The Dunamis Word 2

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Upholding The Light Of Jesus In A Dark World

Regeneration

(Greek) paliggenesia { pal-ing-ghen-es-ee’-ah} From 2 root words 1- palin { pal’-in} meaning to make anew again and 2- genesis { ghen’-es-is} meaning the place of the beginning of one’s lineage or ancestry or human origins.

This word is used in scripture primarily as it pertains to spiritual regeneration or spiritual new birth. (Titus 3:5, John 3:3-6, Gal.3:13, 2 Cor. 5:17 ) Theopedia.com says the following of regeneration, “It (regeneration) extends to the whole nature of man, altering his governing disposition, illuminating his mind, freeing his will, and renewing his nature.” The word is used in a second sense in Matt. 19:28 to indicate a time when “all things” are restored, referring to the future advent of Christ’s return to the Earth and the establishment of Kingdom of God on the Holy Hill of Zion (Ps. 2:6)

The act or process of regeneration as noted in the Holy Ghost Synopsis Pg. 2, is an act of God whereby the individual maintains growth and relationship with the Lord (Epes. 5:18, Phil. 2:12-13, Col. 3:16), becomes empowered for service (Lk. 24:49, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:4, Mk. 16:16-18) and continues to produce the manifestation of the Fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galations 5:22-23.

This act is an essential and necessary work of the Holy Ghost in salvation as outlined in scripture and is the only prerequisite to an individual receiving the baptism or the infilling of the Holy Ghost. (Jn. 3:3-5, Jn. 14:17)

The monergism of regeneration states that because we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephes. 2:1-10) that we cannot participate in the regenerative process in any way and as such, regeneration is a free exercise of divine power (John 3:8) and not the will or desire of the individual. Under this interpretive, regeneration would occur upon the elect at the time of salvation. There are however, some theologians, such as Dr. R.C. Sproul, that teach although regeneration is a monergistic act of God, it yet preceeds faith.

The Arminian mode or view of regeneration would hold similar to the monergistic view with the exception that God’s “grace” has appeared to all men even in advance of the act of salvation (Titus 2:11, Rom. 5:8) and must be received or cooperated with before the saving element of that grace can take hold in our hearts. This sort of grace and reconciliation was described by Jacob Arminius (1560-1609) as “Prevenient Grace” which gave man the ability to exercise free will by choosing salvation. This is called synergism in many circles.  (This will be discussed in an upcoming writing on Reform Theology)

A criticism of the teaching on regeneration as espoused on this site is that our view affords a sinner to be or become “illuminated” before the act of salvation, thus allowing one to make a choice for Christ by the exercise of freewill while yet in their sins. I would however submit that scripture teaches the “grace which bringeth salvation, has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11) God’s grace that brings salvation has appeared to sinner and saint alike. The only way that could occur is through and because of Christ. So in it’s primary and most basic context, Christ himself brought about a certain level of illumination to mankind by HIS very presence in the world (John 1:9, Ps.109:105). HIS sacrifice eliminated the partition between God and man (Mt. 27:51, Mk. 15:38, Lk. 23:45, 2 Cor. 5:19) and broke the power of darkness bringing illumination to the whole of mankind.

One of the first acknowledgements seen in scripture of this act of God after the death of Jesus was the testimony of the Centurion who witnessed Jesus death on the Cross (Mt. 27:54). His very confession showed this illumination. Illumination however, should not be confused with salvation (James 2:19) spiritual regeneration unto salvation or the confession of salvation which is a separate act of God. (Rom.10: 9-10, John 3:15, Ephes. 5:26).

The monergistic view of this sort of illunination would always preceed salvation since only the elect could experience it. We contend that thought to be unscriptural.

Click Here For Pt. 1 Is Reformed & Evangelical Theology Biblical? 

7 Responses

  1. Shafarr Savoy says:

    I have a couple of questions. Do you believe that Christians who are truly born of God and baptized with the Holy Spirit can lose their salvation and must be reborn again?

    PHB~ Shafarr I believe that a truely saved Christian can walk away from that salvation at any time and commit immoral acts against what they know is right to do. I further believe that individuals in that condition must repent and do their first works over (Rev. 2:5) This was said to the entire church at Ephesus.

    I believe you must stay in Christ once you are truly saved and live for him and endure until the end Matthew 24:13. I believe that you can backslide like the word of God says and that if you keep going you will be chastened of the Lord and then God will hand you over to a reprobate mind and then if you continue in backsliding you will lose your salvation on judgment day. Some people believe in once saved always saved and that once you are truly saved you will never lose your salvation.

    PHB~ I think that thought has been thoroughly challenged by some of the more scholarly reprisals of faith in the modern era. There is a seemingly growing number of biblical scholars who have denounced their faith, even after having participated highy in helping others to understand and even shape modern Christianity. Bart Ehrman comes to mind. I may challenge his conclusions, scholarship and arguments but I will not challenge whether he was ever saved or not. I believe to challenge those areas are the height of arrogance which is normally associated with the Calvinistic view. I don’t want to paint with a broad brush but Calvinism is so constructed that it doesn’t allow for a reversal of the faith position.

    One more question, do you believe that God has already elected his saints who will go to heaven like what John Calvin preached.

    PHB~ Yes and No. I believe that grace has been extended to all, and that God in his soverienty does not predetermine or preelect the souls of men to death. I don’t hold to double predestination as it is termed. The calvinistic view is not a true exercise of free will. That is fatalism. Calvinism stops a centemeter short of saying this of their world view. This is what John Wesley and Jacobus Arminius rejected about Calvinism.

    My friend believes this. I have scriptures backing up what I am saying and he believes that God already chosen his elect and that the rest he will allow to go to hell. When Paul was talking about in Ephesians that the elect are sealed unto the day of redemption was the Holy Spirit saying through the Apostle Paul that those who are God’s elect are going to be sealed until the day of the redemption? AM I missing something that I am not getting in this verse? May you please help me answer my question? Thank You God Bless keep speaking the truth!

    PHB~ One of the most twisted scriptures by those who read it with a presuppositional bias. Ephes. 1:11-13~ “11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”

    Now yes, sealed means sealed, but the meaning of “sealed” is what can be the controversial part. There is generally 1 definition with 4 to 5 subcategories for this word. In fact the word is sphragizo { sfrag-id’-zo} Strongs 5381.
    1-to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal
    Sub 1- for security: from Satan
    Sub. 2- since things sealed up are concealed (as the contents of a letter), to hide, keep in silence, keep secret
    Sub. 3- in order to mark a person or a thing
    Sub. 4- in order to prove, confirm, or attest a thing
    Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

    With the scope of this word, it does not indicate a “free pass” to salvation or spiritual things. We’re sealed in the context that we are not in satan’s hands, we are converted from the world and its system, and we abide under HIS shadow, with the right of access once we have been tested.

    Salvation is a sure thing and with HIM we will survive, but this is not an insurance policy or insurance language. This is contract language. This indicates that we belong to God Some individuals apply this to our future condition without responsibility and that is an irresponsible approach. The Calvinist and believer in “eternal security” would hold that that seal is it. Once in you’re in, and you can’t get out. But the scripture itself sets up a transaction…look at what he says…v. 13-14 ~ “ 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

    He says the seal or the Holy Spirit that we have received is the “earnest of our inheritance until the redemption”. This is merely a downpayment on what we are to receive and have received. This is called “consideration” within a contract. In order to have an agreement there must be consideration exchanged and just as God gave consideration through the blood of his son he further illudes to the future redemption of all things through the “consideration” of sharing his spirit. Like a mortgage payment, the house is yours until you default, then the bank flexes. God is wanting you to complete this, he’s done it all BUT you have a responsibility.

    This passage does not privelige the believer into a false sense of irresponsible living, but it brings the believer to greater faith and trust that what they have committed to God that he will keep unto the day of redemption.

    2 Tim. 1:12 ~ “12For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

    So in conclusion, when one interprets scriptures in an obtuse manner like this it is a material flaw in understanding the nature, holiness and redemption of God. He has saved us unto good works. His salvation is sure and unchangeable, but we sometimes change our position in relationship to that salvation and that change can have an effect either positively or negatively on the final outcome.

    Think of it this way, God will not withhold salvation from them that want it. It’s HIS nature to save. Simultaneously, he will not withold hell from them that want it. It would be a violation of his nature to make someone enjoy heaven who does not want him. Consequentely, those of us who have been sealed are saved but not under cohersion to remain and our continued salvation will be something that we are aware of not something that we will leave unmaintained.

    Please let me know if that answer is comfortable and understandable. Thanks for coming by, and God bless.

  2. Shafarr Savoy says:

    Yes the answer was good. Please keep speaking the truth and I will save this answer to my laptop and share it with all of my friends who believe in “eternal security”. Please keep speaking the truth and come out with more positive uplifting powerful blogs that will leads souls to Christ. I am twenty-two and I been saved eight years. I always wanted to grow like this keep it up!!

  3. Shafarr Savoy says:

    Hi brother Elder Burnett I have another question concerning this issue once more I just got into a discussion with some people about once saved always saved and I have a question. i was discussing that we must stay in Christ and the people who I was debating was saying that we need to stay saved and that God’s grace is what keeps us. I said to them God’s grace was not created to keep us because God has given us a limited free will to stay in him or not. God’s grace is so that if we turn back from Christ we can always come back. They kept saying that according to your logic that God’s grace is not powerful enough to keep us. I said that God did not make his grace to keep us however to be there if we want to come back because they have the wrong definition of Grace. Then they brought up the scripture 1 John 2:19 They went out from us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained in us, but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. They use this scripture to say that a true Christian cannot leave God because his his grace keeps us and that if a true Christians decides to keep sinning then God’s grace keeps us. His love is too great to understand. which is ridiculous and unbiblical. I believe that there saved people then there is a backslider and a unsaved person. If the person sins and backslides he can convert to being an unbeliever.

  4. dunamis2 says:

    Shafarr,

    Thanks for dropping back by my friend and thanks for continuing to study this issue and others.

    To the point, reformed theology, out of which “once saved always saved” flows does not allow for a true believer to refrain from belief or to go back on his committment to Christ because of their understanding of of election, predestination, and the soveriegnty of God.

    This mixture for them solidifies that ONLY the elect from the beginning are the ones who will hear and respond to the Gospel and that upon responding God has the complete job or maintenence of that salvation. This is Sola Gratia~ by grace alone, our only method in reference to salvation.

    Now the extremists realize that these conclusions also lead to thoughts that the elect will be saved whether they hear the message or not, and the non-elect will be damned no matter what they do. This is called “Double Predestination” The elect will be saved because of God’s “Irresistable Grace”. The Primitive Baptist church teaches this openly and plainly today. Here’s Dr. Calvin’s view:

    “…(God) does not create everyone in the same condition, but ordains eternal life for some and eternal damnation for others.”(Cited in Alister McGrath, Christian Theology, p. 396)

    So this is a murky mixture of scriptural conjections that go further than what they were originally intended to go. In fact Dr. Calvin warned against delving too deeply into the subject of predestination in his writings (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 21, section 1)

    So this is the basis of what you are facing. I will do a post on this topic so that you can see it more indepthly. Not all evangelical’s hold to all aspects of this doctrine but there are many that do. It sounds like you are dealing with them that do.

    So far as God’s grace is concerned, it was never meant to be abused or misused:

    Rom. 6:2~“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

    The Christian is not entitled to live in a life of sin. Further Paul states in Galations 5:19-23:

    “19-Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20-Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21-Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

    “They which do such things”…this is not a refrence to the world only. This is a refence to any individuals Christian or not which perform such acts. This is pivotal to understand that forced salvation is not free-will, but that’s in line with evangelical theology because in their view we are so “totally depraved” that we simply cannot think “freely”

    Scripture teaches as I stated in the article that God’s Grace has appeared to all men:

    Titus 2:11~“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”

    I believe that the correct interpretive of “all men” is “all men” both saved and lost.

    So in short, do we live by Grace, NO. We live by faith (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11 and Heb. 10:38)

    Are we saved by grace? Yes.

    Can we abuse the Grace of God. Yes.

    Can we be truely enlightened and reject God? Yes.
    Heb.6:4-6~“4-For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5-And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6-If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

    Then finally their argument from 1 John 2:19 is totally misinformed. This scripture deals with “teachers” who were beginning to challenge the diety of Jesus and mythologize Jesus as gnostic teacher Cerinthus did before John the Apostle passed away. This had NOTHING to do with those who were truely saved but everything to do with those who perverted the Gospel and began to teach another Jesus. See my thread on “Christianities Just The Atheist & Skeptic Wet Dream” for more information regarding this.

    In short, all you need to do is sharpen your argument and make them define their terms better. In my opinion, this type of theology is helping to create more atheists because it’s filled with “smoke and mirrors” and a way to make one feel better about not evangelizing the lost.

    As I said I’ll do a more indepth post in a few days and will email you personally when it’s up. Thanks and God Bless.

  5. Shafarr Savoy says:

    Thank you.

  6. Paul N says:

    wow, I am late but this is an awesome post.

    I have long been saying that regenaration prior to faith doesnt make any sense. What these teachers are saying is that God saves saved people, it is an unreasonable stance. I have asked many that question “so, God is saving saved people” and for the life of me they will not answer me either yes or no.

    This is what Paul said

    “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

    Belief preceeds salvation, so it must preceed regeneration. One cannot be regenerated without being saved.

    This is what Charles Spurgeon had to say on the matter (him being a reformed teacher).

    “If I am to preach the faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate. Am I only to preach faith to those who have it? Absurd, indeed! Is not this waiting till the man is cured and then bringing him the medicine? This is preaching Christ to the righteous and not to sinners.”

    They wil ask me then how does one get faith – the scriptures is plain – “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17.

    Yes this false teaching has its roots in “total depravity” which I find to be another unbelievable claim by these teachers. This claim is so broad that they actually believe that nothing an unbeliever does is good but God doesnt say that in scripture.

    I am not sure how they reconcile that with God recieving Abels offering or Cornelius’ good works being noticed by God when he was unsaved (Acts 10:7) or the gentiles doing according to the law without the law:

    Romans 2:
    14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).

    I have no doubt that much of reformed doctrine is man made, it forces a view on scripture by what the man is saying and not what God is saying.

    Why would people want to place their trust in our God if he sent people to hell just because that was His choice?

    • dunamis2 says:

      Paul N,

      That is how I see it also. You introduced a great thought…if a person is regenerated before salvation then that’s the equivalent of “God saving the saved”. Now the monergist have no problem with that as they believe only the “elect” will be saved anyway. So certainly they would hold that all men would experience this regeneration on the “elect” men.
      So good food for thought there. I appreciate the comment.
      Check out the one on Cornelius also. We’ve had a great deal of discussion on that topic and that may challenge some views on the interpretation of that passage. Blessed!

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