The New Birth

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Mark Osgatharp, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Jesus said "ye must be born again" and "except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." That makes the new birth - or regeneration - one of the most important doctrines of God's word.

    Jesus further stated that faith in Him was the sole condition of receiving the new birth and that a spirit once born again will never die. And yet the religious world is totally messed up on this subject.

    The Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox teach that man is regnerated in baptism, even if he is an infant not aware of it. They also teach that the regenerate spirit must be nourished through eating the mass in order to retain life and may also die through the commission of cardinal sin.

    Most of the Protestants (if they are not modernists or Calvinists) teach regeneration by faith, but also teach, as the Catholics and Orthodox, that the regenerate spirit can sin and therefore die. This heresy is commonly known as "falling from grace."

    The Calvinists do not believe in regeneration by faith. They believe in "faith by regeneration". In other words, they see faith as the result of regeneration rather than the condition of regeneration.

    Furthermore, with their doctrine of "perseverance of the saints" - the idea that "if you are truly regenerate you will live right" - they are, for any practical purposes, identical with the Arminian Protestants on the subject of assurance; for if a man who considers himself regenerate falls into sin, he must then doubt his regenerate state.

    The modernists don't believe in regeneration at all. They define the whole universe in materialistic terms which leaves no room for spirits or spiritual re-creation.

    Neither do the Campbellites (who are often charged with "baptismal regeneration") believe in regeneration at all. Though they do believe man has a spirit, they do not believe that God recreates that spirit in the new birth. They see the new birth merely as a moral reformation wherein a man decides to start obeying God and, if he does that to some sufficient degree till his death, he will be allowed entrace into heaven.

    By contrast, John said,

    "Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."

    And,

    "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."

    Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. HankD

    HankD
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    AMEN?


    I hope you caught the humor in that question mark Mark.

    HankD
     
  3. mprivett

    mprivett
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    Mark said: Jesus further stated that faith in Him was the sole condition of receiving the new birth
    ------------------------------------------------
    Where did He say this? Christ said in John 3:3 that unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God, not the other way around. The believing ones will not perish, but will have eternal life, but a spiritually dead man cannot believe. He must be regenerated first. A corpse can do nothing. What condition can a dead man meet to be born again?


    Mark said: By contrast, John said, "Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."
    -------------------------------------------------
    The Greek in 1 John 5:1 is better rendered "Whoever is believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God." (emphasis mine)

    Regeneration (the new birth) happens at a point in time, making the dead sinner alive. He or she suddenly has eyes to see, ears to hear, and a spiritually alive heart to understand and comprehend the things of God (cf 1 Cor. 2:14). The result? Faith, the author of which is God Himself, by which He then justifies the regenerate sinner.
     
  4. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Mark, I'm with you on this one; you're spot on. One question: define 'faith'

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  5. dattgog

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    MPrivett, I'm with you on this one; you're spot on. One question: does anyone else in this thread care about the Scripture?

    Dattgog
     
  6. AVL1984

    AVL1984
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    So, Mark, am I reading you right? You believe that salvation is through faith in Christ alone?
    What a novel idea!~
     
  7. LorrieGrace

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    People just cannot stand something to be so beautifully simplictic. The gospel is just that. Jesus alone saves, nothing man can add to it will be of any value except to make them feel better.

    I was just thinking the other day about John Gotti. He did a lot of very bad stuff but since he was baptised into the RCC he might make it into heaven. Probably after some serious time in pergutory.
     
  8. Lacy Evans

    Lacy Evans
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    Yeah but you'd better have some fruit so you know if you were "really, truly, for sure" saved.

    We humans can't stand for salvation to be absolutely free and not affected by our works or fruit.

    Lacy
     
  9. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    mprivett,

    But a spiritually dead man is not a corpse. He is a creature with thoughts and a mind capable of hearing and discerning God's word. Jesus plainly said that,

    "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live."

    You have it backwards. You say "they that live shall hear." Jesus said "that the hear shall live."

    And James said,

    "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth."

    Answer me this: was it the word believed or unbelieved whereby we were born again?

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  10. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Matt,

    Faith is trusting in Christ and His promise of salvation.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  11. AVL1984

    AVL1984
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    I agree, Mark. God gave the promises, but some would like to put conditions on HIS promises and read their own understanding into things. That's a shame.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Mark, you mucked up the position of reformed/calvinism pretty badly. Try again.
     
  13. GeneMBridges

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    Mark,

    You wrote, "Furthermore, with their doctrine of "perseverance of the saints" - the idea that "if you are truly regenerate you will live right" - they are, for any practical purposes, identical with the Arminian Protestants on the subject of assurance; for if a man who considers himself regenerate falls into sin, he must then doubt his regenerate state."

    So many times, y'all say this and run right on past what we believe it actually takes to not be saved. You know, the Reformed position does have a very thorough articulation of perserverance of the saints and a definition of apostasy.

    We believe that all the regenerate are the elect. All the elect will persevere. All the elect are preserved by God.

    Now, that said, this is how it works: Christians can and often do backslide grievously. If a person becomes apostate, they were not saved at all. We do not go for the easy believism of Reformed Arminians and, while we say that many, like Geisler are moderate Calvinists, the doctrine of "eternal security" allows for easy believism Christianity, and we by no means would say if you fall into sin you should question your salvation. We feel it is more accurate to say this:

    From the Abstract of Principles from Southern Seminary:

    Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall, through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.


    Apostasy and backsliding are similar but not the same:

    Derived from James Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology:

    Apostasy is defined as embracing all 3 of these:

    a. A gradual, sometimes even radical, moral falling way/decay. (This can even become outright antinominianism). b. a falling away from core evangelical doctrine, an outright repudiation of the gospel, and c. a loss of spirituality of mind (no internal conviction of sin AT ALL...in fact, the apostate will say, "I have no sin in me," while all the while sinning. ALL THREE OF THESE CONSTITUTE APOSTASY. (By the way, we get this right out of 1 John).

    Backsliding may be constituted by one, sometimes two of the above, usually the first one, but never all three.

    All Christians can backslide.


    From R.B.C. Howell:

    It is, secondly, necessary that you discriminate carefully, between backsliding, and apostasy. The former is the act of turning back from God; the latter is the forsaking, or the renouncing of the religion of Christ. Backsliding consists either in the relinquishment of evangelical doctrine; or in the loss of spirituality of mind; or in the gradual departure from correct morals. All these evils are embraced in apostasy. The backslider commits transgressions, but returns to his allegiance, and obtains forgiveness, and acceptance. The apostate continues; dies in his sins; and "so eternally perishes." We teach that none of the true children of God--he believing, the pardoned, the regenerated, the sanctified--become apostate, but to backsliding, of every character and degree, all, it is but too evident, even the best, and most devoted, are constantly, and painfully liable.
     
  14. Marcia

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    LorrieGrace, do you think that since Gotti was baptized he will get into heaven? :confused:

    Do you believe in purgatory? :confused: :eek:
     
  15. GeneMBridges

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    But a spiritually dead man is not a corpse. He is a creature with thoughts and a mind capable of hearing and discerning God's word. Jesus plainly said that,

    "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live."

    You have it backwards. You say "they that live shall hear." Jesus said "that the hear shall live."

    And James said,

    "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth."

    Answer me this: was it the word believed or unbelieved whereby we were born again?

    Mark Osgatharp
    </font>[/QUOTE]We do not deny those things at all. We believe 1 Cor. 1:18, "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    We believe, Romans 2:13, "...hearers of the Law will not be justified, but doers of the Law."

    We believe, 1 John 3:23a "This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ,"

    We believe, The unregenerate is deceitful and sick (Jer. 17:9), full of evil (Mk 7:21-23), loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19), does not understand, does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12), is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3), cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).

    We simply believe, the unbeliever CAN respond to God. His response will be in accordance to scripture that says he cannot do good, is a hater of God, is full of evil, etc., Therefore, we conclude that his free will response will be to reject God, according to the limits described by Scripture itself.

    In order to obey the gospel, e.g. believe, therefore, we believe that there must be a resurrection. Yes, we have natural abilities, but we are basically walkng corpses spiritually speaking. Thus, regeneration must precede faith, and, by and large, we say that when one occurs the other does as well.
     
  16. Matt Black

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    Faith is trusting in Christ and His promise of salvation.

    Mark Osgatharp
    </font>[/QUOTE]Can we unpack that a bit more? I would see it in terms of

    (a) acceptance - of one's fallen/ sinful state and consequent eternal separation from God

    (b) belief - that Jesus died to solve the above problem (without necessarily understanding all the nuances of penal substitutionary atonement)with the consequence of being offered eternal life with God, beginning now

    (c) commitment - of one's life to Jesus, repentance (which can be a statement of intent, but which one would expect to be genuine and to bear fruit in due course - Gal 6; James 2 etc)

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  17. mprivett

    mprivett
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    But a spiritually dead man is not a corpse. He is a creature with thoughts and a mind capable of hearing and discerning God's word. Jesus plainly said that,

    "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live."

    You have it backwards. You say "they that live shall hear." Jesus said "that the hear shall live."

    And James said,

    "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth."

    Answer me this: was it the word believed or unbelieved whereby we were born again?

    Mark Osgatharp
    </font>[/QUOTE]-----------
    In the Greek, John 5:24: I tell you the truth, He who is hearing (present active participle) my words and is believing (present active participle) Him who sent me has (present) eternal life.

    A hearing one has eternal life. This verse says nothing about the new birth.

    You quote John 5:25: "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live."

    That's inconclusive at best. It says that the dead will (future tense) hear.

    Grammatically this could mean either ....

    1) Spiritually dead people while in their state of spiritual death will hear the voice of the Son of God and live.

    2) Spiritually dead people will be brought out of their state of spiritual death into spiritual life and will hear the voice of the Son of God and live.

    Either meaning is grammatically possible, so that leaves one thing to do ... look at the rest of Scripture.

    For instance, if you want to stay in John...

    3:3 - Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God [and respond in faith... regeneration MUST come first]

    3:8 - The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit [it is not something we conjure up because we really really believe, it is "of the Spirit]

    5:21- "the Son gives life to whom He wishes."

    Then,

    Ephesians 2:4-5: But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us (who is us? see 1:1 - to the saints), even when we (the saints) were dead in our transgressions, made us (the saints) alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

    Dead sinners don't faith themselves to life. Did Lazarus rise because he really really wanted to live again? No, Christ gave him life, and he responded. In the same way, a dead sinner is given the new birth by God, and that regenerate individual always responds in faith.
     
  18. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    mprivett,

    Of course you must say it's "inconclusive" because it you accept it at face value you must abandon your Calvinism. But you say,

    Now you have resorted to putting words in Jesus mouth which He never said. What Jesus did say, when Nicodemas asked him "how can these things be" is,

    "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

    And John himself said,

    "as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God."

    These, and many other passages, put reception of Christ before the impartation of life. For example, John the Baptist said,

    "He that believeth not the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."

    Here is an explicit refutation of the idea that a man has life before he has faith. So now answer my question, please:

    James said "of his own will begat he us with the word of truth" - was it the word of truth believed or unbelieved whereby we were begotten of God?

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  19. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Matt Black,

    Agreed; which is inherently involved in trusting the promise of Christ which is that the believer, "should not perish but have everlasting life."

    Agreed, with the understanding that while one may not understand all the nuances of Christ's substitutionary death, neither can he reject it.

    This I totally reject. The "repentance" involved in obtaining eternal life has nothing to do with a practical turning from sin. It is a change of mind wherein the lost sinner quits trusting whatever he was trusting and starts trusting Christ alone for his entrace into eternal life.

    If a man makes a "commitment" to obey Christ it would be a farce because sooner or later he would break the commitment and God does not honor good intentions - the road to hell is paved with them.

    God does, however, honor the honest soul who realizes he will never be right without the saving grace of God and flings himself on God's mercy offered in Christ. That is what saving faith, or trust, is all about.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  20. Matt Black

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    I think we're posting at cross-purposes, Mark. Your last three paragraphs sum up effectively what I meant by 'statement of intent': a wish to serve God but a realisation that without God the Holy Spirit that would be merely wishful thinking

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     

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