Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Monday, December 12, 2011

Regeneration of Those Who are Being Made Holy

3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3
Theme Song: "What a Savior" by Sovereign Grace

     Paliggenesia, the Greek word for "regeneration" refers to a "complete change of mind and heart" or a "restoration to the original state". 

Dear Lord,    You are the Regenerating One. You are able to bring dead bones to Life. You are able to breathe Your very Life into our beings. You know that I cannot comprehend regeneration and how much this work of Yours means for me. Please help us that we may see Your glory and be changed. In Jesus Christ's Name, Amen


     Our birth into sin made our souls like dead bones buried in the deep recesses of the world. We could not hear His Words of salvation. We could not see His righteousness and glory. We could not taste to see that the Lord is good. We could not smell the Fragrance of His Presence. We could not feel love, joy, or peace. Our hearts were hardened as stone. There was no way we could respond to His Gospel, to His Word which gives Life to the One who hears with faith. 

      Even though we did not have faith, we could not even hear, comprehend, consider, or understand this Gospel. We were altogether dead in our trespasses and sins. There was a thick dark shroud that enfolded our eyes. Deep darkness was over the surface of our deep dead souls. Even if the Word of Life was spoken to us, how could we hear It that we may be revived? How could we see Him that we may be drawn to Him as to the Light shining in the dark place or run from Him and cry out for the rocks to cover us because we had seen the Holy One while living in our sin.? How could we understand or comprehend the essence of His death and resurrection, His forgiveness, mercy, grace. Surely His Gospel was a foolish mystery to us. How could a dead mind repent and leave behind the world to follow Christ? How could a dead heart want Him? How could a darkened will choose Him? How could a dead soul make a decision to obey Him? 

     We were hopeless. We could not know Him. We could not hear His Gospel. WE COULD NOT CHOOSE OR LOVE HIM BECAUSE WE WERE DEAD. 


Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Gen 1

     Our souls were formless and empty. Darkness covered the surface of our deep wickedness. Yet the Spirit was hovering over the chosen ones. Indeed the Spirit hovers over the souls of all those who have been chosen and predestined for His glorious grace. God said to our dark souls, "Let there be Light". And indeed in Him we find the Light of Life. 

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2

     We truly were as the very dry bones that were piled in heaps in the valley that God showed to Ezekiel (ch. 37). God asks you and me today about the dead parts of our lives and the dead souls of those around us, "Can these bones live?"


“Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Ez 37

      This Great and Sovereign Lord has brought His people Life. Yes, He is bringing Life to many now. There are many before us, fields white for harvest, the valley, filled with dry bones that God is bringing to Life in Christ. These dead souls cannot choose Him on their own. God must first bring them to life that they may see and understand. The faith that saves them is a gift of the Father. He has given them everything they need to live in Him. He first brings them to life that they may respond to His Gospel. Then He gives them faith that they may be saved by the Gospel.

I will set pines in the wasteland, 
   the fir and the cypress together, 
20 so that people may see and know, 
   may consider and understand, 
that the hand of the LORD has done this, 
   that the Holy One of Israel has created it.Is 41


     After He brings us to life by enabling us to choose Him in faith, He grants us His Spirit to live inside of us. The Spirit's Work is the regeneration and renewal of the man of God. In the verses below, we find one of the clearest descriptions of regeneration: 

 37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. Jer 32

     Everything good and righteous that we desire to dwell in us comes completely from Him, from the One who gave life to our souls. He does not bring us to life and leave us on our own to live righteously. One of the works of the Spirit is to convict the world with regard to righteousness because Christ went to be at the right Hand of the Father in heaven. We could never have the righteousness of the Father without the Holy Spirit's bestowing of power and wisdom to our souls. We cannot contrive any goodness in our souls even after having been brought to life. The Spirit Himself brings singleness of HEART and ACTION to us. 

     This means that our Savior is going to do everything to save us. He who died and rose to life to save us from hell, will also perfect these souls of ours. He does not stop. He is always doing the work of His Father. The work of the Father is to purify for Himself a people who His very own and who are eager to do the will of God. God will remove our sin. He Himself will remove it. He causes His seed to remain in us. Do you writhe in the agony of the sin that you cannot remove? He surely will remove it from you if you are His child.

     Are you afraid that you cannot stop sinning? He surely will remove every sinful inclination of our hearts until the day see Jesus face to face. He is the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. The Shepherd will carry His Lambs forever. He is able to inspire us to fear Him. We cannot make ourselves fear Him. He must inspire us to revere His Name and to hold Him as holy in our hearts. He will never stop doing good to us. For us who have many areas of our hearts, minds, and souls yet to be perfected, the way He does good to us is to treat us as legitimate children and to discipline us. 

13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.Hebrew 10

     He is making us holy. Do not faint and lose heart at the fiery trials and at the perceived hardness of your heart. He surely is working zealously on behalf of His own Name to sanctify and purify you. If you are His child, you need not fear sin, not even your own sin, for He surely is going to remove your strongholds. He will wash the evil from you as with a "launderer's soap" and it will be completely be His work and none of yours. And yet, know this: there will be trials and testings of our faith which He will use to accomplish His purifying work. But nevertheless He has overcome your sin. 

     All of the sin in your life is going to be removed in the days to come. It will involve deep cleansing. It will involve painful circumcision of the heart. It will involve Godly sorrow. It will involve circumstances of fires and earthquakes which will wrench your soul. It will involve time of comfort and peace from the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings. It will involve trouble. But He surely will remove your sin, my dear family. This is His way of never stopping to do us good. 

     Do we turn away from Him time and again? He promises to inspire us so that we will never turn away from Him. God is not powerlessly waiting for us to be wholeheartedly devoted to Him (the perspective I had in some manner). He is powerful. THE ZEAL OF THE LORD ALMIGHTY WILL ACCOMPLISH THE COMPLETE SALVATION OF HIS CHOSEN ONES. He is going to inspire us. He is going to inspire us!

     Does the knowledge of the complete authority of God over our heart, mind, and soul cause us to be lax and negligent in the trust that He has given us? It cannot. For surely "a curse is on the one who is lax in doing the Lord's work" and "those who are lukewarm will be spewed out of His mouth". When the true sheep hears of this regenerating work of the Shepherd, he runs into his Shepherd's arms with overwhelming gratefulness and thankfulness. For the goal of his faith was the salvation of his soul and for the glory of God. 

     He changes us that we may glory in Him and desire for His glory. Previously we had gloried in our fallen self, but He has changed us to the state that He had intended for the sons of men: to find their deep satisfaction in the glory of God


     He changes us so that instead of being resistant to His laws in our flesh, on our new hearts are written the Laws of the Creator.

 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
   after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
   and I will write them on their minds.”
 17 Then he adds:
   “Their sins and lawless acts
   I will remember no more.”
 18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.Heb 10

     We will no longer struggle and falter to keep His laws. We will no longer stagger under the cup of God's wrath due to transgressors. Instead He will write His Law of Love, Truth, and Justice on our hearts. We will act according to the righteousness of our new hearts...Christ's imputed righteousness. He is going to change the hearts and minds of His people that they may act, think, feel, and speak in the Righteous Way of the Spirit of God. They will no longer live in darkness but will live the Life worthy of the calling that they have received. 


      The work of our salvation and regeneration is completely His. He has done everything. He did not do 99% and we did 1%. He has done 100% of the work necessary for our complete salvation and perfection until the day of Redemption .

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. Col 1

     Christ presents us holy in His sight and at the same time, He calls us to action. Regeneration is His complete work and yet He calls us to choose to serve Him this day. When we read of His regenerating work in His Word, are we not inspired to choose Him this day? Does not the knowledge of His Sovereign love and enabling of our souls to live and be righteous cause us to want to obey Him?

     His calls of action to the Sheep for whom He has done ALL the work to save:
1. deny self, take up the cross and follow
2.  repent and believe the Gospel
3. give up everything you have to be His disciple
4. pursue righteousness and peace
5. make every effort to be at peace with God and men
6. preach the Gospel to all people
7. watch and pray that we will not fall into temptation
8. love and obey Him
9. seek Him with all of our hearts that we may find Him and live
10. eagerly desire the greater Spiritual gifts
11. fan into flame the gift of God
12. put on the whole armor of God
13. stand firm and not be burdened with the yoke of slavery
14. run with perseverance the race set out before us
15. humble ourselves before Him that He may lift us 
16. be among God's people and a servant and a feeder of the Word of God
17. do not complain or argue
18. forgive and you will be forgiven
19. love your neighbor as yourself
20. be ready for the day of His return!
21. flee the evil desires of the heart
22. submit to God and resist the devil
23. put off what belongs to the sinful nature
24. put on the new self made to be like God in true righteousness and holiness
25. offer hospitality and generosity
26. do not store up for yourselves earthly treasures

All these calls to action, He makes knowing that He Himself alone can and will inspire us to do these things. God is Sovereign and We are Accountable. 

Personal Testimony

      One thing that God has taught me in the last few years is not to let the family of God [that I talk to] be secretive or personal. I have no intention of "minding anyone's business" or of "not being too personal". I have been asked how I end up having deep conversations with people that I talk to. By God's grace, we can be bold to ask one another "personal" questions because we truly love one another's soul. And then God calls us to "let His Word dwell in us richly" that we may "teach and admonish one another". Shallow talk is not necessary among us. With those who do not believe, I am led to listen and to converse about earthly things as a way of "storge". With Christians there is a place for a little of this, but we must not hesitate to speak of more noble Truths. We should praise and thank Him with every breathe.Who of us will accuse or criticize one of us others if we speak of our Savior more? No one. We are His Sheep and we listen to His voice. Pour out your hearts for He surely is inspiring us to fear Him (Above). We will be drawn to each other and to Him more is we speak the Words of Life to each other and not small talk. 

     God is teaching me to cast all of my burdens on to Him. I cannot handle the stress response (cortisol-mediated) and thus resort to tears or temporary illness during hard times if it were not for the Father's comforting wings that I may hide under. I have been burdened by [particular] unsaved souls around me (but am finding hope in His ability to bring life to very dry bones) and the many things that must work correctly in order for me to finish my masters this year and for me to finish writing the grant for the phd. Last year God taught me to pour out my soul to Him each day and He is reteaching me to do that. The slightest removal by the Spirit of my fear of judgment removes every single earthly fear. I do not understand how or why this works!

     Dad has been studying Hebrews in BSF and is growing a lot in Christ through his study. He will repeat phrases and sentences from his study as if he had memorized them. The Holy Spirit "brings to mind" the Words of Christ. 

     In the attachment is a presentation on the role of women in the church that I found in a search online. It very clearly replicates my current view. 

     On Sunday night dad had us visit Fourth Baptist Church in Plymouth. They were celebrating their 130th anniversary. Several old baptist men and women spoke about the history of their church and shared some personal testimonies. We were really blessed. Several people talked to us including a man who me that he had worked for some company for 30 years and been laid off for two years. He had 4 children and a blessed wife. He had joined the seminary there and was describing how "God has a plan". Such men who have lost something of dear value and find their soul's comfort and satisfaction in God are the most blessed among men. I was amazed at the solid doctrine of the main pastors and some of the speakers. Our church used to be Baptist and I can see many remnants of that heritage. I remember Paul Washer saying that he had the privilege of fellowshiping with "old staunch Baptist men" who described "the Presence of God as those who had themselves experienced It". 

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