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Where There Is Life (2)

Contrary to popular evangelistic teaching, spiritual conversion is not wrought by a decision, but by a miracle (John 3). If it was a human achievement—even in part—we might share the low expectations of “free grace“ theologians, but since it is entirely an act of God (John 1:12–13), bringing us from death to life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14), we can expect signs of life. As David Clarkson writes, “where there is natural life there is breath, motion, sense, so where there is spiritual life there is spiritual breathings, motions, sensibleness.”


Where there is life there is motion. These are joined: ‘In him we live and move;’ they are inseparable both in grace and nature. When the soul is quickened, it moves towards God, the bent and inclination of the heart is after Christ, the affections are carried out to him, the conversation is an acting for him, it has another centre, and moves to other terms, from sin and the world, to Christ and heaven. It moves spiritually. A natural man may move in God’s ways, but he moves not spiritually; he may pray, read, hear, meditate, but not spiritually, not out of love to Christ, but out of custom, self-love, enforcements of conscience; not to honour Christ, not with any desires to enjoy him, but for by-ends, sinister respects; not affectionately, but in a heartless, careless, unaffected manner. If the work be done, he is satisfied, whatever the temper of his heart was in doing of it; whether God get glory by it, or he enjoy Christ in it, he regards not; so the duty be performed, it is enough. Such motion there may be without spiritual life, but it is spiritual motion which is the pulse by which ye may know this spiritual life. Where no heavenly inclinations, no holy tendencies towards Christ, with desires to enjoy and honour him, there is no spiritual life, such are not yet come to Christ.

—David Clarkson, Men by Nature Unwilling to Come to Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:363–364

Posted 2017·11·29 by David Kjos
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