Launch Sermon Player

1. Under the OC, God promised to help His people through regeneration.

(Deu 30:6) “circumcise your heart” = Repent/Remove your disloyalty to Me and My laws; separate/set yourself apart in loyal obedience to Me and My laws (Act 7:39 w/7:51). The purpose: “to love to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” = To be undivided in loyalty to God (Deu 6:5-15 w/Deu 10:12 w/20 and Deu 13:1-4 = Love to God means undivided loyalty; Deu 10:20, 13:4 [“cling”] same word as Gen 2:24 “joined” = To cleave or stick closely to, to show undivided loyalty. To love God w/all of our heart and soul, etc. is therefore idiomatic for marital loyalty/love). Circumcision of the heart (which fosters this marital love) is the same as receiving a new heart/new spirit (Eze 11:19-20 [promise to the exiles returning from the Babylonian exile]) = Notice, the result is the same as heart circumcision: to foster love (marital love) in God’s people (v20). Both passages (Deu 30 and Eze 11) are using the language scholars associate with regeneration (or new birth/being born again/becoming a new creation; e.g., Eze 36:26-27). Regeneration was therefore true under the OC just as it is under the NC. IOW: regeneration is not new to the NC. Hence the reason Jesus says what He does to Nicodemus (Joh 3:1-10 [Deu 30:6 w/Jer 9:25-26]).

 

2. God’s help to His OC people was predicated on them first producing this regeneration by their own efforts.

Though demonized by Evangelicalism, the statement, “God helps those who help themselves” is true (Deu 30:1-5 [6 “Moreover the LORD God will…”]; Lev 26:41; Deu 10:16; Jer 4:4; Eze 18:31).

3. In the OT, God promised to help His people under the NC through not only regeneration but also by indwelling them with His Spirit.

(Eze 36:25-27 “cause” [Heb. ‘asah = to prepare – Exo 12:16, 39); Jer 24:7, 32:38-39; Joe 2:28-29 “all mankind” = Jews and Gentiles will receive the indwelling Spirit; Isa 32:15, 44:3).

 

4. The NT confirms the fulfillment of God’s promised help of regeneration and the indwelling Spirit.

1) Regeneration/New Creation/Born Again (Joh 3:3-5; 2Co 5:17; Gal 6:15; 1Pe 1:23), 2) Indwelling Spirit (Joh 14:16, 15:26, 16:5-15; Act 2:38 [Jews], Ac 10:44-45 [Gentiles]).

 

5. Because of the propitiation associated with our regeneration and the accompanying indwelling Spirit, the help God gives under the NC is far superior to that given under the OC.

(Rom 7:21-8:4): 1) Propitiation along w/our regeneration (8:1-3 w/Tit 3:5 “the washing of [included in] regeneration”) = Hearts/spirits truly cleansed from sin and therefore also free from its power (7:21-25 [Rom 3:25 w/6:1-7 = Propitiation-fueled regeneration]), 2) Indwelling Spirit (8:4 = Empowering, interceding and leading [vv5-30]).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. As before, God’s help does not negate the condition/pre-requisite of our own efforts.

(Jer 31:31-34) = All those coming into saving covenant relationship w/God under the NC (33c “I will be their God and they will be My people” [Heb 8:8-12, 10:16-17]) will take the same kind of vow as those who initially came under the OC: a vow (of faith) to obey all of God’s commandments (Exo 24:7) (33a, “ I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it”; Hos 2:19-20). Jeremiah’s generation were coming into the OC with no such vows or commitment (e.g., Jer 2:1-8, 20-21, 32, 4:4, 8:7). This and the fact that the NC wb “forever”(vv35-40) is what would make it different than how the OC was treated in Jeremiah’s day (31-32, “not like the covenant I made with their fathers…My covenant which they [Jeremiah’s generation] broke”). By this vow of obedience those coming into the NC will: 1) “know the LORD” (34a [an allusion to Jer 9:23-24; 1Jo 2:4]), 2) receive justification/propitiation (34b [Exo 24:8; Eze 36:25; 1Pe 1:1-2]). Our commitment to repentance/obedience is once more God’s prerequisite to helping us (Act 5:32) = Point not to miss: our repentance/obedience precedes the help of the Sprit. IOW: He is not the cause of our obedience. The Holy Spirit intercedes and directs (Act 8:29, 39, 19:21, 20:22-23; Rom 8:5 w/26-30; Gal 5:16-17), influences and inspires (Rom 8:23; Act 2:17, 10:19 w/11:12, 10:45-47, 11:28, 15:28, 19:6, 21:4, 11), empowers, equips and enlightens (Act 4:8, 31, 6:10, 7:55, 16:14, 20:28; Rom 8:11, 13, 16, 9:1, 15:13, 19, 30; 1Co 2:13-14, 12:7; Eph 3:16; 2Pe 1:3-4; Phi 2:13; 2Ti 1:14; 1Jo 3:24; Jud 20; Rev 1:10), comforts, engenders affection and encourages (Act 9:31; Rom 14:17; Gal 4:6; Phi 1:19, 2:1; 1Th 1:6) only those who humble/submit themselves to His leading (Jam 4:5-7; Rom 8:4 w/14; Gal 5:25). Through unrepentance and disobedience we can/will resist, quench, grieve and enrage the HS shutting off His ability to help, even making Him our enemy (Act 7:51 [notice “uncircumcised in heart”]; 1Th 5:19; Eph 4:30 w/Isa 63:10; Heb 10:26-30).

 

7. God’s prerequisite for helping His people is justified by our moral ability.

Were we unable to repent and obey, God’s prerequisite would be unjust (Eze 18:1-32 [33:1-20] “the fathers eat sour grapes; but the children’s teeth are set on edge…the way of the Lord is not right” = Because of the sins/sinful behavior of our parents, we are incapable of turning from our sins/obeying God. Therefore God’s judgment against us is not just/right; Eze 18:23 [33:11]) “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked” = This is impossible for God to say if it is impossible for us to obey). Scripture however communicates our ability to repent and obey (Deu 30:11-14).

 

8. These truths are what must inform our understanding of passages like 2Timothy 2:26 and Ephesians 2:5.

1) (2Ti 2:26) “God may grant them [the help of] repentance” = The reason Paul speaks about this in terms of possibility rather than a guarantee is because of the prerequisite necessary to receiving such help from God: that person’s own efforts in repentance and obedience. In this light consider, (Act 10:34-35 w/11:18). 2) (Eph 2:5) “even when we were dead…[God] made us alive” = Our deadness in sin does not indicate moral inability but rather God’s willingness at the time to help us (see vv11-12). However, with the coming of Jesus, God’s mercy (v4) was now available to Gentiles (Paul’s audience in chapter two). As such what is meant by “dead in our transgressions” is “without God” (i.e., God’s help) – something He is now willing to do (i.e., He is now willing to “[make] us alive”/regenerate us), if we will (first) take a vow of faith/faithfulness to Christ as our Savior (i.e., to “regenerate” ourselves [circumcise our hearts/get a new heart/spirt – Consider Luk 1:17, 8:15; Rom 2:15, 25-26; also Rom 6:17-18 [they gave themselves new hearts before they were cleansed/freed from sin]). This is His “gift” to us (as Gentiles) (vv5-8).