THE WASHING OF REGENERATION
By John C. Carpenter
 
Paul wrote Titus, who Paul described as his own son after the faith, Forthe grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and 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, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 2:11-3:7). What is the washing of regeneration, and what are some of the more important elements of regeneration?
 
SALVATION HATH APPEARED TO ALL MEN
 
First of all, we must acknowledge that it was God the Father who initiated the idea of salvation, and who made salvation possible. Because of His grace, God the Father sent his son, Jesus Christ, into the sinful and rebellious world so that it might be saved from God's wrath (John 3:36, Rom 1:18, Rom 5:9); and, that, for this reason, all believers should not only live a sober and righteous life in this world, but should earnestly be watching for and expecting the glorious appearing of Christ. Of His own volition, God the Father has made salvation available through faith in Christ. Paul wrote Titus, the grace of God [Jesus Christ] that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (Tit 2:11) teaching us that therefore, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Tit 2:12), and be Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Tit 2:13), Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Tit 2:14). After stressing these essential spiritual doctrines, Paul further exhorts Titus,These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee (Tit 2:15). Paul adds, that because our heavenly Father has gracefully and mercifully saved us from His wrath, we should willfully and eagerly submit to all principalities [magistrates and rulers] and powers [those with capacity, authority, and strength], be willing and eager to do good things, speak evil of no man, not engage in controversy and strife resulting in fighting, but should be gentle and humble in our interactions with all men. Paul then stresses to Titus that we should behave in holy ways because, in spite of the fact that we ourselves also were sometimes [in the past before we knew God] foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another (Tit 3:3), that [yet because of] the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared (Tit 3:4). Paul further added that God also sent His Son to save us not because of any efforts on our part to be righteous, but because He was and is merciful, and that this salvation was manifested by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Tit 3:5), Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour (Tit 3:6); That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Tit 3:7). In verse 3:5, we should note that Paul said our salvation was brought about by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. So, what is meant by the washing of regeneration?
 
In Titus 3:5, the English word washing is translated from the Greek word loutron, which means a bath, baptism, or washing. Loutron is derived from the Greek word louo, which means to bathe the whole person. In the context of our subject verses, washing more likely refers to the baptism, or initiation and placement of the new believer, the whole life and person, into the body of Christ. In Titus 3:5, the English wordregeneration is translated from the Greek word paliggenesia, which means spiritual rebirth, spiritual renovation, or Messianic restoration.Paliggenesia is derived from the Greek words palin, which means anew, go back, once more, again, or on the other hand, and the Greek word genesis, which means nature or generation. Therefore, regeneration refers to a second birth, a rebirth, a spiritual birth, the creation of a new life in the man or woman. Here, the washing of regeneration refers to a spiritual baptism, or submission, of the whole individual into a new birth, a Spiritual birth; it is the creation of a entirely new person and life. The regeneration of an individual is also referred to as reborn, born again, second birth, new birth, new life, or life in Christ.
 
In his first birth, a physical birth, man is considered by God to be dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1), while, in his second birth, a spiritual birth, God makes man alive again. Paul explains this idea to us: And you hath he quickened [be, come have life], who were dead [a corpse, having no life] in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [made alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Eph 2:1-5).
 
EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN
 
The first element of regeneration, which is the result of the movement and working of the Holy Spirit, is the fact that it is essential if we are to have God, His kingdom, or eternal life. The apostle John instructs us that regeneration, the new birth, or being born again, is a spiritual, not physical, birth, and is necessary for salvation: There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born [be procreated, become kin or offspring] again [from above, anew], he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water [naturally, physically, of the flesh] and of the Spirit [via the operation of the Holy Spirit], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh [physically] is flesh [physical in nature]; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit [spiritual in nature] (John 3:1-6). Every individual is born physically, or of water, and then, according to God's will, is reborn, or born again, spiritually. Both births are necessary to partake of the kingdom of God. This process by which an individual is born again [a spiritual rebirth] is a hidden, mysterious working of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, and cannot be fully seen or comprehended by man, as we shall later see.
 
Secondly, this regeneration, this new birth, or being born again, Jesus referred to, is not based upon our will or efforts, but based upon the sovereign will, purpose, and working of God the Father only. Man has nothing to do with the “initiation” of an individual being born again, and can do nothing himself to generate or promote the process. The regeneration, or being born again, is all the result of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The scriptures give us great examples of how God the Father brings about the new birth. Our heavenly Father, through Christ, initiates our faith and rebirth, as evidenced by Christ's words: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me (Rev 3:20). It is Christ who knocks, and we either respond, or we do not. Being baptized into a spiritual rebirth is the result of a spiritual knowledge and understanding given and applied by God only. Look what Jesus told Peter and the other disciples: Christ asked His disciples, whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it [the understanding of who Jesus truly is, the understanding that Jesus is the Christ and Son of the living God] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven (Mat 16:15-17). The apostle John explains that believers are given the power and ability to believe on Christ by God Himself: But as many as received him, to them gave he [God] power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born [reborn spiritually by the work of God the Father and the Holy Spirit], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of [the will and purpose] God (John 1:12-13).
 
YE HAVE NOT CHOSEN ME, BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU
 
Another element of the new birth, or regeneration, is the fact that God loved us and first chose us for salvation, not the other way around. The scriptures teach us that the new birth is not chosen by man, but by God. It occurs only by the will and working of God, and man cannot initiate the process of a new spiritual birth. Jesus, Himself, taught His own disciples about God's sovereignty when he said, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you (John 15:16). As Paul taught the Ephesian church, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated [determined before, previously ordained, appointed or decreed] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph 1:3-5). No man can come to Christ, except the Father in heaven draw him or her to Christ (John 6:44). Paul teaches us Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power [ability, force, strength, miraculous work] of God (2 Tim 1:8). Scriptures also clearly teach that God hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Timothy1:9). Those who experience the new birth were ordained in advance to have saving faith: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed (Act 13:48). As, in our subject verses, Paul explained to Titus, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).
 
I WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR INWARD PARTS
 
Even from the Old Testament, we can see another element of regeneration: God places His law within the regenerate. God explained through Jeremiah that He placed His law in the hearts of those with whom He entered into covenant. Jeremiah prophesied, But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put [add, occupy, pour into] my law in their inward parts, and write [grave into, record, prescribe] his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jer 31:33-34). In other words, our regeneration gives us the inward desire to lovingly obey and perform God's commandments and laws. This same concept, in which God places the need and capacity for regeneration into the hearts of those who know and love Him, resulting in the desire to live out the gospel of Christ in our own lives, is found in the New Testament. James wrote the twelve scattered Jewish tribes, Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive [into your hearts and minds] with meekness the engrafted word [of the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ], which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers [performer, to apply to our own life] of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:21-25).
 
A further element of being born again is that Christ is in us. Paul explained to the church in Colossae: Even [specifically] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:26-27). Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to let Christ dwell in their hearts by faith (Eph 3:17), and Paul instructed the Corinthian believers that if Christ was not in us, we were indeed reprobates: Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Cor 13:5).
 
Regeneration also has the element of redemption. Paul explains to believers in Galatia, And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed [buy up, ransom, purchase, pay the necessary price] us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal 3:12-14). Paul also instructed the church in Ephesus, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption [delivered, ransomed, price paid for us] through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:3-7). Paul even said the regenerated have been bought with a price: For ye are bought with a price [to pay a penalty]: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Cor 6:20).
 
PREDESTINATED UNTO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST
 
Those who have been regenerated have also been adopted by God the Father. Paul explains: when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption [placed as a son or daughter, to become or be made a child of] of sons (Gal 4:4-5). In Fact, God the Father predestinated us [regenerated believers in Christ] unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:5-6).
 
The regenerate have also been baptized, or completely [identified with] into the death of Christ. As Paul explained, Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism [dipped, completely submitted] into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection (Rom 6:3-5). Paul also instructs us that all who have experienced a new spiritual birth have been grafted into the olive tree, that is, Christ: ...if some of the branches [the Jews] be broken off, and thou [Gentiles], being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree (Rom 11:17).
 
Those who are regenerated also partake of another element of their salvation: they are no longer aliens and strangers from the promise of God the Father of eternal life, without hope, and without God. Paul explained to the church in Ephesus, That at that time [before your regeneration] ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us [and God the Father] (Eph 2:12-14).
 
FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH
 
Another element of being born again, that is, regenerated, is that believers in Christ are no longer subjected to the law of sin and death. Paul teaches us, ...the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me [all who have been born again] free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom 8:2-4).
 
The regenerate also automatically are given the ability to become a son or daughter of God the Father. As John explained, But as many as received him [and are therefore regenerated], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). Paul elsewhere explained to the Corinthian believers that, because of their faith in Christ and their regeneration, they were sons and daughters of God: And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Cor 6:15-18).
 
The regenerate shall also have complete unhindered peace with and access to God the Father. Scriptures instruct us that we were once unregenerate and were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us [and God the Father]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh (Eph 2:12-17). Paul also taught the church in Rome, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:1-2). Scriptures tell us that when Christ yielded up the ghost (Mat 27:50), behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent (Mat 27:51). The dividing of the curtain in the temple symbolizes a change in which believers in Christ now have complete, unhindered access to God the Father made available to the regenerate only by the death of Christ. In fact, the regenerated are exhorted to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16).
 
In the regenerated, the Holy Spirit also indwells, or lives, within the reborn. Paul taught the Corinthian church, But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Cor 6:17-19). Through the prophet Ezekiel, God instructs us, A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them (Eze 36:26-27). Paul summarized, But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you (Rom 8:11). Scriptures even teach us that the Holy Spirit is the evidence that God the Father will fulfill His promises of our salvation. Look what Paul wrote believers in Ephesus. Paul wrote, referring to Christ, In whom ye [the regenerate, born again] 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 [identified and stamped for preservation] with that holy Spirit of promise [a pledge given], Which is the earnest [something given in advance as security for the rest] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory (Eph 1:13-14).
 
Not only is the Holy Spirit within those who are regenerated, but Christ is also within that individual as well. Paul wrote believers in Rome, if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Rom 8:10), and believers in Corinth, Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Cor 13:5). Paul further instructs us, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20). God the Father's desire is That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith... (Eph 3:17).  The mystery involving the union with Christ of those who have been regenerated is in fact, ...Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).
 
Through the regeneration, or new birth, the individual is also justified, which means to render just or innocent, to be righteous, regarding the law. Paul teaches us that the regenerate is justified [to render just or innocent] freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God (Rom 3:24-25), and that Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1). Paul addresses the means of the justification of the regenerated when he wrote, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal 2:16). The regenerate are justified, or made innocent, regarding the requirement of the law of God, not by his efforts at keeping the law, but simply by having faith in Christ. Christ, Himself, said that the unregenerate shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the [regenerated, and therefore] righteous into life eternal (Mat 25:46).
 
Another element of the new birth is sanctification. Those who experience the new birth, or regeneration, are sanctified, which means to be holy, sacred, pure, or blameless. It also means to be consecrated, or set apart, to God. The author of the letter to the Hebrews instructs us that the regenerate are sanctified through the shedding of the blood of Christ: Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate (Heb 13:12). Referring to the regenerated (John 17:10), Christ prayed to His heavenly Father, Sanctify them [the regenerated] through thy truth: thy word [of the gospel of Christ] is truth (Joh 17:17). Those who are regenerated, or born again, are sanctified by the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
The scriptures teach us that sanctification of the regenerate is the will of God the Father: For this is the will of God, even [specifically] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour (1 Thess 4:3-4). Paul confirms that Christ is the means of the sanctification of the regenerate when he wrote believers in Corinth, But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord [Christ Jesus] (1 Cor 1:30-31).  To the believers in Rome, Paul put it this way: We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness [fresh, new, reworked, reborn] of life (Rom 6:4).
 
HE SHALL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE
 
According to scriptures, those who have experienced regeneration, or a new and second birth, will eventually judge, rule, and reign with Christ. Paul instructed Timothy, If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us (2 Tim 2:12). As Paul fulfilled his calling, and concluded, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Tim 4:8). James added, Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (Jas 1:12). Christ, Himself, specifically instructs us, ...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Rev 2:10), and he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father (Rev 2:26-27). Daniel prophesied,But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever (Dan 7:18). Regarding believers in Christ, the regenerate, ...God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:4-6), And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Rev 1:6). The apostle Paul teaches the regenerated shall also judge: Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we [the regenerated] shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Cor 6:2-3).
 
HE HATH PERFECTED FOREVER THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED
 
Those experiencing the new birth are also made holy, blameless, just, and perfect through their faith in Christ. Peter wrote, Ye also, as lively [reborn, full of life] stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy [sacred, consecrated to God] priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pet 2:5). Paul teaches that believers are being made perfect [finished, completely fulfilled] by the Holy Spirit (Gal 3:3). The blood [and life] of Christ was purposely shed for many for the remission [deliverance, pardon, forgiveness] of sins (Mat 26:28), and, as Paul teaches, Much more then, being now justified [rendered just or innocent] by [the shedding of ] his blood, we shall be saved from [God the Father's] wrath through him [Christ and His salvation]. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Rom 5:9-10). The regenerate ...have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7).
 
The regenerate are also sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb 10:10), For by one offering he hath perfected [complete, accomplished, mature, fulfilled] for ever them [the regenerated] that are sanctified [set apart to God and for His purposes] (Heb 10:14). Scriptures pointedly teach us that by him [Christ alone] all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:39), and that Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1). Paul summarized to the Hebrews, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even [specifically] we who have believed in Jesus Christ, that we [regenerated] might be justified [rendered just and innocent] by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal 2:16). Paul encouraged the believers in Ephesus with these words:Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted [received grace, honored, highly favored] in the beloved (Eph 1:3-6).
 
Believers in Christ, or the regenerated, the just, shall also have their bodies resurrected in God's time: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14). Jesus specifically said, Neither can they [the regenerated] die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection (Luke 20:36). Actually, the resurrection of Christ's body precedes the bodily resurrection of the regenerated. Paul explained:But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept [physically, bodily died]. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's [the regenerated] at his coming (1 Cor 15:20-23). Paul argued with believers in Corinth about the necessity and fact of the resurrection of the body when he wrote, Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (1 Cor 15:12-14). Paul encouraged and comforted the Thessalonian believers that their bodies would be resurrected, just as the body of Christ was resurrected. Paul wrote, ...if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise [be resurrected] first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught [be lifted] up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thes 4:14-18). Paul taught the same concept to believers in Corinth when he wrote them, But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (1 Cor 15:20-23).
 
Another element of the regeneration or new birth is that those who have experienced it should reflect love for God, their fellow believers in Christ, their fellow man, their neighbor, and even their enemies. At one point, a Jewish lawyer asked Jesus which is the greatest commandment in the law (Mat 22:36), and Jesus responded, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Mat 22:37-40). The regenerated are also expected, even commanded, to love their fellow believers. Jesus instructed His own disciples,A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:34-35). Speaking to his own brethren in Christ, Paul exhorted them to Let love be without dissimulation [hypocrisy]. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another (Rom 12:9-10). Regeneration and love are closely interconnected, as the apostle John explains: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born [again, or regenerated] of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another(1 John 4:7-11). The regenerated are even expected to do what many consider impossible, that is, to love their own enemies. As Jesus teaches us, Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Mat 5:43-45). Christ even commands the regenerated to love others as He loved us, that is, sacrificially:This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you (John 15:12-14). And, finally, as Paul explains, love is the fulfillment of the Jewish law. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul wrote, Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Rom 13:8-10). Jesus taught His own disciples the children, the regenerated, should love even their enemies: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Mat 5:43-45).
 
In addition to love, another element of regeneration is that those who have come to a saving knowledge of and faith in Christ shall bear fruit through the presence and working of the Holy Spirit within their lives. The scriptures teach us, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:22-25). Christ teaches the multitudes [and us] that fruit reflects character and heart: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them [the unregenerate] by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Mat 7:15-20). We are daily reminded, For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Gal 6:8).
 
The regenerated shall also obey God's commandments. Regarding the importance of keeping the commandments of God, Christ teaches us, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill [complete the requirements of the law of God]. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Mat 5:17-19). Christ later added, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (John 14:21). The apostle John even says that those who know God will definitely keep God's commandments: And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him (1 John 2:3-5).
 
GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD
 
The apostle John teaches us three things about the devil, temptation, and the world: the regenerate will be tempted in the world by the devil, the regenerate should resist these temptations, and that the regenerate has complete and eternal victory through his or her faith in Christ. John writes, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the [devil operating in and through the] world (1 John 2:15-16). We must certainly acknowledge that the tempter comes to the regenerated, just as he came to Christ: And when the tempter [the devil] came to him [Christ], he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread (Mat 4:3), because as Christ warns, The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord (Mat 10:24). The regenerate shall experience what Christ experienced.
 
According to scriptures, the regenerated, should also resist the worldly temptations of the devil. James teaches us, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:7-10), while Paul exhorted Timothy, But thou, O man of God, flee these things [temptations]; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses (1 Tim 6:11-12).
 
We must also recognize that the regenerated will completely and permanently overcome all worldly temptations only by our faith that Jesus is the Son of God. John teaches that the regenerated will be protected by the power of God when he wrote, We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten [regenerated] of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth [to attach to and set on fire] him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:18-19), as well as, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he [God the Father] that is in you, than he [Satan, the Devil] that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Yet, in all humility and truth, the regenerated must remember that it is our faith in Christ which causes us to have total victory over the temptations of the devil in the world. John instructs us For whatsoever is born of God overcometh [the temptations presented to us] the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5).
 
The last, and certainly not the least, element of the new and second spiritual birth is that the regenerate shall inherit eternal life. Jesus explains this to Nicodemus: as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him [born again, regenerated] should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:14-16). The scriptures clearly teach us about eternal life: and this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13). To some Jews around him, Jesus said, My sheep [the regenerate who believe in Christ] hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (John 10:28). Peter encourages us that the God of grace has called the regenerated unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus (1 Peter 5:10), while the apostle John tells us that the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:17). Paul reminds us that our light affliction [suffering], which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor 4:17-18).
 
BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW
 
As stated earlier, in his first birth, a physical birth, man is considered by God to be dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1), while, in his second birth, a spiritual birth, God makes man alive again. Paul explains this idea to us: And you hath he quickened [be, come have life], who were dead [a corpse, having no life] in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [made alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)(Eph 2:1-5). The apostle Paul adds, For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:15-16). To the believers in Galatia, Paul also wrote, God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God (Gal 6:15-16). Paul told the Colossian believers, put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Col 3:10-11). To those in Corinth, Paul wrote, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Cor 5:17). Paul also instructed the Ephesian church about their regeneration when he wrote them, And you hath he quickened [made alive again], who were [initially] dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [made alive again, regenerated] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Eph 2:1-5). Paul correlates the grace of God, regeneration, and eternal life when he exhorted Roman believers, That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by [the baptism of regeneration in] Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 5:21).
 
I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE
 
Paul also accurately connected our sin, God's mercy and grace towards that sin, God's regeneration and provision of new life, and God's reward of eternal life, when he wrote Titus, For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and 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, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7). Paul pointedly exhorted Timothy [and all who have been born again] to Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses (1 Tim 6:12). The author of the letter to the Hebrews explains the totality of regeneration in clear and simple terms:For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Heb 8:10-12). Hoping for eternal life and presence with God the Father, the psalmist, prayed, Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psa 139:23-24), and God the Father gracefully and lovingly responded, ...I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them [the unbelievers], and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you [the regenerate], And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters [eternally], saith the Lord Almighty (2 Cor 6:16-18).
 
Scriptures not only teach that eternal life is available, but clearly verify that eternal life is available only through Christ. John tells us,this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:11-12). Jesus instructs us, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He [any individual] that believeth on me hath everlasting life (John 6:47). The apostle Peter exclaimed, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Act 4:12). Jesus chastened the Jews for believing that life was available through obedience to the scriptures, rather than faith in Him: Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life (John 5:39-40). Paul wrote Roman believers, now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 6:22-23).
 
Interestingly, scriptures describe regeneration, being born again, salvation, the Kingdom of God, and eternal life as a mystery. Look what Paul said about regeneration and faith in Christ: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the [gospel] word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:25-27). The scriptures describe regeneration and the eternal kingdom as a mystery. The kingdom of God is described as a mystery (Mark 4:11), the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ is considered a mystery (Rom 16:25), the resurrection of the body is described as a mystery (1 Cor 15:51), God's will is described as a mystery (Eph 1:9), Christ is described as a mystery (Eph 3:4), faith in Christ and God is described as a mystery (1 Tim 3:9), and even godliness is described as a mystery (1 Tim 3:16). To the unregenerate, the things of God are nothing but a mystery.
 
One final question we must ask: “how do we explain God's provision of mercy, grace, regeneration, salvation, and eternal life to those who are undeserving sinners, if it is explainable at all?” Paul responds to that question by writing, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [inscrutable, hard to grasp, difficult to understand] are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (Rom 11:33-34). As scriptures teach, man can see some evidence of God's working in regeneration, but cannot fully understand that process. Christ, Himself, described the regeneration as a mystery, that is, something that cannot be fully understood by man. Jesus explained to a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be bornof water [physically] and [again] of the Spirit [spiritually], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind [a physical type of the Holy Spirit and His operation] bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:5-8).
 
Paul explained to Titus that man does not and can not fully understand the process of regeneration, but he can understand, according to Paul, that regeneration and salvation, in the form of Jesus Christ, appeared to all men because of the grace of God (Titus 2:11). The regenerate, the reborn, the born again, should simply continue Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Tit 2:13-14).  AMEN.




 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"For the grace
of God that
bringeth salvation hath appeared to
all men, Teaching
us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this
present world"
(Titus 2:11-12)


 
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