Scripture Notes and Queries

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
T. T. E., Ledbury. —1. Am I right in believing that God’s first action in the soul of the sinner is, by His word and Spirit, to beget a new nature?
If so, is the life the soul then receives everlasting?
That being the case, how would you reconcile it with those passages that put everlasting life as the result of believing?
In Acts 10:4343To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43), forgiveness of sins is said to follow believing. Would that be in its application to the sinner, or a fact as it stands before God?
A.-1. I believe that the thought is correct. God’s first action in the soul of a sinner is the application of His word by the Spirit to the conscience. This action produces faith in the soul; as we have it in Rom. 10:1717So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17), “So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith is the first principle of this new nature. 2. The life thus imparted is, most surely, eternal. 3. But God’s impartation of eternal life is never separated in Scripture from our reception of Christ by faith; thus, to believing in Him is attributed the reception of eternal life in Him. 4. I believe that Cornelius was born of God before Peter preached salvation, peace, and forgiveness of sins to him and his house. Verse 2 is a description of him; in it the Holy Ghost calls him a “devout man,” who prayed to God always. His knowledge extended only so far as that which could be known of Christ amongst the Jews, but with no thought of its application to a Gentile. Like the centurion in Luke 7 he owned, as faith ever does, those who were in external relationship with the Lord, and through whom the blessing to a Gentile must then. flow. consequently he “gave much alms to the people,” i.e. Israel. Peter appeals to him in v. 37, “That word, ye know”; “the word which was sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ.” But he needed the comprehensive “whosoever” of v. 43, for his faith to claim the blessing. This God presented to him through Peter, and having received it by faith, the Holy Ghost at once sealed his reception of forgiveness of sins. The new nature was there before; now the Holy Ghost, in power and liberty. Forgiveness of sins thus followed believing in Christ and His finished work, and was the application to the sinner of chat which was previously a fact before God.