Etikettarkiv | iniquities

The Bible does not teach that we are born DEAD in trespasses and sins

grav2To base an entire philosophy/theological doctrine on the idea that man is born naturally depraved and unable to seek God or make morally good decisions, is risky to say the least. If we are BORN dead and depraved, then this should have been stated in the Bible, and in a very clear language, but we find the opposite to be true.

The words ”depraved” and ”depravity” are not even Biblical words (KJV) so we must first figure out what reformed believers might mean with those words when they claim we all start out naturally depraved, and we must also figure out if we have an obligation to side with their particular interpretation. Note that I’m not saying that something cannot be true only because the words are not present in the Bible, but if neither the words nor the concept can be found in the Bible, then it’s likely not something we must believe is true. Maybe it’s better to focus on the word ”dead” since we can find this word in the Bible, and in that way get a clue what it means to be spiritually dead.

Reformed believers often say we can’t do ANYTHING if we are dead, because ”dead is dead” and ”dead and not wounded”, but a physically dead person can’t do anything bad either. He is dead! If a spiritually dead person can’t do anything at all, then he wouldn’t be able to sin either but for some reason the ”reformed” God allows all people (or rather predestines them) to be born into sin and bound by darkness, whereas he only enables some of them to escape this darkness and do good. This doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would a loving God who hates sin prevent most people from seeking him and be morally upright individuals? (And why would he turn around and show wrath towards those who remain in their sins, when he is well aware of that they have no other option?)

Lazarus – a spiritually alive man who died

It’s very common to make a comparison with Jesus’ friend Lazarus’ resurrection that is described in John 11, and suggest that he is a good example of that a dead person must get divine help to come alive and do good. However, if this incident is supposed to show that spiritually dead people can’t do anything at all (and particularly not any good things) then we must ask ourselves why such a good man like Lazarus is selected to be an example, considering that he wasn’t spiritually dead at all but spiritually alive, and a close friend of  Jesus and much loved by him. Also his sisters Martha and Mary were believers of Jesus, which they showed both in words and in actions. It’s interesting that Jesus claims that Lazarus, despite being dead, is only sleeping (v. 11).

John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not thereTHAT YOU MAY BELIEVE. Nevertheless let us go to him.” (NKJV)

John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

John 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, THAT THEY MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME .43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

John 11:45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and HAD SEEN THE THINGS WHICH JESUS DID, believed on him.

John 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

John 11:53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.54 Jesus THEREFORE walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

Jesus acted (as per v. 40) as though he expected Martha to believe and understand ALL the things that Jesus had previously explained to her, and not only the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and divinely sent by God. However, it looks like Martha had misunderstood certain things that Jesus had told her. Moreover, if people were predestined to believe/not believe (resulting in heaven or hell) before the beginning of the world, then nothing that Jesus would have chosen to say or not say would change the outcome of what is already determined to occur. Yet, we can read that one reason for bringing Lazarus back to life is so that people may BELIEVE in him (Jesus), which turned out to be a successful procedure because many jews did end up believing in Jesus – precisely due to what they SAW with their own eyes. It doesn’t say they started to believe due to having been chosen to believe. Nevertheless, other jews plotted to kill Jesus and THEREFORE Jesus no longer walked openly among them. However, if people are predestined to always act according to God’s will, then there wouldn’t be any reason to take such measures to avoid the jews because it’s not possible to thwart God’s plans in a world where ”predestination” is a rule. If God would have predestined someone to kill Jesus, then this would be the result whether Jesus walked openly among the jews or not.

Dead in trespasses and sins?

It’s always a bad idea to sin and thus be dead in trespasses and sins. Satan LIED and said that sinning will NOT cause spiritual death (which he said to Eve in Eden), but the truth is that trespassing the law – which is sinning – WILL separate us from God and cause spiritual death. We have the opportunity to repent of course.

Sin is the transgression of the law, John says, so that means we are not sinners due to having the nerve to be born but rather the moment we choose to break the law and SIN. If we are sinners already from birth, then John must be incorrect for suggesting that we are not sinners until we break the law of God, and the law of God doesn’t say that it’s a sin to be conceived or to be born into this world. It’s hardly our choice to be born, and why would that be a sin or against God’s will?

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Some christians suggest that we are BORN ”dead in trespasses and sins”, but that is not what the Bible says.

Ephesians 2:1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Paul explains that the Ephesians in time PAST walked in sin, but he doesn’t expect them to continue like that. Also note that in order to commit the sins that Paul lists, you must at least be an ADULT. Babies are not aware of the law and they are unable to:

  • have a need or reason to be ”quickened”
  • perform TRESPASSES and SINS and through them be dead
  • walk according to the world
  • walk according to Satan (the prince of the power of the air)
  • be disobedient through following Satan
  • walk in the lusts of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their mind

We can be labelled either children of God or children of Satan depending on our life styles. We can also read that the ”children of wrath” are also called ”children of disobedience” so it’s clear that in order to fit the bill you must be able to DISOBEY – which is something that babies cannot do. Eph. 2 doesn’t suggest we are BORN as children of wrath, but it provides details for how we can BECOME children of wrath by the way we live. Even the Ephesians WERE dead due to their choice to sin, but thanks to the blood of Jesus, and through their own repentance of their sins, they were restored. Paul says”hath raised us up together”, but that is a picture of our future with Christ, because he continues the sentence with ”in the ages to COME”. We haven’t been elevated yet. Moreover, in Romans 2 we can read about people who obey the law ”by nature”, so apparently we are not born with a sinful nature. You can read more about the gnostic idea of the sinful nature in this blog article.

Col. 2:And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.—13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross

Paul warns the Colossians (and all of us) extensively because there is always a huge risk that we will fall from our salvation due to sin. If we could never risk to go from being spiritually alive to being spiritually dead, then there wouldn’t be any reason to warn true believers the way Paul does. We can become cleansed, regenerated and righteous by confessing our sins and repenting, because then our sins will be blotted out.

Sins/iniquities/transgression of God’s law (same things) have always separated us from God ever since Adam, and continue to do sodeath3

If we sin, we are dead (in trespasses and sins), and then we must seek God, come to him, confess our sins and repent in order to be cleansed and regenerated. Then we become ”born again”, because we are no more spiritually dead.

Daniel 9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Gal. 6:Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, IF we faint not.

The prodigal son is an excellent example of a person who was LOST and DEAD (according to the words of his own Father who is a picture of God the Father), and still capable of making an excellent decision to repent, return to his Father and confess his sins before him. Loads of people say ”but he never ceased to be a son!”, but what does it matter to be a physical son of someone when he is still LOST and DEAD? And quite obviously a person who lives together with prostitutes in unrepentant sin is (during this time) nothing but 100% lost and dead, unless we must believe that heaven will be a place full of unrepentant sinners.

Luke 15: 24 For this my son WAS DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN; he WAS LOST, and IS FOUND. And they began to be merry.—30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.—32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN AGAIN; and was LOST, and is FOUND.

Again, to base an entire doctrine on something that the Bible doesn’t say is extremely unwise, and especially if this false doctrine necessitates that we erect other false doctrines to save that first one, and which in the end makes God to be the author of sin and very illogical. Are we born depraved and with a sinful nature that makes us sin ACCORDING to God’s will or AGAINST his will?

Isaiah 53:4 Jesus did not literally BEAR our sins on himself and in his body

kors 7Jesus did not literally BEAR our sins on himself or in his body

Isaiah 53:Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet WE did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

This is a prophesy about Jesus Christ, and it was made by the prophet Isaiah about 800 years before Jesus was even born. When you read this verse which event do you think it concerns and which prophesy in the New Testament do you believe has come true through this old prophesy? Do you believe it’s Jesus death on the cross – because that’s where he died for the sins of the world? This is only true in part. Jesus did literally bear the cross he was about to be nailed upon – a symbol for getting us cleansed and saved – but if we should go by the Bible text this is actually not what Matthew had in mind with the expression ”he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”. Believe it or not, but Matthew suggests that this particular prophesy was fulfilled even before the suffering on cross, specifically when Jesus was still living and walked around among people to cast out evil spirits and heal the sick!

Matt 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:17 THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY ESAIAS THE PROPHET, saying, Himself . Isa. 53:4

As you can see, it’s the concept of casting out evil spirits and healing the sick that is considered being the fulfillment by Isaiah 53:4. There is an interesting comparison between Jesus getting people free by casting out demons from them and healing them from illnesses, AND dying as a sin offering for the people of the world in order to make them free from their sins which they are chained by. When Jesus walked around among people and healed them from their illnesses, he did NOT take their sins in his body, and neither did he bear people’s sins  in him or on him in any way. He did not even briefly take their illnesses in his body prior to removing them completely, because he simply REMOVED the illnesses without having the sins making a detour in his body before he did so. The Bible is clear that Jesus died to REMOVE THE SINS OF THE WORLD – and naturally not without conditions, or else everyone would be saved.

So when we read in Isaiah 53:4 that Jesus BORE our illnesses, Matthew equals this information with that he REMOVED them and that is the way that Jesus handles our sins. He makes an arrangement to simply have them REMOVED under certain conditions. Jesus only bore our sins symbolically, in the same sense that the  the sacrificed animals in the old testament bore the sins of the people. The animals didn’t become sinful (as some of the proponents of the penal substitution believe) but they were simply offered as perfect sin offerings and died FOR the sins of the people. The animals were sweet-smelling, just like the offer of the son before his Father, and if something is labelled as sweet smelling you don’t turn away from it but you fully embrace it. The death of the son was planned long before it happened so it would have been rather cowardly for a Father to turn his back on his son when he needed him the most. Read more about this issue in this article.

John 1:29The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Hebr. 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Eph. 5:And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Here are some different translations of  Isaiah 53:5:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (KJV)

The chastisement FOR our peace was upon Him (NKJV)

Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace (ESV)

Here are some different translations of Isaiah 53:6 (”to fall” comes closer to the Hebrew):

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (KJV)

—And Jehovah hath caused to meet on him, The punishment of us all (Young’s literal)

— But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (NASB)

Also Peter uses Isaiah’s choice of words and it’s true that Jesus symbolically bore our sins in his body (as in ”bearing” the burden/responsibility or similar) and died for us. Jesus body suffered for our sake, so we can say that he symbolically ”bore” our sins in his aching body, or ”on his shoulders”. He wouldn’t have to suffer had it not been for our sins. Peter doesn’t argue against the interpretation of Matthew:

1 Pet 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

In the same chapter we can read that Jesus ”bore” the sins of many, and if this word means ”remove” earlier in the chapter – as Matthew claims – then it should mean the same thing here. In Isaiah 53:11-12 the Hebrew words sabal and nasa are translated in the Septuagint with anaphero”Is. 53:11 He  shall bear (sabal/anaphero) their iniquities”. ”Anaphero” is translated ”remove” in other places, and it makes perfect sense that Jesus REMOVE sins.

Isaiah: 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

God the Father never punished Jesus, and Jesus didn’t take our punishment instead of us or God’s wrath instead of us!straffa

Notice that it says in Is. 53:4 that WE did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted”. So in OUR view (not necessarily in God’s view) that is what it appeared to us, and it’s not hard to get this exact picture if we look up to Jesus on the cross to see him hanging there in distress, with much blood, bruises, sweat and with facial expressions revealing excruciating pain for our sake. The soldiers under the cross might even have suggested that God had punished Jesus for making himself equal with Him. God the Father of course has no reason to PUNISH Jesus for doing his exact will by dying for mankind, which was the plan all along! Nevertheless, Jesus suffered greatly on the cross but not because his Father sadistically wanted to harm him but because wicked hands caused the pain. God allowed it to happen because of the aim to have his son offering up his life for us, and this is tied to a high price which includes much suffering, stress and agony. Only in that sense can we say that ”it pleased God to bruise him”, even if the Father was not a cause of it. Nowhere in the Bible can we read that Jesus was PUNISHED for our sins, even if it is an oft-mentioned claim.

Jesus did not die ”instead of us” because if that were true then WE wouldn’t have to die, which we know is not true. Jesus died for ALL but he clearly didn’t die instead of ALL because then ALL would be free from the risk of ever having to die. But we are all going to die physically, and some of those people who Jesus died for will also die spiritually. (The KJV Bible offers a good translation when it comes to the Greek word ”huper”, because it’s translated with ”for” when it comes to the atonement on the cross and not ”instead of”.)  Neither did Jesus die ”in our place”. Was our place ever supposed to be on the cross? Of course not. And if  Jesus death on the cross means that he took the punishment ”instead of us”, then those people who Jesus died for (every single one) would be forever free from any punishment no matter how they lived their lives. We would all be born saved and our sins would be forgiven before they were even committed because Jesus has already paid for them and he has taken the punishment for those sins on himself and ”instead of us”. Clearly that will turn into an unbiblical theology. If anyone does something ”instead of” someone else, then it doesn’t make sense that BOTH  still end up doing the task in question. If a prisoner at war is told that he must be executed, and someone else steps forward and makes an offer to take this punishment in the other person’s stead (instead of him) and the offer is accepted, then it doesn’t make sense if BOTH will be executed!

Right terminology please!

Maybe you feel that it’s splitting hairs to even discuss if it’s better to say ”instead of” or ”for”, but it’s helpful to sort this out to get a better understanding of these things in order to not risk ending up with false doctrines. It’s not a salvation matter BUT false terms can be the reason why much heresy is creeping into our churches, and one false doctrine can easily lead to another false doctrine. That’s also exact what has happened in many of our churches today, and we have various degrees of gnosticism among us without even being aware of it.

Let’s say that you’ve been guilty of speeding way too fast in your car, and a police man stops you and writes you a ticket. Your kind FRIEND then offers to pay for it and he does so right away!  Wouldn’t you be quite surprised if you still received a reminder in your mailbox, to pay for this exact ticket that is supposed to have been PAID IN FULL! Was the ticket paid in full or not? Did Jesus pay for our sins or not? PAID IS PAID! IF Jesus paid for our sins (which the Bible doesn’t say), then you should be completely off the hook, and no one has any right to demand anything else from you since Jesus paid for your sins – which means that your sins should have been paid for and forgiven before you even committed them. We know that this is not the case though, and that’s why it’s better to phrase ourselves in a more Biblical way. IF you insist on using the word ”pay” (I wouldn’t advise it, and it’s better to say ”Jesus died FOR our sins”, then it’s better to say:

Jesus paid a big price for us, since he gave his own life

instead of:

Jesus paid for our sins

The punishment that we deserve is an eternity in Hell, is it not? Did Jesus take that punishment upon himself and instead of us? Of course not. Neither does God the Father have a need to pour out wrath on someone for no reason, and naturally he wouldn’t even think about pouring out wrath on his son who was obedient unto death. If Jesus ”satisfied God’s wrath” or ”took God’s wrath on himself and instead of us”, then none of us would have to risk being affected by God’s wrath even if we sinned all day long. If Jesus took this wrath on himself, then we shouldn’t have to do this as well, but the Biblical truth is that God will show wrath on those who refuse to believe and/or those who do evil and that includes also christians. This means Jesus didn’t satisfy God’s wrath. 

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God

Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath ofGod upon the children of disobedience.

It’s a huge difference between these two claims (the first being the best):

”Jesus died as a sin offering for all mankind (a high price), and by doing so enabled whosoever to be saved on the condition that they believe and repent”

”Jesus paid for our SINS on the cross and died instead of us and in our place. He also took our punishment instead of us and satisfied God’s wrath”

As we can see below, our sins are not actually removed until we REPENT. It’s also interesting to see that also Luke (or rather Peter who Luke is talking about) connects the power to heal the sick with the majestic power which derives from Jesus sin offering on the cross and faith in him.

Acts 3:11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.16 And his name through faith in his name HATH MADE THIS MAN STRONG, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this PERFECT SOUNDNESS in the presence of you all.17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.18 But those things, which God before had shewed BY THE MOUTH OF ALL HIS PROPHETS, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.19 REPENT ye therefore, and be converted, THAT YOUR SINS MAY BE BLOTTED OUT, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

1 John 1:If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we would evangelize to others by saying:sök

”Good news! Jesus took your place on the cross, he took your punishment instead of you , he took the wrath of God instead of you, your sins are fully PAID and forgiven, it’s finished and there is nothing you can do, etc”

then the people who are listening (believers or non-believers) might think:

”Well, that’s good. Then I was born saved and I won’t risk losing my salvation no matter how I choose to live my life because all my sins were paid for and forgiven even before I commit them. No one can require to get paid for an invoice or a debt twice. Paid is paid! And Jesus took my punishment instead of me on the cross, and that means that I don’t have to fear for any future punishments because JESUS took those punishments on himself. Jesus did it all and I can relax and I can afford to do nothing!.”

Jesus is said to be the ”propitiation” for our sins and this English word is originally from latin and means “favorable, gracious, kind” or “render favorable.” This latin word is used to translate the Greek word hilasterion which is used 22 times in the Septuagint. Hilasterion is used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew term for ”covering” or ”mercy-seat”, which is the cover of the Ark where the blood from offerings was placed to give ”atonement” for the sins of the people.

2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin

The above can also be translated as ”to be a SIN OFFERING for us”, just like the below verse indicates.

Hebrews 10:8 — saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou wouldst not, neither hadst pleasure therein.

It is not uncommon to translate the original word for ”sin” as ”sin offering” and the same is true in Hebrews 10:6-8 which is a quotation from Psalm 40:6. In this Psalm the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew text) also does not have the word ”sacrifice” in the text.

Read more in this blog article

Make yourself a new heart, for why will ye die? (Ez. 18:31)

love3God can clean us up and give us a new heart, but in order for him to do this we must choose to repent, come to him and place him as No 1 in our lives. WE are actually asked to cleanse, purify and circumcise our own hearts (which we can if we cast away our sins). 

Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Isaiah 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Jeremiah 4:14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

Amos 4:6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.

Ezekiel 24:13 In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

Deutoronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Matt. 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

To be regenerated is to be cleansed. We are not clean before we come to Jesus and repent for our sins, and we can’t get the Holy Spirit unless we are born again and have purged hearts. We must choose to come to Jesus to be born again and leave our old man behind. John the Baptist preached about repentance for the remission of sins, and Jesus picked up after him and did the same – by preaching about repentance and faith in him as the promised Messiah and son of God. Jesus work was to call sinners to repentance so that they could get life and he taught his disciples – and all of us – to continue preaching this gospel throughout the whole world. The path that you should walk is 1) come to Jesus and believe in him and his work on the cross 2) confess your sins and repent 3) you’re now cleansed, purged, regenerated and born again 4) you’re given the Holy Spirit as a Helper. A person can never be considered clean as long as his sins are not washed away, and the Bible doesn’t teach ”once cleansed, always cleansed”. We must endure to the end to be saved.

Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.48 And ye are witnesses of these things.49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Thanks to Jesse Morell for the below concerning regeneration after faithheart3

Regeneration requires consent and cooperation. A man’s free will must be synergistically involved in his regeneration. God cannot change a man’s character without the cooperation of the man himself. That is why God said, “I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged” (Eze. 24:13). This is because unless a man is willing to have his moral character changed, it will and cannot be changed. It is impossible for Omnipotence to change a man’s moral character without the consent of his will because this would involve an intrinsic contradiction. Therefore, God and man both have an active role in regeneration. This is why the Bible says that God gives us a new heart (Eze. 11:19; 36:26), while also saying that men should make for themselves a new heart (Eze. 18:31). When a sinner’s will is changed from being disobedient to obedient, both God and the sinner have an active role in bringing about that change. God’s role is His gracious influence upon our will. Man’s role is the yielding of and obedience of his will.

Jesus said, “Cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matt. 23:26). For Jesus to tell men to clean themselves on the inside (change their intention), takes for granted that it is their choice and that they can do this. Jesus was actually filled “with anger, being grieved, for the hardness of their hearts” (Mk. 3:5). This indicates that the state of man’s heart is man’s own fault, that the state of his heart is something which he causes and which he has control over.

The Bible even commands men to make unto themselves a new heart. God said, “make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die…” (Ezekiel 18:31). “Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved” (Jeremiah 4:14). “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8).

What does it mean to change your heart? To change your heart is to change your intention. It is to change the motives for all your actions. It means that you are no longer living for yourself or have a selfish motive but are now living for God and the well-being of His universe, thus having benevolent motives.

Men are even commanded to circumcise their own hearts (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4). Since they are commanded to do so, this means that it is their own responsibility and choice. To circumcise your heart means to repent or put off your sins (Col. 2:11). Therefore, to circumcise your heart means to repent of your sins but to have an uncircumcised heart is to have an impenitent heart.

When Stephen was open air preaching, he said to the crowd “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51). Stephen was rebuking them for disobeying a specific commandment, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked” (Deut. 10:16).

Why would Stephen rebuke them for being uncircumcised in their heart unless they were capable of circumcising their hearts? Why rebuke them for breaking a commandment unless they were capable of obeying the commandment? Why rebuke them for having uncircumcised hearts unless having such hearts was their own free choice? Why would he rebuke them for resisting the Holy Spirit unless they were capable of yielding to the Holy Spirit? Unless they were capable of doing these things, why rebuke them for not doing these things?

Stephen seemed to take for granted or assume the ability of his audience. He blamed them for their impenitent which must mean that their impenitent was their own free choice. You cannot rebuke a man for something which is not his choice. A man cannot be blamed for that which is beyond his control or for what he cannot help.