Maintaining a Healthy Fear of God
Trust and Obey – Part 5
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JOURNEY OF REGENERATION – From Enmity To Friendship With God
The Gospel of Christ – Journey of Regeneration God’s Provisions & Man’s Acts (A)
While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.
“ Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: , of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezek. 36:26–27)
“who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13).
Sorry for the interruption (due to circumstances beyond my control) in our mini-series onMaintaining a Healthy Fear of God. We are continuing with our look at the first stanza of the hymn, Trust and Obey by John Henry Sammis as part of the mini-series. In our last post we continued with our look at the provisions God has made for our blunders along the way to His eternal purpose, Now in our mortal bodies: PLAN A1- The Gospel of Christ.
In this post we will have a look at: Journey of Regeneration – God’s Provisions & Man’s Acts we will have a look at the different components of God’s act of providing for our justification; Jesus’ acts of bringing it to pass on the cross at Calvary and our own little contribution of just believing, repenting and getting baptised.
“Every Generation Needs Regeneration” – Charles H. Spurgeon
“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” – William Booth
What is Regeneration
Regeneration means to be renewed, reformed, or reconstituted; to have a spiritual rebirth (be spiritually reborn) “Born Again”; to cause to be completely reformed or improved and to grow anew (a part to replace one hurt or lost).
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)
In the world we live in today, the result of man’s quest to “go on the road of discovery of OTHER WAYS TO GOD” or “have MY OWN VERSION OF GOD or my own DESIGNER GOD” or to just believe in “SOMETHING UP THERE”or to outright “DO IT MY WAY”. You know – “anything, anyway or anyone other than this omniscient God who I am told is able know all my thoughts even before I think them; who is able to know my acts even before I do them when no one could physically do so” is so glaring.
In a world where market forces now decide if a man is reformed or not (for example in prison – a task that has been effectively developed and delivered by the Church through the probation service through the years); a world where the destiny of the human soul, supposedly the main beneficiary of everything that has been made to exist is now at the mercy of corporate profit, a situation that automatically triggers a curse against a nation. The prophet Amos touched on this in his writings:
“Hear this, O you who would swallow up and trample down the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail and come to an end, saying, When will the New Moon festival be past that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath that we may offer wheat for sale, making the ephah [measure] small and the shekel [measure] great and falsifying the scales by deceit, that we may buy [into slavery] the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals; yes, and sell the refuse of the wheat [as if it were good grade]? The Lord has sworn by [Himself Who is] the Glory and Pride of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their [rebellious] deeds. Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who dwells in it? Yes, it shall rise like the river [Nile], all of it, and it shall be tossed about and sink back again to normal level, as does the Nile of Egypt. And in that day, says the Lord God, I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the broad daylight. And I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation, and I will cause sackcloth to be put upon all loins and baldness [for mourning] shall come on every head; and I will make that time as the mourning for an only son, and the end of it as a bitter day.” (Amos 8:4-10). Whenever
In a commentary on the book of Amos – John Blanchard puts it this way:
“A holy, covenant-keeping God was being rejected by an unholy, covenant breaking nation – There will be a price to pay”.
Let me not be tempted to dwell too much on this.
John Barnett in “The Miracle of Salvation: Uninhabitable to Inhabited by God” wrote:
God has made provision for us to be born again, and regenerated through the new birth – in order to give us His life living within. But why would we – the greatest and highest and most wonderful of all earth’s creatures – why would we need regeneration? Because a disaster that has stricken each of us, has rendered us uninhabitable by God.
You and I are by nature from birth uninhabitable to God. We were born with a heart that was emitting a deadly radiant far worse than the gamma rays of that exploded reactor; we were producers of the element most hated by God in the Universe, which is called sin.
The presence of sin within each of us made us completely uninhabitable to God. He could never live within us because He is holy, and we are sinful.
Regeneration is when God comes down to the site of the worst disaster in the universe – us sinners – and completely removes the deadly, toxic elements at the core of our being.
Regeneration is a “supernatural work of the Holy Spirit” by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5). Regeneration occurs when God sovereignly acknowledges a person’s belief of the gospel. Regeneration is the most dramatic change in a new believer; when we are “born again” we enter the family of God.
The gift of salvation is about Jesus who died to take us who are dead in our sins, bring us to life; and welcome us as family members, full of endless life and brand new – that’s regeneration!
Regeneration is broadly made up of three parts; Propitiation (by God); Salvation (by Christ): and Repentance (by man).
Propitiation Points to what God has received from the death of Christ, whether or not a sinner trusts Christ. While:
Salvation Focuses primarily on the blessing the one who trusts Christ receives.
Repentance What man has to do (by faith) on his own part.
Click on Image to see presentaion on Regeneration God justifies us through propitiation by Christ Jesus and regenerates us in our spirit with His life by His Spirit. It involves: Redemption, Sanctification (positional 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Cor. 6:11), justification, faith, repentance, forgiveness, baptism these are the processes of our reconciliation to God.
Propitiation is the work Jesus did on the cross to appease and satisfy God’s wrath so He would be able to pardon sinners who trust in Christ. It is God’s way of making amends for our sins. This He does by a process in which the guilt or innocence is transferred from one person (Jesus) to another (man). The guilt or the bad actions of one person is attributed or imputed to another. So that when it comes to punishment, the person who is the substitute bears the brunt, and that the person substituted goes away free. This way God made reparations for our sins by transferring them to Christ’s account as He hung on the cross at Calvary. The absolute sinless life of Jesus Christ makes this transaction possible as His innocence is transferred to those who believe and follow Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:2; Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 John 5:6-7)
Redemption is the English translation of the Greek word ‘agorazo’, meaning “to purchase in the marketplace.” In ancient times, it often referred to the act of buying a slave. It means Jesus Christ, through his sacrificial death, purchased believers from the slavery of sin to set us free from that bondage. (John 3:3; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 1:7-8; Psalm 111:8-10; Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13-14; Titus 2:13-14; Zechariah 12:10; 1 John 5:6-8)
Justification is the “Act of God” by which He approves us based on His own standard of righteousness. This He can legally do without compromising His divine righteousness because of the finished redemptive work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary. This justification can only be obtained through the grace of God and not by our works. (Psalms. 49:7-8; Romans 3:10; 21-22; 1:17; 10:3; John 1:12; Philippians 3:9)
There are two distinct aspects of justification:
This is God’s act of pardoning and releasing us for our mistakes or wrongdoings and actually ‘wiping them off the slate’ (Jeremiah 31:34; John 3:18; 5:24; Acts 10:43; 26:18; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).
This is the application of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to us in our sinful state. (Romans 4:4-6; 5:1, 19; 8:1; 10:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:8-9)
Sanctification that is automatically made available to us (through an entirely work of God) as a result of justification; as a believer (at salvation) is justified, declared righteous in conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren” (Romans 6:11-23; 8:8, 29; 10:1-4; Ephesians 2:1-4; Colossians 2:10-15; 3:1-4).
Experiential sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit works in us (believer) to set us apart from sin; it is a progressive work spiritual maturity, a progressive work of separating us from the world. Quit opposite from what obtains in the world where maturity means independence from anyone; experiential sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit progressively teaches us to be TOTALLY AND ABSOLUTELY DEPENDENT ON GOD. (Romans 12:1-4; 16:19; 1Corinthians 6:12-13; 19-20; 7:23; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; 7:1; Galatians 5:22-25; Philippians 2:15, 4:8; Colossians 2:6; 3:5-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:12, 4:1-7; 5:5, 22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 6:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-4; James 1:24-27, 4:4; 1 Peter 2:11-12, 24).
Now faith is the substance (physical reality that can be touched and felt) of things hoped for (a chance that something desirable will happen or be possible), the evidence (something that gives a sign or proof of the existence or truth of something, or that helps somebody to come to a particular conclusion) of things not seen. We can also say that:
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses] (John 3:16,36; 5:24; 6:40; 8:24; 20:30,31; Acts 16:31; 10:43; 15:9; 13:39; Romans 1:16; 3:22-28; 4:3,16; 5:1,2; Ephesians 2:8)
At the point of salvation (just as in times like Philippians 2:12-13) repentance is the intellectual (mental) and spiritual perception; emotional change of feeling and volitional change of purpose that follows a sinful act. It should be accompanied by deep regret because of the sins committed in the past, and by determination with God’s help to avoid sin and live in holiness hereafter. (Matthew 3:2; 27:3;Luke 15:7, 10; Philippians 2:12-13; Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 4:1-2; Ezekiel 18:30-32; Daniel 9:13;)
Baptism is the sacred act of being immersed in water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; it is a very special moment on the journey of faith; a moment when God’s presence and blessing meets us, as we make our personal commitment of faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour of our life, being grafted into Him, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace and our engagement to be totally His. (Luke 3:16; Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21, 22; John 1:29-33; Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 1:4, 5; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:35-38; Acts 16:31, 33; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21)
Reconciliation to God
Reconciliation is the process by which we are brought from enmity with God to friendship with Him. A process through which God (right from creation) had provided for perceived blunders we will make along the way as we fulfil His eternal purpose; a plan to ultimately, bring us to His Glory. It should be noted that God is not reconciled to us, but we are reconciled to our Father in Heaven. (John 15:15; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 1:20-21)
In our next post we will be looking at the 1st component of Regeneration – Propitiation. Meanwhile –
You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Father you are going on about” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.
Admit your spiritual need.
We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
What is the result of sin?
In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.
Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.
The Bible tells us in John 3:16-17. ”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.
What must a person do to accept this gift?
Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.
If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You might pray something like this:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.