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Hebrews Chapters 8-10: "We Have Been Sanctified" Through the Better Sacrifice, Part 2

by Karl Kemp  
11/21/2014 / Bible Studies

We continue with the listing (and discussion) of some key passages that demonstrate the heartbeat of the new covenant and the gigantic difference between new covenant and the old covenant here in Part 2 of this paper.

GALATIANS 3:14 ((with 3:2, 21 [[GALATIANS 3:21 is extremely important for this study: "Is the Law [the Mosaic Law which was the foundation for the old covenant] then contrary to the promises of God? [Paul was speaking of the "promises" of new- covenant salvation, with the emphasis on the gift of the Holy Spirit, who brings the new birth, the power/enablement to walk in the righteousness and holiness of God, and the widespread new-covenant distribution of the charismatic gifts. God gave the Law and the promises, so they are not contrary to one another, but the old covenant was temporary.] May it never be! For if a Law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law." [The old-covenant Law could not impart life (the indwelling Spirit of life and of righteousness and holiness was not available under the old covenant); therefore the new birth and the imparted righteousness and holiness of God were not available under the old covenant. The fact that the apostle said that we must have the life of God in order to have this righteousness demonstrates that he was speaking of our living in the imparted righteousness of God, not just a legal, positional righteousness. This is very important in our day when so many Christians put all the emphasis in a legal, positional righteousness.] ]]));

GALATIANS 4:5-7; 5:5 (("For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness." Those who have (the imputed) and the imparted righteousness of God "through the [indwelling] Spirit, by faith" "are waiting for the hope" of glory/heaven (cf., e.g., Col. 1:5, 27). I'll quote the Amplified Bible: "For we [not relying on the Law], through the (Holy) Spirit's [help] by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God - our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action - [causes us] to hope."));

GALATIANS 5:16-25 ((These verses, which are extremely important for our present discussion, are discussed in my books that were mentioned above under Rom. 8:1-17. I'll quote a few key verses: "(16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you [most certainly] will not carry out the [sinful] desire of the flesh. [The desire of the flesh is to do the sinful works of the flesh; a long list of some of the sinful works of the flesh is included in Gal. 5:19-21.] ... (22) But the fruit of the Spirit [the fruit that the indwelling Spirit produces in us as we walk by the Spirit by faith (faith in God and His Word)] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law. (24) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh [have crucified the old man; cf. Rom. 6:6] with its passions and desires. [It must be understood, of course, that we can only crucify the old man by the grace of God in Christ, which includes all the work of the Holy Spirit. We must also understand that the flesh/old man does not cease to exist. As the apostle Paul shows in Gal. 5:17, for example, we must wage warfare against the flesh/old man, which includes the work of demon spirits, throughout our lives in this world.] (25) If we live by the Spirit [as born-again Christians], let us also walk by the Spirit [better, "let us follow the Spirit"]."));

EPHESIANS 1:13 (("In Him [in Christ], you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed [We have to listen, to understand, and to submit to the gospel from our hearts (in faith) to be believers.], you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise" Being "sealed" with the Holy Spirit, who was promised under the old covenant, includes the fact that we receive the Holy Spirit and He dwells within us doing all the things He does during this age.));

EPHESIANS 3:16 ("That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened [or, empowered] with power through His Spirit in the inner man." The Spirit enables us to be strong in faith, in righteousness and holiness, in all of the fruit of the Spirit, etc.);

EPHESIANS 4:23 ("and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind" [much better, "be renewed by the Spirit in your mind/thinking" (cf. Rom. 8:5-9; 12:2, 3); we cannot live right until we think right in our hearts (in line with the Word of God, being enabled by the indwelling Spirit of God) )); 4:30;

2 THESSALONIANS 2:13, 14 (("But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord [the Lord Jesus], because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation [cf., e.g., Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4] through sanctification [or, "through holiness"] by the Spirit and faith in the truth. [Our faith is in God the Father, His Son, and the gospel; faith is our response to God's saving grace (see my "A Paper on Faith" on my internet site).] (14) It was for this [that we would live in an abiding state of holiness by the indwelling Holy Spirit through "faith in the truth"] He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory [of heaven] of our Lord Jesus Christ."));

TITUS 3:5-7 (("He saved us [God the Father saved us from the sinful state pictured (pictured in part) in Titus 3:3], not on the basis of deeds [works] which we have done in righteousness [[We are saved by grace through faith, not by our works, but if our faith is real our lives (including our works) will manifest the righteousness of God. As we walk by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis, in line with God's Word (especially the gospel), by God's grace/mercy through faith, the righteousness of God will be manifested. The works of righteousness are required; they are not optional. Many verses/passages that are discussed in this lengthy discussion under Heb. 8:7 demonstrate what I have said here, and many more could be listed.]], but according to His mercy [We did not earn or deserve our salvation; it came (in all of its aspects) by God's mercy/grace.], by the washing of regeneration [[(This double bracket goes on for thirty-two paragraphs before we come to the rest of Titus 3:5. We will be discussing water baptism, baptism in the Spirit, receiving the gift of the Spirit, righteousness and holiness by the Spirit, the charismatic dimension of the Spirit's work, and some other basics of new-covenant salvation.) The Greek noun translated "washing" here is "loutron." The only other use of "loutron" in the New Testament is Eph. 5:26. I believe this "washing" in both verses has at least some reference to water baptism. The New Testament presents a rather high view of water baptism. I discussed Titus 3:3-8 in some detail on pages 125-128 and in the endnotes on pages 134-139 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin," which is available on my website and at See that reference for more details. Water baptism is discussed in endnotes 26-29. Ephesians 5:26 is discussed on pages 174, 175 of that book. There is plenty of room for exceptions, but in the typical New Testament pattern, the Holy Spirit comes to repentant believers immediately after, and in close association with, water baptism. (See endnotes 28, 29.) I also discussed water baptism under verse 29 in my paper on 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and under John 3:5 in my paper on John 1:19-4:54. Both papers are on my internet site.

The Greek noun ("paliggenesia") translated "regeneration" in Titus 3:5 means "rebirth," "new birth." (The NIV translates "rebirth" here.) It isn't surprising that water baptism would typically precede being born again by the Spirit (which comes with the reception of the new-covenant Spirit): Water baptism is the most appropriate occasion (according to the New Testament) to complete the transactions of being forgiven and washing away sins ((cf. Acts 2:38 ["Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Note that water baptism precedes receiving the gift of the Spirit, which includes the new birth]; Acts 22:16)); of becoming united with Christ and appropriating His atoning death as our death, since He died in our place (cf. Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27); and of our dying to the old man and burying the old man (Rom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:11, 12). It seems clear to me that these things would typically precede the reception of the life-giving, sanctifying Spirit.

I'll quote part of what I said under 1 Cor. 15:29 in my paper on 1 Corinthians chapter 15 on water baptism: It's clear to me that the Bible teaches a higher view of baptism than that held by many Christians today. I'm not bringing this up because I think this is one of the biggest problems we have in the Body of Christ. (I believe we have much greater problems to deal with in the Body of Christ, especially dealing with the basic truths of the gospel and the need to live in God's will - in His righteousness and holiness - by grace/the Spirit through faith.) Furthermore, I'm not bringing up water baptism because of some special interest in this topic, or because of some special experience I've had; I'm not emotionally involved regarding this topic, and I'm not obligated to any particular viewpoint - we are obligated to God and His truth!

I'm bringing this up strictly based on what the Bible seems to rather clearly say on this topic. I'm certainly not suggesting, nor do I believe, that people can't be saved or sanctified apart from water baptism. (The Salvation Army, for example, do not practice water baptism.) God has been very generous with His people (in blessing us in spite of our errors), but that's no excuse to maintain our viewpoints when they're wrong/when they don't line up with the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. The more we do things God's way, the more He will be glorified; His will will be accomplished in the church; the more He can bless us and use us; and the more we can unite around the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches.

It seems that many have formed their out-of-the-Biblical-balance view of water baptism mostly in reaction to someone else who was out of balance in a different direction, and we typically have several verses that we emphasize (on every topic). We need the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches in this area, as in every area. It is quite significant that the Bible mentions forgiveness/washing away of sins at water baptism (Acts 2:38, 22:16). It mentions becoming united with Christ in baptism, including being united with Him in His death on the cross (cf. Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3). He died an atoning death in our place; we are to die to sin and to the old man in water baptism, and the old man is to be buried (Rom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:11, 12). John 3:5 seems to speak of water baptism as a preliminary to being born of the Spirit. I agree with the widespread viewpoint that the words "born of water" in John 3:5 refer to water baptism, which was quite prominent in that setting. Not only was John the Baptist baptizing (even Jesus Christ was baptized by him), but Jesus (through His disciples) was on the verge of baptizing (John 1:25-34; 3:22-26; 4:1, 2). The baptism of John 3:5 is a baptism of repentance and faith. (I'll quote John 3:5 and comment further on this verse in the paragraph after the next one.) ... And 1 Pet. 3:21 even speaks of baptism saving us. As I mentioned, I'm not suggesting (as some dogmatically teach) that these things (like forgiveness, dying to the old man, salvation, etc.) can't he received apart from water baptism (as I mentioned God often is generous with His people), but baptism seems to be the most appropriate (Biblical) occasion to complete these transactions.

I believe it's necessary for us to understand that water baptism is meaningful and effective only if it is accompanied by the following indispensable things: We must hear the gospel and understand it (we must at least understand the basics of the gospel); we must repent and submit to the gospel (and God Himself) from our hearts in faith; and we must have all the necessary work of the Holy Spirit (including His drawing, convicting, revealing, regenerating, and sanctifying work). Without these things water baptism is nothing more than another dead ritual. Some other verses to consider on water baptism are Matt. 3:1-17; 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:41; 8:36-39; 9:18; 10:47, 48; 19:5; and Eph. 4:5.

I'll Include Some Excerpts From My Paper On John 1:19-4:54, Under John 3:5, That Deal With Water Baptism And Being Born Of The Spirit: JOHN 3:5: "Jesus answered, 'Truly [amen], truly [amen], I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' " I believe (in agreement with a large number of commentators) that the words "of water" refer to water baptism, which was quite prominent in that setting. John the Baptist was baptizing in water - even Jesus was baptized by him - and Jesus (through His disciples) was on the verge of baptizing in water (see John 1:25-34; 3:22-26; and 4:1, 2). The baptism in water of John 3:5 is a baptism of repentance and faith (if it isn't a baptism preceded and accompanied by true repentance and faith it isn't a valid baptism), and (typically in the New Testament) it is a preliminary step to being born of (receiving, being baptized in) the Spirit (cf., e.g., Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21, 22 [I had a footnote: These first three references refer to JESUS' BEING BAPTIZED IN WATER AND THEN (SHORTLY AFTERWARD) RECEIVING THE SPIRIT. THIS SEQUENCE ESTABLISHED A PATTERN. Jesus wasn't spiritually dead, so He didn't need to be born again like we do, but He did need to receive the Spirit in order to become the Anointed One/the Christ/the Messiah.]; Ezek. 36:25-27; Acts 2:38, 39 [these verses from Acts are quoted and discussed below]; 8:14-17; 19:5, 6; and Titus 3:5, 6). [I had a footnote: There is room for exceptions to this sequence (baptism in water before the life-giving, sanctifying, gift-dispensing Spirit comes), as Acts 10:44-48 demonstrate, but it is easy to see why God gave the Spirit to those Gentile believers before they were baptized in water. If God had not demonstrated His acceptance of those Gentiles by giving them the Spirit, Peter would have been very reluctant to baptize them. He got in trouble with the Jews as it was (Acts 11:1-18).] I am not suggesting that people cannot be born of the Spirit before, or apart from, water baptism, but I am saying that in the typical New Testament pattern water baptism precedes being born of the Spirit. [[(This double bracket goes on for four paragraphs.) After being baptized in water (in the typical New Testament pattern), it is time to be baptized in, to receive, the life-giving, sanctifying, gift-dispensing Spirit (cf., e.g., Acts 2:38, 39; 19:5, 6). I have spent a lot of time seeking God for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches about water baptism and baptism in the Spirit (and many other topics). We desperately need to believe the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. God does not call us to defend our viewpoints just because our denomination has taught it this way for five-hundred years, for example.

Many Christian groups have formed their viewpoint on water baptism (to some extent) in reaction to what other groups were doing (like the Baptist reaction against the view of baptismal regeneration, including the baptizing of infants, and the fact that many baptized "Christians" didn't believe the gospel). The Baptist viewpoint, which is followed by large numbers of Pentecostals, charismatics, and others, is that believers are forgiven, born of the Spirit, etc. and then baptized in water). Reacting against viewpoints out of balance very often leads to being out of balance in the other direction.

What about the Baptist viewpoint? Most of the Christians I have fellowshipped with hold this viewpoint, that our sins have been taken away; we have been born again; etc.; now we will be baptized in water in obedience to God's Word. I held that viewpoint until I spent some time studying what the New Testament has to say on the topic. I am confident that we can be solid, born-again Christians and hold the Baptist viewpoint on water baptism. For one thing, God has been very generous with us in many ways, even if we didn't fully line up with the Bible in every detail. I am also confident that it will work for good if we switch to a viewpoint that doesn't teach that essentially everything is done before we are baptized in water.

What I am saying about water baptism here I am saying for one primary reason: The New Testament seems to me to be quite clear in its teaching on water baptism. I haven't had some special revelation or some special experience, and I don't owe loyalty to any particular viewpoint. I simply want to please God and be a blessing to the body of Christ by trying, with a high priority, to teach the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. Trying to teach the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches doesn't make you popular with those who are sure that they have everything right and have closed their minds, and large numbers of Christians fit in that category. However, we can humble ourselves and open our minds, and especially if God is dealing with us in this area.]]

It should be obvious that it is the Spirit (not water baptism) that gives Christians spiritual life (starting with the new birth/birth from above) through Christ Jesus. Why did Jesus include "of water" here in John 3:5? For one thing, Christian water baptism is important; baptizing in water, including the baptizing of John the Baptist, came from God; it is something He said to do - that makes it important! The New Testament doesn't speak of water baptism as something optional. It is quite possible (even probable) that Jesus included this reference to water baptism (in John 3:5) when speaking with Nicodemus because he was a Pharisee, and the Pharisees rejected the baptism of John the Baptist (Luke 7:30).

By mentioning the need to be "born OF WATER and the Spirit" here, Jesus put some emphasis on the need to be baptized in water, with the emphasis on genuine repentance and submission in faith to God, His Messiah, and His new-covenant plan of salvation. First came the baptism of John the Baptist, but before long it would be Christian baptism. John's baptism was transitional between the time of the old and new covenants. The baptizing that Jesus was doing (through His disciples; John 3:22; 4:1, 2) before the new covenant was ratified through His atoning death and resurrection was also transitional. John the Baptist called people to a baptism of repentance and pointed them to Christ Jesus; Jesus (through His disciples) began to baptize His disciples in water (a baptism that included repentance and a heart commitment in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ); and before long (after Jesus' atoning death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His pouring forth the promised gift of the life-giving, sanctifying, gift-dispensing Spirit, starting on the day of Pentecost), Christian water baptism in the full new-covenant sense would be practiced. Believers couldn't be born of the Spirit before the Spirit was given, starting on the day of Pentecost. (This is the end of the excerpts under John 3:5.)

I'll quote two paragraphs that deal with one facet of water baptism from endnote 29 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin" (page 155): I agree with James D. G. Dunn ("Baptism in the Holy Spirit" [Westminster, 1977], pages 139-146, 154-157) that the apostle Paul does not speak of believers being resurrected to spiritual life through water baptism in either Rom. 6:3, 4 or Col. 2:12, 13. It seems that Paul only says that we died and were buried with Christ through baptism.

Colossians 2:12 says: "having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." I agree with Dunn that "in which" should be translated "in whom," with "whom" referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. Without "faith in the working of God" and the actual "working of God" we will not be raised up with Christ.

On pages 126, 127 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin," I quoted ACTS 2:38, 39 and had two paragraphs of discussion following the quotation. I'll quote the verses here and most of what I said in the two paragraphs. ACTS 2:38, 39: "Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God [God the Father (cf., e.g., Acts 3:19, 20, 22; 4:23-31)] will call to Himself."

It seems appropriate that repentance and baptism in water for the forgiveness of sins would typically precede the reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit. ... "The promise" of Acts 2:39 speaks of "the gift of the Holy Spirit" of Acts 2:38. God the Father had often said (promised) that He would pour out His Spirit. I believe "the gift of the Holy Spirit" of Acts 2:38 (and Acts 10:45; 11:17) includes the impartation of spiritual life (the new birth), the sanctifying transformation wrought by the Spirit, and the widespread distribution of the charismatic gifts. [[I had a lengthy endnote (#30) that addresses this topic in some detail that covers more than three pages (pages 135-138). I believe this teaching is quite important. I'll include most of that teaching here in this double bracket:

Some teach that the promised gift of the Holy Spirit does not include the new birth and sanctifying transformation (the renewal) wrought by the Holy Spirit, but that it just deals with the enduement of power (especially referring to the gifts of the Spirit) that enables the church to spread the gospel across the earth (cf. Acts 1:8). For one thing, the power of God behind the new birth and sanctifying transformation of believers constitutes a big part of the power that enables the church to take the gospel to the world. [Being born again of God is no little thing. If we walk in the fullness of what it means to be born again, it certainly includes the sanctifying transformation that enables us to be dead to sin and to walk in the righteousness and holiness of God.] I'll list some key reasons for believing that the gift of the Holy Spirit (that was first poured out on the Day of Pentecost) includes the new birth and the sanctifying transformation:

The promises of God regarding the outpouring of His Spirit typically mention the life giving and/or sanctifying work of the Spirit. ((Cf., e.g., Isa. 32:15 18; 44:3 5; Ezek. 36:25 27; 37:14; Joel 2:28 32 [Cf. Acts 2:16 21. Charismatic gifts are mentioned in Joel 2:28, 29, but it should also be noted that the outpouring of the Spirit of Joel 2:28 32 is set in a context that deals with calling people to repent and get ready for the day of the Lord.]; John 7:37 39; Gal. 3:13, 14; and Eph. 1:13, 14 [[Ephesians 1:13, 14 say: "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of PROMISE [my emphasis], (14) who is given as a pledge (down payment) of our inheritance...." (Romans 8:23 speaks of Christians "having the first fruits of the Spirit.") The sealing of Eph. 1: 13, 14 (and "the first fruits of the Spirit" of Rom. 8:23) includes the life giving, sanctifying work of the Spirit. Born again Christians can testify (with much thanksgiving) that the Spirit bears witness with their spirit that they are the children of God, cf. Rom. 8:16.]]))

The life giving, sanctifying work of the Spirit is emphasized throughout the New Testament. ((Cf., e.g., Matt. 3:1 12; John 3:3 8; 6:63; 7:37 39; 14:16 20; Acts 15:8, 9; Rom. 2:26 29; 7:4 6; 8:1 17; 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:9 11; 2 Cor. 3:1 18; Gal. 5:5 [I believe the Amplified Bible communicates the apostle's intended meaning for this verse. It has: "For we [not relying on the Law], through the (Holy) Spirit's [help] by faith anticipate (and) wait for the blessing (and) good for which our righteousness (and) right standing with God - our conformity to His will in purpose, thought and action - [causes us] to hope]."; Gal. 5:16 25; Eph. 3:16; 4:23 [See endnote 32; I'll include endnote 32 at the end of this endnote (endnote 30); it is important to this study and an understanding of the new covenant]; 2 Thess. 2:13; and Titus 3:5 8.))

The gift of the Holy Spirit is to be equated with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. ((See Acts 1:4, 5; 2:33, 38, 39; 10:44 47; and 11:15 18. Matthew 3:11, which speaks of baptism in the Holy Spirit, is set in a context (Matt. 3:1 12) that puts all of the emphasis on repentance and sanctification. Matthew 3:11 says: "As for me, I [John the Baptist] baptize you with [in] water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with [in] the Holy Spirit and fire." Note the "fire" in Matt. 3:11 and Acts 2:3.

The Lord Jesus Christ could not pour forth the promised gift of the Holy Spirit until after He had ascended (been taken up in glory) forty days after His resurrection, some ten days before Pentecost. (Cf., e.g. Luke 24:49 51; John 7:37 39; 14:16 20; 17:5; Acts 1:1 5; 2:1 4, 33; 1 Tim 3:16 ["taken up in glory"]. Acts 2:33 says: "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear."))

I see no Biblical basis for saying that the disciples received the life giving, sanctifying Spirit before the Day of Pentecost. (However, it is important to understand that the Holy Spirit does a lot of work in us convicting, drawing, revealing, enlightening, teaching, preparing our hearts, etc. before we are born again.) We'll discuss this topic when we discuss John 20:21-23 at the beginning of Part 3 of this paper.

Copyright by Karl Kemp Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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