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Posts Tagged ‘Regeneration’

What would you think if you walked into a local church and they were singing a song with these lyrics on the screen above:

 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…….. Wretched man that I am! Wretched man that I am! Wretched man that I am! Wretched man that I am!

That would really get you prepared for the “ministry of the word” wouldn’t it? No! Not at all. The problem is this is the mantra of many Christians. “Oh wretched man that I am”. Here is what Charles Leiter says in his book “Justification And Regeneration”

It is highly significant that this view of Romans 7 has led to the “wretched man” concept of the Christian life, where “wretchedness”and spirituality are almost equated, and the more holy we become, the more “wretched” we are. In the words of one writer: “This moan, ‘O wretched man that I am,’ expresses the normal experience of the Christian, and any Christian who does not so moan is in an abnormal and unhealthy state spiritually. The man who does not utter this cry daily is either so out of communion with Christ, or so ignorant of the teaching of Scripture, or so deceived about his actual condition, that he knows not the corruptions of his own heart and the abject failure of his own life.”  A. W. Pink, “The Christian in Romans pg 149.

He then goes on to say:

In other words, the man of Romans 7 is not just battling with sin but utterly defeated by it, in stark contrast with Paul’s description of all true Christians in Romans 6 and Romans 7:1-6.

I agree with Mr. Leiter on this. If Paul’s statement in Romans 7 is the “normal Christian experience” then it doesn’t seem like we have much to do when it comes to conqueing sin in our lives. We are just a product of the old sin nature destined to be defeated and powerless to sin remember what Paul says “not the ability to carry it out”.

In steps the power of the New Covenant. I think many today have an over fixation on Justification while ignoring the completion of Christ’s work which includes Regeneration. Justification is what Jesus did, Regeneration is what Jesus is doing through the Spirit. Justification is our positional sanctification while Regeneration is our own going walk towards Christ likeness and away from sin the sin we were slaves to (Romans 6, Ephesians 2, Titus 3).

I think my Anabaptist brothers have this right. You see today Christianity is more about what Jesus did than what He is doing. We look back being “cross centered” while forgetting to move forward being “resurrection centered”. Jesus both died and raised and we are to be raised to a “newness of life”. The “wretched man” is one who has the law and has died do to that law and has no power but to look at sin and keep dying; however the Christian is a Spiritual man, who has the mind of Christ and a new power (Holy Spirit) to be a slave to Christ not to be victim to the old sinful nature. Listen the “can’t do what I want to do” dude is a dead man walking. We are not of the flesh but of the Spirit (Romans 8).

I close with this. If you are a Christian you sinned because you wanted to, not because you have to. We are free from sin’s power. We were formerly chained to it, loved it, lived to please the sinful nature. But that man was buried and has died. Our new life is with Christ in the “heavenly places”. We have now become a slave to righteousness (Romans 6). The New Covenant brings with it a New Heart which has a new disposition against sin. Not only that we not only have a new law (The Law of Christ, 1 Corinthians 9; Romans 7:4-6). We have the authority in the spirit, a power to obey it (Hebrews 8).

So the next time you hear someone quoting this, say  to them “no, no that is a deafeated man, a hopeless man, a dead man”, if you are in Christ you have a New Heart, a new power, under a New Covenant and you have a new Master. Our song says “power, power, wonder working power, in the blood of the Lamb”!

 

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Justification and Regeneration

I just wanted to recommend a wonderful book by Charles Leiter. This book deals scripturally (a bunch of scriptures and footnotes to scriptures that are a great help) with both Justification and Regeneration. I believe one of the most overlooked and under-emphasized doctrines of the bible is regeneration. There has been about 3 big theological works in the last year or so dealing with justification but regeneration has been mostly ignored. I believe this is why Romans 7 is so widely viewed as the “wretched Christian” verses (once again another blog post). However I believe Regeneration is more important and I believe the bible deals with it just as much as Justification (this book will prove that scripturally). Most Christians really don’t understand what Paul means when he says “put off the old man” and “put on the new man” both pivotal in Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4.

So on to the book there are so many great quotes that I didn’t want to do the book a disservice by quoting them. However the first half of the book deals with Justification and the latter half Regeneration. The book has a few appendixes one being a expositional work on Romans 7 and the wrethced man which is worth the book alone. Mr. Paul Washer does the preface and really has your mouth watering with anticipation. Mr. Leiter does an unbelievable job using the bible to deduce his conclusions and not Christian “experience” (which is where a lot of books I read miss as it relates to sanctification/regeneration).

Finally the book is very reasonable. I have had it for, well… I actually preordered it a while ago. Anyway, buy this book it is unbelievable for new believers and brothers or sisters struggling with their faith. The number one reason is because it is not wordy, it is very simple and quotes the bible extensively. Please purchase this book rather a new believer or a seasoned vet, I believe the justification the latter will find quite simple but the regeneration portion may be a huge challenge and for those who continually quote Romans 7 as a believer it could definitely cause you to rethink that position. God bless.

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