Do bible Things in Bible Ways, and Call Bible Things by Bible Names
Last week I talked about the saying, that we should “Do bible things in bible ways, and call bible things by bible names”. And mostly, talked about the first part of that saying; That we should do bible things, in bible ways. For example, when we assemble to worship God, we need to be conducting our worship, the way the bible tells us to conduct our worship. In our worship, we pray, to the Father, through the Son, and we sing, Psalms hymns and spiritual songs, and we give joyfully and willingly, as we’ve been prospered, and we remember the death of Jesus Christ, by partaking of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, and we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That’s what the bible instructs us to do when we assemble ourselves for worship, and so that’s what we do. We do bible things, in bible ways.
And so this week, I want to talk a bit about the second part of the saying, which is; “Let’s call bible things, by bible names”. “Do bible things in bible ways, and call bible things, by bible names”.
I talk to a lot of people on-line about the teachings of the bible, and sometimes it’s really difficult to know what they’re talking about, because they DON’T call bible things by bible names. So many different religious groups, seem to have their very own vocabulary. They have somehow gotten into the habit of trying to discuss the bible, while using words and phrases that are not found in the bible, but rather, have been dreamt up by men.
Let me give you an example. A common phrase that you’ll hear among people from religious groups, that do not believe, that baptism is a requirement for salvation, is the phrase, “baptismal regeneration”. Now, it’s not too difficult to imagine what that phrase means to people. Because even though that particular phrase isn’t found in the bible, at least the word “baptism” and “regeneration” are both in the bible.
And so we all know what baptism is, it’s an immersion in water. It’s used numerous times in the new testament; In one form or another, the word “baptize” is used 81 times in the new testament. Now, the word “regeneration”, is used only twice in the new testament, but it’s very clear what it means. The word “regeneration” is used in Mathew 19:28, and in Titus 3, verse 5. And the meaning of the word is to be born again, or to begin again.
“Regeneration” is a compound word, which of course means that it’s derived from a combination of two other words. The first word means “again’ and the second word means “birth” or “beginning”. That second word, is actually the Greek word “genesis”. And so the word “regeneration” means a new birth, or a new beginning.
Let me read the two verses where “regeneration” is used. In Mathew 19:28, Jesus is speaking, and He says; “And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration (or in other words, “in the new beginning) when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
And then Titus 3, verse 5 says; “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 (or in other words, “the washing of “new-birth”) and renewing, by the Holy Spirit.” The phrase “the washing of new birth” actually means.. Baptism! I mentioned this several weeks ago, but the word “washing” in this verse, specifically has to do with washing in water! The word “regeneration” has to do with a new spiritual beginning, or a new spiritual birth. But the word “washing” has to do with a literal washing in water, in other words, baptism in water.
But as we’re told in 1 Peter 3:21; It’s “..not the removal of dirt from the flesh..” Even though it’s a literal washing in water, it’s not for the purpose of cleaning the flesh, but rather, it’s “..the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Now this gives a lot of people, a lot of problems; Even though baptism is a literal immersion in water, or as the scripture says, “a washing in water”, it’s not the flesh that’s being cleansed, but it’s the spirit that is being cleansed!
If we go back to Titus 3, verse 5 once again, here’s what it says; “He saved us, not on the BASIS of deeds which we have done in righteousness, (Oh we have to do deeds of righteousness. But that’s not the BASIS of why God saves us) “He saved us, not on the BASIS of deeds which we have done in righteousness, BUT, according to His mercy, by the washing in the water of regeneration, AND renewing, by the Holy Spirit.”
We allow ourselves to be immersed, in the water of baptism, which is being referred to as “the washing in the water of regeneration”, but the actual RENEWING, is being done by the Holy Spirit. We “wash” so to speak, but the Spirit of God does the cleansing!
And so in Mathew 19:28, “regeneration” refers to a new beginning, and in Titus 3:5, “regeneration” refers to a new birth, which of course is also a new beginning. And so that’s what people mean by the phrase “baptismal regeneration”.
Here’s a phrase that’s certainly not found in the bible, and one that is in no way supported by the bible; This one’s basically a “baptist” phrase, made up by men, who don’t understand how the forgiveness of sins works. But here’s the phrase; “My sins were judged at the cross.” No they weren’t. In the first place, sins don’t get “judged” so to speak. Sin is sin, it’s always been sin, and it will always be sin! There’s absolutely no judgment to be had or made. Souls get judged! Souls get judged, not sins. But no soul was ever judged at the cross; the bible says nothing of the sort.
That phrase is totally anti-biblical. If we want to talk about sin, then let’s use the words that the bible uses. If we want to talk about judgment, let’s use the words the bible uses to talk about judgment. But let’s not conflate the two, and end up with a anti-biblical doctrine of man. Of course what people really mean, by the phrase.. “My sins were JUDGED at the cross” is that “my sins were FORGIVEN at the cross”. But that’s no more biblical, than the idea of sins being judged at the cross.
Your sins, and my sins, were not forgiven at the cross. Our sins hadn’t even been committed yet, when Jesus died on the cross! How could a sin be forgiven, before it even existed?
If we want to talk about the forgiveness of sins, then we need to use the words of the bible to talk about it. Like the words of Acts 2:38, which of course says; “Repent, and each of you be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ for (or “unto”) the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That’s when sins are forgiven; After repentance and baptism! Not at the cross. And not when you first come to believe. But when you actually DO, what the Lord tells us to DO.
“Repent and be baptized!” Now, as we know, there were sins that were cleansed at the cross. There were LOTS of sins that were cleansed at the cross. And so I suppose you could say that those sins were forgiven at the cross. And whose sins were they, that were cleansed and forgiven at the cross? They were the sins of every saved soul that ever lived and died BEFORE Jesus Christ died on the cross. Even the sins of the thief on the cross, were cleansed, when Jesus shed His blood and died.
But no sin of anyone who lived and died AFTER Jesus died, was cleansed and forgiven at the cross. Even the sins of those who died before Jesus, had to be repented of, before they could be forgiven. But if everyone would simply call bible things by bible names, a lot of this false teaching wouldn’t be propagated, and spread around so easily.
When I talk to people of various religious beliefs, I hear words like “preterist” and “Arminian” and “premillennialist” and “postmillennialist” and “reformed Christian”. And then they’ll throw around Latin words, like .. “Sola Gratia”, and “Sola Fida”, and “Solus Cristus”. And then you’ve got “pre-tribulation rapturists” and “post tribulation rapturists”, and you’ve got the “white throne judgment” as opposed to some other judgment. And you’ve got to think; What are you people talking about? Can’t we just call bible things by bible words?
You know, even a phrase like “the trinity” has several different understandings? You’d think that “the trinity” would be a fairly harmless phrase. It’s been around for a long, long time. And you’d think it would be almost universally understood, but it’s not. But the point is, that since we can’t go to the bible, and find the word “trinity” in the bible, people have made up their own definitions of what it means.. So that it’s gotten to the point, where you can hardly talk to someone of a different religious belief, about the subject, because it means something different to them, than it does to you.
If everyone would simply call bible things, by bible names, and by bible words, then when there is a difference of understanding, we can simply go to a reputable bible dictionary, and see what the original meaning of the word is. At least then we’ve got a “standard” to go by. Otherwise, it’s like trying to dish out a pound of beef, when everyone is using a different scale. Here’s a pound.. No that’s not a pound, this is a pound. No, this is a pound. You’ve got to call a pound a pound, don’t you?
And you’ve got to call bible things, by bible names, and words. Otherwise, there’s never going to be any agreement at all. And what’s worse, is that there’s never going to be any bible learning! And so spiritual growth, and a lot less salvation, then there could be. A lot less than there should be!
Bible words and their proper meanings are so very, very important. And that’s why I spent some time this morning on the word “sanctify”, and that’s why I spent some time this evening on the word “regeneration”.
But you know, it’s truly sad, that so many people that believe themselves to be Christians, or even people who are Christians, don’t know the meaning of words like “justification”, and “righteousness”, and “propitiation” and “reconciliation”, as well as “sanctification” and “regeneration”. So many people don’t understand what the kingdom of Christ is. They don’t understand what “gifts of the Spirit” are. (or what they were)
A lot of words and phrases in the bible, are misunderstood simply because of a lack of bible knowledge in general. And here’s an example of that; In John 19, verse 30, the very las words of Jesus are recorded. And here’s that verse; “Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” “It is finished”.