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December 12, 2022 - Romans 2:21-23

Paul considers the plight of the Jew and the Gentile and concludes (in Shedd’s words), “In the day of judgment there will not be a single human creature who can look his Judge in the eye and say: ‘I acted up to every particle of moral light that I enjoyed; I never thought a thought, felt a feeling, or did a deed, for which my conscience reproached me.’” In short, all fall far short of perfect righteousness.

Even in this state, however, it is possible to know that which is good. It is possible to admire that which is good. It is possible to encourage that which is good. But none of these possibilities require an actual love of goodness. For one to possess a true love of goodness and to enter the kingdom of God “there must be a change in his heart and will” (Shedd; but, also, Jesus to Nicodemus: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” – John 3:5). The application is obvious. Shedd: “Take words upon your lips, and go before God. Say unto Him: ‘I am the clay, be thou the potter. . . . Seek for the new heart. Ask for the new heart. Knock for the new heart.”

Ye children of men, attend to the word

So solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord;

And let not this message to you be in vain,

“Ye must be born again.”

“Ye must be born again,

Ye must be born again;

I verily, verily say unto thee,

Ye must be born again.” --William T. Sleeper (1881)

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