Monthly Archives: September 2015

Introduction

This site is primarily centered around the role suffering plays in being conformed to the image of Christ. The subject matter of this website also delves into the entire salvation process by grace and how we are being justified and sanctified. The articles should ideally be read in succession, as the subject matter of the earlier articles, sets the stage for understanding concepts contained in the articles that follow. Due to nerve damage in my left hand that inhibits typing, I am not a prolific writer. So even though this website is in a blog format, I don’t use it as such. I don’t publish articles all that frequently and the 30 or more articles contained in the website, represent years of work. I published the articles in a specific linear fashion, so as to present my understanding of the role suffering plays in salvation process, in light of scriptures. Hopefully in a organized and understandable manner. Due to the website being a WordPress blog format engine, previous and next article links at the bottom of each article may not correspond to how the articles actually appear in the main page. Questions and comments are welcome, just use the reply link above each article. I would like to thank Gary for establishing a link to my site on his website. And gladly return the favor. http://sigler.org/

The washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

Titus 3:5-7 KJVS
[5] 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; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

It is funny how this web site seemes to write itself. Perhaps because it mirrors the progression of my understanding of the mystery of God in my life. The Christ in you, the hope of glory. It should go without saying, but we are God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus. The new creature, 2 Co 5:17, that is being created through the agency of the Holy Spirit, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost in the individual members of the body of Christ, throughout their lives. I have noticed in the last couple years a progression of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit in my life. Probably because I am asking God for grace more often. Life is getting harder for me. I have lived over thirty years with a spinal cord injury, with every added year making the struggle all that more difficult. This struggle has made me bone weary and tired of the seemingly endless repetition of days, filled with pain and the struggle against weakness. And yet I find myself walking around smiling and conversing with people in a agreeable manner, even though I am fighting to take every step and at times living in the kind of pain most people can not imagine. Now, I can not attribute this to myself, not as if it was any work of righteousness on my part, but as it states in the scripture above, it is due to the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. In essence God is purifying my heart by faith. Praise God and His holy name. The last couple years I’ve gotten in the habit of starting my mornings out with a cup of coffee, then I open the iPad and listen to a few Christian song videos. I have bookmarked quite a few, many of which I have also purchased from iTunes. And most every morning as I listen and praise and worship God and sing along, the Spirit washes over me, regenerates me, and renews my heart. God and His Spirit sustains me and hopefully will continue to sustain me through this fiery trial until the day God heals me, I die, or the Lord returns. The regeneration of the Holy Ghost is bringing about the new creature God has in mind, which is to be the resurrected body of Christ. There are only a few verses that mention this new creature in the New Testament.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJVS
[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15 KJVS
[15] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The first scripture does not ring true to me as it appears, so I looked at the Strong’s definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “creature”. The primary definition is more in line with my thoughts regarding the meaning of the verse. The definition follows. 1.the act of founding, establishing, building etc. This definition gives one the sense that it is a work that is presently underway, rather than a past tense, completed state of being. The rest of the verse is also suspect to me in regards to verb tense. Unfortunately, translators have a difficult time translating the Aorist tense into English, and most often use the past tense. If you remember, Aorist tense is the Greek indefinite, indefinite in regards to verb tense, and means without horizon. Since I am not a expert translator in koine Greek, I can only compare the above verse to other verses in the bible to arrive at a better understanding of 2 Co 5:17. I have read in the past that 43% of the main verbs in the New Testament are Aorist. Just a scant few verses later in 2 Corinthians, is a verse that puts light on the preceding verse 17, part of this verse is used as a tag line for this web site.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVS
[21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That we may be made the righteousness of God in him does not sound as if this new creature is already a established and completed fact. Most every day of my life I do not feel like a new creature in Christ. Not in the sense that it is already a completed state of being in my life. Thoughts like this do not appear to line up with a verse like 2 Co 5:17. Thoughts like this can be troublesome and make you feel as if you, in some fashion, have missed the boat. Especially when you are in a dire situation where weakness, pain and doubts about how long you can continue to live alone and take care of yourself, trouble you on a daily basis. If you look at the verse I started this article with, you see the words “washing of regeneration”. Part of the Strong’s primary definition of the word “regeneration” is “new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration”. So we are going through a process of being reborn through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. A scripture I just recalled today, agrees with this. I read and edit these articles sometimes dozens of times after I publish them. Correcting typos or making additional comments or adding scripture verses that come to mind, after the fact, that make subjects I am writing about clearer. This is one of those times.

Ephesians 4:24 KJVS
[24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This verse gives a good mental image of the process of becoming this new creature, new man that will be the body of Christ. The word “put” is not in the manuscript, just the word “on” and I really like the Strong’s definition for the Greek word.

Strong’s Number
G1746
Original Word
ἐνδύω
Transliterated Word
enduō
Phonetic Spelling
en-doo’-o
Parts of Speech
Verb
Definition
1. to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

You get the real sense of being in the process of clothing yourself in righteousness. Believe it or not, just knowing this gives me comfort. I got to admit, that this “name it and claim it” theology mind set of certain areas of Christianity, has been and is troubling to me, for a very long time. The onus of not having the faith to be healed is always on the individual who is sick, weak or injured. I have a spinal cord injury. I was paralyzed for ten days. I cried like a baby from the intense pain when they first put me on a mat in Physical Therapy and told me to get into a sitting position. I lost over 30 pounds of muscle in ten days due to atrophy while paralyzed. It took 3 months of painful therapy to walk 100 feet on my own. And I have lived with this injury and pain associated with it for 31 years. I can remember early on, being in a halo vest, a device worn to stabilize the cervical vertebra that were fractured, and going to a healing service at a local church. This visiting healer placed his hand on my chest to push me back and fall into the waiting arms of two young men. I suppose it was to mimic being slain in the Spirit. I did not fall back due to fear of possible additional injury but the theatrical nature of the healing ministry rubbed me the wrong way. If God is going to heal me, He will do it without fanfare or theatrics. So this whole prosperity, name it and claim it theology, that implies people lack the faith to be healed, can lead a person to feel as if he missed the boat. Maybe I don’t have the faith to be healed. Maybe the trial of my faith will bring me to the place where I do have the faith to be healed. Or maybe it is necessary for a hardhead tough guy like me to suffer so, in order to die to the pride in ones own strength,and other ungodly lusts, 1 Pe 4:1&2. Or maybe I needed to suffer in order to understand why suffering is necessary in order to be conformed to the image of Christ, Php 3:10, and relay that knowledge to others. God only knows, but knowing that I am a work in progress and having the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost in my life, is a experience that is reassuring and certainly quells the notion that I have somehow missed the boat. If I were to translate 2 Corinthians 5:17 on my own, it would look something like this.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is becoming a new creature: old things are passing away; behold, all things are being made new.

This translation would agree with many other verses that make the new creature in Christ, salvation and righteousness, appear to be a ongoing work of progress in our lives, Ro 6:6, 2 Co 12:9, He 9:28. I have read Titus 3:5 hundreds of times over the last decade and never really understood the importance of the verse in regards to salvation. Salvation in Christ, again due to the mistranslation of the Aorist tense, is largely presented as a past tense action by Jesus Christ alone, by modern day Christian theology. I have mentioned before, that years ago I bought Concordant New Testament. This translation has various marks before the verbs that indicate different verb forms in the Greek language, which allows the reader deeper insight into the various scripture verses in the Word of God. All these realizations concerning the meanings of various scripture verses, in regard to verb tense, is a recent development in my life. Largely propelled by searching the scriptures because of the feeling of having missing the boat in some fashion, due to the long term difficulty of my life. By recent, I would say the last ten years. I don’t think you can truly understand scripture until God works it into you and you say, “yeah, that verse is what is going on in my life.” For that reason it is hard to impart this knowledge to others. And let’s face it, the scripture verses in the New Testament are many and complex. Of which many religious organizations are using in purposely deceiving humanity with their various doctrines, Eph 4:14. The Word of God and the truth of the gospel is important to me. But of late, all I can manage to do is publish a infrequent article for this web site using my right index finger to peck out the articles using a iPad. Before I damaged my spinal cord I was able to type 60 words a minute using the home row method, but due to the nerve damage in my left side, I have limited dexterity in my left hand. Sitting at my computer typing with two index fingers is slow and painful due to 4 fused vertebrae in my neck, so I have come to rely on the iPad. I can lie in bed with the iPad resting in a wood holder I made, that rests against a wood clamp that is attached to the headboard of the bed. I am not likely to start a fellowship or attend a church regularly or even try and teach at a local church due to the pain and weakness. Not that any church would embrace some of the doctrine I espouse, like Universal Reconciliation with a hell of limited duration. I have been asked to leave a few churches when bringing those topics up in casual conversation. I have little choice but to be outside the camp bearing Christ’s reproach it would appear, He 13:13. Plus, God has made me a honest man, so deception by omission would not sit well with me. From my perspective God has sidelined me, or rather allowed me to sideline myself so the Holy Spirit can teach me and hopefully, I teach others. So we have God and Jesus Christ in our lives, working from the inside out and the outside in, creating this new creature.

John 17:23 KJVS
[23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

This being made perfect in one and being justified requires teaching, discipline and chastisements from God. Trials, afflictions and sufferings in order to put to the proof, the fruit of the Spirit God is growing in us. Carrot and stick approach, with the carrot being the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, that can be accompanied by joy unspeakable. I see all this at work in myself. But so slowly does change take place, that it requires much patience and hope to hold onto the eventual promised adoption and redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:22-25 KJVS
[22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they , but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit , the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

So with patience I wait for it. And one of the things that God has given us, like a clear sweet spring of water bubbling up out of the ground, if you will, is the frequent washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost in our daily lives, which is partly instrumental in the formation of this new creature within us.