WERE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS REGENERATED?

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1 WERE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS REGENERATED? (A consideration of the energizing source of believers before the day of Pentecost) Part 1 Understanding Regeneration A Paper Presented To The Grace Bible Conference July 12, 2013 By Kevin Jeffrey, pastor, Grace Bible Church, Titusville, Fl. INTRODUCTION It is highly likely that you will find very few people, even among those who experienced it first hand, who long for the days of the rotary dial telephones. In comparison to the modern day phone technology, those antiquated relics pale in comparison to the convenience and accessibility of the touch button cell phone. Similarly, many believers expend a great amount of time using doctrine not applicable to our current dispensation. Emulating Old Testament saints and applying their promises. Those same believers refuse the notion that this dispensation is unique from any that have come before it. God is doing things in this dispensation that have not been done with His people in the past. Regeneration exemplifies the uniqueness of the provisions for this dispensation. No saints that came before now were imparted God s life. No saints before now were renewed in the realm of their human spirit. No saints before now had (a quality of) the mind of Christ. These things are all unique to believers in the Dispensation of Grace. Some, however, wish to obliterate these distinction. One minister from Texas was quoted concerning the topic: The un mistakeable truth is that, throughout the Old Testament, Abraham, Noah, David, Joseph, and many others, including the holy women of old (see 1st Peter 3:5) all had a heart that loved and obeyed God. A heart that loves God personally and sees Him implies and 1

2 presumes a new heart, a regenerate life. Therefore, regeneration of the individual believer by the Holy Spirit is both an Old Testament and new Testament doctrine, experienced throughout the Old Testament era, as well as in the New Testament, and must be acknowledged. Otherwise, one is left to believe that those Old Testament believers responded to God with a spiritually dead heart, purely from their own carnal obedience to Mosaic law and no one will dare say that. What professing Christian would say, yes, I believe the Old Testament saints were spiritually dead and respond to God with only a legal obedience to the law by their faithful efforts to keep it. 1 We will see in this paper that Old Testament saints were not regenerated. Yet, they were saved by faith and ordered their lives by faith. Consequently, they were able to be empowered to do mighty acts that displayed God s physical power. This fact can be seen in the disciples during Christ s earthly ministry. They were given authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal all manner of sickness and disease. Yet, it is clear they: 1. Did not believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for salvation Knowledge of regeneration had not been revealed. 3 We will see that Old Testament saints could produce acts of righteousness. Lot, for 4 example, is seen as acting right in Sodom. Sara is held up as an example of a woman who 5 acted right in her relationship with her husband. Yet, they were not godly in the New Testament sense. In fact, all of God s people up to the Dispensation of Grace lacked the provisions to glorify God in the way believers can in this dispensation. The New Testament commentary conclusively asserts that the Old Testament saints did not have the spiritual capabilities of saints today. The primary reason for their lack of ability is God s revelatory schedule (progressive revelation). The believer today is at the apex of God s revelation to men. Consequently, the abundance of provisions. The implications of whether the Old Testament saints are regenerated is significant. If there was no regeneration before this dispensation, which Scripture proves there wasn t, then emulation of Old Testament saints provides an inferior substitute to pleasing God. The obliteration of this and other distinctions undermine the uniqueness of God s provisions in this dispensation. The consequence of this is the failure of believers to grasp what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. 6 1 Were Old Testament Saints Regenerated? (Providence Chapel) 2 (They were saved by believing in His deity cf. John 2:11) 3 The Lord s revelation to Nicodemous occurred later in His ministry. 4 2nd Pet. 2:8 5 1st Pet. 3:6 6 Eph. 1:18 2

3 The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: we have something better. The Old Testament saints, it is said, will not get their better things apart from us (the church) receiving our provisions. I. UNDERSTANDING REGENERATION IS NECESSARY TO GRASPING WHETHER OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS WERE REGENERATED. A. Regeneration is the birthing of men into the family of God this fact is expressed in the useage of several New Testament terms. There are several terms used to express regeneration in Scripture. Most of the terms are found in the gospel and epistle of the disciple John. 1. Gennao, the verb (passive voice) is used to express a new commencement of the personal life, traceable back to a creative operation of God; This new beginning of personal life answers to the beginning of the natural life, so far as a new principle of life is engrafted in the man and he is transferred to a new sphere of life; being taken away from that which the conditions of human nature at the commencement of the natural life brings Paliggenesia is defined as the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, 8 its renovation, as the renewal or restoration of life after death. Friberg in his lexicon notes that regeneration is a principle of life implanted by the Spirit; imparted nature. Paliggenesia is a compound word made up of: Palin which is an adverb used in the New Testament that means a return to 9 a previous state or activity again. Genesia (gennao) means generate; to produce; to give birth; the impartation of life. 3. There are other regeneration related terms used in the New Testament. a. Anagennao the emphasis is upon the bringing out the active operation of Him Who is the author of the new birth. 10 b. Tekna is a word used to emphasize one who have been regenerated. John emphasized in his writings that these are the born one of God; ones born into the family of God. The word is 7 Hermann Cremer, Lexicon of New Testament Greek (Copyright 1895; pp 147); Gennao is used 97 times in the New Testament cf. John 3:3, 5; 9:2 (of physical birth) 8 Joseph Thayer Lexicon 9 Friberg Lexicon cf. John 4:13 (of those who will thirst again); Matt. 26:43,44 (of the Lord going to pray again) 10 Richard Trench (Synonyms of the New Testament, pp. 64); cf. 1st Pet. 1:3,23 3

4 used from the Gospels on in a literal and figurative sense. It is used 11 literally of genetic offspring. Teknon is used in a figurative sense to denote those who have been born into the family of God. 12 B. Regeneration is not man centered Three Greek negatives are used to emphatically dismiss the origin of regeneration from men. John 1:13 a. Regeneration is not of (out from as to source) blood human nature, physical descent. Paul uses the term in Ephesian to not the fight against believer is not against flesh and blood human. 14 b. Regeneration is not of (out from as to source) the will of the flesh. Will is theleematos the result of the fallen nature of man. 15 c. Regeneration is not of (out from as to source) the will of man. Man is andros in the Greek, one of the character and quality of an 16 adult male. Peter notes that regeneration does not take place out from corruptible seed pertaining to that which is bound to disintegrate and die perishable, mortal Conversely, regeneration has its origin of God it came to be out from deity. The Holy Spirit is the member of the Godhead who brings about regeneration. 18 a. The use of the word except is a Greek idiom that notes unless, 19 except, apart from, without. The use of the passive voice in born (gennao) notes the Holy Spirit acting upon the one believing to bring about regeneration. b. Of water is better translated out from water. The reference here is not to water baptism as the baptismal regeneration proponents would like to attest. Water is a reference to the One who 11 Matt. 2:18; 18:25;19: st John 3:1, 2; 5:2 13 John 1:13 14 Eph. 6:12; Gal. 1:16; Heb. 2:14 15 Eph. 2:3 16 Mk. 10:35 17 Louw Nida Lexicon; cf. Rom. 1:23; 2 Tim. 2:26; Rom. 9:16 18 John 3:5 19 (The idiom ean me tis cf. John 15:6; Acts 8:31) 4

5 20 quenches spiritual thirst the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to water during the great feast. c. The word and in the Greek is what is known as an ascensive 21 kai which should be translated even Holy Spirit (used without the Greek article). Without the interaction of the Holy Spirit one is not able to enter into the Kingdom of God. II. REGENERATION IS CENTRAL TO GOD S PROGRAM FOR THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE. A. Regeneration is necessary to see or enter the Kingdom of God. 1. The word see is used other places in Scripture of to become acquainted with by experience, to become a partaker of Enter is eiserchomai, to go into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is different from the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of God is seen in Scripture as encompassing all who are saved at any point in time in God s plan and purposes. The Kingdom of Heaven pertains to governmental rule, requiring that men repent and be baptized for entry. 23 Those who believe the facts of the gospel in this dispensation repent by believing. 24 B. Regeneration is necessary to reverse the fall. All men were condemned when Adam 25 trespassed. The day that Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, he died spiritually and physically. Consequently, spiritual and physical death was passed to all men. A sin nature was passed on to all men as a result of Adam s sin. The results of the sin nature gained by men is that all men are born into the world spiritually 28 dead. Human flesh can only produce that which is flesh in quality it cannot impart spiritual life. God was dealing with men beforehand on credit John 7: cf. Dana & Mantey Intermediate Grammar 22 Joseph Thayer Lexicon (Bibleworks copyright 2005); aorist active infinitive of orao cf. John 3:3,36 23 Matt. 3: st Thess. 1: Rom. 5:18 26 Gen. 2:17; 2 Co. 5:14; Rom. 5:13 15; Eph. 2:1,5; Rom. 6:13; 1st Co. 15:44 27 Ps. 51:5 28 Eph. 2:2 29 Rom 3:

6 III. SEVERAL THINGS ARE ESSENTIAL TO BIBLICAL REGENERATION. A. The involvement of all three Members of the Godhead are essential to regeneration The Father imparts His seed, nature. Due to this the believer can be partakers of the divine nature the character of God. The Greek word translated divine nature is used by the Septuagint five times in the Old Testament, neither of which pertain to those saints being partakers of the Father s character The Son imparts His quality of life The Holy Spirit indwells the believer B. Regeneration provides for the believer to be washed. The Greek word for the washing that took place is loutron which means to wash. The word of in the King James version denotes the Greek preposition dia which is used in Scripture 35 of cleansing from filth. The language describes regeneration as being the act of the washing. IV. THE HUMAN SPIRIT IS THE LOCATION OF REGENERATION. A. Man is a trichotomous being, according to Scripture Man has a body which is yet to be saved Man has a soul which is the seat of the emotions which is yet to be saved. There is no New Testament Scripture identifying the soul as being saved. 38 However, there are Scriptures that portray the salvation of the soul as a future event. The soul is distinct from the human spirit. 30 1st John 3:9; 2 Pet. 1:4 31 Ex. 31:3 and 35:31 emphasizes the provision of wisdom for workmanship; 32 1st John 5:11 12; Rom. 8:10 33 Rom. 8:11; 1st Co. 6:19; Tit. 3:5; Rom. 12:2; Eph.4:23 34 Tit. 3:5 35 1st Co. 6:11; Eph. 5: st Thess. 5: st Co. 15:42 44; Phil. 3:21 38 Heb. 10:39 is a mistranslation from the original and should be translated a unique possession of the soul. 39 1st Pet. 1:8 9 (Seen as occurring at the Revelation) 6

7 3. Man has a human spirit an immaterial part of the mind that is the place where man can reason. A study of this word through Scripture provides insight into the distinction between the capabilities of Old and New Testament saints. 41 B. Regeneration takes place in the realm of the human spirit Consequently, unlike Old Testament saints who primarily communicated to God through their soul, the believer is able to relate to God through the spirit realm. 42 V. REGENERATION RESULTS IN THE BELIEVER TODAY HAVING CAPABILITIES UNLIKE ANY BELIEVERS WHO HAVE COME BEFORE. 43 A. The believer possesses eternal life. Eternal life is more than longevity of life it is view in Scripture as a quality of life. The Lord possessed this life within Him 44 during His earthly ministry and it was seen out as light. This life can be seen out 45 in believers in this dispensation. This life is accessed as a result of a believer 46 reflecting upon his resurrected life in Christ. The unregenerate man is alienated 47 from this life. Possession of this life was not possible before this age (present evil age) began B. The believer can participate in the divine nature. Participation in the divine 50 nature. is made possible because of the impartation of the Father s seed. The word for seed is the Greek word sperma which is used elsewhere in Scripture of a principle of life implanted by the Spirit; imparted nature C. The believer has a renewed mind. Regeneration includes the renewing of 53 the Holy Spirit. Renewing is the word anakainosis which is used in the New 40 Heb. 4:12; 1st Thess. 5:23 41 John 3:6; Tit. 3:5 42 John 4:24 (seen in worship); Eph. 4:23; cf. Phil. 3:3; 1st Pet. 2:5; ( The Soul, A Scriptural study of the soul of man and its effect upon the believer in the Dispensation of Grace; Pastor, Kevin Jeffrey Grace Bible Church, 2011) 43 1 John 5: John 1:4; 45 2 Co. 4:11; cf. Phil. 1:20 46 Rom. 8:6; Col. 3:1; Gal. 2:20 47 Eph. 4:18 48 Mk. 10:30; John 1: Pet. 1:4; 1 Co. 2: st John 3:9 51 Friberg Lexicon (Bible Works 2005) cf. 2 Pet. 1:4 52 Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23; 1st Co. 2:16 53 Tit. 3:5 7

8 Testament of to cause something to become new and different, with the 54 implication of becoming superior. Trench defines the word as that gradual restoration of the Divine image, which is ever going forward in him who, through the new birth, has come under the transforming powers of the world to come D. The believer has a Divine Teacher. The word for unction is not a good translation of the word used in the Greek, charisma. Unfortunately, this term has been perverted from its biblical use, today. Chrisma literally means the result of an act of anointing. The Holy Spirit, before Pentecost, would come upon saints to 57 empower them to accomplish a supernatural task. During that time, the Spirit 58 would come and go upon saints. Saul was anointed to be the first king of Israel. 59 David refused to kill Saul for that purpose. Today, every believer is anointed by 60 the Holy Spirit and is sealed by Him. As a result of the anointing of the Spirit, He is able to teach the believer through the accurate exposition of His Word. 61. E. The Holy Spirit baptizes the believer into the Body of Christ. 62 F. The believer is reconciled to God, being forgiven all trespasses. 63 G. Regeneration will produce practical sanctification in the life of the believer. The believer born out from God will not commit (practice sin). The word used commit is poieo which is used in the present tense of a continual action of sinning. CONCLUSION Regeneration is an act of God that is unique to this dispensation. When one considers that believers today can participate in the Father s nature; that the Son provides eternal life and that the Holy Spirit renews the mind; it is clear that the content of salvation in this dispensation greatly differs from that of Old Testament saints. While there may be similarities in some of the provisions and capabilities of the Old Testament saint, there is a chasm that exist between those saints and the ones in the Church. We have something better. On Sunday, we ll explore 54 Louw Nida Lexicon (Bible Works 2005) 55 Synonyms of the New Testament (pp. 65) 56 1 John 2:20, Num. 3:3; 1st Sam. 10:1; 58 Balaam (Num. 24:2); Gideon (Judges 6:34); Jephthah (Judges 11:29); Saul (1st Sam. 11:6); Samson (Judges 15:14) 59 1st Sam. 26:23 60 Rom. 8:9,11; Eph. 1:13; 2 Co. 1: st John 2:20,27; 62 1 Co.12: Co. 5:19; Col. 2:13 8

9 those differences and consider the implications of the failure of the Church to fully appreciate them. 9

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