineated by the Holy Spirit on the soul of the man. As holiness is the beauty and glory of God, so is this new creation created in the image of him that created him; Col., iii, 10. The regenerated soul hereby becomes holy; I Jno., iii, 3, and can not sin, verse 9. Not essentially holy as God is, for he receives his holiness from God, it is the work of God in the soul; nor is lie efficiently holy, for it is not in the power of the regenerated soul to make itself holy, nor to make others holy. As God lives to himself, so this regenerated soul lives to God; II Cor., v, 15. As God loves holiness, and is of too pure eyes to look upon sin, so does the new creature, and desires it above all earthly honors or riches. In these things it is formed after the image of God, and is said to be a partaker of the divine nature; II Pet., i, 4. I can think of nothing that can be done to man or wrought in him while in this life that will adorn and beautify him as this new creation. We may acquire our millions, we may adorn our persons with costly silks and shining diamonds, but these will not give us the image of God; as we are made holy in our life, our walk, and conversation, we bear the image of God. Such is the beauty of this new creature that Christ, its life and purifier, is its admirer, and describes its beauty in the strongest language of love and admiration; Songs, iv, 5-7.

     This doctrine of a new creation positively and palpably negatives the doctrine of eternal vital union, for no created thing existed be fore it was created, and for it to be in eternal union with God, God would be in union with nonentity, nothing; and this nothing would be a part of his own existence, for union is a mingling together of the parts, and these parts make up the body. The members of our bodies are in vital union with each other, and began to exist at the same time. If the body was created, the head and all the members were created at the same time. If the head was eternal and self-existent, the body and all the members would be also, and it could not be said that they were created or creatures in any sense. To be in eternal union with God gives them an eternal existence or an existence that had no beginning, hence they were not created. If the new creature was created in Christ Jesus, there was a time when he was not in Christ Jesus, and could not be in eternal union with him, for that that is eternal has no beginning. In Eph., ii, 10, the apostle tells us that the saints were created in Christ Jesus, and the context plainly tells us when that creation took place.  It was when they were quickened with Christ from their death in sin, and made spiritually alive. For there was a time when these very saints, these new creatures, who were the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus, were without Christ, aliens and strangers, having no hope and without God in the world; Eph., ii, 12. When they were without Christ, and without God, they could not have been in union with either, but when they had been quickened with Christ and made new creatures in Christ, they were no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; verse 19.

    This new creation is the work of God wrought in the soul of man, making it a partaker of the divine nature, and creating within it holy desires and affections, and giving it faith and love, which is the bond of union with Christ; for where there is no love, there is no union. The end and design of this creation is the complete and eternal salvation of the sinner, and by it such a change is wrought in his nature that he turns away from his wicked course, and seeks God and spiritual comforts, and the soul shows itself made for God by its workings after him, and its sorrows and sore afflictions if clouds of darkness get between it and its God. Salvation is the end of this new creature; so it is designed by him that created it. "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God;” II Cor., v, 5. By this workmanship upon the soul he is now preparing it, and making it meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light; Col., i, 12.

    Of all the work God ever wrought upon the soul of man, this new creation is the most necessary. All of his future happiness and the eternal well-being of his soul depend upon it, and without it no man can enter the kingdom of God, or see his face in peace; Heb., xii, 14; John, iii, 3; “Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.” Without Christ no man can be saved, and no man can have an interest in him without being a new creature. My text expressly tells you this, for, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.”O my friends! however carelessly you may listen to these words, or however slight your thoughts may be upon this matter, know, assuredly, that it is a truth as firm and unalterable as the eternal throne, that you must be a new creature in Christ, or be miserable forever and forever. Nothing can be substituted for or answer in the place of this change. If strictness of life could save you, why did it not save the scribes and Pharisees? Your high pretentious to religion, and strict observance of the ordinances of the church; your benevolence and liberality in supporting the church and the poor, however praiseworthy they may be; your repentance, self-denial, prayers, tears, and reformation, all, will avail you nothing in the salvation of your soul without this new creation, regeneration, or second birth. All that Christ has done and suffered, and the cleansing virtues of his blood, never did and never will save a soul without this new creation. Circumcision avails nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing. You must be a new creature, be born of the Spirit. O how necessary this work, and yet how careless and thoughtless the sinner is about it! The world with all its wisdom, with a false and unregenerated clergy to help it, has been trying to mark out a way to heaven without this new creation, but their ways are false and delusive, and are the ways of death and destruction; Prov., xiv, 12. O, my hearers, be not deceived. Let no false philosophy or false theology lead your minds away from this great truth:  The sinner must be born again, or sink to endless woe.” You may have all the wealth of the world, it will not buy heaven for you, should you give it all to feed the poor. You may have the purest robe of righteousness ever worn by scribe or Pharisee, and it will avail you nothing; Matt., v, 20. Unless you are a new creature in Christ no natural virtues or human efforts can save you. O that God may give you to feel the importance of this subject, and to realize the great and solemn truth that must stand forever, that you must be a new creature in Christ, or be miserable forever.
   This new creation is immortal. The soul is made partaker of the divine nature; it can never die. The grace of God is in the soul thus regenerated, springing up into eternal life; John, iv, 14. The new creature has a beginning, for it is a creation, the workmanship of God, created unto good works, and is capable both of increasing and decreasing, and may be brought very low, nigh unto death; Rev., iii, 2; but he can never die; John, xi, 26. Man in all his excellencies and beauty is as grass, and will pass away in death; Job, iv, 21. But the grace imparted to the soul remains forever. Our riches, our friends, all our earthly comforts, may leave us, and we may be poor, friendless pilgrims on the earth, and like our Master, may not have where to lay our heads. But the graces God bestows will never die. They prepare the soul for heaven, and will ascend with it to that glory-world when death separates it from the body. These new creatures in Christ may be poor in this world, but they are rich in faith, and heirs of a kingdom; James, ii, 5. And he that has called them will never forsake them, but will make them to reign as kings and priests with him in their Father's kingdom above.
This new creature is heavenly. It is not born of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God; John, i, 13. Its origin is heavenly; it is spirit born of Spirit; John, iii, 6. Its inheritance is in heaven, and thither are all of its tendencies; Ps., lxiii, 8. Its treasure is there, and its heart is there also; Matt., vi, 21. It can only live on heavenly food; Ps., iv, 6, 7. It is dead to the world; the world can give it no pleasure. The object of all its delights is in heaven: "Whom have I in heaven but thee?” Ps., Ixxiii, 25. Take Jesus away from it and you rob it of its life, its comfort, its wealth, and all that is dear to it, and that it craves. The new creature expects nothing from this world but sorrow, affliction, and persecution, for the world is its enemy, and will hate it. Its comforts all come from heaven, and it waits and looks for the coming of its Lord. The life of this regenerated soul in this world is a life of warfare; I Pet., ii, 11. But it waits patiently for the coming of Christ, and its longings and desires are for heaven; Phil., i, 23. The flesh lingers and clings to the earth, shrinks at the alarm of death; but the renewed soul looks to unseen things, and earnestly desires its house in heaven; II Cor., v, 2; feeling that it would be far better to be absent from the body and present with the Lord; II Cor., v, 8. It is not at home while here. The desires and affections that now control it are from heaven, and have created a desire and thirst in the soul that will never be satisfied until it is resurrected, and this vile body is fashioned like the glorious body of its Lord, and with that likeness it will be satisfied; Ps., xvii, 15.
The soul that is made a new creature is a living, active creature. As soon as the vital principle, these holy desires, are begotten in the soul it begins to act: "Behold, he prayeth!” Acts, ix, 11. The very desires and wishes of its new nature is to live in the Spirit, and to walk in the Spirit; Gal., v, 25. The world may think it strange, and wonder at the great change wrought in the sinner, but we should not think it strange when we read, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works;” Eph., ii, 10. This internal work of grace changes our wills and affections, so that we delight to do the will of God, and find that our sweetest pleasures are to walk in the paths of duty and obedience to God.
The thriving of this new creature is in the way of obedience, growing from strength to strength; I Pet., ii, 2; and changing from glory to glory; II Cor., iii, 18. The vigorous and constant labor of this new creature does not cause it to faint or grow weary; Isa., xl, 31; but in its labor, bearing the yoke of Christ, it finds rest; Matt., xi, 29. Its strivings and labors will never cease until it attains the just perfection and maturity for which it pants; Phil., iii, 11, On this account it delights in the ordinances of God's house, the duties of religion, and the society of saints; for they are helps in its great design. Let no one think that he is a new creature in Christ, when he can see no beauty in the ordinances of the Lord's house, can receive no spiritual strength in the duties of religion, or comfort in the society of the saints. Thus I have tried to describe some of the properties and characteristics of this new creature, this workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus, and while the world may wonder at the change wrought in it, and may hate, despise, and persecute it, it is wonderfully preserved, and supplied from the storehouse of heaven. We may look over our natural life and see the many dangers through which we have passed, and wonder at the providence of God in our preservation, but none of them are like those whereby the saint is preserved. The new creature has its sore afflictions, its times of temptation and desertion, in which it is ready to die; Rev., iii, 2. It sometimes feels that its strength and liveliness are sadly abated, and its comforts almost gone; Rev., ii, 4.  Its evidences are sadly darkened; II Pet., i, 9; and the soul may draw sad conclusions about its state, concluding that it has been deceived or that its spiritual life has been quite extinguished; Ps., Ii, 10-12. But though it seemed to be ready to die and give up all for lost, God wonderfully preserved it from death. All the dear saints are familiar with these fainting times, these dark and gloomy hours, when they are passing through the valley of the shadow of death; Ps., xxiii, 4; but God is with them there to preserve them, and bring them out, and give them their time of refreshing, verse 5, so that their cup shall run over with joy.
4th. It is now my duty to demonstrate, The necessity of this new creation in Christ of all that ever expect salvation through him.
Every question has its negative and affirmative, and the negative of our text is, “That the elect, as such, eternally existed in God, a holy and spiritual seed, and never fell in Adam.” If this be true they could never need any change of nature or condition to prepare them for heaven or spiritual enjoyments. It is not to be wondered at that such vain babblers and blind guides in religion should deny, “That any part of the Adam man, in soul, body, mind, or spirit, is changed in regeneration.”  The conclusion is irresistible if the premises be true, but the Scriptures upon this subject are so plain that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. If you will search them you will find that God has laid the whole stress of man's eternal happiness by Jesus Christ upon this work of the Spirit in the soul. This truth our Savior taught Nicodemus when he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit he can not enter into the kingdom of God;” John, iii, 5. Unless we have this change wrought in our souls by the Spirit of God in this new and heavenly birth we can never see God, for the apostle tells us without holiness no man shall see the Lord; Heb., xii, 14. And though some may teach that it is by innate holiness possessed by us in eternity, and others that it is by observing ordinances, professing religion, and observing the externals of Christianity, that we will commend ourselves to God's acceptance without this new creation, we know they are deceivers, and the apostle shows how groundless all such hopes are. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature;” Gal., vi, 15. Christ and heaven, with all the spiritual blessings ever enjoyed by men, are the gifts of God, but man in his unregenerate state is not prepared to receive and enjoy them, for he is a natural man, and, as such, can not receive the things of the Spirit; I Cor., ii. 14. There is no way for him to know and enjoy spiritual things, but by being born of the Spirit, created anew in Christ.
This new creation is the first work of the Spirit in the soul of the sinner, preparing it to receive and enjoy the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. Our glory in heaven, if we rightly understand its nature, consists in two things— our assimilation to God, and our fruition of him; and both these begin with our regeneration in this world. Here we begin to be changed into his image; II Cor., iii, 18; for the new man is created after God. In the work of grace, or the quickening of the sinner dead in sin into spiritual life, God is said to begin a good work which will be finished in the day of Jesus Christ; Phil., i, 6. Nothing can be more irrational than to imagine that a design or work should be finished that never had a beginning. If the new creature eternally existed a holy, spiritual, and incorruptible thing, it had no beginning, and it needed no finishing, for it was perfection itself.  Any change would have spoiled and defaced its beauty, for perfection will not admit of addition or diminution; either will destroy perfection. Take any thing from or add any thing to Deity, and his perfection is destroyed. If the new creature eternally existed "as holy and pure as God” any change would spoil its perfection, and disqualify it for its holy and pure abode. God can change imperfect things and qualify them for holy and perfect enjoyments, and this work he commences in the soul of the sinner in regeneration, and finishes when the body is redeemed from the grave, and fashioned like the glorious body of our resurrected Savior.
So necessary is this new creation that Christ says, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again;” John iii, 7. Without it heaven would be no heaven, or place of happiness to you, and you could take no delight in God on account of the carnality of your heart, your love for sin, and the enmity of your mind; Rom., viii, 7, for enmity excludes all complacency, love, and delight. It is absolutely necessary that a suitable frame of heart and affections should be wrought in us towards God in order that we should love him and rest our souls and our all in him, and this temper is wrought in us in this new creation. “Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also hath given us the earnest of the Spirit;” II Cor., v 5. Thus we see that regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit changes the affections of the heart, and fills it with the love of God; Rom., v, 5, moulds the man's spirit into an agreeable temper, thus making us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light; Col., i, 12.
It follows as a necessity that there can be no complacency in God without conformity to him. Where there is enmity, there is no union; but when the sinner is made a new creature in Christ, the affections of the soul are changed, and his state and relation to God are so changed that the apostle says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is;” I John, iii, 2. From the very nature of things, God must be changed and made like us, which would be blasphemy to suppose, or we must be changed and made agreeable to God, and made to love God and desire him above all other beloveds; and this is what I am trying to prove, and what my text affirms. The absolute necessity of this change in all who expect or have any well-grounded hope of an interest in Christ is abundantly taught in the Scriptures, for we are carnal, sinful, and unholy in our unregenerated state, and we must have purity of heart; Matt., v, 8; holiness, both of principle and practice; Heb., xii, 14; mortification of sin; Rom., viii, 13; longing for the appearance of Christ; II Tim., iv, 8. These, with a multitude more, show the marks of our being new creatures in Christ. "So we must have a new Bible or a new heart” for if these scriptures speak the true and faithful word of God, the sinner must be born again, regenerated, quickened into spiritual life, resurrected from his death in sin, changed from an enemy to a friend, from an alien and foreigner to a son and fellow-citizen, and be created in Christ a new creature. This must all be true, or we must cast our Bibles away, and believe that all we have felt in our souls, giving us comfort and hope of a better life, is a vain delusion, and the Spirit's witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God, is a false witness.
  5th. The last thing to be considered is, How this new creation witnesses our interest in Christ. If we have all the graces of the Spirit dwelling in us, and manifested by us in our walk and conversation, our interest in Christ is certain, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God;” Rom., viii, 14. What is the new creation, the new man, but all the saving graces of the Spirit, which adorn the Christian character, and assure the soul of its union with Christ? It is not this or that particular grace, as faith, or hope, or love, which constitutes the new man, for these are but the members, the new man comprehends all the graces of the Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;” Gal., v, 22, 23. Any one of these graces give evidence of an interest in Christ, but they are all to be put on. They are the new man, or all the graces of the Spirit. The old man is made up of the corruptions and deceitful lusts of our carnal nature, and is to be put off by us; Eph., iv, 22; but the new man which is created in righteousness and true holiness comprehends all the graces of the 'Spirit, and is to be put on by us and worn as a garment that adorns and beautifies our person; II Pet., i, 5-8.  When all the graces of the Spirit dwell in us, and the effects appear, or the fruits are made manifest in our godly walk and conversation, the evidence of our interest in Christ is certain, and should not be doubted. But in the new creature you find the cause of this great change, the electing love of God; I Pet., i, 2; Eph., i, 4-6; and in the new creature you find all the effects of an interest in Christ, and the indwelling of his Spirit. These are all the fruits of the Spirit, the works of obedience; Eph., ii, 10; Rom., vii, 4. There is hatred and opposition to sin,; “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not;” I John, v, 18. There is love to the people of God. Every one that loveth is born of God; I John, iv,' 7. There is a conscious respect for the duties and ordinances of the house of God; Eph., iv, 24. There is faith in Christ. “Whosever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God;” I John, v, 1. He delights not in the way of the sinner, "but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night;” Ps., i, 2. There is perseverance in the service of God, and victory over all temptations, “For whatsoever is born of. God, overcometh the world;” I John, v, 4. All these fruits of the Spirit are not means or conditions performed by us to get to be new creatures in Christ, but are evidences of our new state and condition, and settle the matter beyond any reasonable doubt, for the Master himself has said, "The tree is known by his fruit;” Matt., xii, 33.
I have now passed through the order in which I proposed to discuss this subject, and I hope you all feel satisfied that the Bible teaching is, that God's creating a new supernatural work of grace in the soul of any man is infallible evidence of a saving interest in Jesus Christ; the reason why the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit is called a new creature, and in what respect the soul and mind is renewed by the renewing of the Holy Ghost; Tit., iii, 5; the special properties of this new creation, and how it evidences our interest in Christ. The whole subject clearly impresses the mind that this whole work is supernatural, the work of grace in the soul of man changing his carnal affections and desires, and begetting within him holy affections and desires. It is a creation, and a creation work is above the power of the creature. No power but that power which gave being to the world can give being to this new creature. It is not born of the flesh, or of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God; John, i, 13. Human means, or instrumentalities, with all the ordinances and service of the church must forever fail, and can not, in whole or in part, produce this new creature. We know that we are new creatures in Christ, and that God dwells in us, "Because he hath given us of his Spirit; I John, iv, 13. This doctrine drives despair from the mind of the Christian in regard to his unregenerated children and friends, and emboldens him to carry them to the throne of mercy in his prayers, knowing that where means and instrumentalities must forever fail, God can perform the work. Could we have looked upon dark chaos before the Spirit of God moved upon it, we could not have imagined the beautiful order and beings that sprang out of this dark lump. You may see no encouraging indications in your children or friends toward God, or spiritual things; nay, possibly they are haters of God, and persecutors of his children, they deride and hold in scorn the humble disciple of Christ. This, indeed, is sad, and very sad, but remember that the work of grace is from above; God can new create them, and command the light to shine in their hearts to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the Lord can breathe upon the dry bones and make them live; it can subdue the proud and stubborn heart, and make it willingly yield itself to God, and delight in the things it now hates. Thy heart may now be sad, tears of grief may stream from thy eyes, as you realize their sad condition, and your inability to change their hearts, or snatch them from their awful fate. But God can make thee rejoice; oh, he can turn all thy sad groanings into sweetest songs over thy most hopeless friend or child. As the father of the prodigal, thou mayest yet say, “This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry;”Luke, xv, 24. Dear brother or sister, these difficulties are with men, and not with God. He can speak, and the dead live; he works the regeneration, quickening, conversion, and faith in the sinner by the same power which raised up Christ from the dead, and will subdue all things unto himself. Let the truth drive despair from your heart, and cause you with boldness to come to a throne of grace in their behalf.
To you, my unconverted friend, I want to say a word before I sit down. O that you could realize how miserable the state of all unrenewed souls are! They can lay no claim to Christ; not one of the precious promises of the gospel belong to them, and are therefore under an impossibility of salvation while in their sinful, unregenerated state. O, sinner, if this is the state of thy soul today, and shall be forever, better had it been for thee never to have been God's natural workmanship as a man, except thou be his workmanship as a new creature in Christ. So speaks Christ of Judas, the son of perdition, "It had been good for that man if he had not been born;” Matt., xxvi, 24. Lost beings are without light or comfort; they wander in darkness, and stumble into the pit. They shall indeed see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, but they themselves shall be shut out; Luke xiii, 28. O, it is better to have no being at all, than to have a being that only capacitates us for misery, and to desire death while death flies from us; Rev., iv, 6. O, sinner, this is thy state; think of it, lay it to thine heart; better thou hadst died from the womb, better the knees had prevented thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked, than that thou shouldst live and die a stranger to the new birth. You today may regard this truth as a hard saying; you may hate it, and try to cast it from your mind, but he before whom you will have to stand in the great day of judgment, has spoken the truth with his own infallible lips, “Except ye be born again, you can not see the kingdom of God.” Dear, dying sinner, don't be deceived; all who point out some other way for you to become a new creature in Christ Jesus are but lying spirits, and to follow their counsel will be eternal ruin. I love you, therefore I tell you the truth; I do not wish to daub you up with untempered mortar, or to beget within you a false, delusive hope. There is no salvation for you unless you be a new creature in Christ; your soul must be regenerated by the Spirit of God; you must be born of God, or be lost forever. O, may God be merciful to you; may he, who by his grace, changed and made a new man out of a persecuting Saul' change you, and make you meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. May God prepare all our hearts to receive the truth in the love of it.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 October 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.