Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pastoral Implications of Regeneration

More thoughts about the new birth....

If people have been regenerated, then they have new desires for God that previously did not exist. They have new spiritual taste buds that now enjoy God. Even though sin deceives and tempts, the regenerated man has the glory of God at the center of his heart's joy.

If that's the case, then we should be able to assume some truths as we minister to believers.

1. If we preach Christ, people's hearts will be warmed. We don't need to moralize or convince by the strength of our voice. We simply need to present Christ in all His glory and splendor and beauty and sufficiency. As Christ is revealed, people's hearts will warm and the sin which so easily entangles will begin to melt away.

2. People want Christ to be preached. This is an implication of regeneration - now, its the glory of Christ that is satisfying for the thirsty soul. So we can preach and teach and counsel with confidence.

3. We can appeal to their own deepest desires in our exhortations. We don't have to convince the unconvincable - we have an audience of people who we know will respond to the preaching of Christ. So we can dip into the well their longings when bringing adjustment. This means saying something more like "You know in your heart this is the truth of God" vs. "If you can't see this is the truth of God, you must be blind."

4. We can trust the Holy Spirit to regenerate the unbeliever as we preach. If regeneration is necessary for faith, and if regeneration comes by the Spirit as the gospel is presented, then we don't need to convince the unconvincable. They are unable to be convinced apart from the Spirit. So we shouldn't modify the message of the cross; rather, we can trust that God will work in the lost to save and in the Christian to encourage/challenge.

Thank you Spirit for the work of regeneration.

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