Friday, October 12, 2012

"What is Regeneration?

Who ever wrote this did an excellent job and lots of scriptures.  I can't really do any justice adding to it (so I didn't). I did bold, underline and color for emphasis. - Jim
"What is Regeneration?

Another word for regeneration is rebirth, from which we get the phrase “born again.” To be born again is opposed to, and distinguished from, our first birth, when we were conceived in sin. The new birth is a spiritual, holy, and heavenly birth signified by a being made alive in a spiritual sense. Our first birth, on the other hand, was one of spiritual death because of inherited sin. Man in his natural state is dead in trespasses and sins until we are “made alive” (regenerated) by Christ when we place our faith in Him (Ephesians 2:1). After regeneration, we begin to see, and hear, and seek after divine things, and to live a life of faith and holiness. Now Christ is formed in the hearts; we are now partakers of the divine nature, having been made new creatures. God, not man, is the source of this (Ephesians 2:1, 8). It is not by men's works, but by God’s own good will and pleasure. His great love and free gift, His rich grace and abundant mercy, are the cause of it and these attributes of God are displayed in the regeneration and conversion of sinners.

Regeneration is part of the "salvation package," if you will, along with sealing (Ephesians 1:14), adoption (Galatians 4:5), reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20), and many other salvation concepts. Being born again or born from above is parallel to regeneration (John 3:6-7; Ephesians 2:1; 1 Peter 1:23; John 1:13; 1 John 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18). Simply put, regeneration is God making a person spiritually alive, a new creation, as a result of faith in Jesus Christ. The reason regeneration is necessary is that prior to salvation we are not God's children (John 1:12-13); rather, we are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3; Romans 5:18-20). Before salvation, we are degenerate. After salvation we are regenerated. The result of regeneration is peace with God (Romans 5:1), new life (Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17), and eternal sonship (John 1:12-13; Galatians 3:26). This regeneration is eternal and begins the process of sanctification wherein we become the people God intended for us to be (Romans 8:28-30).

The Bible is clear that the only means of regeneration is by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. No amount of good works or keeping of the law can regenerate the heart which from birth is “deceitful and wicked above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). This concept of the new birth is unique to Christianity. No other religion offers a cure for the total depravity of the human heart, preferring instead to outline an often massive body of works and deeds that must be done to gain favor with God. God has told us, though, that “by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20). Total regeneration of the heart is necessary for salvation. Paul explains this concept perfectly in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
This is true regeneration.

Author Unknown (will post name if anyone knows)

Lord bless you all as you seek to serve God for His glory alone :-)
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Friday, October 05, 2012

"The Sad Truth of Biblical Illiteracy Among Us"

These [Berean's] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind [all eagerness], and searched [examining] the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  - Acts 17:11

Daniel Wallace states: "…The intentional dumbing down of the church for the sake of filling more pews will ultimately lead to defection from Christ (2006:337).

Allistair Begg states: "People do not know their Bibles. In an earlier generation the average 13-year-old or 14-year-old certainly in Scotland would have a far greater grasp of biblical parameters of truth than the average graduate from an American seminary today".

Al Mohler:  The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.

C.H. Spurgeon: If you wish to know God you must know his word; if you wish to perceive his power you must see how he worketh by his word; if you wish to know his purpose before it is actually brought to pass you can only discover it by his word. 1607.377

Have you ever said or heard people say the Bible says, “God helps those who help themselves,”. Really give me chapter and verse, it's not in the Bible!  When asked 82 percent of Americans, said it was a Bible verse. Sadly, those who those identified themselves as born-again Christians did better–by one percent.  [83% - Sad]

That was my introduction. 

Today I was inspired and felt grieved enough to write on the subject of "Biblical Illiteracy." The final straw, so to speak, was reading some responses to someone's Bible questions to a Christian group on Facebook.  In many ways this group thinks they are so "on the mark" of Christianity.  I was saddened as most of their answers to the Bible questions were general, philosophical, and relational, but not Biblical.  

 Spurgeon said it so well: "Men talk about building upon Christ, and not upon the Scriptures; but they know not what they say; for our Lord continually established his own claims by appealing to Moses and the prophets. They would be Christo-centric, they say: I only wish they would. But if they take Christ for a centre, they will inevitably have the Scriptures for a centre too; and these men neither want the one nor the other. 2212.364

As I talk about "Biblical illiteracy," I am not talking about having to memorize the entire Bible, though memorizing is a very good and profitable.  I am also not talking about us all being Biblical scholars, although the Bible does say, "…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:– I Peter 3:15.

I'm a pastor-teacher with a humble intelligence, so everything doesn't come easy for me, I have to study a lot, and I still forget things; but I don't use that as an excuse for being Biblically ignorant (illiterate).  You or I may not be able to rattle off scriptures on every subject, but how about an overall understanding of the Bible and the doctrines (what the Bible teaches). 

I really cringe at the answers you get in the "church" and "born-again" crowd when you ask, "how do you know you are saved or are a child of God?"  Especially, of the younger generations, usually they hem and haw and give some really weak answer.  I don't want to give them the nth degree (well I sort of do), but most don't have a clue what "salvation" is!!!  If they are saved, and some may be, it is in spite of their ignorance.  It is still scary, sad, and sickening how few really understand God, salvation, and THE BIBLE! 

I personally say I was saved June 21, 1975, because that was when I gave my life to the Lord, though I didn't really "understand" Biblically what was happening to me. I simply (and amazingly) believed in Jesus as my Savior and Lord.  Immediately following I was so hungry to learn more about Jesus, so I turned to the Bible and read, and read, and read. Also, the Lord provided a very knowledgeable Christian brother (at a distance, and this was before e-mails existed).  I would write questions and wait for his answers, which were always full of scriptures.  I still have many of those letters 35 years later, and I thank God for putting this Christian Bible literate man in my path.  Then, in more recent years in the 1990's I met a very Bible literate brother/minister that I can always throw questions to, on top of my own studying for answers, and not as a replacement for my own studying, "…to see if these things be so"  Acts 17:11 

While there is a famine of God's Word out there, there is hope for anyone to grow in the Lord.  If you really want to learn the things of God, in addition to your own study time in the Bible, there are spiritual Bible literate people to help (you may have to search and pray to find them).     

This is a little bit of my heart on a big and serious problem in the church of the 21st Century.

Below are some passages for you and me to ponder, meditate, study, memorize, think on, and let God use to change our lives and help us to value God's Word to the utmost!

Study [be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing [handling accurately] the word of truth.  - 2 Timothy 2:15

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.   - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Thanks for listening, and may you grow in the Lord as you build on the solid foundation of God's Word (the Bible).

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Lord bless you all as you seek to serve God for His glory alone :-)