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Page 185

    "No, of course not," the minister replied.

    "That is your problem," Spurgeon answered.

    Why is a lack of expectancy in the Holy Spirit's work a sin of unbelief? Which is stronger, the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit or the sinful power of Satan, world, and self?

God is a God of order, but also of variety. This can be observed throughout God's creation. Birds remain birds. All birds share certain common characteristics; if an animal does not possess these common properties, it is not a bird. Yet, what a rich variety of birds we see! They differ in appearance, sizes, colors, beaks, feet, songs, habits, incubation times, and nest construction - in fact, no two birds are identical.

The principle we observe in natural life - order, yet variety - is also true of spiritual life. Certain common characteristics mark all true conversions from self to God, yet what a rich variety of emphases, traumatic events, outward appearances, depths of experiences, times, and ages can be observed!

Scripture speaks of certain more inward-working graces (marks) revealing themselves in more outward-working results (fruits). These marks and fruits of conversion are the common characteristics shared by all truly converted persons.

The marks of true conversion are:

1. A heartfelt experiencing of misery (repentance) - This takes place when a person is 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 knowledge of, sorrow for, and desire to turn from, all sin is experienced. However, all of the person's attempts at self-reformation fail, and his conviction deepens. His totally lost state and condition become real; he is without God in the world and unable, because of his own sinful heart, to save himself. The heartfelt knowledge of his need to be saved and the impossibility of saving himself are both worked by the Holy Spirit in his soul to direct him outside of himself to God's appointed Savior.

2. A heartfelt experiencing of deliverance (faith) - When a person experiences that his sin has cut off all his hope for self-salvation, has separated him from God, and has made him ripe for God's judgments, the Holy Spirit directs the soul's eyes outside of itself to Jesus Christ. The person begins to see the wonderful, gracious way of salvation opened in Jesus Christ for lost sinners.

Can you identify the experience of misery, deliverance, and thankfulness in each of the textual references provided in this column? Which parts speak of each?



 

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

- Psalm 40:2-3

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.

- Ephesians 5:8

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

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

- Romans 7:24-25a

And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.

- Psalm 50: 15

Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto Thee.

For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not Thou deliver my feet from failing, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

- Psalm 56:12-13

 

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