10 November 2006

Motivation (12): Henry: "Happily Disabled for Sin"

Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Nonconformist English pastor known for his commentary on the entire Scripture, from which the following two quotes are drawn:

"What it is that is required: to be born again. We must live a new life. Birth is the beginning of life; to be born again is to begin anew. We must not think to patch up the old building, but begin from the foundation. We must have a new nature, new principles, new affections, new aims. We must be born anothen, which signifies both again, and from above. We must be born anew. Our souls must be fashioned and enlivened anew. We must be born from above. This new birth has its rise from heaven, it is to be born to a divine and heavenly life." (commenting on John 3:3-8)

"To be born of God is to be inwardly renewed, and restored to a holy rectitude of nature by the power of the Spirit of God. Such a one committeth not sin, his seed remaineth in him. Renewing grace is an abiding principle. Religion is not an art, an acquired dexterity and skill, but a new nature. And thereupon the consequence is the regenerate person cannot sin. He cannot continue in the course and practice of sin. And the reason is because he is born of God. There is that light in his mind which shows him the evil and malignity of sin. There is that bias upon his heart which disposes him to loathe and hate sin. There is the spiritual disposition, that breaks the force and fullness of the sinful acts. It is not reckoned the person’s sin, in the gospel account, where the bent and frame of the mind and spirit are against it. The unregenerate person is morally unable for what is religiously good. The regenerate person is happily disabled for sin." (commenting on 1 John 3:4-10)

--Leslie F. Church, ed., Matthew Henry’s Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960)

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