Over at Studylight.org there has been a conversation raging for pages and pages, months and months.
I do not believe regeneration happens without conversion. I do not believe that everyone in the world has been regenerated. I believe that when a person believes in Jesus, he is then regenerated upon his conversion. Nothing anyone has said or taught has ever changed my mind about this, even though my mind was perfectly open to hear.
The argument is just not convincing to me concerning the regeneration first then the conversion. I look at all the verses in the NT seeing that a person is made New, New Creation, New Creature in Christ -- all that says to me that the person is finally restored to what Adam was before he sinned. That is regeneration, to me.
That cannot happen without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because a heart cannot be circumcised without the indwelling Holy Spirit. I am not interested in A comes first then B then C type of conversation because it is all academic until the Love is put into Action. I was just explaining how I can see that explanation of regeneration, but I do not agree with it. I take the Hebrew word for "all flesh" as it is defined by Strong's meaning "all mankind". That, to me, means The World... all humans, that is.
כּול כּלo kôl kôl kole, kole From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense): - (in) all (manner, [ye]), altogether, any (manner), enough, every (one, place, thing), howsoever, as many as, [no-] thing, ought, whatsoever, (the) whole, whoso (-ever).
The word is repeated for emphasis. It means absolutely all. Not one of every kind as in the animals going into the Ark. בּשׂר bâśâr baw-sawr' From H1319; flesh (from its freshness); by extension body, person; also (by euphemism) the pudenda of a man: - body, [fat, lean] flesh [-ed], kin, [man-] kind, + nakedness, self, skin. Human.
All means all Humans. Jesus said, "God sent His Son into the World so that the World might be saved." John 3:17 Not would be saved, but might be saved. The condtion is in 3:16 believe into the Son. Pledging, committing, plunging into. None of this stick the toe in the water, but gulping down the Living Water like a dying man thirsting for the water that would quench that thirst and change him from a dying man to a new creature, fully revived and refreshed.
Luke 8:13 And those on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the Word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a time, and in time of trial draw back.
What makes people think this is God's mercy to only those who hear the Gospel? What about what Paul says that those who do not have the law, sin is not imputed to them?
Rom 5:13 For sin was in the world until Law, but sin is not charged where there is no law;
I do not want to tread down a path that is quick sand, but the fact is, God said He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. No man can enter Heaven without going through the Son. AMEN.
But I cannot rule out the aborted babies or the mentally ill or those mentally retarded or cerebral palsy or all of Noah's great-great-great-great grandchildren who crossed the land bridge into North and South America before Jesus ever was born going to Heaven if God so chooses to have mercy on them because they never knew the Law or heard the Gospel. That is a God-decision, not a man-decision!
Am I saying that a person can get to Heaven without going through Jesus? I believe babies who die babies do. I believe the mentally ill and retarded do. I believe this because they have never known the Law. They do not know the 10 commandments. I believe they are blameless in the sight of God... sin is not charged to them. This is Biblical.
The world is aware of God, Romans 1 tells us that the world has no excuse because of God's handiwork and that God has put a knowing of Himself in His creation. Those who know and still reject... those are the ones whom God will pour out His wrath upon. He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy, and He will condemn, those whom He will condemn. This is also Biblical.