Third Sunday after Trinity – Saturday
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. —John 3:6.
By “flesh” is meant the sinful depravity of human nature. And, indeed, human nature is totally and entirely depraved, it is deprived of the righteousness it had when God first created it, and is inclined to all that is evil. “In my flesh dwelleth no good thing,” says the Apostle Paul (Romans 7:18). “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” says God Himself (Genesis 8:21). So human nature is subject to the wrath of God and to damnation. “We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” says St. Paul (Ephesians. 2:3).
Such total depravity of the whole human nature is not acquired by education or habit, or implanted into us in some other way, but is inherited. We have inherited it from Adam by virtue of our conception and birth from sinful progenitors. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” says Christ, our Lord. And David writes by inspiration of the Holy Ghost: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). So sin is most deeply and firmly (though not essentially) connected with our human nature. By nature we are flesh. No human power can change that. No human power can bring us into the kingdom of God. This is called original sin. – But “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” says Christ. God can change it.
God can bring us into the kingdom of God. He does it through His Holy Spirit, who operates in us through His Word, through the Word of Christ. He creates a new thing within us. He implants faith in Christ within us, and so He brings us into the kingdom of God. And He creates and brings about within us a new life. And He regenerates us, makes us “spirit,” spiritual.In consequence of this there is a constant warfare in this life between flesh and spirit (Galatians 5:17).
When we finally get to heaven we shall be all spirit—the image of God’s holiness, lost in Adam’s fall, will be fully restored.
PRAYER – I thank Thee, my God, that Thou hast regenerated me – who by nature am flesh – through Thy Word and Holy Spirit, and have made me spirit, so that now I believe in my Savior and find true comfort in Him, and also serve Him with the new powers that Thou hast given me, and confidently await the inheritance of eternal life. Thou hast brought me into Thy kingdom, O God of mercy. Keep me therein, in Thy kingdom of grace here in time and in Thy kingdom of glory hereafter in eternity. Amen.
Fast bound in Satan’s chains I lay, death brooded darkly o’er me, sin was my torment night and day, In sin my mother bore me; yea, deep and deeper still I fell, life had become a living hell, so firmly sin possessed me.
But God beheld my wretched state before the world’s foundation, and mindful of His mercies great, He planned my soul’s salvation. A father’s heart He turned to me, sought my redemption fervently: He gave His dearest Treasure.
(TLH) Hymn 387, 2. 4