The Lord Opened Lydia's Heart

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by TCGreek, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    From another thread I alluded to God opening Lydia's heart as an act of regeneration and someone asked me to comment on it in light of the fact that she was already a God-fearer and therefore we should understand "The Lord opened Lydia's heart" differently.

    The reason why I saw the action of God as an act of regeneration is backed up by the Cornelius story:

    1. Cornelius was a God-fearer, to whom the gospel had to be preached.

    2. After Peter mentioned that forgiveness is received by those who believe in Jesus, the Spirit fell on Cornelius and his (Acts 10:43, 44).

    3. Later at the Jerusalem council Peter referred to this incident: After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. (Acts 15:7)

    "And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; (Acts 15:8)

    "and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:9).

    In Acts 11:13-15 Peter reiterated that he had to preach words through which Cornelius and his might be saved. Being a God-fearer, therefore, does not mean a person is already saved.

    Like Lydia Cornelius heart had to be opened by the Spirit to respond to Peter's words of salvation, the gospel presentation.
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    And so it is with all who believe.

    The regenerating (heart-opening) work of the Holy Spirit and the gospel go hand in hand.

    I think it's interesting that Paul gave Lydia the gospel, the HS opened her heart and then she was saved.

    Would it make any difference if the order were different? Such as, the HS opened Lydia's heart, she heard the gospel and immediately embraced it.

    I think not. Without the regenerating work of the HS, and without the preaching of the gospel, no one will be saved.
     
  3. swaimj

    swaimj
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    The question to me is, does the statement "the Lord opened Lydia'a heart" = regeneration? If she is already a God-fearer, how can she be unregenerate? My understanding of Calvinism is that a person who is unregenerate cannot know God because of their state of total depravity. How could she be a God-fearer and yet not know God in her unregenerate state?
     
  4. webdog

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    Great question! If the unregenerate are dead corpses...how does a corpse fear God?
     
  5. reformedbeliever

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    Is an Orthodox Jew regenerate because of the knowledge of God that he has? I thought that there is no other name under heaven in which a person must be saved. A Jew that does not believe Jesus is the Messiah is not regenerate. They do not have a saving knowledge. In answer, I would say that yes, when the Lord opened Lydia's heart it was to saving faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
    There are many today that think they know the one true God, or believe that a person could be saved by faith in God alone, without ever knowing Jesus... our Lord and God. According to God's word however, they are in error.
     
  6. menageriekeeper

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    What Swaimj said.

    Lydia already believed in God, evidently as a Jew/proselyte, evidently not having knowledge of Christ. Was she really unregenerate or does the phrase "the Lord opened her heart" simply mean that God moved her to pay attention to what Paul had to say in the same way He moves us toward perfection in Him?

    Quick edit:

    Not at this time, but at that time for Lydia and for those gone before such as David and Abraham, THE way to salvation was through the Jewish law that looked forward to the time of Christ. Lydia having not yet heard of Christ but evidently believing that He would come is said to be a worshipper of God. Again, was she really unregenerate and if she was what do you suppose Abraham and David did to gain salvation?
     
    #6 menageriekeeper, Jul 14, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2007
  7. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
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    Are you saying everyone except the Orthodox Jew is in a state of total depravity?
     
  8. reformedbeliever

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    Not at all.
     
  9. Rippon

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    References From The NIV

    Lydia was unsaved ; in an unregenerate state . That's why the Lord had to open her heart to be able to respond to Paul's message . She and her family members were baptized and then she said in verse 15 : "If you consider me a believer in the Lord ..." IOW , if you now ( after having accepted Paul's message ) agree that I am a true Christian ...

    In Acts 13 Paul spoke to a number who were God-fearers , yet still unregenerate . Try out verse 16 : "Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God ..." Or how about verse 26 : "Brothers , children of Abraham , and you God-fearing Gentiles ... " When Paul had concluded his message it is said in verse 48 : WHEN THE GENTILES HEARD THIS , THEY WERE GLAD AND HONORED THE WORD OF THE LORD ; AND ALL WHO WERE APPOINTED FOR ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED ."

    Do you understand ? They were formerly unregenerate , but now they had become believers . It's also interesting that they became believers because of the decree , just as all of us became Christians because the Lord had appointed us to be so before the foundation of the world .
     
  10. menageriekeeper

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    I understand what you are saying, I just don't believe it that is what happened.

    I believe there were many Jewish believers in that time after Christ's death who were true believers in God but hadn't yet heard or didn't understand the events surrounding Christ's death and how it applied to their spiritual lives. These were folk who had heart knowledge but not head knowledge.

    When the scripture says "AND ALL WHO WERE APPOINTED FOR ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED", I think it means that these folk who already had faith in God, but no knowledge of Christ. They were saved but like Abraham or David, didn't yet understand the mechanism of their salvation.
     
  11. AresMan

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    This is supposed to be a blessing and encouragement to believers, yet many seem to make it out to be a curse.
     
  12. webdog

    webdog
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    Again...how does a corpse fear God?
     
  13. TCGreek

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    Are we forgetting that Cornelius too was a God-fearer, but Peter was sent to him "who will speak a message to you by which you and your entire household will be saved...When they heard this, they ceased their objections and praised God, saying, So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles" (Acts 11:14, 18, NET).

    How then did being a God-fearer meant that Cornelius was already saved? Remember, it was God who sent Peter. God was the one who arranged the meeting.

    We must then point our fingers toward God and not calvinism.:BangHead:
     
  14. menageriekeeper

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    And why do you suppose He set up the meeting? Because He knew that these folks had already chosen him (remember God fearers) and now they needed to know the mechanism by which their faith would be fulfilled. You know "seek and ye shall find".

    God sent Phillip to the Ethopian also. It merely means that if someone seeks God He will provide the information by which they must be saved and indeed are saved.

    I'm not sure how you can use these examples to prove election.
     
  15. TCGreek

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    I do not have to prove what is. I am just pointing it out. Now the ball is on your side of the court.
     
  16. TCGreek

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    At any rate, the point is about The Lord Opening the Heart of Lydia, seen as an act of regeneration.
     
  17. menageriekeeper

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    Uh uh, Lydia was seeking but wasn't regenerated until she believed in Christ's sacrifice as the only way to God. (as I understand the meaning of regenerated)
     
  18. TCGreek

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    This too is my response:
    Whatever God-fearing means as in the case of Lydia, her heart had to be opened by God for her to respond to the saving gospel presented by Paul. The opening of her heart is the act of regeneration.

    Elsewhere Paul says, "For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor 4:6). He would no doubt have remembered Lydia's conversion experience.
     
  19. menageriekeeper

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    No, belief first, then regeneration. Why would God bother to regenerate a person who didn't believe?
     
  20. TCGreek

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    Please, show me Scripture that supports this position.
     

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