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VIII. OF THE RENEWAL OF THE MIND.-REGENERATION, OR THE NEW BIRTH.
Man's inability to renew his own mind-Renewal absolutely necessary—God's promises to renew the penitent-Prayer for renewal-Blessedness of being renewed-Character of the renewed-Heaven's praises to a pardoning and renewing Saviour.
1. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” (14 Job 4.)
Not one. (14 Job 4.)
2. Are we able to renew our own hearts?
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. (13 Jer. 23.)
3. Is it absolutely necessary that our hearts should be changed?
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.-Ye must be born again. (3 Jn. 3, 7.)
4. Has God declared himself willing to pardon and renew returning sinners?
If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done, he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God; and not that he should return from his ways, and live? (18 Ezk. 21, 22 and 23.)
5. Should the greatness of our sins prevent us from seeking the mercy of God?
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (1 Is. 18.)
6. How did God command his prophet to warn the wicked?
As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (33 Ezk. 11.)
7. Does God promise to bestow a new heart?
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (36 Ezk. 26.)
8. Does God give any promise to encourage backsliders to return to him?
I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely. (14 Hos. 4.)
9. How did St. Peter exhort the Jews to repentance and conversion?
Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.-Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (3 Acts 19, 26.)
10. How did the Psalmist pray for a renewed heart? Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.-Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (51 P.7, 10.)
11. What is the character of those who are in Christ?
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new! (II. Cor. 5.17.)
IX. OF FAITH.
Faith, its nature-necessary-Evil of unbelief-Blessing of faith-Exhortations to faith-True faith in operation by works-living by faith-the end of faithprayer for.
1. What is faith?
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (11 Heb. 1.)
2. Is faith required by God?
Without faith it is impossible to please him. (11 Heb. 6.) 3. Is faith necessary to salvation?
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (3 Jn. 16.)
We are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (10 Heb. 39.)
4. How are we saved through faith?
By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast; for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them. (2 Eph. 8, 9, 10.)
5. Why is the Christian not ashamed of the gospel?
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth. (1 Ro. 16.)
6. How did St. Paul by faith esteem the knowledge of Christ?
Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him;
not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. (3 Phi. 8, 9.)
7. What is the comparative state of believers in Christ, and unbelievers?
He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not, is condemned already; because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (3Jn. 18.)
He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (16 Mr. 16.)
8. What is the state of believers and unbelievers as to the eternal world?
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (3 Jn. 36.)
9. For what purpose did St. John write his gospel?
These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing, ye might have life through his name. (20 Jn. 31.)
10. How did Paul and Silas address the jailor?
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (16 Ac. 31.)
11. What were the chief subjects of the apostle Paul's ministry?
Testifying both to the Greeks, and also to the Jews, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (20 Ac. 21.)
12. How does true faith work?
Faith which worketh by love. (5 Gal. 6.)
13. What is a dead faith?
Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (2 Jas. 17.)
14. What was the "faithful saying," which Titus was commanded to "affirm constantly."
That they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works. (3 Tit. 8.)
15. Do the people of God live by faith?
The just shall live by faith. (1 Ro. 17.) (3 Gal. 11.)
The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (2 Gal. 20.)
16. How are the saints preserved in the life of faith, to its end?
Who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation; ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness, through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ, whom, having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet, believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (I.Pet. 1.5 to 9.)
17. For what did St. Paul pray on behalf of the Ephesians?
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. (3 Eph. 17.) 18. Was Abraham an admirable example of faith?
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. (4 Rom. 20, 21.)
19. How did St. Paul express his firm faith?
I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. (II Tim. 1. 12.)
20. What should be our earnest and constant prayer? Lord, increase our faith. (17 Lk. 5.)