“First, regeneration will be shown in conviction of sin. This we believe to be an indispensable mark of the Spirit’s work; the new life as it enters the heart causes intense inward pain as one of its first effects. Though nowadays we hear of persons being healed before they have been wounded, and brought into a certainty of justification without ever having lamented their condemnation, we are very dubious as to the value of such healing and justifying.”
It’s hard to imagine this ever being preached in our pulpits today. Far too many men enter to the pulpits of the church, merely to blow sunshine up the skirts of their congregations, and never mention the painful reality of becoming a Christian. If we come to Christ, we will suffer, as He suffered.
This is undeniable truth of the gospel. Coming to Christ will be a joy, but it will also be painful as we will learn to loath the sin that remains in our own hearts. This is one of the marks of a true believer, we mourn our own sinfulness. This is what Jesus was saying when He proclaimed “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
We mourn, if the Spirit really works in us, because of the sinfulness that we still struggle with, knowing that we will continue to struggle with that sin until God calls us home. This doesn’t mean we give into the sin. We are to fight against it, mortifying the flesh. But the battle will remain as long as we are on this side of glory.
“God never clothes men until He has first stripped them, nor does He quicken them by the gospel till first they are slain by the law.”
And here is part of the problem. The Law is virtually ignored in the pulpits of our day. Too many have fallen into the Dispensational error of misreading Romans 6:14, For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Indeed, we are under grace. But Paul was not removing the Law from our lives. He was telling us that we are now no longer under the condemning aspects of the Law. If we love Christ, then we will love His Law. If we love Christ, then we will keep HIS commandments.
Unless the Law of God is preached, mankind will never come to the reality that he needs a Savior at all. Without the Law, we think ourselves fine and dandy, and this is exactly the problem we have in the American church today. There is no Law to drive us to the cross. There is no Law to slay us. And never coming to the point of being slain, we never see any need for the true saving gospel of Christ.
Again, Spurgeon continues:
“When you meet with persons in whom there is no trace of conviction of sin, you may be quite sure that they have not been wrought upon by the Holy Spirit; for ‘when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ When the Spirit of the Lord breathes on us, He withers all the glory of man, which is but as the flower of grass, and then He reveals a higher and abiding glory. Do not be ashamed if you find this conviction of sin to be very acute and alarming; but, on the other hand, do not condemn those in whom it is less intense, for so long as sin is mourned over, confessed, forsaken, and abhorred, you have an evident fruit of the Spirit.”