Regeneration: Is it a prelude to OR the Act of Salvation ~Born Again~

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Allan, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. Allan

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    It has been discussed many times on the BB, but I don't remember the last thread that was specific to what Regeneration actually is and entails thereby establishing it as the Act BEFORE or OF Salvation.

    I don't 'specifically' want this to be a C/A debate (though it will be by nature) but what I want to actaully discuss is -

    1. What regeneration is?

    2. What it does?

    3. How it does it?

    (plz, refrain from using 'born-agian' AT PRESENT since there are 2 views of what the word entails and could get confusing till we establish our positions better within the thread. You may acknoweldge it as sysnonmous with what word you 'would' apply to it if you must at the outset. Thank you.)

    Please leave aside the 'dead in sin' issue IF POSSIBLE (I don't want a 'dead in sin' thread but a thread examining the nature of 'Regeneration' and it's function with regard to the 3 above mentioned questions.

    I will obviously start:

    It would appear (at least to me) that when a person is regenerated before salvation, there is no need for 'faith' which scripture states brings salvation - Believe and be saved. Why? Because the person who is regenerated before salvation, according to some, is (1) given a new nature AND (2) now has the Holy Spirit indwelling them or residing in them (though not technically filling them) AND (3) that their relationship to and with God the Father has already been reconciled (thus the new nature and indwelling Spirit of GOd) AND (4) they are now IN Christ.

    The problem in the person being 'reconciled' before faith is that the person who is reconciled is considered justified toward God and also sanctified by God making the person in a right relationship with God - Righteous. All this without faith ever being excersized nor repentance made. All of these are against what scripture states : that they are all imputed by or through Faith. (see below)

    The scriptural mandate for one to have faith in order to be saved is no longer valid since the work of salvation is already done before repentence or Faith is even acknowledged. If this is true what we have is salvation BEFORE repentance and faith and not as says the scriptre "repent and beleive", "repent or you shall all likewise perish" and "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" et. (Mar 1:15, Luk 13:3,5 , Act 16:31, Rom 10:9 et.)

    IF a person is regenerated by God before faith, they are in fact made alive unto God because they have been reconciled unto God by Christ's propitiation BEFORE faith. Therefore they are IN Christ.

    As I previously stated, for this to be true:
    1. Then they are ALREADY sanctified - or set apart for and by God ; being pure
    2. and to be sanctified you must ALREADY be Justified
    ....a. that he WILL BE righteous (or in a right relationship with God).
    3. And all of these are done by the Holy Spirit who is now indwelling the Non-BELIEVER (or one who has not yet believed).

    But unfortunately the indwelling Holy Spirit, sanctification, justification, and righteousness are all imputed ONLY AFTER Faith is excersized.

    It is my belief that the process of regeneration reveals that it IS the EVENT of Salvation which is of grace by faith and not the precurser to it. Otherwise you have the cart before the horse. Regeneration also only appears twice in scripture and it is never seen as that which is before salvation.

    I believe you can not be regenerate (which MUST include justification and sanctification and the infilling of the Holy Spirit) before faith.
    WHY?

    It is 'by faith' we are justified (Rom 3:28)
    It is 'by faith' we are sanctified (Acts 26:18,)
    It is 'by faith' we are made righteous (Rom 3:22, Rom 4:5)
    It is 'by faith' the propitiation (substituationary death) is applied to man (Rom 3:25)
    It is 'by faith' we receive (obtain) the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal 3:14)

    All of these show (and other verses as well) that unless faith is FIRST excerized there is no new birth which constitutes all of the above; For they are all BY FAITH.

    This is why I beleive regeneration IS salvation which is imputed to us 'by faith' and both terms are describe as being born-again (the New Birth).

    Discussion is now open :wavey:
     
  2. TCGreek

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    1. I see no Scripture in what you outlined that addresses the doctrine of Regeneration.

    2. All I see are Scriptures which point to what a person must do and what follows.

    3. But not one says Regeneration follows.

    4. I propose that you bring a few Scriptures that shows Regeneration comes after faith and repentance.
     
  3. Allan

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    First TCG, I address what is espoused by those who claim regeneration BEFORE faith. Do I really need to quote the scriptures you already know and claim to be regeneration before salvation?

    The scriptures I DID provide establish that there is no justification, sanctification, washing away of sin, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, being a new creation, nor righteousness given apart from faith FIRST.

    That which follows (as you say) is exactly what is contended to happen before they are saved by those who hold regeneration before salvation. However scripture states these things transpire 'by Faith'.

    EDITTED IN-->> Let me clarify something - Those whom I have spoken with that hold to regeneration before faith, state the Holy Spirit give man a new nature and thereafter indwells the non-believer (though does not fill the non-beleiver) and that the non-believers is reconciled to God already. All of these things encompass Justification, Sanctification, cleasing from sin, righteousness as well.

    But this is why I asked YOU to answer my three question and show support how they establish this regeneration before faith.

    As I stated previously; the scriptures I DID provide establish that there is no justification, sanctification, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, being a new creation, nor righteousness given apart from faith FIRST.
    The scripture only speaks about regeneration twice in the whole of scriputer.
    Once regarding our salvation which now is (Titus 3:4-7), and the fullness of our salvation which is to come (Mat 19:25-30)

    I have in accordance with those things believed that are to happen BEFORE salvation which is what they call regeneration. But still, No problem, here they BOTH are:
    #1
    The salvation here is stated to have been accomplished through or by the washing (synonomous with washing away of sin) of regeneration (the new birth) and renewing (to completely change for the better- new or redesign so to speak) of the Holy Ghost. This identifies the New Birth to be something completely different from the old man seperated from God with one who is made to be in union with God by the Holy Ghost.

    More specifically and to the point however is the fact that savlation is equated with this New Birth called regeneration which is typified by 'cleansing of sin' and a change toward God because of the Change the Holy Ghost brings.

    This would mean the person has their sins removed due to the washing of regeneration (no need to repent) and are in unified with Christ because of their new nature designed/created by the Holy Ghost (no need for faith). Thus you see the author state in vs 6 states the Holy Ghost/Spirit was given to them abundantly and vs 7 they are also stated to be 'Justified' and 'heirs' (children of God). And you can not be a child of God except by faith.
    Now if these be true, then there is no need for faith nor repentance since by these verses regarding regeneration declares they are saved with all that the word entails biblically: - being washed or cleased of sin, have the indwelling Spirit of God, justified, and heirs of the promise. You have a scriptural problem my friend because scripture states explicitely salvation IS BY faith and not that Faith confirms we are saved. By grace are you saved THROUGH faith.

    So either regeneration IS salvation therefore we must repent and believe
    - or -
    It presedes salvation whereby faith and repentance have no purpose of value because the person is ALREADY saved.


    And #2
    You will note that regeneration here is referencing the culmination or total fulfillment regarding of our salvation here (new bodies, et..) So AGAIN regeneration IS salvation and not a prelude to it.
     
    #3 Allan, Sep 20, 2007
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  4. MB

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    I think the only possible answer to "what is regeneration?" is answerd in the Strongs dictionary.
    pal-ing-ghen-es-ee'-ah
    From G3825 and G1078; (spiritual) rebirth (the state or the act), that is, (figuratively) spiritual renovation; specifically Messianic restoration: - regeneration.
    For all intents and purposes it means born again of the spirit. I know that isn't what you wanted as an answer but there simply is no other. It means that we are alive once more to God.

    I believe that the idea of before faith regeneration came about as a result of taking certain verses to the extreme with out consideration of the fact that the Bible doesn't support regeneration before faith.
    Once we are renewed to God we are saved, because we can't be alive to God and not be saved.
    What many over look is that we aren't saved by anything we do. Although we aren't saved with out faith or belief in Christ. Still our belief doesn't save us.
    Paul explained the process as plain as day.

    Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    This verse above states we aren't saved by our faith "but by the faith of Jesus Christ" Still it also says that "even we have believed that we might be justified by the faith of Christ"

    Gal 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

    This verse says that we seek to be justified by Christ while we are still sinners. How can we still be sinners if we are already made new?

    Gal 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
    Gal 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
    Once we are justified we are no longer dead to Christ. This is regeneration. However we become dead to the Law. The Law no longer has control, God does.

    Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
    Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
    The reason it can be said that we aren't saved by anything we do is because of that word might in verse 16. Many say they believe but never surrender or commit them selves to God. We come to Him as little children or we never get there to begin with.

    MB
     
  5. skypair

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    Regeneration means "born of the Spirit" vs. generation which is "born of the flesh." In addition, regeneration is sanctification vs CONVERSION (turning toward God) which is justification.

    It begins the process by which our spirit is submitted totally to Christ (Phil 3:21). The final act of sanctification it the Bema where all our spiritual "issues" are tested by fire (1Cor 3:13)

    The "mind of Christ" progressively replaces our mind through 1) Bible study, 2) personal application and obedience according to 3) God's election/purpose for us within the body of Christ.

    Allan, here's where most make a mistake --- they do not detect the difference between belief and faith, hope and sight, conversion and regeneration. Certainly it can be said that "regeneration precedes faith." However, belief, repentance and reception of Christ (AKA "conversion") precedes regeneration.

    skypair
     
  6. TCGreek

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    1. Well, if you are representing what others believe about Regeneration preceding Faith, then you should give them a fair day in court.

    2. Those of us who believe in Regenetion preceding Faith would not disagree with what you just said (BTW, you didn't give a Scripture showing new creation comes after faith).

    3. Was it from someone here on BB, because that doesn't sound like something anyone well-bred Calvinist would say.

    4. For the moment I would venture one text: 1John 5:1, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." "Born of" represents the perfect tense, a completed action with present results. What we have here is "born of God" enabling "believing in Jesus."

    5. And no well-bred Calvinist disagrees.

    6. Man who has been hardened, blinded by sin, needs that divine work in his life before he can fully come to God to be justified and sanctified. The prior activity of the Spirit is regeneration, the giving of new desires for God. But man must still deal with his sins, and this he does by faith and repentance in Christ.

    7. This I will further propose that Paul has a way of capturing all of what transpired in a person's "steps" to salvation by the use of single terms. For example, Paul is fond of "Called/Calling" to speak of the saved/believers," which captures the divine work of God in salvation (Rom 8:28-30 should make this obvious).

    8. So I see no contradictions.
     
  7. webdog

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    "Whoever believes that the Wolverines are going to win the national championship is out of their mind"

    Is being "out of your mind" enabling the belief the Wolverines are going to win it all...or is this belief the cause for one being out of their mind?
     
  8. TCGreek

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    You're arguing something else.
     
  9. webdog

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    What do you mean? The sentence structure is the same.
     
  10. TCGreek

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    You have not commented on the significance of the Greek tense, and therein lies the difference.
     
  11. webdog

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    I'm not following. Can you elaborate for me?

    Should I translate my sentence into greek first? :)
     
    #11 webdog, Sep 20, 2007
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  12. TCGreek

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    1. "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."

    2. "Born" translates the Greek perfect tense, meaning that a prior, completed action has taken place but whose results still stands.

    a. Here's an example of how the perfect tense works: 1 Cor 15:4, "He was raised on the third day..."

    b. "He was raised" is one word in the Greek and it is a perfect tense. Christ was raised, a prior, completed action, never to be repeated, signifying that He lives forever and never to die, which is all captured in the perfect tense.

    3. So "Born of God" is prior to "whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ."
     
  13. Allan

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    Amen!
    Which is why I asked you to answer the three questions.
    I did. It has to do with being called 'Children of God' and 'heir'. Which we become 'by faith' :)
    There are as many different types of Calvanism as there are Baptists :) .
    That is why I wanted to see how people answered the 3 question I provided, as a means to know how each person(s) of those who hold to 'regeneration preceding salvation'.
    I understand. Yet that text of 1 John 5:1 lends no wieght to regeneration before salvation. Bu tI will deal with that later in our discussion because it is central in your view.

    However, what you have not done is prove 'born' equals regeneration OUTSIDE of salvation. Unless you believe the person is saved first then come to beleive.

    Ok, then how can a person be 'born again' and NOT be in a rightor reconciled relationship with God, through which only the means of justification, sanctification, et. are apart?

    This is why I requested you please answer the three questions.
    I agree that men have been hardened and blinded by sin and that man needs a divine work.
    1.. But what does this divine work entail?
    2. If man is given a new nature IS THIS NOT 'the New Birth'?

    3. And man who now no longer dead but alive in sin and not reconciled, nor having the Holy Spirit indwelling him will come to God?
    4. How does this work if there is no power in those things God gives him (faith, new nature) to come TO God?
    Since Paul says the new man can not champion over the old nature without the empowering of the Holy Spirit and THAT is not done without His indwelling. In light of this I must ask:
    5. By what Power does the New Man operate, his own?

    Only regarding your view of 'Called'.
    I can go on in this but not yet either since you have not even answered the questions of the OP.
    However I will state this: It must be inferred or presummed to assume Paul is equating such a complex process into one word rather than just the plain reading of the text - Those He did predestinate (to be conformed to the image of His Son) He called (as in Gospel call), Those whom He called... And since it is speaking of a particular set of people we can infer the non-believers in this because the context is refering only of believers.


    I only ask that we begin at the OP's questions so we can better elaborate brother. I look forward to discussing this more, since I believe I still have mountains to learn regardless what I think I understand.
     
  14. Allan

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    I appreciate what you have contributed, but without answering the other 2 questions it becomes a moot point (so to speak) for others to 'understand' how it all fits together or at the very minimum how another understands their views. It is for this reason I set up the Op so regeneration can be shown as either a prelude To salvation or the very Act of salvation itself.
     
    #14 Allan, Sep 21, 2007
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  15. Allan

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    Where do you find "regeneration is sanctification" and "CONVERSION (turning toward God) which is justification".
    Scripture makes no such distinction and I know of, plz elaborate.

    This verse is not about submitting spiritually but God having the power to change EVEN our bodies.
    How exacly do you draw this conclusion?

    But my biggest question is:
    Are you saying that regeneration (being born again) is not a completed act until we stand before the Bema Seat Judgment?

    k
    That make absolutely no sense.
     
  16. Allan

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    Deleted by me.
     
    #16 Allan, Sep 21, 2007
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  17. Alex Quackenbush

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    When the seed of the Word is received by faith (i.e. the gospel) that person is then born again. Being born again is the resurrection of the human spirit, being made alive again.

    * I realize the OP asked for the term "born again" not to be used, however, that is like asking people to discuss with authority any subject and leave out relevant information. Being born again is a direct reference to regeneration and xing it out as an option for discussion is eliminating from a serious Bible Doctrine discussion part of the Bible.
     
    #17 Alex Quackenbush, Sep 21, 2007
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  18. Allan

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    Thank you for your responce. However it appears you did not read the OP carefully :)
    (emphasis in unline and bold mine)

    If your position is that born again means saved/regenerated then simply state such so that as the discussion progresses others know the different meanings that are held to same word - born or born again.
    Since there are two basic views of what 'born' or 'born again' means. But they all have the same core meaning (a new creation, r regeneration) Thus what I am wanting to define is what regeneration IS, WHEN it happens, and it HOW it opperates.
    This is why I requested we not us AT PRESENT the term born again because until we understand regeneration we will not be able to identify just born again properly means.

    Thus I ask that each person please answer the OP's 3 questions.

    I started off by showing Regeneration can not be a prelude TO salvation because of all it entails, thus I believe it must be the Act OF salvation.
     
    #18 Allan, Sep 21, 2007
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  19. Alex Quackenbush

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    While it is true the perfect tense refers to an action with permanent results assuming being "born" refers chronologically to being born before believing Christ misunderstands the emphasis of the use of the perfect, particularly here where it is used with present force. And generally this is the use of the perfect tense. Not to establish a fixed time in the past but establish that in the past something occurred and now has continuous results. It simply focuses on the idea that it is not an ongoing or continuous event but a complete action in the past with current results. Hence, to attempt to claim when in the past it occurred in this verse is to misunderstand its use, particularly when the present tense "is" establishes its emphasis in "is born of God". Meaning of course, born of God in the past at some time and is now and will be. But at no point is it the perfect attempting to imply it preceded faith in this verse, that isn't the purpose of its use here.

    On the other hand our faith, or believing, is often used in continuous tense without emphasis on a fixed past point and a one time action, or completed action.

    "Whoever is one that is believing (no emphasis on the past since the author is referring to the here and now) that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God which happened sometime in the past".

    You will be born again or born of God once. Regeneration occurs once. And while saving faith occurs once the expression of our saving faith is continuous. The idea here is not establishing a chronology between "whoever believes" and "born of God" but is establishing the reality that at some point he was born of God and is now born of God evidenced by their confession.

    To provide a summation:

    Whoever says they believe in Christ to you at this time was at some point in the past born of God, is now still born of God and will continue to be born of God.


    Whoever has a chopped off hand and shows it to you now, at some point in the past had their hand chopped off, is now still with a chopped off hand and will continue to have a chopped off hand.

    Does this mean their hand had to be chopped off before they stuck it in the turbine? No, but here the same Greek perfect would be used. Why? Because the emphasis on the "PRESENT RESULT" of a past action.

    There are instances in the Greek when the emphasis is on the past action and its time but here is NOT one of them.
     
    #19 Alex Quackenbush, Sep 21, 2007
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  20. Alex Quackenbush

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    You are right, thank you for your graciousness with my carelessness.
     

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