Sunday, July 6, 2008

Regeneration part 3: Regeneration precedes faith!

John 1:12-13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

1) verse 12: Those who received Christ through faith are justified and adopted as children of God
2) verse 13: Explains how it happened by first telling how it didn’t happen. It didn’t happen by blood through ancestry. It didn’t happen by the will of the flesh, which is to say that unregenerate man cannot quicken his own nature. It didn’t happen by the will of man period. HOW did it happen? Those who believed were born of God. God had intervened and imparted spiritual life and a new nature (2 Cor 5:17). This is also shown in the following passages:

Colossians 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

God made these sinners alive who were dead and unresponsive.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

God acted and made dead sinners alive while they were still spiritually dead. Sinners do not make themselves alive and come to faith and then have God cause them to be born again and give them a new nature. This would be like a Doctor withholding treatment until a patient got well and then giving them the medicine they needed to be cured. No, without God’s regenerating cure of making sinners spiritually alive, sinners would not respond. However, all (100%) that God regenerates are brought to spiritual life and willingly respond in faith (John 6:37). Jesus compares regeneration to the wind in John 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” No one knows where it comes from or where it is going. This rules out the view that man achieves faith and God responds by then being obligated to regenerate the new believer. This view contradicts Jesus and would amount to man getting himself born again by his own wise free will decision of faith. That is why Paul says in Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

If man controls his own regeneration, then Jesus would have said, “the wind blows where man decides by believing in me and we know it goes to all who believe in me.” But he didn’t. He said the wind like the Spirit goes where IT wishes. Brethren this is the TRUE FREE GRACE of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have not received this grace, then don't delay. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ today!

Any other opinions? Anyone?


jazzycat said...

God caused it....
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

mark pierson said...

Check this out...
1 John 5:1 (Young's Literal Translation)
Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
Public Domain

1 John 5
1Every one who is believing that Jesus is the Christ, of God he hath been begotten, and every one who is loving Him who did beget, doth love also him who is begotten of Him:

The "believing" is evidence of the new birth.


jazzycat said...

Yes, that is also verse that points to this truth.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late to the party :-) , but ... Thank you, you've written a beautiful explanation of the truth of your thesis that divine, sovereign, unconditional regeneration gives spiritual life which then allows man to respond in saving faith ... tho that faith itself is a gift, imagine that!
It's ALL of grace. ALL glory goes to God.

It wouldn't make any sense that a dead person would have any ability to do anything but ... continue to lie there lifeless. No response to anything, whether you poured cold water on his head, slapped his face or whatever, he won't wake up. Dead means dead!

Another clear illustration we're all familiar with is the raising of Lazarus by the Lord in John 11. It's ludicrous to think Lazarus could have faith to believe he wasn't dead and to sit up by himself! It took the sovereign power of almighty God to give him life. At that point Lazarus could believe he was no longer dead and exhibit other behavior a living person has the ability to perform.

Man's ego and pride dies slowly! When man humbly comes to this truth, by the revelation and grace of God, a new and fuller love for his heavenly Father comes into his heart.

When God opened my heart to see this, it was almost like being born again a second time, such was my profound gratitude! Others have told me it was like that for them. Isn't it a joy!

Your commenters, jazzyCat & Mark have added wonderfully to your article.
Grace and peace to you.