Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Unity # 13: The Sweet Realization of the Desires of the Regenerate

Unity # 13: The Sweet Realization of the Desires of the Regenerate
Theme Song: Jesus, Thank You

Desire realized is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil. (Prov 13:19)
Dear Father,
     I praise You for enlightening the eyes of our hearts to Your Truth. You enable us to know the Truth and Your Truth makes us free. You transform us by the renewing of our minds. Though we were cut-off from the land of Spiritual life and contained in the realm of the flesh, You have raised our spirits to life and transferred us to Your heavenly realm, that we may be seated with Christ. Thank You that every trial, temptation, and blessing, and every time of emptiness, sorrow, and grief was always about Christ. It was never about anything other than You. And though I felt that I had worshipped my idols rather than You, my Lord, You have and will remove these strongholds from our hearts and exalt Yourself far above these things. Though I had spoken of Your deep Truths without understanding them, You have forgiven my frivolity and opened the eyes of my hearts to comprehend what I spoke of before. Everything is driving us to Christ, that we may behold Your Son, and have Life. Yes, when You are lifted up, You will draw all men to Yourself. And all those who look to You alone as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world will be saved!
In Jesus Christ’s Name,

Dear Beloved,
     This past week, we were in Indiana with Anand and Prasanna, and God has blessed me with a new understanding of the Spiritual doctrine of regeneration. This doctrine is largely lost in present day “Christianity”. It is a simple doctrine that has been engrained in historical discipleship and true Christianity, and yet our church culture’s lack of knowledge of the Scriptures and our failure to seek Him with all of our heart has caused many among us to fail to understand the nature or implications of regeneration. My heart is full of Scriptures and encouragements to write concerning what I have learned, and I pray that I will start well with this letter in testifying to what I have learned.

     The Greek word for regeneration, paliggenesia, means a rebirth, Spiritual renovation, and restoration. Titus 3:5 tells us that Christ saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Dear saints, we must understand what has taken place at the time of our conversion, if indeed we have been converted. For conversion is not a simple intellectual affirmation of the Gospel of Christ. Rather, it is complete death to the self and world and resurrection into the Kingdom of God. This is why we often tell one another that being born in a Christian family does not make us a Christian. For each of us was morally depraved and spiritually dead from the time of our conception until the time of conversion. All of our goodness was as filthy rags in the sight of God for we did not have in mind the glory of God and the exaltation of Christ. Our love was not deep, unconditional, faithful, and eternal. Our own self-righteousness was as a crushed reed, which would pierce into a man’s hand were he to land on it (Is 36:6). Because we were spiritually dead, we could not even respond to the Gospel. We could not hear, consider, understand, or believe because we had no life within ourselves. Furthermore, we were deceived into believing that we could be satisfied with something apart from God. Our stolen water was sweet and the bread that we ate in secret was pleasant (Prov 9:17). But afterwards our mouths would be filled with gravel under the vast judgments of God (Prov 20:17). In our spiritually famished state, that which was bitter in the sight of God was sweet to our taste (Prov 27:7). But God declared a woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, and who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Is 5:20). Our Spiritual blindness and inability to respond to the Gospel was inescapable. There was no way that any person could understand and believe the Gospel on their own accord of strength of will, mental strivings, or emotional zeal.

     Furthermore, prior to regeneration, when we were encountered by the Law of God, we are unable to obey it. In our minds we may have agreed with God’s Law, but in our prior sinful nature we were utterly incapable of obeying the righteous Law of God. DEAR SAINTS, PAUL DID NOT WRITE ROMANS 7 TO DESCRIBE A REGENERATED PERSON! In this chapter, Paul speaks of his inability to keep the Law of God while he still remained in darkness. He was not describing the wretchedness of Christians, for the life of true Christians, though they may temporarily succumb to their flesh, is not characterized by the law of sin and death described in Romans 7. Please read Romans 7 and praise God for releasing you from this state of being incapable of obeying the law of God. Yes, we have a flesh, where remnants of sin reside, but this is not the essence of the regenerated person. The flesh and the Spirit of God in the regenerated soul are in opposition, but the Spirit will gain the victory so that our lives are not characterized by rebellion and disobedience, but rather progressive submission and love. (Gal 5:16-24)

     In His own time, our blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has chosen to bring our spirits to life and to breathe His Holy Spirit into us. He has given us a new birth through the living Word and Spirit (1 Pet 1:23). According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for us, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this we greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, we have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of our faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though we have not seen Him, we love Him, and though we do not see Him now, we believe in Him, and rejoice greatly with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of our faith the salvation of our souls! (1 Pet 1:3-9)

     When we are regenerated, we are crucified with Christ, we die to sin, we die to the law, we are released from the slavery to sin and death, we die to the realm of the flesh, and we are brought out of darkness. Furthermore, we are raised with Christ, we live for righteousness, we are set free to obey the Law of the Spirit, we become slaves to righteousness leading to holiness, we are brought into the Spiritual heavenly realms with Christ, and we are brought into the Light. Dear saint, you are raised with Christ and you are a new person, made to be like Christ in true righteousness and holiness. The old has gone, the new has come! (Gal 2:20, Rom 6-8, 1 Peter 2:24, Gal 2:19, Eph 2:6, Col 1:13, Eph 5:8, 2 Cor 5:17, Rom 8:2).

     The sinful nature is dead. The old self is dead. The body of sin is done away with. So why do we still sin or go astray as regenerate people for a time? Because we have a flesh, and there are misdeeds of the body which are present within this flesh. But we are not slaves to this sin. We are under no obligation to sin. We are released from our incapability of resisting sin.

     Furthermore, we have gained a new nature. We are good trees. And good trees WILL bear good fruit. Though there may be occasional bad fruit, a good tree is characterized by a consistent ongoing bearing of good fruit. If we have been regenerated, our bodies are the temples of the living God by the Holy Spirit, and we surely will bear good fruit, and continue to do so more and more until we see Him face to face. We have become of such a nature, that when we sin, we will so thoroughly disgust our unnatural acts, and the Spirit will so thoroughly resist the sin in our flesh, and God will remain so perfectly faithful to the glory of His Name, that we cannot continue in sin. Do we stumble at times? Yes, and as our maturity and discernment increases, we will see our falling short in greater detail, but because we are new beings in Christ, we will bear fruit to His glory. We will praise Him for upholding the glory of His Name and we will bow to the Vine for maintaining the beauty of His branches.

     At the time of conversion, our hearts of stone have been removed and hearts of flesh are placed within us (Ex 36:26). Our hearts desires have been changed. Our deep desire is now to know, behold, become like, bring glory to, love, and obey Christ. The righteousness and light of Christ which were formerly bitter to us have become sweet (Ex 15:25). We ourselves become sweet like the sweet Psalmist David (2 Sam 23:1). Our prayers rise up like sweet incense to the Father (Lev 16:12, Ps 141:2). He gives us the fear of the Lord, clean, and enduring forever. We now consider His judgments to be true and altogether righteous. There are more desirable to us than fine gold. They are sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. For we know that by them we are warned as his servants and in keeping them there is great reward. (Ps 19:9-11) His Words are sweet to our taste and sweeter than honey to our mouth (Ps 119:103) His sound wisdom and discretion are life to our souls, security to our steps, make us unafraid of our enemies, and make our sleep sweet (Prov 3:19-24). His wisdom is sweet and as we find it, we have a future and our hope will not be cut off (Prov 24:13-14). Our new hearts are wise and understanding, and thus our resulting sweet speech increases the persuasiveness of our message, the Gospel (Prov 16:21). Our pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones of one another and those who are yet to be brought into the fold (Prov 16:24). For our counsel is sweet to our friends (Prov 27:9). We thank our God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place (2 Cor 2:14).

     Do we fear that we have not been regenerated? Then may we look to Jesus, again and again for our salvation. He is our Redeemer and High Priest and He turns away no one who comes to Him. Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is our Lover among the idols of the world. In His shade we take great delight and sit down. His fruit is sweet to our taste. (SoS 2:3). His cheeks are like a bed of balsam, banks of sweet-scented herbs; His lips are lilies dripping with liquid myrrh (Sos 5:13). His mouth is full of sweetness and our Christ is wholly desirable. He is our beloved and friend. (Sos 5:16) We are beautiful to our Lord Christ as well for He has bestowed His mantle of beauty onto us (Is 61:3). He says to us, “O My dove, in the clefts of the rock [Jesus is our Rock], in the secret place of the steep pathway [the narrow path], let Me see your form [we are conformed into His Image], let Me hear your voice [our words are spoken by His own Spirit]; for your voice is sweet, and your form is lovely” (SoS 2:14).

     But our oppressors will be fed by God with their own flesh. They will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine. And all flesh will know that He, our Lord, is our Savior and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. (Is 49:26). Dear saints, because He is sweet to us, there are many persecutions, trials, testings, and refinement which we will undergo. He will rescue us. We are new in Christ and His purpose is to display His glory and beauty through us!

So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he *said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And they *said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” Rev 9

Excellent Messages:

The Nature of Conversion 52 min by Paul Washer
The Lost Doctrine 8 min by Paul Washer
Regeneration by the Spirit 59 min by Charles Leiter
I praise God for helping me understand regeneration more through this book (given from Anand in response to what Jonathan Edwards said about the error of using the terms "sinful nature" and "flesh" interchangeably), one of the best books I have ever read. In a regenerated person: his sinful nature is dead, he lives in the eternal realms, he is set free from the law of sin and death, he bears fruit according to his new nature, he still sins sometimes b/c of the flesh remnant where sin resides, but cannot continue in it because it is in discord with his new nature. When we obey God, we are being who we truly are ("if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation"). The presence of the indwelling Spirit so thoroughly resists sin in the flesh, that a true Christian cannot bear the misery of his "unnatural" and Spirit-grieving behavior and will repent...and continue to repent. The life of the progressively sanctified Christian is one of becoming who we already are on the basis of Christ's blood. This conformance to the image of Christ ("made to be like Him in true righteousness and holiness") throughout one's earthly life time will surely happen in every regenerated person. Praise God!

Love in Christ,

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

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