Regeneration

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC δοῦλος, May 4, 2016.

  1. JonC

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    In another thread the topic migrated to regeneration, and I realized that we may not share exactly the same understanding of this work of God.

    I understand regeneration to be the “new birth”. But (and there it is, the “but”, the fly in the ointment) I do not believe the “new birth” to be a work of God preceding conversion.

    We are reborn (regenerated, made anew) through God’s supernatural work of re-creation. If this is a one-time event leading to salvation, then it seems to me that the process of sanctification must be strictly one of maturing as this new creature grows ultimately into a final state of glorification. To support this understanding I could point to Paul as he certainly does speak of “babes” in Christ and of the necessity to press on towards maturity. But I do not think that Paul means the re-birth as a onetime event inaugurating conversion and the entrance of a new believer into the Kingdom.

    Instead, I understand regeneration to be an ongoing part of salvation itself. Salvation is transformation. I was born again when God saved me. But I am also in the process of being “born again” as I am continually being transformed from grace to grace. I am not yet what I will be (indeed, I do not yet know what I will be except that I will be made into the image of Christ). This is not just maturity. It is ongoing transformation (ergo, ongoing regeneration as we are transformed ever increasingly into the image of Christ). We have been made new creatures, but we are also being made new creatures. Such is the Christian life and such is regeneration.

    So I understand regeneration to be the work of God in creating us as new creatures. It is a one time event, but it is also a continual process culminating when we are made into the image of His Son.

    Is regeneration only a one time event preceding conversion? Is it external to salvation itself (we are made new creatures to be saved)? Is it salvation itself? Is it ongoing? etc.....
     
  2. percho

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    I also believe generation is a picture of regeneration. Was the day of your generation the same day as your being born into the world?

    From a salvation aspect. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. Gal 4:26 Does she give birth? When? How was she impregnated? What does she give birth to? When?

    Does not the following describe the process?

    For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Rom 8:15-25


    What does the Spirit of adoption put us into?
     
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  3. agedman

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    I will use the physical to demonstrate that of the Spiritual. The Lord told Nicodemus that he had to be born again, and followed it by stating that the birth of the physical is somewhat akin to that of the Spiritual. Doing so by aligning the two (what is born of the water and the spirit) gives us a bit of glimpse into what actually happens.

    There is consummation, the creation of the life. This is the regeneration. The creation of a new Creature. God has chosen, the Son has acquired.

    The new life has yet to become aware, but there is change taking place in the form of nurturing and growing and becoming aware. In this time one might align it with that awareness of the claim of Christ. The time when the Holy Spirit begins to illuminate that person's understanding to the truth.

    Then there is a time of the contractions and the birthing. Here there is great discomfort. There is that turning upside down what was once right side up. There is constraining and compelling. The Holy Spirit is convicting and prodding the new life as only the Holy Spirit can do. To some this process is seemingly effortless, and to others great trauma and great energy is expended.

    Finally there is the emergence and the cry for all to hear. One is born. We mark that day as the birth day, and some would proclaim it as the start of new life. However, new life was begun at the consummation. The pronouncement of "I have arrived" by the baby cannot be helped any more than the cry of one who has become a believer cannot be restrained.

    So, when did "regeneration" occur? At consummation.

    Now some only look upon the "outward appearance." They look for some sign or indication of belief. They place it in a prayer said, or an action taken by the believer that indicates belief. But those are but responses to what has already been performed.

    In every instance in the Scriptures were we get to witness the new believer's changed life, it is always in the reflective of something that has already taken place. The eunuch "Look, here is water...," the thief "Remember me...," the jailer, "What must I do..." and the others each show that belief had already taken place, new birth had already occurred.

    There are those who teach "progressive" sanctification, but the use of sanctification in the Scriptures is not "progressive" but one made holy. Either one is holy or not holy.

    What "progressive" sanctification should be labeled is learning and maturity. Growing up. Learning to be in favor with God and man. To be Christ like in all attributes.

    So, that is my thinking in a very brief form.
     
  4. InTheLight

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    I think you hit on one of the main theological definitions that separate cals from non-cals.

    To me:

    regeneration = new birth = justification

    Regeneration and justification happens at the moment of repentance and faith in Jesus. This is the new birth.

    I can't understand how regeneration can be something that "leads to salvation" or a condition that people can be in for days, weeks, even years.

    Similarly I don't understand how the new birth can be a process.

    Sanctification is the life long process of maturing as a disciple and becoming more Christ like.
     
  5. JonC

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    I agree,brother, that regeneration is the new birth. As D.A. Carson points out, that is the gospel message - the message of transformation. But I do not think that it is a one time event alone (we are reborn, but we are also being transformed and will be what we are not now).

    This is how I think the new birth is a process. Sanctification is a part of salvation as we are continually being transformed (or made) into the image of Christ. In other words, I do not think that the glorified me will be the me that I am now just all grown up. I believe that I am in the process of being made into the image of Christ (which I believe to be transformation...more than maturing in the faith).
     
  6. InTheLight

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    I believe regeneration, the new birth, and justification are all part of the same thing and is a one time, instantaneous event.
     
  7. agedman

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    Ooh, but I would disagree.

    There are those who take the view that one must "do" - repent, say a prayer, take ...

    But, the "new birth" is all of God and Christ through the Holy Spirit and has no input by humankind. It is all by the use of Scriptures by the Trinity, and the person that Salvation is given only responds to that which has already taken place.

    There are those of both the Arm and the Cal that would hold to some act of repentance needed, or some statement that must be repeated, or even some translation of the Scriptures that must be used. But, none of those can be found in the examples given in Scriptures of those who are saved.

    The closest verse that can be found is "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death."

    However, this verse is taken out of context if it is used in some manner to indicate the new birth. For the verses preceding, Paul specifies that, "I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us." He is, therefore, discussion Godly repentance in the matter of those who are ALREADY believers, and not those who are unbelievers.

    The formula should be, new birth, awareness, conviction, declaration of belief.

    One does not repent to believe, they believe and that work of the Holy Spirit illuminating areas of need in maturity and growth brings Godly sorrow and repentance.
     
  8. agedman

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    First the Gospel message is NOT the message of transformation. It is the message of reconciliation. Paul said, "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,..."

    Seond, the new birth is not a "process" it is the gift of God. It is not something that the believer progresses into, but the progress is that of maturing AFTER being born again.

    One cannot be "born of the spirit" if they are not first OF the spirit.

    Some would confuse what you are stating as a maturing process as that which is the birth. Long before a birth there is already life, as in the physical so in the spiritual.
     
  9. TCassidy

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    Yes, but that life was not yet ours. It was "hid in Christ." :)
     
  10. TCassidy

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    This is the second (or maybe the third) thread talking about the same subject. What I think the problem is, at least with most posters, is that you have unnecessarily complicated the Gospel, as Paul warns us of in 2 Corinthians 11:3 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

    Why complicate the Gospel? Paul made it very simple in his first letter to the church at Corinth, the Gospel is one simple sentence in 1 Corinthians 15:3 "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
    4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

    All the rest is the product of intellectual self absorption (with the emphasis on "self"). :(
     
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  11. JonC

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    I agree that there is an instantaneous point where we are saved. I disagree that there is not an aspect whereby we are continually transformed (a state of "being saved") leading to a final state of salvation. I say this because Scripture often speaks of us as those who are "being saved" and perhaps even more often directs our attention to a future salvation. I don't think that these are different events, but rather different aspects of the same salvation.
     
  12. JonC

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    Are you suggesting, then, that it is wrong to discuss different aspects of that, as you put it, multifaceted gem and we should instead stick to the statement that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (that perhaps it would have been better had Paul not suggested an ongoing transformation in the life of the believer)?

    I do not mean to sound short (and hope that I don't), but there seems to be a sense whereby you are discouraging the exact type of discussion you often engage (presumably because it is not a topic you personally find engaging or complex). This is the first thread directed at this topic (the second discussing the topic). I started it to relieve the other thread of distraction (regeneration was not the original topic).
     
  13. JonC

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    It is the message of reconciliation. It is also the message of forgiveness. It is the message of transformation (as we are transformed into the image of Christ). It is the message of redemption. But mostly it is God's glory on display. (I disagree that the gospel is not a message of transformation).

    Whether or not the new birth is seen as a one time event or a process of salvation, it is certainly the gift of God. By process I do not mean something a believer progresses into. I mean that God is transforming us into the image of His Son, and (as Paul stated) a process of transformation. I mean that our salvation is not "over" at conversion (God is still transforming us, not just teaching us and watching us grow).

    I do not believe that we consistently hold the "maturing process" to be God's continued work of regeneration in our lives, but instead risk the mistake of believing that once we have been born again it is to a new life of self-growth.
     
  14. kyredneck

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    I understand the word 'regeneration' to be misused from the biblical standpoint by the great majority to be synonymous with the heavenly birth. (but I've the habit of using the word as the majority do (when in Rome))

    I believe that this 'regeneration':

    28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Mt 19

    ...is synonymous with and foretold from of old:

    14 Symeon hath rehearsed how first God visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
    15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
    16 After these things I will return, And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen; And I will build again the ruins thereof, And I will set it up:
    17 That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, And all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called,
    18 Saith the Lord, who maketh these things known from of old. Acts 15

    24 For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
    25 And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
    26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
    27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.
    28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezek 36

    For the individual to enter into this kingdom, to be part of this corporate regeneration, this must first occur:

    4 But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared,
    5 not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
    6 which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; Titus 3

    Both times the word is used in the NT it is in reference to the corporate. Passages such as this refer to this 'corporate regeneration', or kingdom of God, or kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of His dear Son, or building again the house of David:

    22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently:
    23 having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth. 1 Pet 1

    IOW, technically, I believe the biblical intent of the word 'regeneration' is to be synonymous with 'saved'. Lost sheep come home and 'saved' into the kingdom of God.
     
    #14 kyredneck, May 4, 2016
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
  15. kyredneck

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    I'm in Rome so I'll do as the Romans and use "new birth" as you do.

    Compare these two passages:

    29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Ro 2

    47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Jn 1

    That was Nathanael's state BEFORE he had even met Christ. A Jew inwardly whose praise was of God. A child of the heavenly Jerusalem, born from above, born of God, an Israelite indeed.
     
  16. TCassidy

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    See what I mean? I never mentioned or eluded to Paul's writings on our ongoing growth. Not a word.
     
  17. JonC

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    I was asking, not implying.

    You commented that you think the problem may be unnecessarily complicating the Gospel, quoted Paul’s words in 2 Cor. 11:3 and 1 Cor. 15:3, and said “all the rest is the product of intellectual self absorption (with the emphasis on “self”)”.

    My observation is that you do not limit discussion to the simple gospel statement that “Christ died for our sins, was buried, and raised on the third day.” So I was asking if you were suggesting “all the rest (beyond Paul’s words you quoted) is the product of intellectual self-absorption” means that it is wrong to discuss Christians being “transformed” after conversion (which Paul also discusses).

    I am interested in studying and discussing salvation as a process which culminates in a final state of salvation. I understand if the topic is not something that interests you. But it is not a topic that is foreign to Scripture, it is not one that we all agree on, so I do not believe it a topic that is one of intellectual self-absorption. If I sound slightly offended at the implication that such interest is but intellectual self-absorption at least my tone is understood. The kettle does not always appreciate the pot calling it black.
     
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  18. JonC

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    I think that you are right in that much of the disagreement centers around the definition. I agree with you that regeneration encompasses more than conversion (but I do tend to think that our being "born again" or "from above" is not perfectly completed until that renewal (or regeneration) when we are what we will become.

    I am not what I was before I was saved. I have been made a new creature in Christ (regenerated). But I also will be made new at the "renewal" when all things are made new and we are made into the image of Christ (regeneration). I simply do not think that regeneration can be separated from salvation regardless if we are talking about conversion, ongoing transformation, or glorification.
     
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  19. percho

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    I agree with you but understand differently.

    Why complicate the Gospel? Paul made it very simple in his first letter to the church at Corinth, the Gospel is one simple sentence in 1 Corinthians 15:3 "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
    4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

    Question, does that underlined have any meaning without that in bold? Does this verse say the same? Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. ----- Does him being delivered have any meaning without the being raised?

    Does Christ died for our sins mean that; the soul/life of the flesh is in the blood, of Jesus Christ, and he gave it an atonement for our souls Lev 17:11 paraphrased. Yet without being raised of what use was that? For it to mean anything the one who gave that life in the blood must be given life from a different source. Keep in mind Jesus and Jesus alone to date is the only one born of woman that has been given that life. If there is no resurrection then Jesus has not been raised. Verse 17, 1 Cor. 15 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

    For the blood to have washed away our sin required new life. New life for Christ in body to ascend to the Father. For the Spirit to be given. The Spirit of adoption. Death for our sins and resurrection was necessary for the Spirit of adoption unto the adoption, the redemption of the body.

    The same thing can be seen in this verse. Rev 1:5 NKJV and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

    If he is not born from the dead his blood would not have washed away our sins. Born from the dead in the concept of Romans 6:9 raised to die no more, in the concept of Acts 12:34 raised no more to return to corruption, given by God the Father the sure mercies of David.

    Gives meaning to this verse, 2 Tim 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

    Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. ----- That man needed at that moment to be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God. He was going to need to be redeemed and adopted in the image of his redeemer. IMHO The Lamb was already slain in the mind of God.

    According to mercy (the faith of the Father in the blood of the Son) hath he saved us (past tense and future tense, I know no Greek, would that be feasible?) by washing of regeneration Rev 1:5.

    BTW I do not expect you to agree with this however show me from scripture why this is not what the scriptures say.

    This is just to share thoughts. Thanks
     
  20. agedman

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    I again, disagree.

    The believer stands as complete in Him. There is no half life. One is either alive in Him or dead in trespasses and sin. Jon, There is NO PROGRESSIVE regeneration any more than there is progressive sanctification.

    What there is, is, progressive maturity and awareness of the parentage and reliance upon the parentage.

    Just as a newborn is content in anyone's arms, but the three year old will hide behind the parent's legs, so to is the newborn believer. They learn, and experience the path God establishes for them to grow and mature in Him. As they do so, they do not become more holy, or more saved or any more in favor, but become more stable, more able to discern and determine the way of service and sacrifice.

    Certainly there is transformation of thinking, of living. But these are the results of regeneration, and not the catalyst to or a part of regeneration. They are a by product.

    One is complete, one is holy, one is clothed in righteousness when one is chosen by God to be His adopted child.

    Be very careful that you do not place "regeneration" into some achievement aspect of acquiring. We are ALREADY new creatures.

    That my final estate and being clothed in the immortal has not yet taken place is not some indication that the present is lacking, or that the immortal is somehow acquired other than by disposal of this husk.

    The caterpillar is transformed, but that doesn't mean they are a "new creature." They are still a caterpillar at heart and bear their offspring in that estate.

    WE do not. We, being born from above, bear our offspring by the gospel in which God uses to bring more of His adopted to Himself. In essence, our new birth provides for the effecting of the new birth of others who are born not of like kind as us, but as their own new unique creature for their own unique new creature obligations.

    Regeneration IS salvation. It is not merely a part of it. One is either born again, or not born at all but by the flesh - which profits little if any.

    When does regeneration come? When God appoints one as adopted. That person may not be made aware until the appointed time, but the choosing as His makes the results complete in Him.
     

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