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Re: Introduction and testimony

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:12 am
by dwight92070
Let me clarify my statement. I did not mean to imply that I know beyond all doubt whether a person is saved or not. I simply was stating, hopefully as an objective 3rd party, what the scripture says it looks to be in Christ, or to be born again, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. I too was raised from my childhood in a Baptist church and thought I was a Christian, but I realized later at the age of 21, when I was born again, that I had not been before. The 4 points are an excellent example of explaining 2 Corinthians 5:17, which is the new birth.

Re: Introduction and testimony

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:29 am
by dwight92070
It appears to me that the disciples of Christ were saved, as all Old Testament believers were, but not yet born again, until Pentecost. Do we ever see where Abraham or Moses or David were born again? No, that was a new experience under the new covenant, where the Holy Spirit would now dwell in each believer. But since Jesus instituted this new covenant, being born again or saved or (I believe) baptized in the Holy Spirit are all synonymous.

Re: Introduction and testimony

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:52 am
by steve
Your 4 points sound like a description of being born again found in 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
You may be correct. I have certainly considered it. However, it is hard for me to believe that I was born again at age sixteen, on an occasion when I did not do any of the things that constitute conversion (e.g., put initial faith in Christ, repent, get baptized) other than to receive the power of the Holy Spirit.

Your last post resonates with me, somewhat, in that I would distinguish between justification and regeneration. I believe that Old Testament saints were justified, but not regenerated. On the other hand, I believe that, when people put their faith and loyalty into Christ, they are both justified and regenerated.

The Bible describes people who are clearly regenerated, but who have not yet been baptized in the Spirit—e.g., Philip's converts in Acts 8, who "believed and were baptized" and were full of joy. Nothing in their experience suggests a "failure to launch" in terms of salvation. In fact, when John and Peter later laid their hands on them, these people were filled with the Spirit, without any additional repentance, faith, baptism, etc., which would have marked their "real" conversion at that later point. They had earlier experienced justification (since they believed—v.12), and regeneration (since they had been baptized and were full of joy—vv.8, 12), and the Spirit later fell "upon" them (v.16).

I have no problem with the suggestion that I was not "saved" prior to age 16. This depends on what we regard "saved" to mean. Some people think of salvation only in terms of justification, but I believe salvation is a life-long process of transformation and sanctification. In that sense, my salvation is not even now completed—I have not yet "attained." However, I would not deny the justification of many who have had much less experience than that which I have described above. If I was not justified as a child and young teen, then it would be hard to argue that any of the believers in the Baptist church where I was raised were justified, since, by common acknowledgement I was "more exceedingly zealous" than most the others.

To decide whether I was regenerated prior to age 16 would not interest me, since it is not relevant to my present state. However, if my reading of scripture is correct, salvation is entered through repentance, faith and baptism in water—not through the laying-on of hands. If this is correct, then I believe I was born again prior to age 16, and that what happened at that later date was what the Bible describes as happening to believers through the laying-on of hands (Acts 8:17; 9:17; 19:6).

I am disgusted by much of what I see among charismatics and Pentecostals, but I don't derive my theology from my emotions. I prefer to follow what I find taught in scripture. In this matter, my experience resembles that which is sometimes described there.

Re: Introduction and testimony

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:07 am
by dwight92070
Meditating on Acts 2:38: "Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.'"

Now it appears to me that Peter is saying to these unbelievers, soon to be believers, that they are about to receive the same gift that they had just witnessed the gathering of 120 disciples receiving, which Jesus called the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). Acts 2:4 uses the terminology "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit ...". Acts 2:41 says: "So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls." Verse 41 doesn't give us any details about these three thousand receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I think we can safely assume that they did, because Peter just told them that they would. So here is the norm for new believers, it appears to me. They are born again (or baptized in the Holy Spirit, in my opinion) all in one fell swoop.

Steve, I understand the new believers in Samaria in Acts 8 don't fit this "mold". But here are a couple of possible explanations for this exception:
1. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is called a gift of God. He doesn't always have to follow our "formulas". No one can force Him to "fall on them" or to fill them.
2. Since the Samaritans were hated by the Jews, generally speaking, it may have been necessary that the apostles of the church, in this case Peter and John, would be the ones to lay their hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit. If Philip had done it, it would be an excuse for the other Jews to think that conversion of the Samaritans was not valid, just like they thought the Gentiles must be circumcised to be saved.

Re: Introduction and testimony

Posted: Thu May 13, 2021 8:59 pm
by dwight92070
It is now close to 5 1/2 years later, since that last post. I just wanted to say that since then, I have changed my mind on that issue. I think it was listening to Steve through the years that really did it. His dogged determination to stick to the Word is what I saw and decided to do myself.

The disciples were born again, it appears, before Pentecost, when Jesus breathed on them in John 20:22 and said "Receive the Holy Spirit". And Jesus told them to wait for another "experience" of being baptized with the Holy Spirit, which took place on Pentecost.

I like the way Steve explains it: 1. First the Holy Spirit was WITH the disciples, then 2. The Holy Spirit was IN the disciples, and 3. The Holy Spirit FELL UPON or CAME UPON the disciples. At first I thought the different wording was not that significant, but now I see that that is exactly the terms that the Bible uses. With - In - Fall upon or Come upon - John 14:17 and Acts 1:8 Even in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit "came upon" individuals like Saul, David, Samson - Judges 14:6, and others.