What Constitutes a New Testament Church? Part I

                                            1.  Regenerate Membership

A New Testament Church is made up of Christians.  A Christian is an individual who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit upon believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:5-7

The Greek word translated washing in Titus 3:5 is the word loutron which means bath or laver.  This word loutron is the same word used in Ephesians 5:26 by the apostle Paul when he states: that he (God) might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word.  Loutron is used metaphorically of the Word of God, as the instrument of spiritual cleansing.*

The apostle Peter affirms this by declaring we are born again (to beget or bring forth again; to regenerate), not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.   I Peter 1:23

Palingenesia is the Greek word for regeneration in Titus 3:5.  This word is made up of two Greek words: palin which means again and genesis which means birth.*  Does born again sound familiar?

Jesus answered and said unto him (Nicodemus), Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water (i.e. by the word, Ephesians 5:26/I Peter 1:23) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  John 3:3-5

Are you regenerate?  Have you been born again?

Note: The writer of Hebrews describes the Word of God as quick which means living.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Further Note: What is the meaning of the word church?  

Ekklesia is the Greek word for church; ek meaning out of and klesis meaning to call.  In the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the OT,  this word was used to designate a gathering  of Israel for any definite purpose.  In Christian usage ekklesia refers to either the whole company of the redeemed or to a local assembly of believers.  Simply put, the word for church means the assembly of called out ones.*  The called out ones are the ones called out of the world.

The church is made up of those who have been washed by God from their sins.  As such, the church is unable to wash anyone else since it is made up of those who needed washing themselves.  Only God can wash or regenerate through His Word and by His Spirit. 

The candidate for washing is one who is capable of believing in God’s provision for his sin through the substitutionary death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and who is capable of realizing his own need of forgiveness.

*W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words

….let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.