DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 28, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5
The next great blessing in the text is that OF INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE.
Mark that, O believer. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a lively hope.” One of the first displays of divine mercy which weexperience is being begotten again. Our first birth gave us the image of the first Adam—“earthly,” our second birth, and that alone, gives us the image of the second Adam, which is “heavenly.” To be begotten once may be a curse, to be begotten again is everlastingly and assuredly a blessing. To be born once may be a subject for eternal bewailing, to be born a second time will be the theme of a joyful and
My brethren, saints “begotten again unto a lively hope” in the hour of their regeneration, when they are “born again from above.” Have we been so born? If we have, we enjoy a blessing far exceeding anything which the natural man can dream of, the Holy Spirit comes upon the chosen in the hour appointed, and creates in them a new heart and a right spirit, in a supernatural manner a new principle is implanted, a new life is created within the soul. Just as assuredly as our first birth gives us being from
our former nothingness, our new life brings us from utter death into the world of spirit, and into newness of life. We are new born by the “incorruptible seed which lives and abides forever.” Not the fancied regeneration of those who impute to a mere ceremonial invented by men a change which is altogether of God’s own working, it is not an imaginary charm worked by incantations and aspergings over an unconscious babe, but a real creation, a true life, not fictitious, but actual and operative, and one which
is found to reveal itself in righteousness and true holiness.
You shall know this new life by the faith and the repentance which always come with it wherever God Himself is pleased to work it. The new life of a Christian is divine in its origin—God has begotten us. The new life comes not from man, it is wrought by the operation of the Holy Ghost. As certainly as God spoke and it was done, in the creation of the world, so He speaks in the heart of man, and it is done, and the new creature is born. The new life in us, as it has a divine origin, has also a divine nature.
You are made partakers of the divine nature. The life of a Christian is the life of God—God dwells in him. The Holy Spirit Himself enters the believer and abides in him, and makes him a living man.
Hence, from its divine nature, the inner life of the believer can by no possibility ever be destroyed. You must first destroy the Godhead before you can quench the spark of the eternal flame that burns within the believer’s bosom. Has not the apostle told us it is a “living and incorruptible seed which lives and abides forever”? What a great mystery is this, but at the same time what a blessing! To be born again, to be born from above, to be born by the power of God into a discernment of spiritual truths, to hear spiritual voices, to see spiritual sights, and to be worshippers in spirit and in truth of God, who is a Spirit. God grant that if we have never known this we yet may, ere we go hence, be created anew in Christ Jesus.
Observe, dear brethren, to be begotten again is a very marvelous thing. Suppose a man is born into this world, as is too frequently the case, with a predisposition to some sad hereditary disease. There he is, filled with disease, and medicine cannot eject the unwelcome tenant from his body. Suppose that man’s body could be altogether new born, and he could receive a new body free from all taint, it would be a great mercy.
But, O my brethren, it does not approach to regeneration, because our supposition only deals with the body, while the new birth renews the soul, and even implants a higher nature. Regeneration overcomes not a mere material disease, not an infliction in the flesh, but the natural depravity of the heart, the deadly disorder of the soul. We are born again, and by that means we are delivered from the power of corruption, the new nature has no depravity in it, nor tendency to sin, “it cannot sin because it is born of God.”
The moment the heavenly life is implanted, it begins to war with the old nature, and continues to struggle violently with it, there is a deadly enmity between the two, the new nature will never be reconciled to the old, or the old one to the new, but the new will conquer and overcome the evil. You have smiled at the pleasant fiction of old men being ground young again in a mill, but that marvel would be nothing compared with this, for the old man made young would still be the same man, and placed in the same circumstances, he would develop into the same character, but here is the old man crucified and a new man created in the divine image!
Who can estimate the privilege of receiving a heaven-born nature, which, however weak and feeble it may be at the first, is ever-living, and by the power of God, will gain the ultimate victory. Let us then rejoice and be glad! We may be very poor today, but we are born from above. We may be much afflicted, but what of that if we are the twice-born sons of heaven! We may be despised and rejected, but the heavenly light has shone upon our eyes. We have been regenerated, we have “passed from death unto life,” here is ceaseless cause for gratitude and joy, and if we rightly consider it we may forget our griefs.
To be continued in Part 4