The Gifts Of Spiritual Life, Hearing, Repenting, and Believing.
Mark 1:15 “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT YE, and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.
Romans 10:8-15 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt CONFESS with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man BELIEVETH unto righteousness; and with the mouth CONFESSION is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever BELIEVETH on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that CALL UPON him. 13 For whosoever shall CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD shall be saved. 14 How then shall they CALL on him in whom they have not BELIEVED? and how shall they BELIEVE in him of whom they have not HEARD? and how shall they HEAR without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
All who spiritually call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. To truly call upon the name of the Lord requires believing in Him (i.e. having faith in Him). Having faith in Christ Jesus is a gift from God the Father which is wrought in us through (preexisting) union with the Lord, all by the power of the Holy Spirit. This God-wrought faith requires hearing, spiritual hearing, which means they must be given spiritual ears to hear in the first place. None but the quickened, the already born from above, children of God have such ears to hear (seeing that the spiritually dead cannot hear). And what is it that they need to hear? It is the Gospel. They need to hear the preacher, the faithful witness, the proclaimer of God’s Gospel truth.
When the good news is proclaimed, the soul already quickened by the Holy Spirit hears that preaching, and they hear it with spiritual ears (ears indicative of newness of life). It is that spiritual hearing that God uses to manifest faith in that individual, and through such faith, the quickened soul goes on to call upon God for experimental salvation. Yes, the fact that they hear, repent, and believe means that God already saved them. Yes, the initial salvific work was already performed. However, this still needs to be manifested in the heart, mind, and conscience of the believer. God must bring them to not only know, but cry out for, that which He has already given them.
Now, seeing that the initial work of grace was already done, He that began such a good and blessed work, is faithful to see it through unto the end — with the end being final glory, even all of eternity with Christ (and the Triune Godhead) in perfect peace, forever more.
How do we know all of this for sure? God’s word declares it! We read in Proverbs 20:12 “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” Consider also Romans 10:17 “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” But not all have been given the GIFT of hearing as we read in Deuteronomy 29:4 “Yet the LORD hath not GIVEN you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” and also Romans 11:8 “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”
Yet all those receiving the GIFT of (spiritual) ears to hear, have also been given the GIFT of faith, and “…by grace are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: [it is] THE GIFT of God…” (Ephesians 2:8), “For unto you it is GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE on him [i.e. to have faith in Him], but also to suffer for his sake…” (Philippians 1:29).
The one born again is likewise given the GIFT of repentance as we read in 2 Timothy 2:25 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will GIVE [didōmi, bestow the GIFT, grant] them REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth; and in Acts 11:18 “…God also to the Gentiles GRANTED [same didōmi] REPENTANCE unto life.” See also Romans 2:4 “the goodness of God LEADETH [agō, leads by laying hold of, brings, drives] thee to REPENTANCE…” which carries the same idea.
Now once these gifts have been bestowed, they are eternal, they can never be taken back, “being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6), “for the GIFTS and calling of God [are] without repentance” (Romand 11:29).
Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So let us repent, let us believe, let us call upon the name of the Lord, let us confess our sins, and let us otherwise ‘work out our own salvation with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12), knowing that if we do all such, we only have Him to thank for such doing. It is only because of the sovereign grace and mercy of God, and His effectual working, that we can do anything aright. “Every good GIFT and every perfect GIFT is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17). So any spiritual good we do is strictly a result of the good pleasure, and perfect gifts, of God the Father, through eternal vital union with God the Son, by the effectual working of God the Holy Spirit, ‘for it is God which worketh in [us] both TO WILL and TO DO of [His] good pleasure.’ (Philippians 2:12-13).
But what of remaining sin? What of the wretchedness of this body of death? What if we repent, believe, confess our sin, and call upon His name, but still struggle mightily against sin and corruption within? Remember the promise of God: “If we confess our sins, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) and even “if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:20-21). Pray God for grace, strength, and full assurance of faith — but also pray for not only a desire to, but abundant strength to walk more and more in accordance with these blessed gifts that God has bestowed upon us.
Finally, remember that the GIFTS are actually GIFTS… from… GIFTS. We must never forget the true (source) Gift from whence all of these other spiritual blessings derive. The Lord Jesus Christ is first and foremost out blessed Gift, for He said of Himself in John 4:10 “If thou knewest THE GIFT OF GOD, AND WHO IT IS that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” The righteousness that He established for His people is one of the great gifts that flow forth from Him, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life BY ONE, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). The eternal life we have in/by/through Him is also one of those great gifts “For the wages of sin [is] death; but THE GIFT OF GOD [is] ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23)… and what is eternal life? “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Christ says of His people, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I GIVE UNTO THEM eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which GAVE [THEM] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29). And so we see the precious gift from the Father is Christ Himself, and life and righteousness in Him. However, let us not forget that other perfect and divine gift, even the Gift of the Holy Spirit to God’s people, as we read in 1 John 3:24 “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which HE HATH GIVEN” and again in 1 John 4:13 “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because HE HATH GIVEN us of His Spirit.”
Thank God that He gave all aspects of Himself, for the eternal peace, joy, and salvation, of those who deserved nothing but eternal wrath. Thank God for the depths of His limitless, unfathomable, and everlasting, mercy. To God be the glory for ever, and ever, and ever, in Christ Jesus. Amen.