Do we really believe in regeneration?

By jreighley - Last updated: Monday, February 20, 2012 - Save & Share - 6 Comments

So here is a prophecy from the word of God:

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
(Ezekiel 11:19-20 ESV)

It is reiterated again:

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
(Ezekiel 36:25; Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)

Ephesians 1 makes a good case for these promises being something that is brought to fruition in the Christian believer.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

(Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV)

We have been given knowledge of his will. We have been united in him according to his purpose.

Hebrews chapter 8 expresses that the old covenant t is “becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Verse 13) And it seems to be pretty clear that this promise of a knew heart is the central promise of the new covenant. Verses 8-12.

This is one of the most precious promises in the bible. Yet one of the most troublesome things for many Christians is “Discerning the Will of God” People desperately want to know the Will of God, and in most cases they have zero confidence that they do.

Hebrews 8-11:

And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

Yet under the church – we spend a massive portion of our worship time teaching. Why is that?

Shouldn’t we have faith that when God gave us a new heart, he gave us one that is aligned with His?

Now of course there are a ton of caveats encumbering this truth, but that doesn’t make it untrue or unimportant..

My theory is that Christian teaching ought to be more about unlearning that learning. God is powerfully true — we need to unlearn the lies that let ourselves to shelter ourselves from accepting his truth — His truth doesn’t need any help or explanation.

Your thoughts?

Posted in Christianity, Doctrines of Grace, Eschatology • • Top Of Page

  • Bob Carter

    I see your point, Josh.  I also agree with you that in God, we are a new creation. But He also exhorts us to grow in faith.  We are sanctified and need to continue on growing in holiness.  But I do agree that there is a big need to (as you say) “unlearn the lies that let ourselves to shelter ourselves from accepting his truth”.
    I think it is somewhat difficult to argue the case against good biblical teaching.  The key is to discern good teachers, and good teaching.  Let me quote for you some scripture concerning this: 2Tim 4:13 “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to
    exhortation, to teaching.”  2Tim 3:15-16: “and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which
    are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
    for correction, and for training in righteousness”.  Romans 15:4 “For
    everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through
    endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  There is more concerning the need for teaching, but I think this might suffice.  God clearly does not want us to stay as we are, but to grow in faith.  I believe He puts that desire in us to grow.

  • Josh Reighley

     I certainly am not against Bible-teaching…   I just think that we tend to put the wrong emphasis on it…   I would say that 2 Tim 3:15-16 supports the “Unlearning” theory a lot more than it would contradict it.  “Correction” and “Reproof” are certainly unlearning words.. The passage also makes a case that God has been known since childhood.   Repentance of our faith in lies gets us to the place where we can fully see God for who he undeniably is.   Without the “unlearning” part we only get a distorted picture that we choose to see. 

  • Bob Carter

    Yeah, I am with you on “unlearning the lies”.  But I think the way to do that is to be taught by good teaching.   We cannot depend on our heart to discern the truth, when it comes to things of God. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can
    understand it?”      Mormons claim that they got a burning of the bosom when they ask God if the Book of Mormon is true.  That gives them their testimony and beats out reason.  We need good teaching, and that should be emphasized, along with good worship, praises, and prayers.

  • Josh Reighley

    Correct — People deceive themselves without a doubt.  But just because the unsaved are deceived we cannot shy away from the fact that there is a very powerful promise in the bible about how people ARE saved..   Is Jeremiah Speaking of a regenerate heart under the discipline of the Holy Spirit?  I don’t think so..  And when we teach as if it is, we undermine the accuracy of our portrayal of power of the Spirit, don’t we? 

    The unregenerate reject teaching.  It is the Spirit that changes them – and if our testimony fails to accurately portray the promised work of the Spirit, it seems like we are fighting a losing battle on two fonts.

  • mattharmless

    Have you read “Finally Alive” by John Piper?

  • Josh Reighley

     Not yet.   But I will put it on my list…  Sounds like a good book.