I’m hoping to do some extended thinking (and preaching?!) on regeneration in the next few weeks/months, and I was thinking I should line up a list for reading and meditating on this important doctrine. Unfortunately, it can be a little difficult to find extended discourses on the topic of regeneration. I attribute that to a variety of factors:
- In the history of doctrine, regeneration has been something of a moving target, especially for Calvin’s successors, where regeneration can mean anything from conversion, repentance, sanctification, or the newer clarification of speaking exclusively of the (initiation of) spiritual life.
Ridderbos reflects on “how much Christ, the law, the Spirit, and love constitute a unity may appear from a comparison of the following parallel pronouncements.” I found his insights illuminating, and tried to reconstruct some of what he shows below.
||For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
||but only faith working through love.
||For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision
||but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule [= canon], peace and mercy be upon them,
|1 Corinthians 7:19
||For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision,
||but keeping the commandments of God.
||For we are the real circumcision
||Who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh
The true “[S]pirituality” that the New Covenant in Christ produces is the work of love as it keeps the commandments of God born out of regeneration in the Spirit.
Paul: An Outline of His Theology p. 285ff.