Duty of Gratitude for Divine Grace: Blessings of Grace: Regeneration- Book Seventh- Chapter 3- Section 4

June 14, 2017 1 comment

Book Seventh

CHAPTER III.

SECTION IV.–REGENERATION.

IN ALL WHO ARE FINALLY SAVED, THE HOLY SPIRIT PRODUCES A GREAT MORAL CHANGE, BY WHICH THEY BECOME INCLINED TO HOLINESS.[121]

In our natural state we are totally depraved. No inclination to holiness exists in the carnal heart; and no holy act can be performed, or service to God rendered, until the heart is changed. This change, it is the office of the Holy Spirit to effect. Pardon, justification, and adoption, are changes in a man’s condition; but if no other change were wrought, the man would remain a slave to sin, and unfit for the service and enjoyment of God. Grace, therefore, does not stop with a mere change of condition, but it effects also that change in the character, without which the individual could not participate in the holy enjoyments of heaven, or be fitted for the society of the blessed.

Various forms of expression are employed in the Scriptures, to denote the change of heart; and they signify it with various shades of meaning.. It is taking away the heart of stone, and giving a heart of flesh;[122] giving a new heart;[123] putting the law in the heart;[124] quickening or making alive;[125] a resurrection from the dead; an illumination;[126] a conversion, or turning back to God.[127] So great is the change produced, that the subject of it is called a new creature,[128] as if proceeding, like Adam, directly from the creating hand of God; and he is said to be renewed,[129] as being restored to the image of God, in which man was originally formed. With reference to the mode in which the descendants of Adam come into the world, the change is denominated regeneration;[130] and the subjects of it are said to be born again.[131]

The change is moral. The body is unchanged; and the identity of the mind is not destroyed. The individual is conscious of being the same person that he was before; but a new direction is given to the active powers of the mind, and new affections are brought into exercise. The love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost.[132] No love to God had previously existed there; for the carnal heart is enmity against God. Love is the fulfilling of the law, the principle of all holy obedience; and when love is produced in the heart, the law of God is written there. As a new principle of action, inciting to a new mode of life, it renders the man a new creature. The production of love in the heart by the Holy Spirit, is the regeneration, or the new birth; for “he that loveth, is born of God.”[133]

The mode in which the Holy Spirit effects this change, is beyond our investigation. All God’s ways are unsearchable; and we might as well attempt to explain how he created the world, as how he new-creates the soul. With reference to this subject, the Saviour said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”[134] We know, from the Holy Scriptures, that God employs his truth in the regeneration of the soul. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.”[135] Love to God necessarily implies knowledge of God, and this knowledge it is the province of truth to impart. But knowledge is not always connected with love. The devils know, but do not love; and wicked men delight not to retain the knowledge of God,[136] because their knowledge of him is not connected with love. The mere presentation of the truth to the mind, is not all that is needed, in producing love to God in the heart. What accompanying influence the Holy Spirit uses, to render the word effectual, we cannot explain: but Paul refers to it, when he says, “Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost.”[137]–“but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power.”[138]

The term regeneration is sometimes used in a comprehensive sense, as including the whole formation of the Christian character. At other times it is used for the first production of divine love in the heart. In the latter sense, the work is instantaneous. There is a moment known only to God, when the first holy affection exists in the soul. Truth may enter gradually, and may excite strong affections in the mind, and may for a time increase the hatred of God which naturally reigns in the heart. So Paul says, “Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.”[139] But, in his own time and manner, God, the Holy Spirit, makes the word effectual in producing a new affection in the soul: and, when the first movement of love to God exists, the first throb of spiritual life commences.

Faith is necessary to the Christian character; and must therefore precede regeneration, when this is understood in its widest sense. Even in the restricted sense, in which it denotes the beginning of the spiritual life, faith, in the sense in which James[140] uses the term, may precede. But a faith which exists before the beginning of spiritual life, cannot be a living faith. Yet some have maintained that faith produces love. This opinion is of sufficient importance to demand a careful consideration.

The power of faith over the actions, the conscience, and the affections of the heart, every one must admit. Confidence place in a treacherous man, has often led to a course of action ruinous in its effects on the condition and character. A belief in false principles of morality blinds the conscience, and causes it to approve the wrong, and condemn the right. We may love or hate an individual, under a mistaken view of his character; and our affection towards him may be completely changed, by a better acquaintance with him. Now, it may be asked, does not dislike of God proceed from a wrong view of his character, and will not a true knowledge of him infallibly produce love?

That hatred of God, and a wrong view of his character, accompany each other, no one can deny; but which of these produces the other, ought not to be assumed without investigation. We readily judge well concerning those whom we love, and ill concerning those whom we dislike. Men’s interests pervert their judgments. In a deliberative assembly, parties are formed, according to the interests of individuals; and man take sides according to the circumstances which influence the heart. In these cases, the affections control the faith. The affections and faith mutually influence each other, and if either be wrong, the other cannot be perfectly right. The enmity to God which rules in the hearts of unregenerate men, renders their view of this character incorrect. A perfectly correct view cannot co-exist with enmity to him: and yet it does not follow that love to him may be produced, by giving right views of his character.

Some have maintained the opinion that a revelation of God’s love to us is sufficient to produce love to him. That it ought to do so, cannot be denied; and in a heart under no evil bias, it would produce this effect. We may rather say, that a heart in which no evil bias exists, will love God, on receiving a revelation of his general character, without waiting for evidence of special favor. If our love to God proceeds from a belief that he loves us in particular, it is merely a modification of self-love. Such love has no moral excellence in it; for “sinners love those that love them.”[141] Some have supposed, that the faith of devils differs from the faith of Christians in the circumstance, that it sees in God no manifestation of love towards them, and therefore can produce no love in their hearts towards God. But this opinion regards the faith which distinguishes the people of God, and purifies their hearts, as possessing no moral excellence in its nature. The circumstances in which it is exercised, do not make its nature better. If it may consist with perfect hatred to God, it cannot have moral excellence in itself, or tend to produce moral purity.

An inspired writer has said, “We love him, because he first loved us:”[142] but these words do not teach, that our love to God originates in the conviction that we are the favorites of his love. The love of God towards us, operates both as an efficient, and as a motive. 1. As an efficient cause. “For his great love where with he loved us,[143] when we were dead in sin, hath quickened us together with Christ.” Here is an operation entirely distinct from that of mere motive. The dead body of Christ in the grave, was quickened by the Spirit; and a like power quickens the dead soul. “We believe according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.”[144] Here faith itself is ascribed to this divine operation. All this operation proceeds from God’s great love wherewith he hath loved us. It is plain, therefore, that this love operates as an efficient cause, before it operates as a motive to holiness. It cannot operate as a motive without faith; and faith is produced by its efficient power. After this efficiency has quickened the dead soul, the love of God towards us then operates. 2. As a motive. The goodness of God leads to repentance, and every attribute and act of God has a tendency to call forth the love of the heart, when in the right state. Nothing so effectually melts the heart, as a view of God’s great love towards us, while we were yet sinners: and of Christ’s love in giving himself for us: but many a heart has felt this melting influence, without having in view the personal benefit to be received from this love. Our love to God does not produce a disregard to our own happiness, but it rises above the consideration of it. It is, therefore, not a modification of self-love.

This divine operation, which is additional to the motive power of truth, proceeds from what has been called the direct influence of the Spirit. Truth, as contained in the Holy Scriptures, is a revelation from the Holy Spirit; and as men’s words, whether spoken or written, have an influence on the minds of other men, so the words of the Holy Spirit have an influence on the minds of all who read the Bible, or hear the gospel preached. In this indirect way, the Holy Spirit operates on men’s minds, as the author of a book operates on all who read his work. But this indirect influence is by means of truth as a motive power; and no mere motive, operating on the sinner’s heart, can induce him to love God for his own sake. While self-love rules in the mind, all motives derive their power from their relation to the ruling principle; and cannot, therefore, establish a higher principle of action. This change, by which true love to God is produced, results from the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, accompanying his word, and making it effectual. It was this direct influence which rendered the word so effectual on the day of Pentecost,[145] which opened Lydia’s heart,[146] so that she attended to the things that were spoken by Paul;–which gave the increase when Paul planted, and Apollos watered,[147]–and which has ever brought the word to the heart, in demonstration of the Spirit, and with power.[148]

The doctrine of the Holy Spirit’s direct influence, is a fundamental truth of the gospel dispensation. That Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, and completed the great work for which he assumed our nature, is a truth that lies at the foundation of Christianity. The gospel reveals to us the Spirit as well as the Son. When about to leave the world, Jesus promised another comforter, who should dwell with his disciples for ever. The Holy Spirit, as God, had always been in the world: but he was now to be present by a peculiar manifestation and operation. This manifestation and operation attended the ministry of the Word on the day of Pentecost, and the gospel has always been the sword of the Spirit,[149] the instrument with which he operates in the fulfilment of his office for which he has come into the world, in answer to the prayer of Christ.

The experience of mankind, before the coming of Christ, prepared the way for the introduction of his religion. The wise men of the world had sought to know God, but their laborious research had been ineffectual. Some other means of knowledge was, by their failure, proved to be necessary: “After that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”[150] While an experiment was made in the heathen world, demonstrating the necessity of revelation, another was in progress among the people of Israel, under the Mosaic dispensation, demonstrating the inefficiency of revelation, unless accompanied by direct influence of the Holy Spirit. The Israelites had this great advantage over the heathen world, that to them were committed the oracles of God.[151] The Scriptures, given by inspiration from God, were in their possession: and God spoke to them at sundry times and in divers manners, by prophets whom he raised up among them, and inspired to declare his will. That these prophets, with their burdens of divine messages, might arrive in due time, God represents himself as rising up early and sending them.[152] So abundant were the means of religious knowledge granted them, that God said, “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?”[153] Yet, with all this advantage, they turned away from the God of Israel, and provoked him to anger. Another influence was needed, to produce love and obedience to God. Hence it was said, by the prophet Jeremiah, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel, and to the house of Judah.”[154] This new covenant is explained in the Epistle to the Hebrews,[155] to be the spiritual dispensation of the gospel. Its grand peculiarity is, that the law of God is written in the heart. The Israelites had the revelation from God written on stone and parchment, but it was not in their hearts; and an new divine influence was promised by the prophet, and the promise has been fulfilled in the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, the gift of which characterizes the gospel dispensation as the ministration of the Spirit.[156] The saints of God, under the former dispensation, received this influence of the Holy Spirit, and to them also was the gospel preached.[157] The privileges and blessings of the future dispensation, were, by anticipation, bestowed on them; and the Christ to come was made their Saviour, as if he had already appeared and fulfilled his work. But the abundant influence of the Holy Spirit was reserved for the times following the ascension of Christ, and from that day he dwells in the Church, and makes the bodies of believers his temple. This peculiar presence implies the peculiar influence by which the truth is put into the heart; that is, by which men are made to love the truth. The whole Mosaic dispensation was an experiment, demonstrating the necessity of this peculiar influence. That covenant did not promise this blessing, and God found fault with it, because it did not secure the obedience of his people. The experiment was made, in his wisdom, not for his information, but for our benefit; and, by the failure of that covenant, we are enabled better to estimate the value of the blessing that distinguished the covenant founded on better promises.

That philosophy which shuts God out of his creation, and substitutes laws of nature for his ever-present influence and operation, stands ready to deny the doctrine of the Holy Spirit’s direct influence. It admits not the possibility of any influence, but that which the means employed naturally tend to produce. But means have not natural efficiency apart from the will of God. By the will of God, the truth has its regenerating and sanctifying power; for he works in us to will and to do, according to his pleasure.[158] It belongs to the Holy Spirit, in the economy of grace, to produce divine life in the soul, as he brooded over the face of the waters, at creation, reducing the chaotic mass to order, and filling it with life. He is pleased to work with means; and he employs the truth as his instrument of operation. This instrument he wields at his pleasure, and he renders it effectual by his divine power: “My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”[159] By the ordinary providence of God, the Bible operates in the world, and influences the minds of men: but this providence equally existed in the former dispensation, in which the oracles of God were possessed by the Israelites, but held by them in unrighteousness. An influence above the ordinary providence of God is needed, to the regeneration of the soul. The coming of Christ into the world, and the coming and abiding of the Holy Spirit, belong to a dispensation which is above the ordinary providence of God. Into this new economy we are ushered, when we are translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Here we recognise both the Son and the Spirit, as specially given of God. It is contrary to the faith of the gospel to regard Christ and his redeeming work, as things of God’s ordinary providence; and it is equally contrary to faith to consider the Spirit and his work in the heart as merely natural influence of the truth on the heart.

[121] John iii. 5, 6; Ezek. xi. 19; xxxvi. 26, 27; xxxvii. 14; Tit. iii. 5; James i. 18; 2 Cor. v. 17; 1 John iv. 8.

[122] Ezek. xxxvi. 26.

[123] Ezek. xviii. 31.

[124] Heb. viii. 10.

[125] John vi. 63; Eph. ii. 1; Rom. vi. 11, 13.

[126] Heb. x. 32.

[127] Ps. li. 13; Matt. xviii. 3; Ps. xxv. 16; Isaiah lix. 20.

[128] 2 Cor. v. 17; Gal. vi. 15.

[129] Col. iii. 10; Rom. xii. 2; Tit. iii. 5.

[130] Tit. iii. 5.

[131] John iii. 3, 7; 1 Pet. i. 23.

[132] Rom. v. 5.

[133] 1 John iv. 7.

[134] John iii. 8.

[135] James i. 18.

[136] Rom. i. 28.

[137] 1 Thess. i. 5.

[138] 1 Cor. ii. 4.

[139] Rom. vii. 8.

[140] James ii. 17.

[141] Luke vi. 32.

[142] 1 John iv. 19.

[143] Eph. ii. 4, 5.

[144] Eph. i. 19, 20.

[145] Acts ii.

[146] Acts xvi.

[147] 1 Cor. iii.

[148] 1 Cor. ii. 4.

[149] Eph. vi. 17.

[150] 1 Cor. i. 21.

[151] Rom. iii. 2.

[152] Jer. xxxii. 33.

[153] Isaiah v. 5.

[154] Jer. xxxiii. 14.

[155] Heb. viii.

[156] 2 Cor. iii. 8.

[157] Heb. iv. 2; Gal. iii. 8.

[158] Phil. ii. 13.

[159] Isaiah lv. 11.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force: Example 1

The first six verses of Psalm 19 contain a sublime description of the perfections of God as they are displayed in the material creation, especially in the heavenly bodies; yet it is quite evident that the apostle Paul also regarded what is there said of the sun and stars as their being Divinely designed emblems of the kingdom of grace. For in Romans 10:4-17, we find that he had before him the universal publication of the Gospel, and that in verse 18 he quoted from Psalm 19:

“But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Men by nature are legally dead

I. First, then, our text implies THAT MEN BY NATURE ARE DEAD. NO being needs to go after life if he has life in himself. The text speaks very strongly when it says, “Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life,” though it saith it not in words, yet it doth in effect affirm that men need a life more than they have themselves. My hearers, we are all dead unless we have been begotten unto a lively hope. First, we are all of us, by nature, legally dead:-”In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death,” said God to Adam; and though Adam did not die in that moment naturally, he died legally; that is to say death was recorded against him. As soon as, at the Old Bailey, the judge puts on the black cap and pronounces the sentence, the man is reckoned to be dead at law. Though perhaps a month may intervene before he is brought on the scaffold to endure the sentence of the law, yet the law looks upon him as a dead man. It is impossible for him to transact anything. He cannot inherit, he cannot bequeath; he is nothing-he is a dead man. The country considers him not as being alive in it at all. There is an election-he is not asked for his vote because he is considered as dead. He is shut up in his condemned cell, and he is dead. Ah! and ye ungodly sinners who have never had life in Christ, ye are alive this morning, by reprieve, but do ye know that ye are legally dead; that God considers you as such, that in the day when your father Adam touched the fruit, and when you yourselves did sin, God, the Eternal Judge, put on the black cap and condemned you? You talk mightily of your own standing, and goodness, and morality:-where is it? Scripture saith, ye are “condemned already.” Ye are not to wait to be condemned at the judgment-day-that will be the execution of the sentence:- “ye are condemned already.” In the moment ye sinned; your names were all written in the black book of justice; every one was then sentenced by God to death, unless he found a substitute, in the person of Christ, for his sins. What would you think if you were to go into the Old Bailey, and see the condemned culprit sitting in his cell, laughing and merry? You would say, “The man is a fool, for he is condemned, and is to be executed, yet how merry he is.” Ah! and how foolish is the worldly man, who, while sentence is recorded against him, lives in merriment and mirth! Do you think the sentence of God is of no effect? Thinkest thou that thy sin which is written with an iron pen on the rocks for ever hath no horrors in it? God hath said thou art condemned already. If thou wouldst but feel this, it would mingle bitters in thy sweet cups of joy; thy dances would be stopped, thy laughter quenched in sighing, if thou wouldst recollect that thou art condemned already. We ought all to weep, if we lay this to our souls: that by nature we have no life in God’s sight; we are actually positively condemned, death is recorded against us, and we are considered in ourselves now, in God’s sight, as much dead as if we were actually cast into hell; we are condemned here by sin, we do not yet suffer the penalty of it, but it is written against us, and we are legally dead, nor can we find life unless we find legal life in the person of Christ, of which more by-and-bye.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Freewill- A Slave,” A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, December 2, 1855

An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith- Appendix Point 18

18. As the preaching of the Gospel, both for the conversion of sinners, and the edifying of those that are converted; so also the right use of baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, ought to be till the end of the world, Matt. 28:19,20; I Cor. 11:26.

Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 120

TO REV. A. A. REES

NEWINGTON, S.E., June 26, 1869.

DEAR FRIEND,—

In brief reply.

(1) Is a case of zeal overdoing its work. I don’t see how I can prevent it.

(2) I wish I did know some one with whom to advise a change. O____

would have been a fit man, but he is gone to his rest.

(3) H___ supplied for me once before and was capital. This time, probably his last, he was flat, stale and unprofitable I hear — but he is a good fellow and capable of good things. Why did not the Bishop of Sunderland let me know he would be in town, and I should have been, and others too, charmed to have his aid.

Your friend L____ has refused to dismiss to such a wretch as I am, and yet I don’t wear a hatband or shut up the Tabernacle. Dear soul, has he dyspepsia?

Yours truly,

C. H. SPURGEON.

Duty of Gratitude for Divine Grace: Blessings of Grace: Adoption- Book Seventh- Chapter 3- Section 3

Book Seventh

CHAPTER III.

SECTION III.–ADOPTION.

GOD ADOPTS, AS SONS, ALL WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST.[98]

In adoption, as practised among men, an individual receives the son of another into his family, and confers on him the same privileges and advantages, as if he were his own son. In this sense, God adopts all who believe in Jesus Christ: “We are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.”[99] “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God.”[100] This blessing of grace rises higher than justification. Though a judge may fully acquit one who is arraigned before him on a charge of crime, he does not confer, on the man so acquitted, any of the privileges or advantages which belong to a son. But the believer in Jesus is permitted to regard God, not only as a justifying Judge, but as a reconciled and affectionate Father. The problem, how he can be put among the children,[101] has been solved. Though once afar off, he has been brought nigh by the blood of Christ, and made of the household of God.[102]

Among the privileges and advantages which adoption secures, we may enumerate the following:

1. The love of God, as a kind Father, is secured to believers. The Scriptures frequently exhibit the love of God to his people, under the figure of a Father’s love to his children: “As a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.”[103] “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him.”[104] “Your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.”[105] Corresponding with this encouraging and delightful exhibition of God’s love, is the confidence with which the believer in Christ is inspired to approach his heavenly Father: “Because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into yours hearts, crying Abba, Father.”[106] Hence Christ habitually spoke to his disciples of God as their Father, and, before he left them, said, in language full of endearment and encouragement: “I ascend to my Father and your Father:”[107] and hence he taught them to say, in their daily prayers: “Our Father, who art in heaven.”[108]

2. The discipline of God, as a kind and wise Father, is secured to all who believe in Jesus: “Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”[109] “We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live?”[110] “For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”[111] Inestimably rich is this blessing of divine discipline. Let the wealthy and noble of the earth rejoice in the advantages which give them distinction among men, and supply them with the means of carnal enjoyment; but let the afflicted believer in Jesus, rejoice in the lot which God has assigned him, because it has been chosen for him by a Father who knows what is best for him, and who loves him so tenderly as to withhold from him no good thing. Having all good in heaven and earth at his disposal, he has selected that portion for each of his children on earth, which will best promote their highest interest.

3. Believers in Christ are made heirs of God: “If children, then heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.”[112] God, the creator of all things, is the proprietor of all things, and his adopted children are made heirs to this vast estate. “He that overcometh, shall inherit all things.”[113] “All things are yours, and Christ is appointed heir of all things; and believers are co-heirs with him.”[114]

The inheritance of God’s children, is frequently represented as a kingdom: “Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[115] “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom.”[116] The adoption of believers does not take full effect in the present life: “We are waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the body;’ “waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.”[117] Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom; and, therefore, this vile body must be changed, and fashioned like the glorious body of Christ, before we can receive the glory and joy which God has prepared for us. Yet the title to the inheritance is made sure, since we are co-heirs with Christ; and the promise and oath of God, two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie,[118] give to the heirs of promise, the strongest possible assurance, that they shall receive the inheritance: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”[119] Though now in exile, and pilgrims and strangers in the earth, perhaps despised and forsaken, we are the children of God, and heirs of an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. Even now, whatever may be our poverty, affliction, or reproach, we are the objects of our Father’s care, and he gives us, as an earnest of the future inheritance, so much of it in present enjoyment, as he sees to be best for us. All things within the boundless dominion of Jehovah, work together for good, to them that love God.[120]

[98] John i. 12; Rom. viii. 17; Gal. iii. 26; 1 John iii. 1, 2.

[99] Gal. iii. 26.

[100] 1 John iii. 1.

[101] Jer. iii. 19.

[102] Eph. ii. 13, 19.

[103] Ps. ciii. 13.

[104] Matt. vii. 11.

[105] Matt. vi. 32.

[106] Rom. viii. 15.

[107] John xx. 17.

[108] Matt. vi. 9.

[109] Heb. xii. 6.

[110] Heb. xii. 9.

[111] Heb. xii. 10.

[112] Rom. viii. 17.

[113] Rev. xxi. 7.

[114] 1 Cor. iii. 22.

[115] Luke xii. 32.

[116] Matt. xxv. 34.

[117] Rom. viii. 19.

[118] Heb. vi. 18.

[119] 1 John iii. 2.

[120] Rom. viii. 28.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Spiritual meaning of Scripture: In not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force

The spiritual meaning of Scripture: not simply in the application which may fairly be made of a passage, but its actual content. We have in mind those passages where a material object or historical transaction adumbrated or contemplated spiritual objects and experiences. Great care needs to be exercised here, lest on the one hand we be such slaves to “literalism” that we miss the deeper significance and higher import of many things in God’s Word; or lest on the other hand we give free rein to our imagination and “read into” a verse what is not there or “carnalize” what should be taken in its plain and natural sense. Against both of those evils the expositor needs to be constantly on his guard. Let it also be pointed out that in not a few instances the Scriptures possess both a literal and a mystical force, and one of the tasks devolving upon the interpreter is to bring out each of them clearly. A few examples will make our meaning simpler.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures