Sunday, February 18, 2007

Theology 101 - Regeneration

* * * Because I have a nasty head cold--that has been with me since Saturday--this will be a brief but direct post. I appreciate your mercy and understanding! * * *

In "Theology 101-Biblical Anthropology" I pointed out man's condition apart from God--total inability to seek God, choose God, or even respond to God. Then in "Theology 101 - Soteriology", and "Theology 101 - Effectual Calling" I began looking at what God does to bring us to salvation.

Today, we look at regeneration.

According to Berkhof, "regeneration may be defined as that act of God by which the principle of the new life is implanted in man, and the governing disposition of the soul is made holy."

Packer offers this, "The concept of God renovating the heart, the core of a person's being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ...Regeneration is monergistic: that is, entirely the work of God the Holy Spirit. It raises the elect among the spiritually dead to new life in Christ (Eph. 2:1-10). Regeneration is a transition from spiritual death to spiritual life, immediate fruit, not its immediate cause. Regeneration is the work of what Augustine called "prevenient" grace, the grace that precedes our outgoings of heart toward God."

And Sproul offers this, "A cardinal point of Reformed theology is the maxim: "Regeneration precedes faith." Our nature is so corrupt, the power of sin is so great, that unless God does a supernatural work in our souls we will never choose Christ. We do not believe in order to be born again; we are born again in order that we may believe." "This is the fatal flaw of non-Reformed views. They fail to take seriously man's moral inability, the moral impotence of the flesh." (emphasis added)

Being spiritually dead as we are, unless God FIRST gives us spiritual life to respond to Him, we will not--we CANNOT--respond!

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