Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Regeneration or Reformation?

Meditation for the week of October 30, 2011

Titus 3:4-5  But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,  not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing (or renovation) of the Holy Spirit.

The world is looked at in two ways in our Bibles.  It is seen as an age that is evil (Galatians 1:4).  Christ gave Himself to deliver us from this evil age.  The world is also seen as a society that is organized by Satan.  This society is the political, economic, social and religious system that Satan has organized through people who do not believe in Him.  Ephesians 2 describes the world in both ways.  Ephesians 2:1-3 says,   “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course (age) of this world (society) , according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,  among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

A Christian lives and serves in this society but is not of this society according to the Lord in John 17:15-18.  Christians need to be kept from the evil one.  They do not love this ungodly society and its enticements.  Since the world is an enemy of the Christian, they are to flee from its enticements and separate from its evil.  I personally do not believe we are here to reform society.  We are here to preach the Gospel so that individuals can be regenerated and renovated by the Holy Spirit.  Society itself will not be regenerated until the Lord comes and sets up His physical kingdom on earth.

Today, some view the Gospel as a social Gospel.  They teach that Christians are those who are Christ-like and who help take care of their fellow man without emphasizing the need for a true Christian to be regenerated through the new birth.  Others view the Gospel as a means of confronting and changing society.  Again, they are trying to reform people when in fact people need a new life in Christ.   This new life starts with repenting and believing that Christ died for sinners.  It then results in showing our love to the Lord by showing our love to our neighbors both by meeting their physical needs and by meeting their spiritual need to have their sins forgiven.

I can clean up and repaint a dead car battery.  I can make it look like new, but it is still a dead battery that will not start the car.  However, if I put a charger on the battery and give it new life by “regenerating” it, then it will be useful in starting my car.  Today we are taking the society of our age which is figuratively a dead battery and we are trying to clean it up and make it look good.  However, that society is still the same dead society when we get it reformed.  However, if we preach the Gospel to people in that society and they come to understand that Christ died for their sins, then the power of the Gospel is such that they will be renovated.  We all like to see a house that is run down renovated to look like new.  The Gospel can do that for individuals.  We cannot reform society, but we can see individuals regenerated by the preaching of the Gospel who will then be renovated by the Holy Spirit.  They will be a part of a changed society in their corner of the world as they live in the world even though they are not of the world.

Reformation of the world, even if it could be accomplished, would still leave the world lost and separated from God.  The new birth saves, regenerates and restores (or renovates lives).  Has God asked us who are His disciples to reform the world or to regenerate individuals through the preaching of the Gospel?   The answer is obvious.  Our commission as Christians is not to change and reform society.  Our commission is to preach the Gospel.  It is still the power or dynamite of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).

Bruce Collins

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