A Study of Theology III – Part 13



Titus 3:5

A Study of Theology III – Part 13 (Dr. Thomas Figart)

The Holy Spirit, Justification, Adoption – Dr. Figart explains how each of these relate to our salvation.


A Study of Theology III – Part 13
Dr. Thomas Figart


IV.       The Work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation

A.         Revealing the gospel

(See Part 12)

B.         Regeneration

1.         Definition: Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit whereby He imparts eternal life to the sinner who believes in Christ, with the result that he is born again, Titus 3:5.

2.         It is not to be confused with repentance nor conversion; repentance (metanoia) is a change of mind, followed by conversion (epistrepho) a turning around, which are both human activities evident at the time of salvation, whereas regeneration is God’s part, a divine act of imparting eternal life through the new birth.

3.         Regeneration is not to be confused with other works of the Holy Spirit

a.         Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Placing the believer into the Body of Christ, 1 Cor. 12:13.

b.         Indwelling of the Holy Spirit: The coming of the Holy Spirit into the body of the believer, 1 Cor. 6:19-20.

c.          Sealing of the Holy Spirit: Making secure a believer’s salvation until the day of redemption, Eph. 4:30.

d.         Filling of the Holy Spirit: The Spirit’s control of the believer’s life, Eph. 5:18.

4.         Descriptions of Regeneration in Scripture

a.         New Creation, 2 Cor. 5:17.

b.         New Birth, John 3:3-10

c.          New Relationship with God, John 1:11-12.

d.         New Nature, 2 Pet. 1:4.

e.         New Heart, Ezek. 36:26-27.

f.          New Understanding, 1 Cor. 2:10-12.

5.         The involvement of the Trinity

a.         The Father: The Source, James 1:17-18.

b.         The Son: The Sphere, “in Christ,” II Cor. 5:17.

c.          The Spirit: The Active Agent, John 3:3-10.

6.         The Work Accomplished

a.         Not by man. Regeneration is one part of the complete salvation accomplished by God in the sinner at the moment he believes. Just as a child has nothing to do with bringing about the birth from his mother’s womb, so the sinner simply receives the new birth.

b.         Not by feeling. No sensation is necessary as we pass from death unto life immediately; it is not a process. However, though many new experiences result from the new birth, to wait for feelings is wrong. John 3:8.

c.          By the Holy Spirit. He uses His divine power to renew the believing sinner at the new birth, Titus 3:5


V.         Justification

A.         Definition: Justification is a legal action whereby God the Judge declares righteous the ungodly sinner who has become united to Christ by faith. This righteousness has been provided through the blood of Christ, Rom. 5:9. Justification is an addition, not a subtraction, 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9. Forgiveness is the subtraction or remission of sins, John 1:29; Eph. 1:7.

B.         Problem: Can a Holy God justify the Ungodly?

1.         The sinful character of all men, Rom. 3:21-23.

2.         The non-relaxable nature of the moral law, Rom. 2:12-15.

3.         The holy and righteous character of God, Habakkuk 1:13.

C.         Solution: How a Holy God justifies the Ungodly

1.         There had to be a moral basis, Job 9:2 cf. Rom. 3:21-31.

2.         There had to be a satisfaction of divine law, Acts 13:39.

3.         This was accomplished by the death and resurrection of Christ and appropriated by faith, Gal. 2:16.

D.         The various aspects of Justification

1.         Justified by God, the Source of Justification: Righteousness Planned, Rom. 3:26; 8:29-30.

2.         Justified by blood, the Basis of Justification: Righteousness Provided, Rom. 5:9.

3.         Justified by faith, the Application of Justification: Righteousness Procured, Rom. 5:1.

4.         Justified in Him, the result of Justification” Righteousness Possessed, 2 Cor. 5:21.

5.         Justified by works, the fruit of Justification: Righteousness Proved, James 2:14-21; Rom. 4:1-2.

E.         The results of Justification

1.         We are declared righteous, Rom. 3:22-24; 4:5. This righteousness is imputed, or reckoned to us, yet it is a real, imparted righteousness.

2.         We are made heirs of God, Titus 3:7.

3.         We shall be saved from the wrath to come, Rom. 5:9.


VI.       Adoption

A.         Definition

1.         Adoption is the act of God whereby He places as adult sons, those who are His children by regeneration. It is the placing of a newborn child into the legal position of an adult son, with all its privileges and responsibilities.

2.         The English word adoption normally means that you take one who is not your child by birth, bring him into your family and make him a son. However, the Greek word huiothesian “son-placing” translated “adoption,” means that God takes one who is His child by regeneration (the new birth) and gives him adult status immediately.

3.         We never adopt our own children; God never adopts any but His own children.

B.         The time of Adoption

1.         Past: Part of the eternal purpose of God, Eph. 1:4-5.

2.         Present: Part of the position of the believer, Gal. 4:5.

3.         Future: Part of the perfection of believers, Rom. 8:23.

C.         The Threefold Contrast in Scripture

1.         Contrast between the position of O.T. saints and N.T. saints, Gal. 3:23-4:7.

a.         O.T. saints were “babes” (nepioi), Gal. 4:3, referring to one who was an heir of God, but not in the place of full adulthood. Paul is speaking of Jewish believers who were regenerated but under the bondage of the Law. In Rom. 9:7-8 Paul uses “children” (tekna) of O.T. believers. Thus, O.T. saints were children of God, but not sons of God.

b.         N.T. saints, the Church, are called “sons,” Gal. 3:26. “Sons” is huioi, which refers to the privilege and responsibility of one who has been son-placed (huiothesian) or adopted, Gal. 4:5. Christians (from both Jews and Gentiles) are regenerated and adopted, so that we are not in bondage but free. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is closely related here, Gal. 3:27-28, since it refers to our being placed into the Body of Christ. For this reason, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is never mentioned in the O.T.

2.         Contrast between the terms “child of God” and “son of God” with reference to N.T, believers only.

a.         The N.T. believer is a child of God just as an O.T. believer is a child of God. “Teknon” (child) is used in Jn. 1:12-13; Rom. 8:16-17; 8:21; 1 Cor. 4:14-15; 1 Jn. 2:29-3:2, and should always be translated “child” because it refers to the new birth, or regeneration by which we are born into the family of God.

b.         The N.T. believer is also a son of God. “huios” (son) is used in Rom. 8:14, 19; 9:26; 2 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26-4:7, and should always be translated “son,” because it refers to the adoption, or son-placing of the Christian with full adult privilege and responsibility.

c.          Thus, both regeneration and adoption are the immediate, present possession of everyone who believes in Christ. Even the weakest Christian is a child of God and a son of God.

3.         Contrast between the terms “babe” (immature) and the mature, spiritual Christian. Though this has nothing to do with adoption, it is necessary to point out that the same word nepios, “babe” is used, only in a different sense than in Gal. 4:1-3. There it refers to O.T. believers, but in I Cor. 3:1-3 it refers to spiritual malnutrition in a Christian. Those who should have been mature enough to take in the strong meat of the Word were still immature, cf. Eph. 4:14-15. Nepios (babe) is used with various connotations in Matt. 11:25; 21:16; Lk. 10:21; Rom. 2:20; 1 Cor. 13:11; Heb. 5:13.

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