Yesterday on The Morning Mediation we thought about God’s Promise Concerning the Believer’s Temptation. I sure am glad that we do not serve a cold heartless God that knows nothing of the trials we face!
Today on The Morning Meditation:
SOME NEW THINGS ABOUT GOD
Acts 17:19 “And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?”
They brought him before the most skilled of their doctors and examined him concerning something that was completely new to them. Gill names this man before whom Paul was brought as Dionysius and if so he was converted. Acts 17:34, “Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”
Now whether this is true or not we will have to leave as an educated guess. But we do know Paul had a awesome impact on men of learning when those men were open to the truth. A thinking person could not listen to Paul and withstand his teaching. Not only was he good in the Scriptures but the power of God was upon him.
So as we look in this meditation, let’s look at some new things with which men were confronted when they heard the good news of the gospel from a man anointed of God to preach in those early days.
REPENTANCE OR A NEW MIND ABOUT GOD
Acts 20:21 “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The word “repentance” translates “metanoia” and means, “a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done.” It does not mean that one has quit all sin. Because there is no such thing as living above sin. It does mean that one takes up God’s thinking on what is right and wrong. A repentant person is one who agrees with God about what He thinks even if it is against what he is doing. This is where repentance brings change in a persons life. When we see that God says “this is wrong” and we are doing it, we change from what we are doing for we no longer want to be doing things that God says is wrong. Once we take God’s view on the right or wrong of a thing, then we are ready for God’s way of forgiving what we did wrong while we were in disagreement with God. And Jesus is the answer for that. Jesus is the one who pays for the penalty of those sins we committed and is there as the mediator to reconcile us to God. Colossians 1:20 says, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
The word “reconcile” means, “bring back a former state of harmony.” The former state of harmony takes us back BEFORE the fall. God’s intent in the giving of His Son to die on the cross is to restore man to His original intent. God had a purpose in the creation of man and that purpose has been temporarily disrupted by Satan’s temptation and man’s sin. So the gospel calls man to repentance, to see that he did sin in taking his own way instead of God’s in the garden, and repentance is man’s response in faith to God’s explanation of what happened. It is man bowing before God and asking forgiveness on the basis of the cross and receiving that forgiveness by faith and being reconciled so that he is no longer an enemy of God but a born again child. Someone hold my mules!!! Hallelujah!!! This is something new in the realm of religion in Paul’s day and in ours. It is a necessary prerequisite to salvation. Next,
JUSTIFICATION IS A NEW STANDING BEFORE GOD
Man’s standing before God in his natural state is a state of condemnation. This standing before God is a terminal condition that man has never been able to deal with. Religion tries to correct this standing of total depravity by keeping God’s law and living up to moral standards. But man has been totally unsuccessful.
God has analyzed man’s attempt and has given His ruling. Romans 3:19 20, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Galatians 2:16, “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.” We have a clearly declared statement made by God in this verse that can save man his time and effort in the impossible attempt of self justification by keeping rules. The statement is: “. . . for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” That is about as plain as it needs to be.
Cain tried to be justified his own way and couldn’t get God to change His mind and when offered the opportunity to do it right where he could be forgiven of his sins, he refused and died in a hopeless lost condition. It is amazing that a man would allow Satan to so deceive him that he would step off into the bottomless pit never to have a future opportunity to be saved. Cain did this and he has a lot of followers today who are doing the same thing. It is stupidity amplified into infinity. Next,
REGENERATION IS A NEW LIFE FROM GOD
Titus 3:5, “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;”
The word “regeneration” translates “paliggenesia” and means, “a new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration, hence renovation, regeneration, the production of a new life consecrated to God, a radical change of mind for the better. The word often used to denote the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, its renovation, as a renewal or restoration of life after death.”
I believe the part of this definition that says, “the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, it renovation, as a renewal or restoration of life after death” is the way Paul is using the word here.
I believe God restores in regeneration all that Adam lost in the fall and more. It is more in that man in his new creation of a new man is never put to a test like Adam was in the garden. Therefore, there is no possibility of him making a wrong choice again. When he chooses Jesus, it is an eternal choice that settles it forever. We are eternally sealed with God’s stamp of ownership, with His power to protect against the threat of a future fall (Jude 1:24; John 10:27), and sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30). God has placed us out of the reach of Satan so far as our destiny is concerned though He does allow us to be tempted but with the temptation makes a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13).
This regeneration is “not by works of righteousness which we have done” because if it were that way then we would share in the glory of salvation. In salvation God gets the glory of it all. He came up with the plan, worked out the plan through making the total sacrifice Himself, drew us as lost sinners, saved us at the time we were enemies of God, and made us joint heirs with Christ His only begotten Son. He has given us a place in His eternal kingdom in which there will never be a threat of falling. It is beyond man’s comprehension but it is nevertheless true. It is something that we can begin to enjoy now in anticipation because His plan cannot be altered and cannot be prevented. Hallelujah to God and the Lamb forever.
Our text says it is “by the washing of regeneration and, and renewing of the holy Ghost.” Regeneration is a washing process. We are washed in the blood and left without a stain of sin. So clean are we in God’s sight that Col. 1:28 says, “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:” It is perfection in Christ. This is positional truth because we are not perfect at our best moments. But Christ has never had an imperfect moment. He is our perfection so that we will be presented in Him without fault before the throne of God. And that will be the basis of our acceptance. Hallelujah what a Saviour!!! Next,
CONVERSION A NEW ATTITUDE BEFORE GOD
Matthew 18:3, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
The word “converted” translates “strepho” and means, “ to turn, to turn around.” This is an aorist passive subjunctive verb. The aorist tense refers to a point of time and in this case is referring to the event of salvation. The passive voice means that the subject is acted upon. This means that the one converted does not convert himself but receives conversion by and act of his will from the Lord. The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility. This means that not everyone who is saved is converted and becomes as a little child. There are many who can give a clear testimony of salvation but they do not take the position of a little child in service for the Lord. They hold on to their ego wanting to be the “ones in charge.” Someone has said, “There are too many chiefs and not enough braves.” Well this is a true statement that can be applied to the newly born again Christian.
The disciples of Christ had this problem. Mark 9:34 says, “But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.” Then Jesus calls the disciples together and gave them a lesson on greatness. He says in Mark 9:35 37, “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.”
Greatness in His sight is the one who takes the lowliest position. For this to happen, most of us will have to be converted. And I am not talking about salvation conversion. I am talking about attitude conversion. The ego is one of the main problems for Christians. We need to learn how to proceed as a Christian as a little child. So conversion is a new attitude before God and toward man.
But you say, “Preacher, what if they get all the good positions?” I simply ask you what is the good position? What you think is the good position may not be the good position so far as the Lord is concerned. Just remember this, the Lord is the one who will judge according to His estimate of greatness. Conversion is a new attitude toward God.
SONSHIP OR A NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
1 John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
The believer is born into a relationship with God. There is literally a new birth. Just as surely as a person is born in this earthly family, a saved person is born in the heavenly family. I am God’s born son and so are you if you are saved. 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” This verse clearly teaches that we are His sons now. Our verse says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God . . .” There are so many who teach that no one is a child of God now that this will happen only after the final judgment. However, John did not believe that. Neither did the Holy Spirit who inspired him to write this verse of Scripture. He said, “Beloved, NOW are we the sons of God.” I praise the Lord for the word “Now,” in the Bible. Then next,
SANCTIFICATION A NEW POSITION BEFORE GOD
Jude 1:1, “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:”
Jude is writing to those who “are sanctified by God the Father . . .” There are three stages of sanctification.
1. First there is positional sanctification. This is a sanctification that every believer has by virtue of his salvation. This is the sanctification that is spoken of in Hebrews 10:10, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” There is no appeal in this verse for the believer to sanctify himself. It is stated that he is sanctified. This verse also says how this sanctification takes place. He is “sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.” This verse also tells us the duration of this sanctification. He is sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ “once for all.” It does not have to be repeated. This is positional sanctification.
2. Then there is progressive sanctification. This is brought out in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:” This is clearly a sanctification in which the believer participates in. He is told to “abstain from fornication.” So there is an experiential sanctification where we keep our bodies from evil on a daily basis.
3. Then there is ultimate sanctification which will take place at the rapture where we will get a glorified body that will never sin. It will never have the desire to sin.
So Sanctification is a new position before God. Then finally,
GLORIFICATION A NEW PLACE WITH GOD
Romans 8:30, “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
In this verse our glorification is spoken of in the past tense even before it takes place experientially. When God makes a promise it is as good as fulfilled from the moment of the promise. God cannot lie. God is not capable of being unfaithful to His promises. When a sinner calls on the Lord for salvation, he doesn’t get the words out of his mouth before his name is written in the Lambs book of life.
Look at where we are today. Now imagine going from where we are to where He is in the celestial city as glorified sons of God. It is almost beyond our imagination. But this is exactly what is going to happen. We are sons of God and it does not yet appear what we will be but we will be like Him for we will see Him as He is.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.