Friday, June 24, 2016

Grace Pt. 8: Real Regeneration

Recently, Trey Pearson, the lead singer of Christian band Everyday Sunday, came out as gay to his fans. He said that he had tried to not be gay for more than 20 years of his life. Now, by coming out, he says he is finally able to be authentic and real with himself and others.

Mr. Pearson has not changed his religious beliefs. He still professes to be a Christian.

Pearson recently stated, “There are millions of people out there going through what I’ve gone through that I can be a voice for, and I can hopefully help and make an impact in their lives.”

Vicky Beeching, also a professing Christian musician, came out in 2014. She said, “What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people.”

These quotes are examples of the fruit of Hyper Grace teaching. An overwhelming population of professing Christians with Macklemore as their worship leader singing, “I can’t change even if I tried, even if I wanted to. … My love, my love, my love… keeps me warm … keeps me warm.”

But before everyone on the other side of the isle rallies together to bash the seed of the sexual revolution, consider this: How many times have you heard an older member of your church dismiss someone calling them to repent by declaring that’s just the way he or she is and they’re never going to change?

If sexual preference doesn’t qualify as an adequate reason to reject the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, neither does old age.

Let me assure you that the early Christians did NOT teach that God loves us so much that He continually accepts us just the way we are. Instead, the early Christians believed wholeheartedly in God’s ability to transform sinners. Though many churches today give lip service to the need to be born again and the power that follows, the second birth was fundamental to the early Christians’ belief system.

“And dipped himself,” says [the Scripture], “seven times in Jordan.” It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [it served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: “Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” – Irenaeus 180CE, Volume 1, p. 968 [CD-ROM]
Do you believe that the same God who turned an idolatrous leper into a fully-healed worshipper of the one true God does the same works today in the lives of those who receive His Son? A simple reading of Paul’s letter to Titus says that’s the case. 

For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. – Titus 3:3-7

Regeneration literally means new birth. Renewing means a change of heart and life that is achieved by God’s power. Put those together, and a large part of salvation involves receiving a brand new life, a new heart with new desires, and a new power to say ‘yes’ to the commands of God, and ‘no’ to the lusts of the flesh.

In a sense, Jesus’ spiritual DNA begins to grow within you, empowering you to choose God’s choices by His power.

Though I don’t struggle with homosexual desires, as someone who has dealt with addiction, I know how it feels to wonder why God would allow me to have strong urges for something that He says is wrong. In those situations, it’s so tempting to surround yourself with people who will tell you what you want to hear, and to push away anyone who challenges you to not let your feelings be your guide. It’s a tough place to be, so I feel for Trey and Vicky.

But, I also know the regenerative, grace-filled power of the Holy Spirit that transforms slaves into victorious sons and daughters. Additionally, I have experienced the tremendous support of Christians who loved me enough to hold me accountable and use various spiritual shepherd’s crooks to keep me on the right path when my heart would start to stray.

I tell you the truth, some of the times in my life that I have felt loved the most have been when a Christian counselor kept on calling me out for being feelings-oriented in my thinking, then implored me to rely on God’s grace and demonstrate love to my family by submitting to God’s commands.

Whether your issue is homosexuality, addiction, bitterness, depression or old age, don’t allow yourself to be fooled into thinking that issue is more powerful than God. The promise of regeneration, the promise of renewal is not just for the people in the Bible. It is for YOU. It is for anyone who will humbly turn his or her life over to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment