It is a common saying in the church today that our inner self has to be reformed first and that our outer self is then reformed through our inner self. The church, however, takes the “inner self” to mean faith and nothing else—specifically, the faith that God the Father assigns us the merit and justice of his Son and sends us the Holy Spirit. They believe that this faith constitutes our inner self, and that our outer self, which is our moral, earthly self, is derived from it. To them, our moral, earthly self is an appendage to that faith, like the tail on a horse or a cow; or like the tail of a peacock or a bird of paradise, which is long and feathery, but is completely separate from the real wings. According to the church, some type of goodwill follows that faith, but if a goodwill that comes from our own volition ever becomes present it will destroy our faith.
Since faith is the only inner self that is recognized by the church today, there is no inner self, because according to the church none of us know whether that faith has been granted to us or not. As I have shown above, this faith is not actually possible, and is therefore fictional. It follows, then, that for people today who have convinced themselves of that faith, the only “inner self” they have is their earthly self, which has been teeming since birth with evils in great abundance. To this view they have added the notion that regeneration and sanctification spontaneously result from this faith, and that any cooperation on our part is excluded (although in reality regeneration only happens through our cooperation). As a result, the regeneration taught by the church of today is unrecognizable, even though the Lord says that those who are not regenerated cannot see the kingdom of God [John 3:3].
from True Christianity, Section 591