Psalm 16:5

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

God's Warth is Coming... Are You Ready?

You had better listen to the words of Jesus, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter, but he that does the will of my father in heaven.” If ye by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. If you live after the flesh, you’ll die! The cross does not give us a minor shift or two with regard to a few of our ethical and religious values. The cross radically disrupts the very center and citadel of your life from self to Christ. And if the cross has not done that, YOU’RE NOT A CHRISTIAN! My Friend face it, young rogue, you’re not a Christian until the cross has radically disrupted the very center and citadel of your life! And brought you from a life of commitment to serve self…What are the focal points of the reign of your self? If you’ve gone to the cross in union with Christ, it’s been shattered!"
- Al Martin

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sovereign Grace Part 4 - The New Birth

In the previous post, I gave a quote by Spurgeon in which he maintained that faith is always the result of the new birth. In the first part of this post, I would like to examine this claim briefly from John chapter 1.
Does regeneration precede faith? The answer to the question is "yes," but before explaining why this is so, the terms “regeneration” and “conversion” should be explained briefly.

Regeneration means that one has been born again or born from above (John 3:3, 5, 7, 8). The new birth is the work of God, so that all those who are born again are “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Or, as 1 Peter 1:3 says, it is God who “caused us to be born again to a living hope.” The means God uses to grant such new life is the gospel, for believers “have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23; cf. Jas. 1:18). Regeneration or being born again is a supernatural birth. Just as we cannot do anything to be born physically—it just happens to us!—so too we cannot do anything to cause our spiritual rebirth. - Daniel Spratlin
I believe the Bible teaches us clearly that regeneration (or the new birth) precedes (comes before) faith. In other words, while in a state of spiritual death, God makes His elect people spiritually alive (regenerating them); then they exercise faith, and then they are justified. - John Samson 
[Quick note: As I showed in the last post, you cannot be made alive in logical sequence prior to justification. Justification is what makes you alive. Calvinism, for it to be true, requires justification prior to life and faith.]

In this section, I will maintain that the new birth is what makes us a child of God (although this act is also called adoption), and that we are born by the will of God in response to us receiving Christ (yes, I know that it is not calvinistic to say that we receive Christ, but that is what the Bible says).
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
In this beautiful text which reveals the super-abounding love of God for His people (1 John 3:1), we see the coloration between a number of theological terms: the act of receiving Christ is equated with believing on Him. To become the son of God is equated with being born of God. Now the later is logically required. Can I be born of God and not be the son of God? Can He not be my Father? We become the sons of God because we were born of Him and this text shows that to be true. 

Also, we see an order laid forth. It does not say that we were born of God, then believed, then were made the sons of God (logical fallacy would be the result), but rather that we believe/receive Christ, then are born of the will of God and become His sons. Thus the hardline Calvinist argument that one must be born again in order to believe on Christ, is hereby shown unscriptural.

I have seen and heard multiple Calvinists make the argument that if one is saved because he choose to believe in the Lord, then he in the end saved himself because salvation then was conditioned on his choice or faith. This is a faulty argument in more ways than one, but just from a scriptural standpoint, this text says that as many as believe are given the power to become the sons of God, and yet they were not born of their own will, but of the will of God. It is fully scriptural to say, Thy faith hath saved you, go in peace (Luke 7:50), and at the same time say that you were not born (saved) of the will of man, but of God. 

In conclusion then, on the first point of Calvinism, we find that it has some truth and some error. Man on his own cannot believe. John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." Man is dead in his sins, not sick. Man is so radically depraved that every deed he does is inherently corrupt. Salvation is Monergistic in the sense that men are born not of their own will, but of God's. No man ever determined his own salvation, and even his very faith is the work of God: "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." John 6:29. But the Calvinist errors in his understanding of spiritual death, spiritual life, justification and regeneration, as well as in issues of what God can do in a dead sinners heart without first regenerating him. In this error, the gospel of salvation by faith is in theory rejected for a possibly noble, though mightily errored, radical view of monergistic salvation. They fail to see that salvation can be all of God and by His will alone, yet still require faith as the condition and avenue of eternal life.

Unconditional Election

I agree with this point. John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

Rom. 9:11, 15-16, "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."

Point concluded.

No comments:

Post a Comment