Friday, September 01, 2017

Ezekiel 36:26 and regeneration

24 For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 36:24-28

Calvinists (and I include myself here) often point to Ezekiel 36:26 as an explanation of what they mean by "regeneration." Regeneration, so they say, is when God takes out your heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh. The result is that you stop resisting God and willingly come to Christ for salvation. But I'm not so sure that's what Ezekiel is talking about. First of all, Ezekiel appears to be referring to the eschaton when God gathers all his chosen people from around the world into the promised land, which is something that happens at the second coming. Second, Ezekiel says the result of this renewal (which includes putting his Spirit within us) is that people are caused to walk in God's statues and observe his ordinances. It's not until the resurrection (or at least death) that we become sinless, though. Regenerated people continue to sin. Maybe you could sort of wrap regeneration up with sanctification and say that the change of heart is a process that takes place over time and is never completed before you die, but I'm not so sure about that.

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