Archive for the ‘Regeneration’ Category

Regeneration by God 12

February 22, 2014

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

This great doctrine of regeneration is so radical (in one sense) that not many are prepared to accept the implications of it. The doctrine of regeneration has tentacles (of grace and love that reach into all aspects of theology, but these glorious tentacles are centered and focused upon God and God-centeredness. Regeneration is either a doctrine of sovereign grace or it is something that man can attain to in some way by what he does. At this point the doctrine of total depravity and inability are seen in contrast to the sovereign grace of God who regenerates according to Himself and not according to anything found in man or done by man.

One of the biblical teachings that men hate is that all men are born dead in sins and trespasses and by nature they are children of wrath (Eph 2:1-3). This is to say that men must be made alive by some power outside of themselves and that their nature must change. The Scriptures also teach us that all men are born as children of the devil and that they must be changed by regeneration in order to become children of the living God. Another way to put this teaching of Scripture is that men are born with a nature of self-centeredness and self-love (selfishness) and must be born again in order to be God-centered with a love for God. The only people that love God are those that have been regenerated or born again.

1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

I John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

There is something unique and quite different from biblical love and what the natural man (whether religious or not) thinks of as love. The natural man thinks that when you are nice to someone and try to do nice things for them that this is love. In terms of romance, this is seen in giving things so one can obtain the feelings of others in return. But Divine love is far different. It is concerned about the glory of God and then how other human beings will love and glorify God. Divine love is not so much about doing nice things and getting nice things in return, nor is it concerned so much about the rush of feelings that the natural man is concerned about. This Divine love is focused on love for God and His glory. The greatest act of love that one human being can do for another is to direct them toward God and to love Him.

From I John 3:9-10 we can see that there are children of God and children of the devil and that a sign of being a child of God is loving a brother (spiritual brother, a Christian). From I John 4:7-8 we can see that the only people who love are those who are born of God and know God. No one who has not been born from above truly loves God or others. Then we see in John 13:35 that it is only the disciples of Christ who truly love. True love is the mark of a Christian and without this one cannot see that others are disciples of Christ. What should be noted again, however, is that the world and the religious world have their own ideas about the nature of love. Just because a person thinks that s/he loves does not mean that the person has true love. Just because a person is very nice does not mean that the person has true love. Just because a person is very religious and very nice does not mean that the person has true love. Religiosity, niceness, and human love can come from the natural man. True and Divine love can only come from God and will only be in regenerate souls.

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Regeneration by God 11

December 15, 2013

 

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” John 3:3.  Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

What must happen to the soul that comes to the realization that it is dead in sin? It must be born from above. What must happen to the soul that realizes that by nature it is a child of wrath? It must be born from above. What must happen to the soul that is in darkness? It must be born from above. These things are quite clear and are certainly basic to Christianity. But what must happen to the soul for it to be born from above? Ah, now this is something that has been largely forgotten in our day.

God opposes the proud. This is a statement that should be normal, but it is still a shock to our systems and way of thinking if we are not exposed to it from Scripture on a regular basis. God stands in battle alignment (opposes) the proud and He does not give them one bit of grace. How can a proud person receive grace from a humble Savior? How can a proud person desire to have humility but from a desire to have pride fulfilled? The Pharisees were full of pride and so they prayed, gave alms, and fasted in order to be seen by men (Matthew 6). The Lord granted them their real wish which was to be seen by men and honored by them, but He did not give them want was really good. What He gave them was a curse to their souls since their desire to be seen by others was from pride and the attention they obtained from others just fueled and increased their pride. God opposed their pride by turning them over to their sin of pride.

God gives grace to the humble. It might seem on the surface of this text that if God gives grace to the humble then a humble person earns grace, but one needs to look deeper into the heart of things. Every unregenerate soul is a proud soul and does not have the slightest bit of true humility in it. It is true enough that many natural men appear humble, but that has to do with their personality. Only those that have the humble Savior as their life have true humility. The life of Christ in the soul is true humility and nothing else. God gives grace to the humble because the humble are regenerate people, have Christ as their life, and they seek His face.

Some of the older writers made a distinction in types of humility. They would distinguish between a legal humiliation and a gracious or evangelical humiliation. The legal humiliation of the soul would be when God brought the soul down and emptied it of all hope in self, but the soul was not regenerate and did not have saving grace. But the evangelical humiliation of the soul was for a regenerated soul and God poured out His grace in that soul and that soul had Christ as its life and so it had the life of humility.

What we can see by this understanding of things is that the soul must be brought to a legal humiliation before it will see Christ alone as its hope. The soul that is full of self, though indeed that soul may be a very religious self, is proud and will fight true grace. But the hand of God can begin to humble the soul and bring the soul to an end of self when God opens the eyes of the soul to the demands of His law and of what the soul is by nature. That soul can be brought low to where it has been emptied of all hope in self and looks to grace and grace alone for the work of regeneration that it so desperately needs. It is only when the soul is brought down by legal humiliation that God regenerates it and gives it evangelical humiliation which then prepares the soul for more and more grace. But we can see the utter and desperate need of the soul to be humbled that it may receive grace. No, this humbling of the soul is not by works, but instead is by the hand of God teaching the soul what it must have. This is not a sinner preparing himself for grace, but instead it is God preparing the soul by emptying it of itself to receive grace. It is not the soul being prepared in a way that brings it up, but instead it is the soul finding out just how unprepared it really is for grace and so brings the soul down to where it does not trust in self or anything self can do. Indeed it is true that the soul must be prepared by coming to see how unprepared it is, but this is the work of God.

Regeneration by God 10

November 23, 2013

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The passage in Titus 3 (just above) shows the depths of sin and then focuses on the grace of God. The description of unbelievers in verse 3 is a universal description in that it describes all unbelievers, but even more it sets out the necessity of regeneration. How can a foolish heart become wise unless that heart is regenerated and Christ becomes the wisdom of that heart? How can a disobedient heart become submissive and obedient unless it is born from above? How can a deceived heart become one that is no longer deceived but has Christ and truth as part of its very nature? Only be regeneration and the indwelling Christ. How can a person be delivered from slavery to lusts and pleasures? It can only happen by the mighty hand of God in giving that person a new heart and freedom in Christ. How can a person repent of living in malice and envy and seek the good of other human souls apart from being granted a new heart in regeneration? How can a person be turned from being hateful and hating others apart from receiving a new heart in which the love of God dwells? Regeneration is an absolute and utter necessity.

The language of holy Writ is so beautiful and so clear in this passage. How wicked and unlike God man is in his sin and self-centeredness in all things, yet the kindness of God (as opposed to the malice and hate of man) and His love appeared. How did the kindness and love of God appear? They appeared when Christ appeared and lived, died, and was resurrected for the glory of God and the good of His people. Christ saves, not based on anything that a person can do or actually does, but only according to His mercy. But note how this text sets out this mercy. God saves according to His mercy and does so BY “the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

Poor sinners who are enslaved can come to the point where they realize that they need mercy, but mercy for a sinner is in regeneration of that sinner. Sinners do not just need someone to be nice to them, they need a real and powerful mercy that will regenerate and renew them. Sinners must have the work of the Holy Spirit whom Christ purchased for the elect on the cross (Galatians 3:13-14) to regenerate and renew them. Regeneration and renewal is not something that can happen apart from what the Holy Spirit does and no one can have the Holy Spirit apart from Christ purchasing the Spirit for them. Oh how beautiful it is to behold the glory and wonder of grace when we see it mediated through the cross of Christ in purchasing the Spirit who regenerates the people Christ died for.

The Holy Spirit is pictured as being poured out upon believers, but not just a casual pouring out, but being poured out upon them richly. This is all done through Jesus Christ. But notice how the beauty and delightfulness of this just keeps coming. This was done so that sinners could be justified by His grace and be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Regeneration is connected to justification by grace alone. Regeneration is connected to the possession and hope of eternal life. Apart from regeneration there is no justification and apart from regeneration and justification there is no eternal life. The soul must be regenerated in order to be united to Christ and apart from unity with Christ there is no basis for justification. The soul is not declared just because it is regenerated, but because it is united to Christ. So regeneration precedes justification, but it does not cause it. Christ has purchased the Holy Spirit for His people who regenerates them and being united to Christ they are declared just. The glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not apart from regeneration. How we need to set out this teaching to the glory of our God in Christ Jesus.

Regeneration by God 9

November 15, 2013

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

The absolute and utter necessity of regeneration is set out for us in Colossians 1:13 as well. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” In this text we can see that salvation is set forth in terms of people being under the domain of darkness, but they are rescued from that darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son. While the words seem to set this out as an external kingdom, the reality is that the domain of darkness is in the inward man and the kingdom of Christ is also in the inward man. Both are primarily issues of the heart. It is not just that the behavior or deeds must change, but the heart must change. If the heart is in darkness because of what it is, then it must be changed in order to be under the rule of another. The kingdom of Christ is the reign of Christ in the heart and Christ will not live and dwell in a heart that is not changed. Thus we can see the absolute and utter necessity of regeneration.

2 Corinthians 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

The god of this world is speaking of the one who reigns in the hearts and lives of those who in the world or are part of the worldly system. That god (the devil, Satan) works to blind the minds of the unbelieving from the light of the Gospel. Those who are in the domain of darkness (from Col 1:13) remain in darkness because of the work of the evil one and so they are blinded to the light of the Gospel. But note that this light of the Gospel is the light of the glory of Christ. Satan works feverishly to blind the eyes of sinners to the glory, though not necessarily to the facts of the Gospel.

Colossians 1:13 shows us so clearly that sinners have to have one greater than themselves rescue them and take them from the bonds and domain of darkness. The text tells us that it was God who rescued believers from the domain of darkness. It was not that sinners could do this themselves or that a priest or a group of priests could do this, but instead it was God who rescues His people. He rescues them from the domain of darkness, which shows that the unregenerate are slaves, though willing slaves to darkness. Darkness dominates them and domineers over them and controls all that they do, but God rescues them.

Not only does God rescue them from darkness, it is God that transfers them to the kingdom of His beloved Son. Here we see the beauty of God on display as He not only rescues people from the domain and bondage of darkness, but He transfers them to the kingdom of His beloved Son. The dominion of darkness is an evil and cruel bondage, but those who are wrenched from the power of darkness are then taken into and granted a new King, the King of kings who reigns in kindness and love, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The necessity of regeneration is so clear from this passage and the context of all Scripture. Each and every human being descended from Adam is either a child of the devil or a child of God. All who are not regenerated are children of the devil and so under the domain and dominion of darkness. All those who are regenerated have Christ in their hearts and so they have been transferred to the kingdom of God. As Jesus said in John 3, unless one is born from above, he cannot see or enter the kingdom. So those who have been transferred to the kingdom are those who are born from above and as such they are children of the living God. It must be declared and asserted with the greatest strength that a person absolutely MUST be born from above to enter the kingdom. Regeneration is an utter and absolute necessity.

Regeneration by God 8

November 7, 2013

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

The great and glorious doctrine of regeneration, though largely ignored in the modern world of religion, is found in various ways throughout Scripture though the language is not always the same. John 1:13 speaks of being born of God, John 3:3-5 speaks of being born again (or from above), and there are other passages that speak to this doctrine in their own ways. For example, Ephesians 2:1-5 goes not use the word “birth” or “born” or anything just like that, but it is speaking of the same great truth.

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

The text in Ephesians sets out man as being dead in trespasses and sin, a slave to the prince of the power of the air, a slave to the lusts of the flesh and mind; and then of being by nature a child of wrath. The contrast to all of those things is of being made alive together with Christ by grace. But what must happen to a person that is dead if that person is going to be with Christ in a form of life? That person must be made alive. In other words, that person must be born from above or born again. The person that is spiritually dead must be made spiritually alive way if that person is going to be a spiritual person.

What must happen to a person that is a slave to the prince of the power of the air? That person must be made free from that prince. When a person is a slave in the sense that a person is a slave to sin, that person must be freed from the slavery of sin. But this can only happen when that person is freed from the bondage of sin and of spiritual death, so again that person must be made alive in Christ Jesus.

What must happen to a person that is a slave to the lusts of the flesh and of the mind? As Galatians sets out for us in chapter five of that book, the flesh wars against the Spirit. Those who are controlled by the fleshly nature are those that are not controlled by the Spirit who works spiritual things in those with spiritual natures. Men must be made alive by the Spirit and be born of the Spirit in order to be made spiritual men. It is not just that men must stop having certain desires of the flesh and of the mind, which come from the fleshly nature, but instead they must have a new nature and so have new desires of the Spirit and of the mind. This person must be made alive and be born from above by the Spirit in order to have those things.

What must happen to a person that by nature is a child of wrath? That person must be born from above in order to have a nature that is from God and so be a child of God. All men are born in a nature that shows them to be children of the devil, which is to be born in a state of wrath. That nature must be changed by a new birth so that a person can become a child of the living God. In other words, it is impossible for a person to be saved from the wrath of God until a person has his nature changed. If a person is by nature a child of wrath, then that nature must be changed for the person to be something other than a child of wrath. So many people want salvation to come to them for praying a prayer, an act of the will, or by changing the behavior. But that simply cannot be. As long as a person has the same nature that s/he was born with, that person will be by nature a child of wrath. That nature cannot be changed by that nature and that nature cannot be changed by the person in any way. The nature must be changed by the living God who alone can cause a child of wrath to be a new creation in Christ Jesus. How desperately men need to be regenerate or to be born again, and yet they go sleepily on their way to everlasting wrath as long as they remain in the nature they were born with. You must be born again.

Regeneration by God 7

October 28, 2013

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

John 1:13 tells us that a believing person is not born (to belief or again) by the will of any man, but rather by the will of God. Jesus told us that without this new birth, a person cannot see or enter the kingdom of God. James wrote that the word must be received in humility. All of these points are utterly vital when considering the absolute and utter necessity of the new birth. A proud person will not look to God and cannot see the kingdom, so the proud person will not receive the word. There is an absolute necessity for the soul to be humbled in order for the soul to look away from self and look to God for the new birth. There is an absolute necessity for the soul to be delivered from the ravages of pride and self before it can in humility receive the word.

Matthew 18:3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

This verse from Matthew should also be taken into account when considering the new birth. In much the same language as John 3, Matthew records the words of Jesus as telling people that they must be turned and become like children or they would not enter the kingdom of heaven. John records Jesus as saying that a person must be born from above (or again) to enter the kingdom and Matthew says that a person must be converted and become like a child or that person will not enter the kingdom. These statements were given at different times and to different people, but they are not contradictory at all. Instead, they describe a great change that must take place in the soul.

The Greek word used in Matthew 18:3 (strafh/te) has the meaning of to turn, though in this text it is in the passive and so it is something else or someone else that must do the turning. The soul must be turned by another so that the soul would become like a young child or even an infant. What is the point of this? In the context Jesus was asked about who was the greatest in the kingdom. He basically told them that they must become like young children or infants, who do not worry about who the greatest is and simply receive all they obtain, to even enter the kingdom. Young children or infants do not worry about things like trying to obtain honor, they are very needy and receive all things that they have,

Man is born very proud and full of self, so the teaching of Jesus goes right to the point and is quite consistent with John 1:13; 3:3-8, and James 1:21. The soul must be turned (passive) which means that another must do the turning, which shows that God must will and do the turning because no one else can. For a soul to be turned from self and pride to become like an infant or young child, that is likened to the new birth. The soul that was born of self and pride (and as such a child of the devil), is now born from above and is now a humble child of the living God. This is not the result of a mere choice, but is the result of the work of God in changing the core of the person.

Matthew 18:3 does show the necessity of the new birth, but it also shows the necessity of a humbling before a person can be truly saved. James speaks of that humility that is necessary to receive the word. The new birth does not come to the person that decides of his or her own free-will, but instead it comes to those who are humbled by God and look to God alone to give it the new birth. The new birth does not come to those who think that they can essentially convert themselves by an act of their own will, but instead those who trust in their own will are not trusting in the will of God. Those who are proud and lean on self are not those who are humbled and lean on grace alone that is found only in Christ. Oh how hard it is for proud sinners to hear the words of Christ in John 3 and Matthew 18. The proud sinner not only has no power to save self, but the only power that s/he has is to resist Christ. As long as the sinner remains proud and full of self, that sinner has no hope of entering the kingdom. As long as the proud sinner tries to be humble in the power of self or tries to work up faith in self, that proud sinner is resisting and fighting true conversion. Men must be humbled and become as little children or they will perish in hell for all eternity. The words of Jesus can mean no less than that.

Regeneration by God 6

October 25, 2013

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

Human beings are born with a nature. Scripture tells us several things about what that nature is, which should teach us something about what must happen to a human being for that human being to be converted. We also know that Paul spoke of a believer (one in Christ) as a new creature (II Cor 5:17). So if a person is born with one nature and then in salvation one is a new creature, this tells us something vitally important regarding salvation. The salvation of a human being is not because a person makes a choice, but it is when God changes the nature and heart of that individual. A person without Divine creative power cannot give self or anyone else a new nature, but the new nature is vital to being a true believer. This is the work of God.

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.

Jesus was speaking to the most religious people of His day (on earth) and He was quite clear as to a real problem with them that they did not want to accept. In the Garden when Satan deceived Adam and Eve and they fell into sin, all fallen creatures were now seen as the seed of the serpent. Enmity was put between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, and that enmity was seen in the first murder (Cain and Abel) and then throughout the history of Israel coming to be a nation and then during the history of that nation.

The Pharisees thought of themselves as the elect because they were born Jews and not Gentiles, but also because they followed the Law (at least in their own minds). When Jesus told them that their father was the devil and that they did the desires of the devil, they would have been utterly shocked. Jesus then went on to say why they were children of the devil and described the devil to them:

1. They did the desires of their father
2. Their father was a murderer (and a few verses later they tried to kill Jesus)
3. Their father did not stand in the truth
4. Their was no truth in their father (Jesus was the Truth and they hated Him)
5. Their father told lies and those lies came from himself
6. Their father was a liar and the father of lies (and the Pharisees lied a lot about Jesus)
7. The Pharisees did not believe Jesus precisely because He spoke the truth (like their father the devil)

The absolute and utter necessity of regeneration is set out with stark clarity in looking at the Pharisees and the nature of the Pharisees (who were like the father of their nature, the devil). Believers are to seek the will of God and to pray for His will to be done. How can one be changed from doing the desires of the devil to doing the will of God? The only way is by regeneration and a change of nature. How can one be changed from a murderous (hating) heart to one of love? The only way is by regeneration and a change of nature. How can one be changed from one that does not stand in the truth to one that loves the truth? The only way is by regeneration and a change of nature. How can one be changed from one that there is no truth in him to one have Jesus the Truth taking His throne in that heart? The only way is by regeneration and a change of nature. How can one be changed from being a liar to one who loves truth even at personal costs? The only way is by regeneration and a change of nature. How can one be changed from being one who does not believe Jesus because He speaks to the truth to one who loves to hear Jesus because He speaks the truth? The only way is by regeneration and a change of nature.

No one can be converted apart from a change of nature. Human beings are born as children of the devil and they live like the devil even when they are moral and attend church (as demonstrated by the Pharisees). People must not be content to attend church and be moral, but rather they must be born from above and this must happen by the grace and power of God. The Gospel is perverted when regeneration is not stressed and taught. It is that important and it is that vital. Morality and correct doctrine will not change a heart, only God can.

Regeneration by God 5

October 23, 2013

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

When Jesus uttered the words to Nicodemus that one must be born again, His words were universal in nature and stated an absolute must. His words did not say what human beings can do, but instead they pointed human beings to what must happen to them. His words do not include the possibility that this is something that may happen but does not really have to happen, but instead they declare an absolute necessity. In the modern day it appears to be the popular stance by far to dismiss these words or try to get around them, but that is to do nothing more than twist the words of Scripture which is the Word of God.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

If we look with some degree of care and thought at the words of Jesus, the absolute and utter need of regeneration stands out in with extraordinary clarity. The first two words that Jesus spoke in answer to Nicodemus (“truly, truly”) clue us in that He is about to say something that needs to be listened to. The word “truly” is used 85 times in the New Testament with all but two of those used in the Gospels. Of the remaining 83 times, all but one is used by Jesus. No other writer by John records Jesus in the double “truly, truly” and he does so 25 times in the Gospel of John. However, each time Jesus is stating something of vital importance. When Jesus started off a statement with “truly, truly,” it was time to pay close attention to what He said.

After Jesus, who was the Truth, told Nicodemus and all who follow to wake up and pay attention (by saying “truly, truly”), He then said “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This points to an absolute necessity of what must happen to a person if the person was going to see the kingdom of God and then enter the kingdom. In John 3:5 Jesus uses the “truly, truly” again to point to the need to be born again to enter the kingdom. Here is a very literal translation of what Jesus said: “If not the begetting from above, you have no ability/power to see the kingdom of God.”

While we live in a world that rushes from point A to point B and does not take the time to think deeply, this verse requires us to look at it and think deeply for a period of time. We have in these words of Jesus a basic if…then statement. Then point of this type or form of statement is to put the stress upon what must happen for something else to happen. But the point is that the “if” statement must happen for the “then” condition to happen. For example, if you want to lift heavy weights, then you must train with heavy weights. Again, if you want to get very good at basketball, then you must practice basketball. Jesus, however, put it in a negative form. He said that if you are not born from above, then you have no ability/power to see or enter the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus tried to tell Jesus that he knew that Jesus was a teacher sent from God because of the signs (miracles) that He had done. Jesus, then, was telling Nicodemus that he could not see the kingdom of God though he (Nicodemus) had viewed the miracles and saw that Jesus was a man sent from God. There is a spiritual sight and a spiritual entry into the kingdom and those will only happen to those born of the Spirit. Nicodemus was befuddled to hear that he was not in the kingdom of God and that his natural birth as a Jew was not enough. The point, however, is that regardless of a person’s status in the outward things of religion, a person absolutely must be born from above and by the Spirit to have a spiritual sight and entrance into the kingdom of God. No one has any spiritual ability or power at all unless that person has been born of the Spirit of God. When Jesus used the word that is translated as “cannot”, He chose the word that has the idea of capability, ability, or power. It sets out the clear and unmistakable teaching that no one has any power or capacity to see or enter the kingdom of God unless that person is born from above (by the Spirit). The new birth is an absolute and utter necessity. Jesus made it quite clear that it was and is an absolute and utter necessity. No one should be deceived and think otherwise.

Regeneration by God 4

October 18, 2013

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

The doctrine of regeneration cannot possibly be overstated in terms of its importance. Unless a person is born again (from above, regenerated) that person will spend eternity in everlasting torment. Preachers can go on and on about how a person should pray a prayer or walk an aisle, but that is really more deception than truth. According to Jesus, as He was speaking to a person who was part of the religious elite of the day, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This great truth must be declared to people because this is an absolute must for each and every soul. As long as people think they can just say a prayer and that means that they will be saved, they will think that salvation is in their own hands. But when the truth of the doctrine of regeneration is set out, people can see that this is far beyond the power that they have.

One thing that people hate about the doctrine of regeneration is that it linked with the total depravity of man and the sovereignty of grace. Men hate the idea that they have no power to give themselves a new heart and no power to contribute to their own salvation in any way. Men hate the idea that they can obtain no merit in the slightest and that they are in the hands of God who can show mercy and grace to them as He pleases. But despite what men say and the hatred men have of it, that does not change the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. This truth is certain and it cannot be overturned.

In the late 1730’s a pastor in Scotland named William M’Culloch started a series on regeneration in his church. IT is reported that he preached on this for a year, but before he stopped a true spiritual awakening occurred in the church. In 1740 a friend of M’Culloch, James Robe, also began a series of discourses on regeneration. In 1742 an awakening occurred in the church he was pastoring. He traced the preparations for this revival back to his discourses or a series of sermons on regeneration. In other words, while it is not clear just how long he preached on regeneration, but it was most likely well over a year.

George Whitefield preached across Europe and America and he preached on the new birth over and over. Jonathan Edwards greatly stressed the sovereignty of God in giving a new heart and stated that he saw more conversions when he preached on the sovereignty of God than any other subject. This great and grand doctrine of the new birth was preached in the Reformation and then afterward during the times the Church spoke with spiritual power and had spiritual awakenings. The professing Church must get back to this core doctrine of it will continue its downward path into formalist at best.

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

When Jesus spoke this ringing indictment to the Pharisees, He was not telling them something to tickle their ears and it was not an effort to water anything down so that they would come hear Him again. The Pharisees claimed to be the children of Abraham, but Jesus told them who their real father was. The meaning of this statement to the Pharisees was enormous. They could not depend on being born of Jewish descent as a way of salvation. If they were indeed children of the devil who lied because he spoke from his own nature, then they also had no truth in them as well. A simple change of outward forms or morality would not do. They must be born again.

The same is true in the modern day as well. Our churches are being filled with religious people and perhaps moral people, but they are children of the devil as well. They must be born again (from above, regenerated) or they will continue in their religion, whether liberal or conservative, and be just like their father the devil. This great teaching of Scripture is not mentioned a lot today much less stressed and taught extensively. But until it is set out as vital to true Christianity, the professing Church will continue professing but do so with no power and no vital truth in it.

Regeneration by God 3

October 16, 2013

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

The doctrine of regeneration by the sovereign hand of God is an absolute truth that needs to be taught over and over. It is true because it is taught with great clarity in the Scriptures and it is true because of how it ties in with the other doctrines of Scripture. The doctrine of regeneration by the sovereign hand of God is absolutely true because the doctrines of total depravity and total inability are true. The doctrine of regeneration by the sovereign hand of God is absolutely true because there is only one kind of pure and holy grace and it is sovereign grace. The doctrine of regeneration by the sovereign hand of God is absolutely true because the doctrine of unconditional election is true. The doctrine of regeneration by the sovereign hand of God is absolutely true because the doctrine of irresistible grace is true. The doctrine of regeneration by the sovereign hand of God is absolutely true because the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone is true.

Isaiah 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

Isaiah 53:6 tells us the nature of sin. All human beings have gone astray by turning to his or her own way. What can turn a person from following themselves and turn to the LORD? Can a person turn himself from following self to following the LORD? No, this simply cannot be and it cannot be in the slightest sense. The nature of sin is such that a person cannot be turned from sin unless the debt of sin is paid. There is no freedom from sin until a person is turned from the debt of sin and the power of sin. There is no freedom from sin until a person has the debt of sin paid for and is transferred from the reign and rule of darkness into the kingdom of the Beloved Son. But until the debt has been paid and applied, each person will continue to follow his own way and will be enslaved to self and pride. But no one can pay his own debt and free himself from the bondage to evil and the evil one.

It takes Christ to step in and to take the iniquity of all those who would be saved upon Himself. Note that it is the LORD who has caused the iniquity of us all (all who would believe) to fall on Him. This Christ had to suffer in order to satisfy the justice of God and to satisfy the debt of the elect. This Christ was the Divine Son of God and He took human flesh to Himself in order to live a perfect life and then go to the cross in order to be a perfect sacrifice to God for the sins of His people.

What we must see is that Christ has taken the sins away from His people and yet has purchased the Holy Spirit for His people (Galatians 3:13-14). When Christ purchased the Holy Spirit for His people, this shows that He has also purchased all that the Spirit would do to and in His people. The new birth or regeneration is true because it was necessary for Christ to suffer and die so that His people could be regenerated. This glorious doctrine of regeneration by the hand of our sovereign God is true and utterly necessary because it is a Divine work and beyond the power of any man. When our Lord Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be born again to enter the kingdom, He also told him that this was a work of the Spirit of the living God who did that as He pleased (John 3:8). This glorious doctrine of regeneration by the hand of our sovereign God has to be true because God has elected His children, the Son has purchased what it takes to be a child of God, and the Spirit works this life in the soul of the elect. This is absolutely necessary.

This great doctrine of regeneration by the hand of our sovereign God stands in perfect accord with the whole of sound doctrine. It is not just a prayer by which a man can change himself or move God to change him, but it is God that changes the heart as He pleases. Oh how we must urge men to look at their hearts and see how much they are trusting in themselves rather than Christ. Oh how we must urge men to seek the Lord for hearts that are broken from pride and emptied of self. The doctrine of regeneration is also tied in with Christ living in the hearts of His people and having His throne there. Christ will not dwell in a proud heart and a heart full of self. So we must urge men to seek a broken heart by grace and to seek humility from God because those are the hearts He renews and dwells in.