202. ARE YOU REGENERATE OR UNREGENERATE?

(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 4)

To be REGENERATE is to have been born again spiritually of God, having been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ which made atonement for your sin. It is to be adopted and accepted into God’s family and to be a bona-fide Christian, having believed from the heart that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died and rose up again from the dead on the third day, as he said he would and having confessed with your mouth that truly, he is Lord.

When a person has been regenerated, quickened or made spiritually alive, although he was born in trespasses and sins, estranged from God and therefore born spiritually dead, he gets born again, this time not physically in the flesh but spiritually, as God’s holy Spirit comes to dwell in him, bringing enlightenment and spiritual life. He is reconciled with God the Father and sealed irreversibly with his Spirit until the day of redemption, having been bought with a price (the precious blood of Jesus).

Asa result, God accepts him as his child, granting him access to heaven, not through any merit of his own but because he has been clothed by faith with the perfect righteousness of his Son Jesus Christ.

In John 3:3-6, Nicodemus questioned Jesus about the issue of being born again. In highlighting the need for mankind to be reborn spiritually in order to get to heaven, meaning regenerated, the scripture reads:

  • “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, 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 and of the Spirit, 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.”

The UNREGENERATE do not have the Spirit of life in them. They do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them and so they are not of Christ, even if they think they are, say they are, attend Church services, do ‘Ministry’ and are religious.

In Romans 8:9, Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome, telling them “…ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, IF so be that the Spirit of God DWELL IN YOU. Now IF any man HAVE NOT the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Given that the unregenerate do not have the help of the Holy Spirit, everything they do is in their own strength. They know nothing else, nothing greater because they have not yet tapped in to that greatest of all powers. They are spiritually dead and so they see life through natural lens, even if they think that they are spiritual and they do not know what it is to daily rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, sustenance and strength.

Having explained that, the question to you is: Are you regenerate or unregenerate? Don’t tell me in response, that you made a profession with your lips years ago or have been attending Church and regularly and doing a whole lot of ‘stuff’ for God, even preaching to others. None of these in themselves are sufficient to make you regenerated. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can do that and only those indwelled by his Holy Spirit can make the claim that they are regenerated or made spiritually alive in Jesus Christ.

The Bible urges those that have taken it for granted that they are Christians, to “…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?

We should therefore take the opportunity to conduct such an examination, so as to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).

When a person is regenerate and therefore indwelled by the Spirit of God, this is not a secret. That is, the Spirit of God does not indwell a person and remain secret within him. No. He begins a work of progressive sanctification in that believer, cutting off what needs to be cut of and molding him to more resemble Christ. He does not occupy and then lie dormant (although through a believer’s disobedience, he can be quenched) but through his operation in the life of that believer, he lets him know for sure, that he is within him.

Romans 8:16 tells us that “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”.

SYMPTOMS OF THE UNREGENERATE

Unregenerate people, even if they attend Church, ‘preach’ from the pulpit or are otherwise engaged in ‘ministry’ activities, tend to exhibit certain symptoms, a few of which are as follows:

ONE – Apart from what they gather through their own intellect, they cannot go beyond this and therefore LACK UNDERSTANDING AND DISCERNMENT when it comes to the mysteries of the Kingdom of God and the truths of his Kingdom.

When they read God’s Word for example, apart from certain basics which they understand through intellect and common sense, they do not benefit from enlightenment of his truths as the Holy Spirit gives to God’s children and they lack insight and discernment, which is also given by the Holy Spirit.

John 16:13 tells us that …when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will GUIDE you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

1 John 2:27 also tells those that are regenerate and therefore have the Holy Spirit indwelling them:

  • “But the anointing which ye have received of him ABIDETH IN YOU, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing TEACHETH you of all things, and IS TRUTH, AND IS NO LIE, and even as it hath TAUGHT you, ye shall abide in him.

Yet, the unregenerate does not benefit from the guidance and teaching of the Word by the Holy Spirit and therefore usually embraces error. For, the Spirit of truth is not in him and human intellect can only take you so far. In short he may be highly educated and very secularly brilliant but when it comes to God’s Word, he is in darkness and so the mysteries within are not revealed to him, as the Holy Spirit reveals it to a Christian.

In 1 Corinthians 2:7-14, Paul stated of those who were regenerate:

  • “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
  • For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Paul continued about the natural man, which includes those who are highly educated and have great intellect but have never accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and therefore are still unsaved and unregenerate:

  • But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, BECAUSE THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED.”

In Isaiah 8:15-16 and 20, in speaking about Israel and Jerusalem (which consisted of those who were genuine followers of God and those who were not), the Word of God stated:

  • “And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law AMONG MY DISCIPLES...To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM.”

In John 16:10-16, Jesus explained the difference between the disciples who were regenerate and the people who were unregenerate and therefore remained in darkness, without having relationship with God. When his disciples asked him why he was speaking in parables and not plainly, Jesus told them:

  • Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, BUT TO THEM IT IS NOT GIVEN. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because THEY SEEING SEE NOT; AND HEARING THEY HEAR NOT, NEITHER DO THEY UNDERSTAND. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

TWO – Owing to the fact that the unregenerate lack insight, GOD’S TRUTHS, his system and ways (which run counter to the world’s system), SEEM LIKE FOOLISHNESS to them.

For example, God’s Word makes it clear that we should humble ourselves in order to be exalted, not chase after money and the good life but chase after the Kingdom of God FIRST and His righteousness and that all things will then be added to us.

The unregenerate, even if he pretends to have embraced these principles or deludes himself into thinking he has, acts to the contrary in his daily life, as deep down, he thinks these principles to be ridiculous and is convinced that they will not bear any worthwhile fruit. He wants to get ahead and he DOES NOT BELIEVE IN HIS HEART that doing these things and following God’s formula will help him in this regard. He therefore may say one thing with his mouth but he does another.

Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, is a prime example. He was right at Elisha’s side in the story with the Shunnamite woman (2 Kings 4) and he gave the impression that he was of God and had embraced everything pertaining to righteousness and godliness but this was all a show. When he thought no one was seeing, he was trying to acquire riches for himself through lies and deceit. In 2 Kings 5, who he really was was unmasked.

The same was true of Judas Iscariot, who, although he was one of the twelve disciples was secretly stealing money from the bag and eventually offered to betray Jesus to Jesus’ enemies, for money.

That the unregenerate thinks in his heart that God’s ways are foolish, counterproductive, a humbug and suppressive is clear in God’s Word. In 1 Corinthians 2:14 for example, it tells us: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are FOOLISHNESS unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

In 1 Corinthians 1:18-29, it also states:

  • “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish FOOLISHNESS; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the FOOLISHNESS of preaching to SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE. 
  • For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a STUMBLINGBLOCK, and unto the Greeks FOOLISHNESS; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the FOOLISHNESS of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
  • For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the FOOLISH things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

This last line on glorying brings me to the third symptom of the unregenerate.

THREE – Achievements, progress and ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN LIFE ARE NOT CREDITED TO GOD (where they rightly belong) but to themselves.

Whereas Joseph in the Old Testament, made it clear to Pharaoh that it was God that was giving him the interpretation (Genesis 41:16) and the Psalmist (possibly David) admitted that, had it not been for the Lord who was on his side, he would have failed (Psalm 124), the unregenerate takes the credit for himself.

He does not and has never seen himself the way God sees him, which is naked, wretched, poor and miserable and so, whenever he achieves something wonderful, he does not acknowledge the Holy Spirit as having enabled him to do great exploits. Instead, he pats himself on his back, his chest swells in pride and he considers what he has done as owing to his own strength, capability and intelligence.

He therefore exalts himself and points the glory to himself, instead of to Christ.

This is understandable. After all, the unregenerate do not have God’s Spirit indwelling them. They are not of Christ and have no real relationship with him. They may have a theoretical knowledge of what the Bible says about him but they have no real experience of walking with him that they can refer to and meditate upon. They have heard of him but they don’t know him personally.

Of a truth therefore, what they achieved was really in their own effort as they never really relied upon God to help them. Nevertheless, they do not even realize that God being sovereign, if he had not allowed them, they could have never achieved what they achieved. He is the one that gives talents, our mental faculties, strength and everything that we have and utilize in this world. Yet, the unregenerate may mention God in his great swelling speeches but only for show. In his heart, he thinks to himself, like the rich man who took counsel with himself without any regard for God: I have done well for myself!

FOUR – Given that the unregenerate do not have the Holy Spirit, they RELY ON HUMAN INTELLECT, intelligence, academic learning and exposure, when reading, ‘preaching’ or ‘teaching’ the Word of God.

Their contributions to a Bible Reading discussion for example, come across as originating merely from intellect and educational intelligence, which the unregenerate pride themselves as having.

The empowerment of the Holy Spirit, which is able to take a weakling, even he that is considered as not too learned and deliver a stirring, soul-convicting, ‘you can hear a pin drop’ message is lacking. What they say on the whole, may have grand vocabulary and be quite articulate but yet, it seems empty and lacking, the result being words uttered without being backed by any real power from God.

In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul wrote:

  • “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the SPIRIT and of POWER: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the POWER OF GOD.”

In 1 Corinthians 4:19-20, Paul also wrote, “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the POWER. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in POWER.”

In Matthew 10:19-20, Jesus told his disciples:

  • But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but THE SPIRIT of your Father which speaketh IN YOU.”

When around the religious unregenerate though, Bible Study can seem more like an English Literature study than a study where the Holy Spirit is being relied on for unfolding of the scriptures, understanding and discernment. You do not sense that they are instruments through which the Holy Spirit is using to speak, so as to achieve His purposes but that that they are speaking in their own strength.

You listen in vain to hear the Holy Spirit speak through the vessel but all you hear, even if a portion has been rightly interpreted, is human intelligence. They work hard in their own strength because, when they read the Word of God, they have no Holy Spirit upon which to rely for unfolding of the scriptures, understanding and discernment. All they have is natural intelligence and they believe that this is enough to qualify them.

FIVE – They DO NOT RELY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT OR WAIT ON GOD TO PROVIDE for them, as the Word of God says God’s children should.

They fight in their own strength to get ahead, to find a spouse, to be ‘successful’ and to attain the better life and this is their whole or main focus in life, everything else, even God’s work, fading in comparison. They know nothing about surrendering to God’s timing and his will. They think that unless they put out human effort, they will get nowhere, as they see only themselves and what they do or don’t do as the sole determinant of their destiny, not God.

They may mention him as the one that can answer prayer and who is all powerful but in actuality, they have a form of godliness, while denying the power thereof. Deep down, they believe, that if they don’t make things happen for themselves, things will never happen. They therefore see themselves as the source of their provision and the master of their own fate, not God and so, they do not sit still and trust him to provide for them as he sees fit, in his own timing and way.

They are always busy pursuing their own interests as in their minds, if they don’t grab opportunity, they will be left behind.

Self-advancement, materialism, self-promotion, power, influence and to be somebody in the world are therefore their focus, some even being deceived to the point where they think that this focus and preoccupation are also God’s focus and preoccupation. That is, to get them ahead and to prosper them in this world, not spiritually but with earthly riches, the good life and comfort.

This brings me to my last point about the unregenerate.

SIX – They LOVE AND VALUE THE WORLD and the things of the world and so, focus and preoccupy themselves with earthly or fleshly things, not spiritual.

In short, the unregenerate is not concerned about spiritual things (since God’s spiritual seed has not been sown in him) but carnal, fleshly or earthly things. He is world-focused and loves the world like Demas, who, having loved this present world, forsook Paul and apparently the work of the ministry.

Romans 8:5-8 tells us:

  • For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

1 John 2:15-17 admonishes and tells us plainly:

  • “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 world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

(Written around 2019 or thereabout, added to thereafter) (SEE ADDENDUM BELOW)

ADDENDUM

Tonight, close to three years after I wrote the above Article, I happened to put on the radio and heard a Sermon being delivered on the Harbour Light Radio station. The Preacher was speaking based on John 13, where verse 3-10 reads:

  • “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
  • Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
  • Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.”

I have heard this scripture read on countless occasions and have read it myself several times. However, the Preacher made some important points of truth which are relevant to this whole issue of regenerate or unregenerate and I believe they are worthy of repeating.

IMPORTANT POINTS THAT THE PREACHER RAISED:

Jesus told Peter, “He that is WASHED needeth not SAVE TO WASH HIS FEET, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.”

In explaining this verse, the Preacher said that as Christians, “We are completely clean and perpetually dirty at the same time.”

Although seemingly paradoxical, he was speaking on JUSTIFICATION (which renders us completely in Christ and wholly clean) but yet our ongoing need for progressive or continued SANCTIFICATION (due to us being soiled on an ongoing basis by this world, the flesh and the tactics of the devil).

The Preacher also stated that Jesus is the one that washes us and makes us clean (justification), once and for all, forever. We do not therefore need to be washed entirely over again.

This is why Jesus told Peter, who eventually asked for his hands and head to also be washed along with his feet (meaning all of him), that he did not need to be washed completely again as he had already been washed once. All he needed was for his feet to be washed, meaning sanctified progressively, as he trod through this sin-infested and filthy world.

The Preacher explained that WASHED meant justification and regeneration. Jesus had WASHED all of the disciples except one, as that one (Judas), did not genuinely believe that he was the Son of God and God the Son.

Jesus does not wash those who don’t genuinely believe on Him and so, although Judas was among the twelve, he was unclean, having never been washed spiritually by the Lord and therefore, still rebellious and at enmity with God in his heart.

Having washed the eleven disciples on the other hand, they were completely clean. However, the Preacher explained that when Jesus said that “He that is WASHED needeth not SAVE TO WASH HIS FEET, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.”, the term ‘SAVE TO WASH HIS FEET’ meant ‘with the exception’ that his feet needed to be washed. The Preacher further stated that Jesus meant that he who had been cleansed (wash, justified) (a saved person), still needed to be sanctified daily.

By Jesus telling the eleven disciples that they were clean but not all, he was telling them that he had washed or bathed them (justified or regenerated them) but one had not been washed or bathed and therefore remained unregenerate and not justified, which was Judas.

The Preacher stated that regeneration is the sovereign work of God. It cannot be done by one person to another but only the Lord can do it and he only regenerates those that truly believe on the Lordship of Jesus.

For Judas therefore, the Preacher explained that, even if Jesus had washed his feet on that occasion along with the other disciples (possibly), for him, it was just a routine. The Preacher then drew a parallel between Judas and some people today who attend Church services as empty routine but who have never been washed or justified. They remain in their sins because they have not been cleansed by the Lord, even where they have been deceived by the enemy into thinking that they have been.

The Preacher stated that regeneration results in us desiring to please God, to genuinely serve him and to be sanctified. It gives us an appetite for spiritual things.

For those who have not been regenerated, like Judas though, they have no such desire, even if they attend services as a routine. They are content not to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (as 2 Peter 3:18 states that believers should) but feel comfortable remaining the same.

Unlike Peter, who the Lord at a later date assessed as having a willing spirit although his flesh was weak (Matthew 26:41), the unregenerate does not have a spirit that is subservient to the Lord. All he has is his flesh which is rebellious against God and at enmity with him.

The Preacher stated that each application of foot washing is temporary and progressive, as it has to be repeated. He also stated that it is done through the cooperative work of God and man.

Although Jesus is the one that does the WASHING OR BATHING OF US (justification), the Preacher stated that we need to participate in the sanctification process (indicative in the FOOT WASHING of which Jesus spoke to Peter above).

To illustrate his point, he said that Peter had to submit to the washing of his feet and turn up the hem of his garment and take off his sandals to have his feet washed. There was therefore a part that he played in it and once we are regenerated, we have the capacity now to participate and cooperate in the sanctification process (foot washing).

When it comes to sanctification therefore, there must be daily cleansing, which involves us conducting self-examination and confessing and repenting of our sins to God. For, having been justified by the Lord (which needed only have been done once), what we do and how we live on a daily basis, affects our fellowship (not standing) with God.

In conclusion, the Preacher stated, “Do not allow the adversary of your soul to steal your salvation because you presume illegitimately upon it” (referring to those that think they are justified and therefore clean, although they were never washed or bathed by Jesus) but at the same time, “do not allow him to steal your peace and joy as a believer” (where you have already been washed, justified and cleansed and are therefore regenerated and saved once and forever) “but understand these two aspects: The bathing and the daily washing of the feet.”

(ADDENDUM written on 02nd March, 2022)

Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ Page:

  • Note 116 – ‘Are You Really Saved? Here Are Some Indicators’
  • Note 178 – ‘Are You Truly Saved? Eight (8) Biblical Indicators To Examine Whether You Are In The Faith’
  • Note 180 – ‘The Unbelief Of Judas Iscariot’
  • Note 185 – ‘How Important Is Earthly Education And The Ability To Speak Well, To God’s Agenda?’
  • Note 200 – ‘The Paradoxical Principles To Successful Living – God’s Manual’
  • Note 250 – ‘The Blood Of Jesus Gives Spiritual Life’
  • Note 276 – ‘Are You In Love With Money? People Who Loved Money To Their Detriment In The Bible’

Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:

  • Note 32 – ‘Look At What ‘I’ Have Done’
  • Note 212 – ‘What Are You Most Passionate About?’

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