The Regenerating Power of the Word
By John Thiel, mp3
Scripture Reading: For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
The creative power of the word; we want to be most passive in receiving, like when God created the world. The earth was a passive ball of water, and the word was spoken. We want to understand very clearly the meaning of a passive soul where that applies in regard to His word.
A Covenant Relationship With Jesus Christ
“All who enter into a covenant with Jesus Christ become by adoption the children of God. They are cleansed by the regenerating power of the Word.” 7BC 922.
Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. What are we going to be cleansed by? We will be cleansed by the regenerating power of the Word. All who enter into a covenant with Jesus are cleansed by the regenerating power of the Word.
Luke 9:23-24 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
A covenant relation with Jesus means to enter into a self-denying life that Jesus Himself walked in. It’s the opposite of what our natural human nature wants. The natural human nature wants to cling to life; it wants to save its life; but Jesus said, if you will come into a covenant relation with me you must be prepared to take up your cross daily; daily to be prepared to release yourself from your hold on life. The apostle refers to this covenant that is to do with following Jesus, denying ourselves as Jesus did.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
What was that mind?
Philippians 2:5-8 ….Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
When Jesus said; if you will follow me, deny yourself daily, He was saying follow me, do what I do. I am equal with God but I do not regard it as something to not let go; I am prepared to deny myself even as one equal with God. Make myself of no reputation, become a servant and be made in the likeness of men. That wasn’t the end of self-denial. As a human being, as a man, He humbled Himself lower still and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He practiced what He says to us. I want you to follow. Deny yourself daily.
The Meaning of Being Passive
Is this not the meaning of passive; being passive in the hands of the Lord? Notice the way Jesus expressed that. Here is the passive nature that Jesus demonstrates to us.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. – John 5:19.
Here is a demonstration of the meaning of passive. I can do nothing of myself. Jesus demonstrated I surrendered myself, I denied myself of my kingly power, and I am totally passive in the hands of my Father.
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. – John 5:30.
We need to be a passive soul under the direction of God.
“What a wonderful thought it is that we, poor, fallen sinners, can become one with Christ, partakers of His divine nature, through His grace refined, purified, glorified. We may overcome, and sit down with Christ. We are to be conformed to His image. He loves, and He will help us. We are to be passive in His hands.” – TDG 202.
We are to be passive in His hands. To follow Jesus’ example. What a joy it is for us when we will do that. To be partakers of the divine nature that His grace refines and purifies us.
We long to be perfectly whole. Lord, we want you to produce in us such a perfect character. According to this privilege we have to be perfect in Him, it is for us to be passive in His hands.
The Passiveness of That Nature and Where That Passiveness Was Applied
The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to [him that is] weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. – Isaiah 50:4-7.
Jesus was totally passive. What does that mean? He did not rely on His own self to steer His path. He was prepared to listen and not be rebellious, not to let anything inside of Him reject what God wanted Him to do, even to the point of the cross where He said; I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. I was obedient, I was not rebellious, I was passive under God’s direction; and so it is that Jesus relied upon God’s word. Was Jesus perfect; sinless? As a man He was indeed, because the word of God was what He depended upon.
The earth was a passive ball of water, and what transpired at the power of God’s word?
Genesis 1:1-3 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Genesis 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament
Genesis 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place.
And God said, and God said, and God said, time and time again throughout creation. God spoke and it was done. What was the Holy Spirit doing? The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
If we would take the picture of this passive planet upon which God could express His word and the Holy Spirit moved according to the word, what does that mean for us when we are as passive as that? It says without form and void and; and darkness upon the face of the deep. When we sinners will stop asserting ourselves; when there is a void, total passiveness; when there is no form of our own making within our thoughts, when we have entered into a covenant relationship with Jesus.
The Miracle of the Regenerating Power of the Word
When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God’s heavenly agencies. DA 407.
Is this where we need to be? Stubborn originally, we are controlled by a stubborn, wayward will. We become set free and we yield ourselves wholeheartedly to the drawing of God. What does this; is this possible?
“a miracle is wrought; Ibid.
To even come to that point, a miracle has been wrought.
so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God’s witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son. DA 407
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
This miracle of changing a stubborn heart into a passive heart is then to continue. As it was on planet earth when the Spirit of God moved upon the water, that the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear.
When we are passive, like the planet earth was, the Holy Spirit can move and do what? The presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. For God’s word to create the planet was the Holy Spirit making the word the power to create. Within us only when we are passive and we hear the word, it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes the word a regenerating power. When only is the word of God a regenerating power? When it is received by a passive heart free from rebellious resistance and opposing self.
You know what it’s like when God’s word comes across to human beings and it doesn’t suit them. If it doesn’t suit them, what is the problem? It is self.
“When self ceases to wrestle for the supremacy, and the heart is worked by the Holy Spirit, the soul lies perfectly passive; and then the image of God is mirrored upon the heart.” – SD 142.
What we are contemplating is of vital, life-saving importance. This is the part that has been the stumbling block for all professed followers of God. There is something that we do as natural human beings which prevents the word to be a regenerating power. To demonstrate that to us, so that we can see for ourselves what is the bug-bear that especially today has made it so hard for people to believe that you can be perfect. Here is an illustration of how the regeneration power of the word loses its power upon us. Here is what happened in the days of Christ.
How Is the Word Robbed of Its Power?
“In the days of Christ the leaders and teachers of Israel were powerless to resist the work of Satan. – DA 257.
“They were neglecting the only means by which they could have withstood evil spirits. It was by the word of God that Christ overcame the wicked one. The leaders of Israel professed to be the expositors of God’s word, but they had studied it only to sustain their traditions, and enforce their man-made observances. By their interpretation they made it express sentiments that God had never given. Their mystical construction made indistinct that which He had made plain. They disputed over insignificant technicalities, and practically denied the most essential truths. Thus infidelity was sown broadcast. God’s word was robbed of its power, and evil spirits worked their will.” Ibid.
What was it that robbed the word of God of its power? Man’s interpretation; disputing the word over technicalities, and by that practically denying the most essential truths; putting our interpretation upon the word, robs the word of its power.
“History is repeating. With the open Bible before them, and professing to reverence its teachings, many of the religious leaders of our time are destroying faith in it as the word of God. They busy themselves with dissecting the word, and set their own opinions above its plainest statements. In their hands God’s word loses its regenerating power. This is why infidelity runs riot, and iniquity is rife.” DA 258.
What have Christian teachers done today? In their hands, by dissecting the word, and set their own opinions above its plainest statements, the word of God loses its regenerating power.
God’s word has power to regenerate us. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that takes of God’s word and regenerates us, the presence of the Holy Spirit. What do Christians do today? They dispute the technicalities of the word, they place their own construction upon the word. They dissect it and by doing that you can read the word and the mind effect upon us. If I am listening to this kind of Bible presentation, will actually render us as infidels because the power, the regenerating power that is meant to create in me God’s perfection is taken away.
Here lies the problem of today’s modern theology; and human beings, in the majority, have become infidels even while professing Bible belief. For you and me today to be thoroughly prepared for the close of probation we are to take God’s word as did Jesus, with passive reception. No discussion, just there it is; that’s what it says, thank you, Lord. To let the Holy Spirit do the work of giving the regenerating power to the words that we read and hear. If we will do that, what did we read in our Scripture reading? What will the word of God be to us?
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God [is] quick,
The word of God is alive! It becomes dead in the hands of the theologians.
Hebrews 4:12 …and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It really does its work. That’s the regenerating power of the word. If we will take God’s word the way that we have here; let its development unfold to our mind, then passively receiving it without any mental interference. Just passive mindedness to receive the word as Jesus did, of mine own self I can do nothing. Self did not come and play havoc with the word that He was hearing and the word that He was reading. It was there to be received, and as it was received and the regenerating power moved within, what will happen as we do the same thing?
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
As we passively and submissively let God’s word create in us what He has designed to create, what will we then do as we hear it passively? Will we remain passive and do nothing? We will do what Jesus did. By not rebelling, He went forth with the power of God within. What will we do?
A Work to Do
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Because we have been passively receiving the word, and the word is powerful; it does its job; it creates. We, therefore, go forward and act on that word.
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” What does this mean? It means that every day you are to distrust your own human efforts and wisdom. OHC 91
Be passive; distrust it.
“You are to fear to speak at random, fear to follow your own impulses, fear that pride of heart and love of the world and lust of the flesh shall exclude the precious grace the Lord Jesus is longing to bestow upon you. OHC 91
That’s what it means. Not fearful that I can’t make it. Fear that I will interfere with that; fear that I won’t continue passively submitting to it. That’s what working out your salvation with fear and trembling is all about. Fear to follow your own impulses, the pride of heart and love of the world and lust of the flesh that this should exclude the power, the word.
“Man’s working, as brought out in the text, is not an independent work he performs without God. His whole dependence is upon the power and grace of the Divine Worker. Many miss the mark here, and claim that man must work his own individual self, free from divine power. This is not in accordance with the text. Another argues that man is free from all obligation, because God does it all, both the willing and the doing. The text means that the salvation of the human soul requires the will power to be subjected to the divine will power. And it is the very hardest, sternest conflict which comes with the purpose and hour of great resolve and decision of the human to incline the will and way to God’s will and God’s way. OHC 91
Self will wrestle with the word. No. It is the very hardest, sternest conflict which comes with the purpose and hour of great resolve and decision of the human to incline the will and way to God’s will and God’s way. God works within and there is something within; the clamours of the carnal nature that makes it a determined battle. Every time we think we are having a hard time in trying to reach perfection, remember what is the hard time? It is I. My self-impulse and will; that’s what’s making it so hard.
If I am passive in God’s hands, will it be hard? Not anymore. The great miracle of becoming passive in God’s hands, as Jesus was, is then the thing that makes it so beautiful and easy, because that’s what Jesus says, take my yoke upon you, for my burden is light. If you will deny yourself and follow me, then anything that God asks of us is not hard anymore.
I will follow up from all this and pass over some materials that we today find so hard in conjunction with what we have been reading here; that we will see now I’ve got to practice what I have been following through all the time to get ready for the close of probation. Here are some things that still I have been secretly holding on to and I haven’t given over. We need to identify those points, and we will.
That’s why some of my preaching of the past has not been appreciated because people think I was having a go at them. I wasn’t; I was simply showing from God’s word something that needs to be changed in our lives. If there is something inside of me that doesn’t quite like it, of course I won’t like what I am being taught. It is very simple.
The beauty of what we have been reading here is that when we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling we don’t get confused with the passiveness that must be continually operating within me. It’s not passive in doing nothing. It’s a passive reception of the word, and then as the word comes I will go forward and exercise my will to submit to that word. Then, if we will do that, we have a beautiful product.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Created in Christ Jesus. That’s what Jesus said, if you will follow me and deny yourself, then you will do what I did; you will be righteous as I am, because you will not do your own works. I can of mine own self do nothing. You will now be the workmanship of God, as I was.
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. This is the grace by which we are saved, through faith; and even the faith is a miracle, because faith becomes a passive, faithful reception, that then is the hand that receives what God says, and acts and works by love. That is not of yourselves, no. It is the power, the regenerating power of the word, that as we hear it, the Holy Spirit makes the word regenerating power to us.
May it be that we hold no more confusions in regards to what is my passive activity and what is my energetic activity? It is to receive the word in a passive mind without resistance, and then move into the action that that word is generating within us.
May this be our decision; may we set our faces like a flint as Jesus did. We read it there in Isaiah. As we set our faces like a flint, together with Jesus, and let the word have its way, we will be ready for the close of probation.