Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 042912
The New Testament analogy of the Old Testament Fish Gate.

One of the most significant and yet most ignored and least of all publicized subjects found in the word of God which of course is the Doctrine of the Angelic Conflict. The angelic conflict is the result of prehistoric creatures being in opposition to God, which began with the fall of Satan and continued until all angelic creatures had made a decision for or against God. It refers to the two trials of Satan and the fallen angels, one in prehistoric times, the other during human history. The angelic conflict tell us that from the moment of salvation, every believer, regardless of age or sex, regardless of status in life, is in the midst of a great spiritual conflict. The creation of man is the result of this conflict, which has existed since some time in eternity past.

It is a conflict in which the fallen angels are pitted against God, against the elect angels and against believers. Exactly how long this conflict has been raging is a matter of speculation, since God has not seen fit to reveal this information to us.

DEU 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”

Mankind has been chosen to resolve the angelic conflict by the fact that in human history, the sovereignty of God and free will of man co-exist to resolve the angelic conflict. Another very important doctrine is the Doctrine of the Divine Decrees. We dealt with the fact that the sovereign will of God and the free will of man co-exist in human history by divine decree. Then there was the Doctrine of Election and we noted that God has chosen or elected for His Sovereign will and the free will of man to co-exist.

Then we have noted the Doctrine of Pre-destination and we saw that mankind has been pre-destined to live in human history with the sovereign will of God and the free will of man co-existing by Divine Decree. Now did you notice the repetition of the phrase – God’s sovereign will – man’s free will?

So you might ask, what does this have to do with our subject of ROM 9:24? Well, we have been noting that God has called inROM 9:24, Even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

We have been studying the correlations and differences of the spiritual life of the Jews in the O. T. found in the gates and walls found in the book of Nehemiah as they relate to the spiritual life and the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. There are similarities between the two, but it is important to note that the O.T, is called a shadow of the N.T. substance which speaks of Jesus Christ,

COL 2:17, These Things are a mere shadow of what is to Come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

The first analogy is illustrated as follows:

In the book of Nehemiah, the first O.T. Shadow was the Sheep Gate which pointed to the N.T. Substance (the Lord Jesus Christ as the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep pointing to salvation in Christ alone). Next we have the Fish Gate as the O.T. Shadow that points to the N.T. Substance (the seven-fold Ministry of God the Holy Spirit.).

There are actually Seven Salvation Ministries of God the Holy Spirit.

  1. Regeneration which means the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit for the imputation of eternal life, TIT 3:5, 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.

This is the one that goes with our introduction of the sovereignty of God and free will of man co-existing by Divine decree. Regeneration is a theological term that means a second birth or being born again (the Greek word anothen = from above), as Jesus said in Joh  3:3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a person is born again [anothen – from above], he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

JOH 3:7, “Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again [anothen – from above].”

Remember the premise: The sovereign will of God and the free will of man co-exist in human history by divine decree. The first principle is that Regeneration is accomplished totally by God, it is not something that we accomplish. The Bible teaches that the sinner is guilty, the sinner is responsible for sin, the sinner is guilty enough to be punished eternally, and the sinner is given the opportunity,

How?

JOH 1:9, There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

God has revealed His laws, not the Mosaic laws, but the Natural laws of God in their conscience and in their mind, the law of God is written on their hearts.

ROM 1:18-22, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools,

This is the second half of our premise; the free will of man co-exists in human history by Divine Decree. Because mankind has a free will, they are responsible to live up to that free will. They are responsible to believe in the true and living God and then to come through faith to the gospel and through Jesus Christ so that they can be saved. Yet on the other side we know that those who are saved are because of the sovereign purpose of God. This is the doctrine of regeneration, or the new birth, or being born again (anothen – anew or from above).

JAM 1:18 says, In the exercise of His will, He brought us forth by the word of truth so that we might be, as it were, the firstfruits among His creatures.

We have heard evangelists tell people they need to be born again. You probably heard that if you’ve been in church, you’ve been told by preachers you must be born again, you need to be born again. However, when the Lord chooses an analogy, He chooses it very cautiously and carefully so as to make a very important point. It was the Lord Himself who chose this analogy of new birth, being born again, or regenerated. The bottom line is simply this, it is impossible for someone to do something in order to be born.

Therefore, what is it that God can do to help us with our problem with death, and the fact that we also can’t do anything to solve our problem with birth. For a dead man can’t do anything to be born. What does the Bible say about man’s present status? At the point of physical birth we are born physically alive and spiritually dead. Spiritual death means total depravity.

Therefore, we are prone to sin. We are spiritually dead before we commit our first sin. We are totally helpless to do anything about our status of total depravity. We are all totally helpless to understand spiritual phenomena because we are dichotomous (having a body and soul, but no human spirit). God the Holy Spirit must act as a human spirit so that we can understand spiritual phenomena such as the gospel. It is the utter impossibility of such a thing as people doing something to be born again which apparently has escaped a lot of people.

When God deals with mankind He is not subject to time like we are. He can and does make decisions based upon eternity, not time. Many decisions have been made out from time such as the blessing of rewards and loss of rewards.

MAT 25:31-45, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me {something} to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, {even} the least {of them,} you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me {nothing} to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”

In dealing with the salvation of mankind, He deals with Him from eternity past.

EPH 1:4, He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

This in no way ignores our premise. The premise is the sovereign will of God and the free will of man co-exist in human history by Divine decree. The first half of the premise is that the sovereign will of God chooses or elects the believer before the foundation of the world. The second half of the premise: The free will of man co-exists with God in time although God knew how the individual would chose in eternity past. Don’t miss that. Just because mankind did not exist experientially and was not yet born when God chose Him does not mean that God didn’t know how each one of us would choose, without violating the free will of man.

This falls under the principle of ISA 65:24, “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

This is why God can draw man unto Himself without violating the second half of our premise: The free will of man.

JOH 6:44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him;”

So many believers have thought they did something to become born-again…when they did nothing.

JOH 1:12-13, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Therefore, because God is not subject to time when He gives us to our Lord, He is not violating our free will. In fact, on the contrary, He has already taken into account our free will decisions at a time when we did not exist personally. So that when our Lord says in JOH 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

Because of this we can have the utmost of confidence that in 1PE 1:5, we are protected by the power of God through a faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. And when our Father gave us to our Lord before we were born again or born from above our Lord who said in HEB 10:7, “Behold, I have come To do Thy will, O God.

What is the will of God?

JOH 6:39, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

The will of God for the Lord Jesus Christ was to lose not even one of those whom the Father gave Him. If one of us ever became lost and lost our salvation, then Jesus Christ did not fulfill the Father’s will…He would then have sinned and become a sinner. He would need to be saved Himself. None of us would go to heaven and live with God. No. Not even one! There would be no perfect sacrifice. No Salvation.

ACT 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”

Not only would the believer be lost, but all of us would. Consequently, God the Father would be a Liar. God the Son would be a liar, for in JOH 6:35, Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” God the Holy Spirit would be a liar for the entire Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit,2PE 1:21, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.Not only that but the Word of God would lose its power and integrity and therefore MAT 24:35 would not come to pass,“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”

Believe it or not, Satan, the god of this world would win the angelic conflict and become the god of the universe. Need I say more? If a person believes that there is a way for mankind to become born again on his own it is nothing more than  the superficiality of a wimpy, gimpy, skimpy, pimpy, spinless gutless jelly-fish and the misunderstanding of what the Scripture has to say especially dealing with what we can understand. We are aided and abetted in our superficiality and lack of advance of doctrinal teaching by those who simply don’t think very deeply about these matters.

When you’re talking about being born, whether it’s a physical birth or a spiritual birth, you’re really talking about coming into existence NOT through you’re power and ability, because as MAT 19:26 says “With men this is impossible,”

According to God, mankind who is not existing and coming into existence does so based upon something done for them, not something they did, or something they desired, or something they sought. You see, it’s what the Bible says. Not what the Calvinists, Protestants, Lutherans, Baptists, Presybeterans, Plymouth Brethren, Reformed Churches, Coventant Theologians and scores of other non-denominational Churches, who  emphasize the first half of our premise; The sovereign will of God.

This is why to discover the deep things of God, there must be balance.

So, it’s what the Bible says. Not the Armenianists, the Catholics, the Pentecostals, the Name and Claim it crowd, the Methodists, the Congregationalists, the Salvation Army, the Nazarenes, who focus in on the second half of the premise, The free will of man.

HEB 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

This takes discipline and a balance spiritual life. If the Lord wants to talk about what we do, He talks about having faith. But when the Bible starts talking about being born again, it no longer is talking about anything that you or I could do. The analogy of being born again (anothen – from above or anew) describes a reality to which the one born can make no contribution to one’s birth. And the Lord used this analogy not only for time but also to reveal to us something that took place in another creation before the human race was created. In fact, He wants us to learn from this situation for our own benefit. For who is it that sets limits and boundaries on the scriptures when the limits and boundaries are not directly mentioned in the passage?

ROM 15:4, For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Do not put limitations on God or His word by concluding that when the Bible talks about the past it stops at the creation of man.

PRO 11:1, A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.

We were all born completely apart from any consideration or effort on our part…unless you believe in reincarnation and some kind of pre-birth consciousness which, of course, is completely foreign to the Word of God and untrue. The person being born coming into existence, comes into existence apart from any desire or any action on his own behalf.

Birth happens to us not because we desire it, not because we want it, or not because we followed the steps to be born. And that is exactly the point of the analogy. It’s not a contradiction or perplexing to say you didn’t do anything to be born into this world, and then to say then you do not do anything to be born into the realm of God’s world. That is the reason God chose that analogy. No one gives himself physical life, and no one gives himself or herself spiritual life. There are no steps that you do to become alive, either physically or spiritually. So, being born again or being regenerated is clearly an analogy that speaks of something that happens to us apart from us. And by the way, this is not an isolated concept in the Bible, it is a fairly unmistakable, clear and repeated idea.

This idea of regeneration or being born again or new birth is unmistakably presented in the Scripture as the first divine act in salvation. So in the order of salvation, regeneration is the first thing God does to save us. The only feature that comes before regeneration is election, and that was in eternity past before the foundation of the world, EPH 1:4. In time, in life, in reality the first thing God does when He sets to save His elect is to regenerate them.

God calls the elect to Himself. There’s God’s grace in action…a supernatural powerful grace that draws the sinner.

JOH 6:44, Jesus said, “No man comes unto Me except the Father draw him,” that’s the effectual call, that’s the irresistible grace. Or, that’s the supernatural powerful grace that is unyielding and the divine subpoena. And all whom the Father calls comes to me…which is known as irresistible grace. The question then is this, if it is true that the Father draws us with a supernatural powerful grace and He draws irresistibly and He draws effectually, or effectively. If it’s true that it is an unyielding summons, it is a subpoena that you can’t deny and that all who are drawn come, how can the sinner respond? Because if we look at what the Bible says about the natural condition of the sinner, we have to ask the question…what is there in the unregenerate, what is there in the sinner that can initiate or create a response? Death is the inability to respond. There’s nothing there to respond.

EPH 2:4-5, But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

COL 2:13, And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

The question then comes, how is it that the sinner can respond to the effectual call? If you understand the sinner’s condition, that’s a very important question. The doctrine of total depravity, or perhaps better, total inability, utter sinfulness is important to remember in the light of this particular emphasis on regeneration for it is the very work of regeneration that takes the person out of this condition.

ROM 3:10-12, as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”

We understand this as human sinfulness. There’s nothing there to respond, no interest, no understanding, no comprehension. To put it another way, ROM 8:7, The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, it does not subject itself to the law of God, it is not even ABLE to do so.

Then how do they become born again [anothen – “from above” “anew”]

JOH 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

JOH 3:31, “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.”

JOH 8:22-23, Therefore the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’? And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.”

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