A Real Christian
A Real Christian in the apostle Paul’s account, is a new creature. He is God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. And Jesus tells you how dead souls are quickened. Mark His words: they come with a double seal, to show their weight and certainty:
“verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
Jesus is not speaking of the body’s resurrection at the judgment day, but of a resurrection that now is and is coming every day; a resurrection of dead souls to life, not a merely moral, but a spiritual life; and a resurrection not by us, but by Himself, even by His voice.
He has many voices to call the dead by: the voice of His Word, of His servants, of His providences: but all these avail nothing without the voice of His Spirit.
His Word is but a dead letter without the quickening Spirit; His servants are but as barking dogs, who growl yet cannot bite unless He sets them on; and His providences are but as clasps of thunder, alarming for a time, yet quickly over, except He rides Himself upon the storm. When He takes the work into His own hand, and the voice of His Spirit accompanies the voice of His Word, or His servants, or His providences, then a sinner hears, and starts from his grace like Lazarus, and lives. And having thus received life, he feels his condemnationand his ruined nature, and crieth after Jesus.
When the world was brought into this ruined state by sin, man could do nothing more to help himself than fallen angels could; and must everlastingly perish unless the Lord prevent it. He does, and provides another covenant; the stores of which are not laid up in Adam as before, nor in his ruined children. God does not choose to trust a bankrupt.
If a man could not stand upright when set upon his legs, how shall we stand when he has none?
Therefore help is now laid upon One that is mighty, and able to save unto the uttermost.
And the Saviour thus bespeaks the ruined sinner: “Thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thy help.”
By John Berridge