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By Curtis Pugh


            Most ideas about salvation are based upon a false premise. That false idea is this: that sinners can do this or that and by doing so please God and obtain salvation. This popular idea is not taught in God's Word.

            Consider this passage: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” (Romans 8:7-9).

            Two kinds of people are presented to us in this text: some are identified as “they that are in the flesh,” in contrast to the “ye” who are “not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.” Humans are either “in the flesh” or “in the Spirit” depending on whether or not the Holy Spirit dwells in them.

            Not only do we see two kinds of people in this passage, but we are informed that each kind has differing abilities. Those “in the flesh cannot please God.” This is a clear statement which is contrasted with those “in the Spirit” - those who have the Spirit dwelling in them.

            Those only born naturally cannot please God. Those who have experienced a second birth by the Holy Spirit can please God. In spite of human reasoning there is absolutely nothing – no act, no prayer, no repentance - no work whatsoever that a natural man can do to please God: not even the so-called “sinner's prayer” whatever that is. Regarding this inability Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day,” (John 6:44). Spiritually dead men can do nothing spiritual!

            To the man “in the flesh,” the Lord Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again,” (John 3:6-7). It is only after a spiritually dead sinner is “born again” that he, because of the indwelling Spirit, can pray, experience godly sorrow, repent and believe to the saving of his soul. Paul wrote of this in Ephesians 2:5 saying: “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;). It is this quickening or being born again that God accomplishes independent of any act by the sinner. The fact that God alone accomplishes the new birth is hated by the natural man. It robs him of his pride. He has nothing to do with causing his new birth. But if sinners are to be saved, they must first be born again by God's Spirit whom no man can influence or control. “Ye must be born again!”

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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