B.H. Carroll On Regeneration & The Cleansing From the Defilement of Sin

Now, [Numbers] chapter 19 is to make a great provision for cleansing from a defilement of sin. More than once have I told you that in regeneration there are two constituent elements, one a change of the carnal mind, the imparting of a new nature; and second, the cleansing of the defilement of sin. And it takes these two to make regeneration. Here you come to the original, typical provision for cleansing from defilement. Hence the importance of this chapter. The provision was that a red heifer should be taken. Not a white hair must be on her. And she should be taken outside the camp and put to death, and burned with red cedar wood, the red signifying blood, while this burning went on, threads of scarlet cloth should be thrown into the fire, scarlet signifying blood. When she was burned the ashes should be gathered up and put in a clean place so as to provide permanent cleansing. In order to liquefy these ashes and keep them they were to be mixed with rain water, making a liquid lye and this was to be kept on hand all the time. Then a bunch of hyssop, whose wood is red, was to be used for sprinkling this lye.

When we come to the prophecies, say 36, you have the combination of the cleansing with the water of purification, typifying blood, combined with a changing of the nature. There God says, "I will gather you from all countries where you have been scattered and I will sprinkle the water of purification upon you and you shall be clean." That typified the application of the blood of Christ. "Then I will take away your stony heart and give you a heart of flesh and I will put my spirit within you." That is the other part of regeneration. When you come to the symbolic interpretation of Hebrews 9, we have this language: "If the ashes of the heifer sanctified to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse your conscience from evil works to serve the living God?"

In a debate with a Methodist preacher upon that subject, I gave this challenge: "In the Bible from Genesis to Revelation no man can find where God ever commanded a prophet, priest, or preacher to sprinkle, or to pour, just water on man, beast or thing as a moral, ceremonial, or religious rite." I gave them a day to find a passage and they popped up all over the house and said they could find a lot of them. It brought about the greatest amazement that ever took place in their community. They went to their concordance for "sprinkle" and "pour." Next day a man came up and said, "I have found it in Ezekiel 36, 1 will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be clean.’ " I replied, First, that sprinkling, whatever it is, God does it, and he does not command man to do it. Second, that was not just water, but that was the water of purification which was made out of the ashes of the red heifer which typified the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which is applied by the Holy Spirit when a man believes on Jesus Christ. A man is not only justified when he believes, but he is also cleansed. He is not only cleansed but he is regenerated." I then traced the thing all through the Bible. Another man arose and quoted what John has to say, "I indeed baptize you with water." I said in reply, "Baptize does not mean to sprinkle or pour." But he said, "It says ‘with.’ " And I replied, "But that is not the translation of the Greek word. The Greek word is en and that means ‘in.’ " It expresses nothing beyond the means or instrument when it is translated ‘with.’ Finally, Baptists baptize with water, not with oil, not with sand, and they use a great deal more of it than you do."

Now, don’t forget the deep and solemn significance of Numbers 19, that it was a type of that part of regeneration which accomplished the cleansing away of the defilement of sin by the application of the blood of Christ to the believer. Nineteen preachers out of twenty, in discussing regeneration, confine themselves merely to the change of nature.