Our idolatrous love of worldly things is a chief cause of our knowing so little of spiritual things. Because we love this and that so much, we love Christ so little. You can not fill your life-cup from the pools of earth, and yet have room in it for the crystal streams of heaven. (“The Heaven of Heaven” No. 824, Rev. 22:4)
If you want fruit, it is not only necessary to have good seed, but good ground. If the tree is made good, the fruit shall be good. A corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit. Archibald Alexander (1772-1851) writes:
Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy over the dry bones in the valley of vision. Thus ministers are now sent to call upon those who are dead in trespasses and sins, to awake and arise from the dead, but none will obey their voice, unless a divine power accompanies their words. Men, it is true, are rational and accountable agents, and are therefore proper subjects of commands and exhortations; yet are they destitute of spiritual life, and no power but that of God as we have seen can communicate life. When the Spirit operates by the word, the soul before dead in sin is rendered susceptible of impressions from divine truth. The entrance of the truth under this divine influence gives light, and excites holy affections, which prompt to good purposes, and as a matter of course, the external actions are in obedience to the law of God.
The man becomes a new creature. His wicked life is reformed. Actions before materially good are now performed from love to God and with a view to his glory. That the word of God is indeed the instrument or means of producing this change is evident from many plain testimonies of Scripture; such as the following, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” “The testimonies of the Lord are sure making wise the simple.” “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” “Being born again not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever.” Therefore the word of God is called “the sword of the Spirit,” and is said to be “quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner to the thoughts and intents of the heart.” So in the exposition of the parable of the sower, our Lord says, “The seed is the word of God.” And this seed, when sown on good ground bringeth forth fruit manifold. “For these are they which hear the word and receive it and bring forth fruit.” The most precious seed never vegetates nor brings forth fruit, until it receives a vivifying influence from without; so the word of God, unaccompanied by the influences of the Holy Spirit, remains unfruitful, however often it may be heard or read; or however it may be treasured in the memory or theoretically understood.
Filed under: Archibald Alexander, Bible, Christianity, God, Grace, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Reformed Christian Topics, Salvation | Tagged: Ezekiel, Jesus, Sword, Sword of the Spirit | Comments Off