GG&E Session Two Outline

Posted: July 18, 2011 in Theologababble

Regeneration: Me and You, or You than Me?

“You must be born again” – Jesus

 

The theological term is regeneration. Literally, “to be born again”. And Jesus says that this act is a vital necessity.

 

Why? Because as we concluded with last week, non-regenerate man is (1) wicked at his very core– Gen 6:5, 8:21, Mk… 7:21-23, Ps 5:9, Jer 17:9, Titus 1:15-16, Ecc 9:3, Eph 4:17-18, (2) Enslaved by his sinful desires – Jn 8:34, Titus 3:3, 2 Tim 2:25-26, (3) Perverted in his will – Jn 8:44, Eph 2:3, Pro 21:10, Jn 3:19, Rom 7:18, (4) Unwilling and unable to change himself – Jer 13:23, Matt 7:18, Matt 12:34-35, Job 14:4, (5) Born hating God – Jn 3:20, Rom 8:7, Col 1:21 (6) Separated from God and not seeking Him – Ps 58:3, Eph 2:12-13, Eph 2:3, Ps 10:4, Jn 3:20, Is 64:7, Rom 3:10-12, (7) Completely unable to please God – Pro 15:9, Pro 28:9, Is 64:6, Rom 8:7-8, (8) Uncomprehending the Gospel and thinking it foolish – 1 Cor 2:14, 2 Cor 4:3-4, 1 Cor 1:18, 21-24, Deut 29:2-4, Matt 11:27, (9) Unable to respond positively to the Gospel – Jn 3:27, Jn 14:16-17, Jn 1:12-13, John 6:44, 65, (10) Spiritually dead – Col 2:13, Eph 2:1, Jn 3:3, Jn 3:7

  1. So what exactly happens in regeneration?
    1. Spiritual resurrection – Ephesians 2:4-5 “ButGod, 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…”
    2. Our dead heart is replaced with a live heart – Ezekiel 36:26-27 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you,and cause you to walk in my statutes andbe careful to obey my rules.
    3. We are made a new creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”
    4. Regeneration is a demonstration of the power of God unrivaled even by the creation of the universe.
  2. Regeneration is the work of the God in conjunction with the word of God.
    1. John 3:5 “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
    2. 1 Corinthians 6:11 “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
    3. 1 Peter 1:23 “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”
    4. 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.”

 

Here is a million-dollar question: what causes the New Birth? In other words, is there something we must do in order for God to make us a new creation?

 

There are two main camps in Evangelical circles: those who hold to synergistic regeneration and those who hold to monergistic regeneration.

 

Synergistic Regeneration

                Definition: Synergism is a cooperative venture, a working together of two or more parties. In terms of salvation, synergists believe that the New Birth is caused by man’s positive response to the Gospel. Salvation is then a joint effort between God and man in which God does His part, man does his part, and then God causes the New Birth. It is “…the doctrine that there are two efficient agents in regeneration, namely the human will and the divine Spirit, which, in the strict sense of the term, cooperate. This theory accordingly holds that the soul has not lost in the fall all inclination toward holiness, nor all power to seek for it under the influence of ordinary motives (Century Dictionary).”

 

Order of salvation in synergism: Calling, faith, repentance, election, predestination, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.

–          Calling: The synergist believes that God applies equal effort in calling all men to salvation. In other words, God will not “draw” one sinner and not another, but rather God will call all men to His Son.

–          Faith: Those that choose to believe the Gospel are those that have exercised their faith, thus meeting God’s requirement for faith to be saved.

–          Repentance: When a sinner sees their sin the way God does and this change of mind leads to a change of behavior, the second requirement for salvation is met.

–          Election: Having foreseen this faith in eternity past, God’s election of the synergist to salvation is His response. In other words, all those whom God chose to save before creation are chosen on the basis of this foreseen repentance and faith.

–          Predestination: Having been elected for salvation, individual sinners are predestined to salvation from before they are even born. This does not mean that men are born saved, but rather than salvation is a guarantee for them because of God’s infallible foreknowledge of their faith and repentance.

–          Regeneration: Upon seeing the sinner’s current faith and repentance, God now acts in giving them a new heart, which comes also with…

–          Justification: This is the process by which God looks at a sinner and declares them “Not Guilty”.

–          Sanctification: As a new creation, believers in Christ will be more and more conformed to Jesus’ image, through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

–          Glorification: This is the final aspect of salvation in which all who are saved will in Heaven be perfected.

 

Grounds for synergism:

  1. Biblical grounds: Arguments can be formed for this position on the basis of God’s love for the world, in conjunction with the invitation to all to be saved.
  2. Philosophical grounds: The idea is held that if God commands all men to repent and believe the Gospel, than all men are able to repent and believe the Gospel.
  3. Fairness principle: In this system, God works equally and lovingly upon all men, but God is a gentleman and will not force anyone to do anything against their will. Therefore, the offer goes out, and those who want to be saved will be, and those that do not want to be saved will not be.

 

 

Synergism is the prevailing position among most Evangelicals.

 

 

                Monergistic Regeneration

 

                Definition: Monergism is something that operates by itself or works alone as the sole active party. Monergism is the opposite of synergism. In terms of salvation, Monergists believe that the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is effected solely by God; not as a response to man’s contribution.

 

                Order of salvation in monergism: Election, predestination, calling, regeneration, faith, repentance, justification, sanctification, glorification.

–          Election: This is the sovereign act of God by which He chose before the foundation of the earth who would be saved and with Him for all eternity. This election is not based upon a foreseen response from the individual, but is rather the result of God’s choosing for His own pleasure and glory.

–          Predestination: Another aspect of election, individual sinners are predestined to salvation from before they are even born. This does not mean that men are born saved, but rather than salvation is a guarantee for them because God has chosen to save them, and God’s plans cannot be thwarted.

–          Calling: There are two calls in the monergistic camp- the general call, which is extended to the entirety of mankind, and the effective call, but which the Holy Spirit speaks within a sinner, and they are effectively drawn to Christ by means of…

–          Regeneration: In giving spiritual life to a dead sinner, a man is made spiritual alive, able to respond to God, and whose subsequent twin-sister heartbeats are…

–          Faith: The inner awareness of the truth of the Gospel as well as the knowledge that apart from Jesus they are doomed, and they are doomed because they now have…

–          Repentance: They see their sin for what it is, and their sinful selves for who they are. No longer do they love their sin, but now they despise it for the offense that it is against god.

–          Justification: By means of the faith given to sinners, God declares men not guilty. This is not because of their faith, but through their faith. Faith is a necessary component to justification, but it is not the instrumental cause of it. God is.

–          Sanctification: As a new creation, believers in Christ will be more and more conformed to Jesus’ image, through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

–          Glorification: This is the final aspect of salvation in which all who are saved will in Heaven be perfected.

 Grounds for monergism:

  1. Biblical: Is there Biblical evidence for this? We will see.
  2. Philosophical: See above.
  3. Fairness: Monergists will admit that this system makes God unfair.

 

Though the minority position among Evangelical Christians, many denominations, para-church organizations, seminaries, Bible colleges, missionaries, and prominent speakers are Monergists.

 

 

 

So which is Biblical?


 

Two Views of Regeneration by John Hendryx

Synergism

Monergism

Cause of Regeneration

Regeneration is the work of Christ plus the good will of unspiritual man. What makes men to differ from one another is not the grace of Jesus alone, but Jesus plus the good will of unspiritual man. Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit alone applying the effectual cross work of Christ to the unspiritual man. What makes men to differ is Jesus Christ alone.
Faith is the cause that triggers regeneration Regeneration has causal priority to faith (Just as a person must have eyes before they see and ears prior to their ability to hear, so one must first have a new heart in order to understand spiritual truth)
Faith and affections for God are produced by the old nature. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature. It is the immediate and inevitable product of the new nature. The new heart (by nature) loves Christ.
God and Man work together to produce the new birth. God’s grace takes us part of the way to salvation, man’s unregenerate will must determine the final outcome. In other words belief in Christ gives rise to the new birth. God, the Holy Spirit, alone produces regeneration with no contribution from the sinner (A work of God). The new birth is never spoke of in the imperative (not commanded), rather man must be born again by God.
God is eagerly awaiting the sinner’s will. God effectually enables the sinner’s will.
The persons of the Trinity have conflicting goals in accomplishing and applying salvation: The Father elects a particular people; The Son dies for a general people and the Holy Spirit applies the atonement conditionally on those who exercise their autonomous libertarian free will. The persons of the Trinity work in harmony – The Father elects a particular people (Eph 1:3-5), Christ dies for those the Father has given Him (John 17:9, 15; Rev 5:9) and the Holy Spirit likewise applies the benefits of the atonement to the same. (Regeneration is one of the redemptive benefits of Christ’s work)
Restoration of spiritual faculties comes after the man without the Spirit exercises faith with his natural (innate) capacities. Has the ability to see spiritual truth even before healed. (see 1 Cor 2:14). Has spiritual capacity/desire to receive the truth, prior God’s granting any spiritual ability. “Light” itself is not enough for a blind man to see, his vision must first be restored. (John 3:3,6). Needs spiritual ability to receive truth prior to receiving it (1 Cor 2:12; John 6:63-65 & 37).

View of Humanity

The fallen sinner has the ability and potential inclination to believe even prior to the new birth The fallen sinner has no understanding, moral ability or inclination to believe prior to the new birth. (1 Cor 2:14).
There is enough good left in fallen man to turn his affections toward Christ. Fallen Man has a mind at enmity with God; loves darkness, hates the light and does not have the Holy Spirit. “There is no one who seeks God” (Rom 3:11); Sinner would never turn to God without divine enablement and new affections.
Sinner needs help, is spiritually handicapped. Spiritually dead sinner needs new nature (mind, heart, will), regeneration.
Natural man is sick and disabled like a drowning man so God would be uncaring if He didn’t help by casting a rope. Natural man is spiritually impotent and morally culpable for sin. Our moral inability is not like a physical handicap or a drowning man for which we would not be culpable but, rather, it is like a man who cannot repay a squandered financial debt. Inability to repay, therefore, does not relieve us of the moral responsibility to do so. God, in His mercy, does not merely throw us a rope, He dives in to make certain we do not drown.
Needs salvation from the consequences of sin – unhappiness, hell, psychological pain. Needs salvation to remove the offense we’ve made against a holy God and from the power and bondage of sin.
The natural man is sovereign over his choice to accept or reject Christ – God conditionally responds to our decision. God’s love for the sinner is, therefore, conditional. The natural man can contribute nothing towards his salvation. Faith is a response rendered certain following the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit. We respond to God’s unconditional love. (Acts 13:48; John 6:37)
Those fallen men who are saved, either created a right thought, generated a right affection, or originated a right volition that led to their salvation while some others did not have the natural wherewithal to come up with the faith that God required of them to obtain salvation. Therefore salvation is dependent on some virtue or capacity God sees in certain men. Not Jesus alone, but Jesus PLUS… No Fallen man will create a right thought, generate a right affection, or originate a right volition that will lead to his salvation. We would never believe unless the Holy Spirit came in and disarmed our hostility to God. Therefore salvation is dependent on God’s good pleasure alone (Eph 1:4, 5, 11), not some virtue or goodwill He sees in us.
Man’s nature & affections do not determine or give rise to their choices. Even without the Holy Spirit working change in his heart, the sinner can still make a saving decision to believe the gospel. In this scheme God gives enough grace to place man in a neutral position which can swing either for or against Jesus. (An act of chance?) Man’s nature determines his desires/affections and give rise to the choices he makes. Jesus bears witness to this: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” Luke 6:43 Only Christ can “make a tree good and its fruit will be good.” (Also see John 8:34, 42-44; 2 Pet. 2:19).

View of the Gospel

The Gospel is an invitation The Gospel is not merely an invitation, but a command (1 John 3:23)
Christ died for all our sins except unbelief Christ died for all our sins including unbelief
Sinners have the key in their hands. Man’s will determines whether or not Christ’s death is efficacious. God has the key in his hand. God’s eternal counsel determines to whom the benefits of the atonement apply.
It would be unjust of God to not give everyone an equal chance. If God exercized His justice then none of us would stand, since each of us is in active rebellion against an infinitely holy God. He owes us nothing and is under no obligation to save any person. Regeneration is, therefore, an act of pure, undeserved mercy because the justice we deserved, He poured out on His Son (thereby turning His wrath away from us).
After God makes one’s heart of stone into a heart of flesh the Holy Spirit’s call to salvation can still be resisted. After God makes one’s heart of stone into a heart of flesh, no person wants to resist. By definition our desires, inclinations and affections have changed so we willingly and joyfully turn in faith toward Christ.
Salvation is given to fallen sinners (unregenerate) who choose and desire Christ of their free will. Apart from grace, there is no fallen sinner (unregenerate) who fits that description. A desire for God is not part of the old nature.
The grace of God is conferred as a result of human prayer It is grace itself which makes us pray to God (Rom 10:20; Isa. 65:1)
God has mercy upon us when we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, apart from his regenerative grace. To desire and seek God prior to the new birth is an impossible supposition. (Rom 3:11; 1 Cor 2:14) It is the infusion and quickening of the Holy Spirit within us that we even have the faith or the strength to will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock and believe in the finished work of Christ.
Commands to repent and believe the gospel imply the ability of the sinner to do so. The Command toward sinners to repent and believe does not imply ability. Divine intent of the Law, according to Scripture, is to reveal our moral impotence apart from grace (Rom 3:20, 5:20, Gal 3:19,24). The Law was not designed to confer any power but to strip us of our own.
God helps those who help themselves. God only helps those who cannot help themselves. (John 9:41)
Unregenerate man contributes his little bit. Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling.
Repentance is considered a work of man. Repentance is a gift of God. (2 Tim 2:25)
One of the greatest gifts God gives humans is to never interfere with their free will. The greatest judgment which God can inflict upon a man is to leave him in the hands of his own free-will. If salvation were left in the hands of the unregenerate sinners, we would indeed despair of all hope that anyone would be saved. It is an act of mercy, therefore, that God awakens the dead in sin to life since those without the Spirit cannot understand the things of God at all. (1 Cor 2:14)
With Man’s will salvation is possible. With man’s will salvation (repentance and faith) is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matt 19:26; Rom 9:16; John 6:64,65) “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:6

 

Verse List

 

–          Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined usfor adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

–          John 17:6-9 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

–          Revelation 5:9 “…by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

–          John 3:3,6 “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born againhe cannot see the kingdom of God…That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’”

–          1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”

–          John 6:63-65, 37 “’It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’” “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

–          1 Corinthians 2:14 “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

–          Romans 3:11 “No one understands; no one seeks for God.”

–          Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

–          John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

–          Ephesians 1:4-5, 11 “…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined usfor adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”

–          Luke 6:43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit.”

–          John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slaveto sin.’”

–          John 8:42-44 “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’”

–          2 Peter 2:19 “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slavesof corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”

–          1 John 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”

–          Romans 10:20 “Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,’I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

–          Isaiah 65:1 “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation that was not called bymy name.”

–          Romans 3:11 “No one understands; no one seeks for God.”

–          Romans 3:20 “For by works of the law no human beingwill be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

–          Romans 5:20 “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”

–          Galatians 3:19, 24 “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary…So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.”

–          John 9:41 “Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no guilt;but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”

–          2 Timothy 2:25-26 “…God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

–          Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

–          Romans 9:16 “Then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”

–          John 6:64-65 “’But there are some of you who do not believe.’ (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’”

 

 

 Key passages:

 

John 10:22-30 “At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

Romans 8:29-30 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

 

Romans 9:14-24 “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

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Comments
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