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Children of Wrath?


George Whitefield began his sermon, “Christ the Believer’s Husband” (on Isaiah 44:5), as follows:

Although believers by nature, are far from God and children of wrath, even as others, yet it is amazing to think how nigh they are brought to him again by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Though it may be impertinent for a nobody like me to quibble with the great evangelist, whose feet I am unworthy to wash, I will take a chance and do it anyway. Ephesians 2:1–10 says,

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And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Notice the verb tenses in bold type—all are past. We formerly walked according to the course of this world; we formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh; we were dead in our transgressions; we were by nature children of wrath. All that changed with the two biggest little words in all of scripture: but God. “But God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Therefore, with apologies to Whitefield, we who have been born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3:1–8) are no longer by nature children of wrath, but new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17); we are no longer far from God, but have been brought near (Ephesians 2:13). As long as we live, we are bound to our flesh (Romans 7:18, 24) and, consequently, still sin (1 John 1:6, 8), but we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6). We have a new nature.



Posted 2018·11·29 by David Kjos
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Posted in: George Whitefield · Regeneration

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