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p169 [R Holden] MY DEAR BROTHER, - On my arrival here from abroad I found a note from -, communicating your questions. I have not myself any great difficulty on the subject. I know not whether I shall be as clear for you; but I will try, hoping in the Lord's help. As to bringing into Godhead, I leave it aside; I never heard of such a thing before. I do not even accept a common expression from Romanists downwards - union with God. I believe a nature is properly what makes any being what it is, as 'angel,' 'man,' 'cow,' or anything else. I do not think 2 Peter 1:4 the simplest and clearest passage to explain the point, because it is properly moral, or specially what characterises the Christian as such. The reason I think so is, that it speaks of "great and precious promises," by which it is more to me what John 3 calls "born of water," and, "ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." Still it is not separable from the other point - life-giving. But it speaks of promises, and escaping corruptions which are in the world.

This side of being born again even Romanists, and also Wesleyans, and most evangelicals admit and confine themselves to; that is, an action of the Holy Ghost by the word, by which man is morally purified. Nay, Wesleyans would say - lose it, regain it; and even those who do not go so far, still hold it as only a purifying of what is. The Wesleyans say, man had body, soul and spirit before the fall; and after the fall, body, soul and spirit corrupted, and then being born again, the corruption is removed; and hence a man may be quite perfect as man, if the corruption be wholly removed. Now I believe (not touching on perfection now) that this is, to say the least, a most defective view of the matter. I believe the Lord is a life-giving Spirit; and, operating by the Holy Ghost, "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" - not the Spirit, who is God; but one is by His divine power quickened, just as that which is born of the flesh is flesh. I receive spiritually life from Christ, as I receive naturally life from Adam. In this sense Christ is my life. He is eternal life (1 John 1), and "he that has the Son of God has life." It is not I, as of the flesh, but Christ lives in me. Hence, viewed abstractedly, as thus born of God - for so John views things - it is said, "he cannot sin, because he is born of God." And this life we have in the power of Christ's resurrection; and it is acted in by the Holy Ghost given to us because of Christ's blood. So after His resurrection, as God breathed into Adam, Christ breathed into His disciples. Through this, it is said, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." A great accessory truth that comes in connected with this is, that Christ having died, I am counted of God (Col. 3) dead as to the flesh, and to count myself so (Rom. 6), and to realise it (2 Cor. 4), so that only the life of Christ should be manifested.

This is the point which my soul clings to on this subject, the real communication in receiving Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost, so as to have what I had not before - Christ become spiritually my life through the Holy Ghost acting in it in power; created again in Christ Jesus, though the flesh still be there. But I am not in it, but in Christ, and am bound and privileged to hold it dead. Of course, this does practically cleanse by and according to the word. I may not be able to explain it physiologically, but it is to me plain in scripture, and in it the saint will live eternally with God. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" - partakes of the nature of that of which it is born. It is holy, loves, and, as in Christ as a man, obeys. In a word, it is the reproduction, as to its nature, of Christ's life. "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; the Spirit is life because of righteousness." It is as new a thing as a graft in a wild tree.

As regards using Old Testament words as types, I quite agree that our imagination is to be held in check; nor can we ever insist on such as a doctrine. But there is a passage which may assist your mind on this point (1 Cor. 10:11), where the word "ensamples" is "types" or "figures," which gives the principle. Then we must only look to the Holy Ghost and divine guidance to use them soberly and aright.

The shade of different meaning in κοινωνός and μέτοχος is I believe, just; but it is a question of adequate observation of its New Testament use in Greek, and any adequate proof would make me abandon it. At present, though only a shade of meaning, I believe it just. Luke 5 does not to my mind destroy this connection; κοινωνοί is really "partners" for me there, μέτοχοι the fact of taking part: but I have no anxiety to insist on this; as I have said, adequate proof would make me give it up at once.

Φύσις is moral in 2 Peter, from the force of what is said in the passage. In divine things this is everything, as holiness, love, etc.; but the point I should insist on is, that there is more than mere moral effect, though there be that - that Christ is for us a life-giving Spirit; as born of the flesh involves a like nature.

I do not know whether I have met the question as you wish; I write rapidly, having left Paris this morning, and found a mass of things on my table; but I think, if you take the passages, the life-giving and Christ being our life will be very plain, and that is what to my mind is important, though we never know what it really means till we know it as deliverance in power, the flesh being held as dead according to Romans 8:2-3 - having passed out of chapter 7 according to the doctrine of chapter 6 and the beginning of chapter 7. I shall be glad, if of any value to you, to make myself clearer if I can. "Nature" I see I take just as you do. Only God cannot communicate Godhead to us as supreme being, but the moral elements of what He is He can in giving life.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

London, April, 1872.