Thursday, September 23, 2010

Regeneration Precedes Faith

And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, Eph 2:1 (ASV)

"We close with Christ by faith, but that faith being a vital act, presupposes a principle of life communicated to us by the Spirit; therefore it is said, John xi.26, 'Whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die:' " - John Flavel

Flavel's comment points out an amazing truth: If one believes in Christ it is because he lives in Him first. Life must be granted by God prior to our act of faith. Live and believe is the order.

It is important to see that the quickening of an unregenerate person is completely a sovereign act of God with no human participation. Indeed there are five good reasons why this is so.

1. He that actively concurs to his own regeneration makes himself to differ. Scripture rejects this: For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? 1 Cor 4:7 (ASV) 

2. Scripture ascribes to unregenerate nature both impotency and enmity with respect to grace, therefore it cannot of itself actively concur to the production of it. In John 15:5, Jesus says, "Without Me you can do NOTHING." As if this weren't enough, Matthew 12:34, denies even the power to speak a good word. Then 2 Corinthians 3:5, denies the power even to think good thoughts. If this is all that were said in Scripture, it would be more than sufficient. But in addition to this inability, Scripture also ascribes to unregenerate nature enmity against God: "the mind of the flesh is enmity against God." Romans 8:7 (ASV); "And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works" Col 1:21 (ASV)

3. That which is of natural production is subject to natural dissolution. but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life. John 4:14 (ASV) "Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth." 1 Peter 1:23 (ASV) 

4. If our new birth be a resurrection and a new creation then we cannot actively contribute to its production. No baby ever born has decided when. Indeed, no baby has ever decided that it would be conceived. Corpses do not respond to pleas to "raise their hands." Regeneration is a new birth; it is a resurrection; it is a new creation.  cf. Eph 4:24; 5:14, 2 Cor. 10:4

5. If unregenerate nature could produce, or actively concur to the production of spiritual life, then the most refined, cultured, and educated people would be the first to be regenerated, and the most vile and perverse sinners would be the last, or more likely, would never be regenerated. This is patently false. Scripture tells us of Rahab, Mary Magdalen, Levi, Zacchaeus, and Paul - all notorious sinners being saved. Yet the rich young ruler went away without grace.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Visitor Counter

Flag Counter