May 2, 2011

The Old and the New Man - John R. Respess

"WHEN A MAN IS BORN AGAIN (we would not say born over) he, the man, becomes a new creature, but not a new creature in flesh and blood—for, so far as flesh and blood are concerned, he is the same creature—but as woman in pangs of travail is delivered by birth, so he is delivered by faith, and rejoices in the truth.

He is born of the Spirit—for God is a Spirit. He is new in spirit, new in hope, faith and love, and the works of faith. He is new in his views of truth, of God and himself; old things have passed away, and he is one spirit with the Lord, and hates what God hates, and loves what God loves; and hates what he once loved, and loves what he once hated. The old man is still, however, left; but the Christian man—the man himself as a Christian—lives by faith. It is the same man who is thus changed, who has now in spirit partaken of the divine nature; that now has struggles and hates his own depravity who once had no such struggles.

It was the same Paul who, after his change loved unto death the same truth that he before hated unto death. If it was not Paul himself, who was it? It was the same Gadarene who, one day was a fierce, wild and ungovernable savage, that sat the next day meekly at the feet of Jesus as a little child. He was the same man of flesh and blood—the same in size, features and stature—that he was the day before, but not the same in spirit; yet he had the depravity of nature to contend with until the struggle should end by death. He was a new creature; and what sort of a creature? Why, he was a “wonder” from the Lord of hosts; a man with two natures—the old man and the new man—such a being as no man could be who had never sinned and been born again; both a creature and a child, both created and begotten, both of God and of man."

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