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Question 4: How are thenatural (baptized) seed to be distinguished from the spiritual (elect) seed of the church?



From the differing presentations of God's Covenant of Grace arises differing beliefs regarding how to properly view the baptized (natural) seed of the church. How are they to be distinguished from the saved (spiritual) seed of the church?



As previously mentioned, Scripture requires us to treasure the blessings and opportunities given to, and to stress the responsibilities which rest upon, all those who are outwardly related to God's covenant and church. Yet, Scripture also forbids us from speaking of any person as being saved that has not experienced God's inward-working graces and evidenced God's outwardworking fruits or good works (except for the possibility of a person who is incapable of producing visible good works, due to physical or mental incapabilities, such as children dying in infancy, the severely mentally-handicapped, persons living in paralyzed or coma conditions, etc.)



The inward-working graces of the Holy Spirit required in Scripture before viewing ourselves or others as saved are as follows:

1. A heartfelt experiencing of misery (or repentance) - This speaks of a person being convinced of his sin. He is convicted by the Holy Spirit of his actual sins but also of their source, his original sin - his totally depraved and sinful heart. A sincere sorrow for, and desire to turn from, all sin is experienced. However, all attempts at self-reformation fail as conviction deepens. His totally lost state and condition become real - without God in the world and unable, because of his own sinful heart, to save himself. His need to be saved and the impossibility of saving himself is worked by the Holy Spirit in his heart, to direct him outside of himself, to God's appointed Savior.



2. A heartfelt experiencing of deliverance (or faith) - When experiencing that his sin has cut off all hope for self-salvation, has separated him from God and made him ripe for God's judgments, the Holy Spirit directs the soul's eyes outside of self to Jesus Christ. He begins to see the wonderful way of salvation by grace opened for lost sinners in Jesus Christ. As these truths are applied to his heart, he learns to hope, believe, and trust in Jesus Christ as his way of escape. As faith deepens, Jesus Christ increasingly becomes his hope, righteousness, holiness; in short - his everything for salvation. Jesus Christ becomes his personal Savior. He has, and is graciously willing to give, everything which the sinner lacks and needs for salvation.

 

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?

Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

- Romans 3:1-2

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

- Acts 20:32

 

How was the infant child of David who died shortly after his birth an example of this type of exception?


 

And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?

But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

- 11 Samuel 12:22-23

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

- Isaiah 64:6

0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

- Romans 7:24

Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life,

And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

- John 6:68-69

 

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