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by Dr. John Thomas
But truth knows no respect of persons; and while the oracles of God declare, that men are "renewed by knowledge," and "alienated from the life of God through ignorance," I feel entrenched impregnably in the position here assumed.
According to the constitution of the human intellect, the knowledge of truth must precede the belief of it.
There is no exception to this.
If cases be cited as exceptions, the faith is spurious, and not that with which God is pleased.
It is credulity; the faith of opinion, such as characterizes the spiritual philosophy of the age.
Lastly, the act demanded of a renewed sinner by the constitution of righteousness, that he may be inducted into Christ, and so "constituted the righteousness of God in him," is a burial in water into death.
The energy of the word of truth is twofold.
It makes a man "dead to sin" and "alive to God".
Now, as Christ died to sin once and was buried, so the believer, having become dead to sin, must be buried also; for after death, burial.
The death and burial of the believer is connected with the death and burial of Christ by the individual's faith in the testimony concerning them.
Hence, he is said to be "dead with Christ," and to be "buried with Christ"; but, how buried?
"By baptism into death," saith the scripture.
But is this all?
By no means; for the object of the burial in water is not to extinguish animal life; but, by preserving it to afford the believer scope to "walk in newness of life," moral and intellectual.
He is, therefore, raised up out of the water.
This action is representative of his faith in the resurrection of Jesus; and of his hope, that as he had been planted with him in the similitude of his death, he shall hereafter be also in the likeness of his resurrection, and so enter the kingdom of God.
To such persons the scripture saith, "Ye are all sons of God in Christ Jesus through the faith"; and the ground of this honourable and divine relationship is assigned in these words: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ; and if ye be Christ's, then are ye the seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise".
They have thus received the spirit of adoption by which they can address God as their Father who is in heaven.
THE TWO PRINCIPLES.
"With the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the Law of Sin".
Although a sinner may have been "delivered from the power of darkness," or ignorance, and have been "translated into" the hope of "the Kingdom of God and of his Christ," by faith in the divine testimony and baptism into Christ -- yet, if he turn his thoughts back into his own heart, and note the impulses which work there, he will perceive a something that, if he were to yield to it, would impel him to the violation of the divine law.
These impulses are styled "the motions of sins".
Before he was enlightened, they "worked in his members," until they were manifested in evil action, or sin; which is termed, "bringing forth fruit unto death".