Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Regeneration is bigger than we think

Regeneration is bigger than i think. Regeneration is bigger that 'a personal relationship with Jesus', regeneration is bigger than starting to go to church on a sunday instead of watching the Hollyoaks omnibus. Regeneration is bigger than you and me.

Regeneration is global, nay universal. Regeneration is getting in touch with nature (maaan). Paul writes to Titus that: he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. We are saved by the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit...we are saved by being made clean and new, by being born of water and Spirit.

But, and here's the huge, heart expanding, humbling news, it's not just us that gets regenerated. The word Paul uses in this verse to Titus for regeneration is palingenesias (according to John Piper anyway), and the only other time that word gets used is in Matthew 19:28 when Jesus says: 'truly i say to you, in the new world (in the regeneration/palingenesias) when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne...'

So what is the regeneration? What gets saved and made new? Creation. You and me, sure, but everything else. The stars, the grass, the oceans, the planets...everything. Jesus is Lord of all, not just Lord of human hearts. This is further mentioned in Romans 8:20 creation was subjected to futility, not willingly but because of Him (God) who subjected it in hope... This was the plan from the beginning, and in the end will lead to renewed men and women, with renewed hearts, living on a renewed earth with Jesus as it's King in glory.

This then makes sense of 'all of life discipleship', of the vision of men like Francis Shaeffer. The church is not a bomb shelter. When we get saved we don't just attend service and mark off days on our rapture wall chart. When we get saved we live! We see what there is of human culture that can be redeemed and we redeem it to the glory of God though Jesus Christ. We don't hide from culture, we engage, redeem what can be redeemed and reject what should be rejected. We rescue people out of slavery to culture by making culture point to Jesus, which is should be easy most of the time, since that's where it's heading anyway!

Will there be art in Heaven? Or music? I really hope so. I really think so. But whether there is or not, Heaven, thank God, will not be sitting on a cloud playing a harp, it will not be some conscious but ethereal state, it will be physical, and real. There'll be rivers, and trees, and goodness knows what else. Christians shouldn't hide from culture, from the material like Gnostics, because culture and the material, like the Christian, is being born again.

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