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by Dr. John Thomas
This is parallel to the saying, "sanctified and cleansed in the laver of the water by the word;" for the reader must not suppose, that any man, woman or child, can be regenerated, or born again, by being plunged into a bath, who is ignorant of the word.
The Holy Spirit does not renew the heart of man as he renews the mortal body, when through Jesus he raises it from the dead.
In this case, the power is purely physical.
But, when the heart is the subject of renewal, it is by the knoledge of the written testimony of God, or the word.
"God," says Peter, speaking of the gentiles believers, "purified their hearts by fait;" and Paul prays, "that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith".
Now, faith comes by hearing the word of God; in other words, it is the belief of God's testimony concerning the things ot come, which are not seen; and without which, it is impossible to please him.
When a man is renewed by the truth, he is renewed by the spirit, and not before.
There is no such thing in the scriptures as a renewed ignorant man.
Ignorance of the testimony of God, and regeneration, are utterly incompatible.
The truth is the purifier to those only who understand and obey it; and there is no moral purity, or sanctification of spirit before God, without it.
It is only believers of the truth, then, who can be the subjects of a regeneration by being submerged "in the laver of water".
When they come out of this, they have been "washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, by the spirit of God.
The truth to be believed is the gospel of the kingdom and name of Jesus Christ.
When this is understood, and heartily received, it produces a disposition of mind, such as was in Abraham and Jesus, and which is called repentance.
Believers, so disposed, are the begotten of God, and have become as little children.
They believe "the exceeding great and precious promises," together with the things testified concerning the sufferings and resurrection of Jesus.
He fell into a deep sleep; and, while thus unconscious and insensible, his side was opened by a spear, and forthwith rushed blood and water.
Being awakened out of his sleep, he was built up a spiritual body, flesh and bones; and, by his ascension, presented to the Father as the federal representative of his church.
This is the aggregate of those, who, believing these things, have been introduced into Christ through the laver of the water; according to the saying of the scriptures, "Ye are all the children of God in Christ Jesus through the faith.
For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" ( ejneduvsasqe * "Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise".
A community of such individuals as these constitutes the mystical body of Christ.
By faith, its elements are "members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones".