This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The New Birth and It's Aftermath

Regeneration, or the New Birth, is a change wrought within the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost, creating within the soul a new spiritual life, a life of loyalty and love.

By nature men are the children of wrath. They are spiritually dead. The faith faculty exists, but is in a paralysis so far as spiritual objects are concerned. The divine life begins with the seed of God implanted in the soul. This is the new principle of love. "For the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost." [Romans 5:5] The phrase "love of God" may signify either God's love to me or my love to God. In this quotation it has the former meaning. The Scriptures teach us that God is love. But this is not enough to give me assurance of his favor so long as I read that he is angry with the wicked every day. Therefore, so long as I have a tormenting sense of guilt, I must be filled with painful forebodings till I have a positive and personal assurance that I am taken out of the class of the condemned, and am reconciled to God, who loves me, even me.

This is the witness of the Spirit.... He is styled the Spirit of Adoption, because as such his chief message is to attest to the believer his pardon and sonship. When this glad evangel resounds within, love to God springs up responsive to his great love to me. This is a new motive power. It reinforces the ethical feeling, the sense of obligation to right action. The bare perception of right, with no strong impulse toward it, while the appetites and passions are drawing in the opposite direction, constitutes the painful warfare between the flesh and the spirit, entailing upon the latter the sense of degrading bondage.

"I see the right, and I approve it too;
I see the wrong, and yet the wrong pursue."

But this new motive makes it easy to obey the law, because we love the Lawgiver. Hence love is the fulfilling of the law; not as a substitute for keeping the precepts and abstaining from the prohibitions of the moral law, but as an inspiration of the very spirit of obedience.

But this new principle is spoken of by St. John as only a seed when first implanted. It implies future germination, growth, and fruitage. It is to spread its branches till it fills the heart, and by absorbing all the fertility of the soil, and by completely overshadowing all other plants, destroys their life. Till this maturity of the seed, the moral condition of the heart will be mixed; good and evil will struggle for the ascendancy. Nevertheless, if faith in Christ — the weapon of victory — continues, the actions will be right, though the result of painful effort to keep the moribund evil within from breaking out into manifestation. For manifestation is the tendency of every principle. After the maturity of love, the Divine seed, all its antagonists will be excluded. Evil will still be presented to the choice, but from no foothold within. Perfect love will cast out, not only fear, but all the hateful progeny of depravity. This is entire sanctification. It began with the seed-grain of holiness sown in regeneration.

— Edited from Love Enthroned Chapter 2.

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