Great Quote on the New Birth

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

We shall add two reasons further, to confirm, and some way to clear, why it is that the Lord works, and must work thus distinctly, inwardly, really, powerfully, and immediately, in working faith, and converting sinners.

The first is draws from the exceeding great deadness, indisposition, averseness, perverseness, impotency, inability, and impossibility that is in us naturally for the exerting faith in Christ. If men naturally are dead in sins and trespasses, if the mind is blind, if the affections are quite disordered, and the will is utterly corrupted and perverted; then that which converts, and changes and renews them, must be a real, inward, peculiar, immediate, powerful work of the Spirit of God. There being no inward seed of the grace of God in them to be quickened, that seed must be communicated to them and sown in them, ere they can believe, which can be done by no less nor lower than the power of God’s grace. It is not oratory as I said, nor excellency of speech that will do it; it is such a work as begets the man again, and actually renews him.

The second is drawn from God’s end in the way of giving grace, communicating it to some, and not to others. If God’s end, in being gracious to some and not to others, is to commend His grace solely, and to make them alone in grace’s common or debt; then the work of grace in conversion must be peculiar and immediate, and wrought by the power of the Spirit of God, leaving nothing to man’s free will to difference himself from another or on which such an effect should depend. But if we look to Scripture, we will find that it is God’s end in the whole way and conduct of His grace, in election, redemption, calling, justification, etc, to commend His grace solely, and to stop all mouths, and cut off all ground of boasting in the creature as it is in I Cor 4:7. “Who makes thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou hast not received? Now if thou didst receive it, why dos thou glory as if thou didst not receive?” This being certain, that if the work of grace in conversion were not a distinct, inward, peculiar, real, immediate work, and did not produce the effect of itself by its own strength, and not by virtue of anything in man, the man would still be supposed to have had some power for the work in himself, and some way to have differenced himself from another. But the Lord designed the contrary, and therefore the work of grace in conversion must be suitable to His design. (Christ Crucified: The Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53, pages 169-170; James Durham)

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