By Ernest O'Neill

Is a Clean Heart and the New Birth Simultaneous?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

Now you may say to me, "Now, do you not think that in the first century, they experienced the whole ball of wax at one moment? Do you not think that? Do you not think that in the first century, the Holy Spirit came upon them, regenerated them, made them alive in their spirits, and cleansed their heart and came and dwelt with them permanently from then on?" Yes, that undoubtedly happened.

If you want to look at one of the times loved ones, it's that kind of anomaly in a way that took place in Cornelius's house, Acts 10:44. Cornelius was a centurion you remember, who certainly is talked about as a God-fearing man but there isn't clear evidence that he was a Christian though one can't be sure, but he invited you remember, Peter to speak at his house.

Acts 10:44, "While Peter was still saying this", that's while he was still preaching the Gospel, "The Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word and the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God", and so it all happened at once there. I mean it's strange but it seemed the first time they heard the Gospel, the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and they were baptized into Jesus' name and everything took place at once.

But as you saw in that preview you got in Acts 9:17, it didn't happen that way with Paul. Paul, you remember, met Jesus first on the Damascus road and then three days later this happened in Acts 9:17, "So Ananias departed and entered the house and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

So it happened both ways in the New Testament. So if you're in the position where you believe you're a child of God and you're born of God and you're aware of Jesus and you regard Him as your Savior and you know your sins are forgiven and yet you still are aware you have an unclean heart, see that so were some people in the New Testament -- and yet obviously some other people entered into the whole thing at once because referring to the situation in Cornelius's household, you remember Peter said, "And God made no distinction between them and us but cleansed their hearts by faith."

So some people have experienced it all at once but many of us, and I suspect many here this morning, have not experienced the clean heart.