Quotes #28 – Pastor Will Vega

The following comes from a recent sermon I heard from one of my own pastors. A link to the audio of that message is provided after the quote.

When speaking on salvation . . .

. . . before we could ever doubt God on why He would make it so narrow and only offer one way to salvation, remember this . . .

That God does not owe anyone any way of salvation. He doesn’t owe you even one sermon! (emphasis added)

Yet there He goes . . . offering you invitation to abide in Him. And this is the reason why there is something deeply cruel about rejecting the son of God. Because it is the rejection of His free grace in which He invites you to receive.

Link to the sermon: https://www.faithbaptistorlando.com/resources/sermon/2019-11-03/abiding-in-christ-the-true-vine

Regeneration

Here is a great example of a term in which its accurate meaning becomes a little different from the common use. Let’s begin with the usual…

Dictionary.com

noun
1. act of regenerating; state of being regenerated.
2. Electronics. a feedback process in which energy from the output of an amplifier is fed back to the grid circuit to reinforce the input.
3. Biology. the restoration or new growth by an organism of organs, tissues, etc., that have been lost, removed, or injured.

Etymonline.com

mid-14c., from Late Latin regenerationem (nominative regeneratio) “a being born again,” noun of action from past participle stem of Latin regenerare “make over, generate again,” from re- “again” (see re-) + generare “to produce” (see generation). Originally spiritual; of animal tissue, early 15c.; of forests, 1888.


Discussion/Explanation

Overall, there is a sense of “being made new” in this word. As suggested in the above etymonline.com entry, you could also use regeneration as a synonym for rebirth.

For those who are followers of “The Way” (aka original title for those later known as Christians), regeneration goes further.

It is a radical change.

You see, human beings have been corrupted by the curse of sin. This is why everything in us is tainted – even when we try to do good.

God is so holy (set apart) that we cannot even stand in His presence as we are. This is where regeneration comes in.

Regeneration is one of the elements that accompany a person’s salvation. By God’s grace, He regenerates us from our cursed state (gives us rebirth) such that we are thereby enabled to follow Him. Without God’s regeneration, we would continue to be lost in our corruption, left as rebels against Him.

It includes making us spiritually alive rather than being left in our dead state.

Regeneration is the beginning of preparation for each believer to one day be able to stand in God’s presence. …and it is all made possible through Christ!

 


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Soteriology

The study of salvation or, more specifically, the doctrine of salvation from our sins.

Etymology: (from etymonline)

“1847, in reference to health; 1864 in reference to salvation, from German soteriologie, from Greek soteria “preservation, salvation,” from soizein “save, preserve,” related to sos “safe, healthy,” of uncertain origin (perhaps from PIE root *teue- “to swell”). With -ology.”

Studying salvation helps us to understand our faith more deeply as well as enables us to give an account of it to those outside the faith (aka witnessing).

Key questions discussed in this area of study today include:

Is baptism required for salvation?

What does it mean to be a born-again Christian?

Once saved are you then always saved? (Can you lose your salvation?)

…and more.

It ultimately helps us understand other related doctrines such as redemption, sanctification, justification, propitiation, and substitutionary atonement. Many of these doctrines will appear in later posts.

This should at least give you an idea of what this area of study covers as well as provide you some material to begin digging into the doctrines of salvation.


Until next time!

 

Key Reformation Disputes

There are a number of items the reformers diverged on from the Roman Catholic Church. Two of the key points made by not just Martin Luther would be the topics of indulgences and salvation.

Indulgences

For those who do not know: indulgences are grants made by the pope that people can then buy in order to reduce their time to spend in purgatory – a time decided by the weight of the individual’s sin.

Now, there’s a few problems with this. One of those being the many abuses of indulgences in the times before and during Martin Luther’s time. It was effectively used for whatever the Catholic Church wanted which even they will admit today was abused in those times. Interestingly though, the Catholic church still defends the use of indulgences as they see it producing a beneficial effect when not abused.

Another point of contention is found in what it depends on – this idea of purgatory and that the pope has power enough over it to grant these pieces of paper known as indulgences.

The pope has always claimed to be the “vicar of Christ” and thereby said to claim such spiritual authority. The issue: the arguments for this claim are shaky at best. We’ll touch on this more under the Salvation dispute next.

Purgatory, which is this place in between this life and the next involving excruciating waiting times before one day reaching heaven, quite simply has no biblical support. In fact, this is just one reason for why the Roman Catholic church declared the books known as the Apocrypha as part of the bible later – to attempt to have “scriptural” basis to argue for purgatory. Even with this move, I personally (as well as many others) question the argument to be made for purgatory as even the apocryphal literature is vague at best on even the idea – and this is coming from a person who’s actually read the Apocrypha.

So in summation: purgatory doesn’t even exist so the pope’s claims in regards to it go nowhere. I do not provide Scriptural references here because they simply do not exist that would truly support the idea of purgatory.

Salvation

To be more specific, I am talking about salvation in relation to the Church.

Now, indulgences were a point of corruption that the Catholic church earned a lot of ire about from numerous people, not just Martin Luther and major reformers like him. Even with that in mind, it was the claims about salvation that truly began to draw a line in the sand.

Keep in mind that reformers like Martin Luther never had the original intent to separate from the Roman Catholic church. In fact, they were trying to point out abuses and doctrinal errors in order to have them debated and corrected. The Catholic church though was a world power that effectively had positioned itself as the controlling element in your soul’s existence after death.

So how did this change?

In Martin’s 95 theses, he laid out the case made in Romans about justification by grace alone. In other words, we are not declared righteous by any means of the Catholic church before God but by God’s grace first transforming us alone. This is often referred to as God’s regeneration in us to a state that we can respond to him in faith and it was all brought about by God’s grace – Sola Gratia (one of the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation).

What’s more is that all of this was discovered by simply reading and studying the Scriptures, something the Catholic church discouraged by limiting translations and putting the pope as the top interpreter. With the authority of Scripture put back at the center of the faith by reformers and the realization of the work of God’s grace, the other 3 solas of the Protestant Reformation naturally came and dismantled the Roman Catholic’s authority over one’s standing before God – I’m talking about salvation.

God’s grace (by grace alone) is what regenerates you to faith (by faith alone). This faith is not whimsical but is in an actual person who was dead, buried, and raised to life thereby conquering death (through Christ alone). We see this in God’s word, the Bible (by Scripture alone). Ultimately, it all brings glory to God and His awesomeness (glory to God alone).

We are effectively saved by God and His power and no others. We do not need the Catholic church to be saved.

With all this in mind, it is no wonder at all that the balance of power in Europe became forever changed. Not even the rulers of the day had to any longer grovel before the pope for their eternal life but only had to turn to God Himself. Granted, there were plenty of leaders who abused this change to their own ends and the conflicts of the time are the result. Even so, Christianity has never been the same since!

I praise God for the Protestant Reformation brought through the reformers He raised up so that we may know the truth of His Word!

 

For additional reading:

http://www.christian-history.org/indulgences.html

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther

http://www.theopedia.com/five-solas

 


Hope you guys enjoyed the article. I apologize as it was delayed from my originally intended post of Sunday/Monday but I ran into some serious car trouble. Thankfully, it is resolving itself now. I enjoy writing these posts and look forward to the posts to come. The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is still on the way!