Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: THE ORDO REGENERARE OF ROMANS 8:26-30

Friday, July 13, 2007


I. Ordo Regenerare

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:26-30).

In most part, our vision of the spiritual reality of another existence beyond this world is shallow at its best. Our reality is pretty much locked into our “under the Sun” existence. Our prayer life too is pretty much preoccupied with the things of this existence. The only real knowledge we have of our new existence “in Christ” is what God has revealed to us through His Word. Although believers are positionally “born again” and indwelled by the Spirit of God, our faith-vision of eternal realities is still very much veiled.

The word “infirmities” in Romans 8:26 is from the Greek word astheneia (as-then'-i-ah). It can refer to a feebleness or weakness of the mind or body. The context would lead us to understand that the problem we need help with is one of inability to comprehend certain spiritual realities. It would appear this is referring to the believer’s inability to really comprehend how the situations and circumstances of this “under the Sun” existence impact eternal things and how these two existences interrelate. Only the Spirit of God knows these things in their fullest sense. How can a believer truly pray for needs in this existence while not knowing how the answer to any prayer might impact eternity?

The word “helpeth” is from the Greek word sunantilambanomai (soon-an-tee-lam-ban'-om-ahee). It means to take hold of something together as partners in a venture or endeavor; to cooperate. The Spirit of God joins with the yielded believer in prayer. The Spirit of God prays with us as we pray. God knows our “hearts,” our emotions; the things we love, worship and, hold valuable probably better than we do because He lives within the believer’s body in the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The intent here is to communicate the reality that the Spirit’s presence in our bodies is more than a mere occupying presence. There is an intimacy of knowledge, awareness and inner workings that involves Him in every aspect of our thoughts, emotions and actions. The Spirit of God is intricately interwoven into the very essence of who and what we are as individuals. There is nothing in our lives in which we are involved to which we do not involve Him. Whatever we join ourselves to, we join the Spirit of God to. He is part of who we are and what we do (although He is not necessarily a partner in all of this).

“16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17).

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:15-20).

Just as the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit connects God with every aspect of our existence, His presence within us connects the believer to every aspect of God’s existence. Even though this spiritual connection exists, the believer’s knowledge of God and the Spirit’s communication of that knowledge are still “veiled.”

6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (II Corinthians 3:6-4:7).

The context of II Corinthians 2:14 through 6:18 is the spiritual dynamic of Biblical ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit of God (“ministration of the Spirit;” II Corinthians 3:8) and what is essential for the dynamic of enabling grace to take place.

In II Corinthians 3:18, Paul speaks of all Christians as people with “open” (unveiled) faces looking at ourselves in a “glass” (mirror) and seeing the “glory of the Lord” unfolding in their lives. The word “changed” is from metamorphoo. It is in the Present Tense and refers to progressive sanctification. This internal transformation, manifested in outward transfiguration, is accomplished “by the Spirit of the Lord.” The intent is that Christ is revealed through the life of a believer as that believer yields to the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit “fills” the believer’s life overflowing from that believer’s life with the “fruit of the Spirit.” The context is about how the “veil” (II Corinthians 3:13-18) of ignorance and misunderstanding is removed by the working of the Holy Spirit through a synergism formed with a yielded believer in Christ.

The word metamorphoo is the same word used of Christ in Matthew 17:22. This is what happens to the Spirit filled believer through progressive sanctification. The Spirit of God transfigures the believer’s life and appearance to be more and more like Christ as the believer grows “in grace” and in intimacy with Christ relationally. All though believers are being transfigured progressively as they grow spiritually, the believer will never be fully transfigured to be like Christ until the glorification. Glorification is when the believer will be completely transfigured by a creative act of the Holy Spirit. We might say this transfiguration is an ordered process coming in stages (the order of regeneration).

Unveiling Christ will not happen by the believer “walking in craftiness” (II Cor. 4:2). The word “craftiness” is from the Greek word panourgia (pan-oorg-ee'-ah), meaning adroitness; in other words through the believer’s resourceful and skilled communicative skills. Neither will Christ be unveiled by “handling the word of God deceitfully;” by corrupting, adulterating, compromising the truth of God’s Word as the hucksters do. The only way Christ can be unveiled through the believer’s life is “by the manifestation of the truth.” The word “manifestation” is from the Greek word phanerosis (fan-er'-o-sis), meaning exhibition. In other words, the truth (the will of God) must be translated into the language of living in the life of believers by the indwelling Spirit of God (fellowship/synergism with the Spirit).

The word “commending” in II Corinthians 4:2 is from sunistao (soon-is-tah'-o). It simply means to stand near. The idea is that Christ is unveiled to lost people as the Spirit filled believer stands near them (lives the Christ-life and proclaims the Words of Christ to them). God has chosen to use saved people as His human agents (“ambassadors;” II Corinthians 5:17-21) to unveil Christ to the lost world.

Notice that God’s intent is that this unveiling is to be directed toward “every man’s conscience” in His “sight” (i.e., before His face). The word “conscience” is from suneidesis (soon-i'-day-sis), meaning perception capabilities or moral consciousness. The presence of a conscience presumes the presence of moral consciousness. There is moral consciousness even in the “lost” (spiritually dead”).

In II Corinthians 4:3, the specific objective of unveiling Christ is revealed; i.e., revealing Christ and His salvation to the “lost.” This verse is best translated from the context as: “if our gospel be veiled it is veiled to them that are perishing” (“lost” is in the Present tense and Particle Mood). It is “in” the realm of the “lost” that Satan” has “blinded” their minds. The context here refers to those that are hardened in unbelief. This follows through from II Corinthians 3:14; “but their minds were blinded.” This refers to Jews who were hardened to the revelation of Christ in the sacrifices of the Old Covenant. The sacrifices were typical of Christ and His substitutionary death. They made the sacrifices their reality and trusted in the sacrifices rather than the One they portrayed.

The word “blinded” in II Corinthians 3:14 is from poroo (po-ro’-o), meaning to cover with thick skin. It refers to being callused or hardened to the point of losing their ability to understand. When someone has an understanding that is wrong, he stops looking for the right understanding and even resists anyone trying to correct his wrong understanding. The word “blinded” in II Corinthians 3:14 refers to callousness and inattentiveness to anyone teaching something contrary to what that person already believes. In fact, their wrong belief is actually a form of unbelief equal to idolatry. Their own callousness is what hardened them to the working of the Spirit of God through the life of the faithful believer preaching the unadulterated Word of God.

In II Corinthians 4:4, the word “blinded” is from tuphloo (toof-lo'-o). It is from the root word tuphlos (toof-los'), which refers to something opaque (not allowing light to pass through). It can also mean to make something hard to understand or to obscure the truth. Again, the context is talking about veiling Christ. Satan obscured the truth of the revelation of Christ in the Old Covenant sacrifices by distorting the purposes of those sacrifices. He does the same in the New Covenant by obscuring and distorting the facts of the gospel and the purpose of Christ in His incarnation, death, burial and resurrection. Christ will not be fully unveiled until the believer’s glorification/transfiguration. Even the humanity of Jesus obscured His deity. This was evident in the momentary transfiguration of Jesus prior to His resurrection and glorification.

1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (Matthew 17:1-9).

God’s present answer to this satanic obscurity and distortion is the Spirit filled believer (II Corinthians 4:5). During the Dispensation of Grace or the Church Age, God has “commanded the light to shine out of darkness” (Matthew 5:16) through the Spirit filled believer’s life “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face . . . (now unveiled through the medium of the believer’s life) of Jesus Christ.” After the full transfiguration/glorification of believers and their return with the glorified Christ, God will reveal Himself and His perfect will through the lives of these glorified believers as they rule and reign with Christ during the Kingdom Age. The world will still have God’s inspired Word. Believers will still be indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God and be progressively sanctified (transformed/transfigured). At the same time, the world will have perfect models of Christ in the glorified believer/priests from the Church Age now reigning with Christ as kings and priests.

The statement of Romans 8:26-28 should not be disconnected from previous statements already made that create a continuous flow of thought that leads to the statement in Romans 8:29-39. The thrust of the meaning of the word “grace” is the omni-influence of the Holy Spirit in His presalvific and postsalvific work in bringing lost sinners to repent of sin and “dead works”, believe the objective facts of the gospel and, confess Jesus as Lord to begin the process of regeneration. Dispensationalism is God’s progressive plan beginning before the “foundation of the world” to deliver believers from the fallen creation in Adam (Romans 5:12) into the New Genesis “in Christ.” Once “born again” the progressive work of God towards bringing believers into the New Genesis advances when believers are indwelled by the Spirit of God and spiritual immersed (baptized) into the “body of Christ,” which is the next phase of the New Genesis after the Dispensation of the Law. Progressive sanctification/transfiguration is the best we can have in the unveiling of Christ during the Dispensation of Grace “wherein we stand” today through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

“1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:10-14).

“3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:3-6).

The context from Romans chapter five through Romans chapter eight is about progressive sanctification through the enabling grace of God by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The intent of progressive sanctification is to teach believers how to translate their new life in Christ into such a reality that it will reflect the image of Christ to the world and glorify (reveal) the invisible God. This can only be accomplished by a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in synergism with a believer whose will is completely yielded to the indwelling Holy Spirit. The spiritual dynamic of this synergism is simple. The believer learns the intricate details of the Truths the Word of God reveals to us by the illumination of the Spirit of God and accepts those Truths as governing principles of life (convictions or orthodoxy). The believer then yields his will to the indwelling Holy Spirit Who translates those known Truths into the language of living (living Truth, “doers of the Word” or orthopraxy).

Romans 8:28 is a transitional verse. Romans 8:28-30 is often referred to as the Ordo Salutis (Latin for the order of salvation). It should more accurately be referred to as the Ordo Regenerare (Latin for the order of regeneration). The order of regeneration is the subject of the text, not salvation. The Latin word regenerare merely means “born again” or to generate/create again. Understanding this difference is critical to understanding the doctrine of election in the Word of God. The detail of the text is the order by which a lost sinner is removed from the fallen first creation in the first Adam and moved into the New Genesis “in Christ.” Christ is the elect One and the New Federal Head of the New Genesis. All (“whosoever”) who are saved “by grace through faith” are foreknown of God and become part of the New Genesis “in Christ.”

Jesus Christ is “the firstborn” of humanity by His glorification into the New Genesis. As “the firstborn,” he holds the primogeniture of the New Genesis, which He will share with all the redeemed, “born again” believers (‘many brethren”). This is the “inheritance” all believers will share with Christ. Again, we cannot understand this if we do not understand the unfolding nature of progressive revelation and the various eschatological historical paradigms (Dispensationalism) to the New Heaven/Earth, the final state of the New Genesis.

Before we can understand Romans 8:29-30, we must understand Romans 8:28. There are two critical words in Romans 8:28 that greatly impact and determine the context of Romans 8:29-30. The overall context is the progressive work of God beginning with a New Genesis “in Christ” before the “foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8), unfolding progressively through historical paradigms known as dispensations. The two words in Romans 8:28 are the words “called” and “purpose.” God is working all things together for good to these individuals referred to as “the called” and He is doing so “according to His purpose.”

We know with surety that Romans 8:28 is connected in continuity to Romans 8:1 by the continual use of the Greek words de (deh) and gar (gar). Gar is translated “for” beginning verses 2, 3, 5, 6. De is translated “so then” in verse 8, “but” and “now” in the beginning of the two sentences in verse 9, “and” in verse 10, and “but” in verse 11. The word “therefore” of verse 12 continues the continuity. Verse 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22 and 24 all begin with gar, which are all translated “for”. De is translated “and” in verses 17, 23, 27 and 28, “but” in verse 25, and “likewise” in verse 26. The “for” beginning verse 29 is from the Greek word hoti (hot'-ee), which is a demonstrative conjunction or is causative. This should better be translated because. The emphasis of the text is that God’s working in the lives of believers is progressive. “All things” are working together for good to the ultimate and progressive end of the glorification/transfiguration of believers. This progression to “the regeneration” begins with, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus . . .” (Romans 8:1b).

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