I have a friend who has written a tract called “Born Again-ism.” Everybody in America is born again, and the reason why they’re born again is because of most of the preachers and pastors who do not understand the Gospel nor the power of the Gospel and that we’ve reduced the Gospel down to four spiritual laws and five things God wants you to know. We have done the very same thing that Catholicism has done since its beginning—turned salvation into nothing more than a few little steps and a superstitious prayer at the end, turned salvation into nothing more than a mere human decision whereby a man decides for himself simply to jump out of the line going into Hell in order to jump into the line going to Heaven. But when you grasp the power of regeneration, everything else begins to fall in place and until you grasp the power of regeneration, you cannot understand the doctrine and the calling to self-denial.
Let me just give you an example …another little definition I’ve written about man. Man is a fallen, radically depraved, spiritually dead, morally corrupt, sin-loving, God-hating creature. In the very core of his being, he is as opposed to God as the devil himself. He cannot change and has no desire to do so. He loves a lie and will do everything in his power to restrain and suppress any and every truth about God and the more he knows about God, the more he hates Him, because God is righteous and man is evil. Now, how do you take something like that, how do you expect a creature like that to all of a sudden hear a Gospel message of self-denial and turn his back on absolutely everything he is and at all cost follow the Christ? How can you expect a man to take a journey of a thousand miles if he’s neither willing nor able to take the first step? And this idea of, well, as the brother put it, “Well, let’s get them saved and then gradually introduce them to salvation and to discipleship and to the call to self-denial.” But I want to tell you something. It is not any easier to coax a dead man to take one step than it is to coax him to take a million. If he’s dead, he’s dead. And within that is found the power of regeneration.
Because I, as a preacher, an itinerant, nothing, little preacher, because of my belief in the power of the Gospel and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, I can look at the most defiled man on the face of the earth and tell him to forsake his mother, his father, his lands, his home, his own life, and I can expect that, out of the group of them, somebody’s coming out. I do not have to lay down the bar on the Gospel. I can bid men to come and die from the very moment I speak with them because I believe in the power of resurrection. Someone says, “How can you expect a man to do that?” I say, “Well, let me answer that with another question. How can Ezekiel command bones to live? And how can Jesus cry out to a dead man and tell him to come forth?” Because salvation is not just some mere, tiny, puny, human decision. It is the supernatural work of God.