Ordo Salutis — Regeneration & Conversion

This week’s message was from one of our youth leaders, Matt Summitt:

As you can see throughout the notes here, there are many Bible references, one quote I learned is “the best interpretation of Scripture is more Scripture”. I use this as my main use of study to understand the Bible better.

Conversion

When talking about Salvation, we often use a word “Repentance”, which is a critical step in the Ordo Salutis. Repentance and Conversion go hand in hand, and to rightly understand Conversion, we must first understand Repentance.

Repentance was one of the main points of the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel; and people in the New Testament like John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles.

  • Isaiah 55:6-7
  • Jeremiah 8:6
  • Ezekiel 18:27-28, 30-32
  • Matthew 3:2
  • Mark 1:14-15
  • Mark 6:12
  • Luke 13:3-5
  • Acts 2:38-39
  • Acts 20:21
  • Acts 26:20

Repentance is an experience that Heaven is extremely interested in…

Luke 15:3-10 (7, 10)

The words “Repentance” and “Conversion” are used very similarly, however there is an important difference. The word Repentance is used to say “forsaking (turn away from) your sins”. The word Conversion is used to say “turning to God”. Together, they would mean that you are turning from your life of sin and pursuing Jesus. There are some fun sounding, hard to pronounce Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible that explain this a little further. To understand this best, the process of Repentance and Conversion is an experience that happens in your Mind, Will, and Emotions.

Mind: The experience with the mind involves a change of view of sin, God, and self. Sin is now seen as bad; self is now seen as helpless to change anything; and God is now seen, more properly, as the only One who can do anything about it.

Will: The experience with our will involves a change in our position, where we willfully turn away from sin and self, and toward God. (Acts 8:22) This is a deliberate choice where we pursue something else (Jesus)

Emotion: The experience with the emotion involves sorrow for sin and desire for forgiveness from sin, and desire to live a changed life. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

The scripture that sums this up best would be the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-24. (v. 17 “…he came to himself” -mind), (v. 18 “I will arise and go to my father” –will), (v. 18-19 “I have sinned” –emotion).

Faith is crucial to an experience of repentance and conversion. There are several uses for the word “faith” in the Bible, however the one used for repentance and conversion is what we call “saving faith”. You can find a reference to this faith in Ephesians 2:8-9. The way this was written was to tell us that our salvation is absolutely dependent on God. Saving faith is offered by the Holy Spirit and it is our choice whether or now we allow that faith to work in us.

Regeneration

The concept of regeneration simply means that God has given new life and nature to our soul, which makes us a new creation.

  • 1 John 5:11-12 2
  • Peter 1:4 2
  • Corinthians 5:17

This creative work that God does in us through Regeneration is like Saving Faith, in that it is completely dependent on God. Mankind, in our own strength is completely unable of making regeneration happen to ourselves. This power lies in God alone. (Titus 3:4-6) Other references to Regeneration are:

  • John 3:3-8
  • Romans 8:1-11(11)
  • Ephesians 2:1-10

Regeneration gives us a new pursuit and perspective.

The word “quicken” or “make alive” (depending on the translation you’re using) is the same word used in Ephesians 2:5, Romans 8:11, and Colossians 2:13. God used the same word here throughout multiple verses to tell us that the same Holy Spirit and power of God that physically raised Jesus from the dead will make our spirits come alive!

Pursuit: Our new pursuit is of Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2) (Philippians 3:13-14). Through the regeneration we receive from God, our desires and pursuit will change from ourselves to Jesus. This is also included in our new perspective.

Perspective: Due to being regenerated, we have a new perspective on life, and that will change our pursuit. The Bible mentions in several places what our lives should look like when we have been regenerated. One of the most popular is Galatians 5:22-23 known as the fruits of the Spirit. When the Bible mentions fruit, it’s using a gardening reference to basically say evidence. It is important to remember that when the evidences are mentioned, we are not told “if you live like this, then you become Christian.”, however, it is put as a challenge that we should live like this because we are Christians.

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