Friday, June 06, 2008

Soverign Regeneration

Here is a note from a friend who sent an email about a recent Table Talk Magazine article.

I sometimes wonder if Paul was picturing himself as he wrote Romans.  Especially the first part like Romans 3.  Maybe he sees himself as he was prior to being confronted by Jesus, he wanted nothing to do with Him but to persecute those who followed and claimed Jesus as God and resurrected savior.  The ultimate repentance was seen in Paul.  Because, when he repented he turned around and was the biggest proponent of the very things he was against prior to being awaken or "resurrected" by Jesus Christ.
The Reformer's slogan is:  Regeneration Precedes Faith

Grace and Peace,
Coram Deo!!!

Subject: Soverign Regeneration.

Concise and compelling devotion from today's Tabletalk.

Acts  9:1-19  "Falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'  And he said 'Who are you, Lord?"

    We made the point a few days ago the every Christian tradition has formulated some doctrine of regeneration.  Despite the differing formulations of the doctrine, however, there are ultimately only two different views of the role of man and the role of God in regeneration: monergism or synergism.
    A synergistic view of regeneration says man and God cooperate in bringing new life to a person.  The Lord acts upon the heart of the unbeliever, imploring him to change.  However, though God calls to the heart, regeneration cannot occur unless the unbeliever, who has the ability to say, "yes" or "no", embraces the divine call.  There are several problems with this view.  First, synergism sees the human will working with the divine will to achieve salvation.  Yet we all come into the world spiritually dead and, being dead, cannot take hold of God's grace unless first moved by His grace (Ps.  51:5; Eph. 2:4-5).  Synergism also reverses the order of regeneration and faith.  Synergists argue that we first come to faith, and then we are born again.  But if being born again is necessary to see the kingdom (John 3:3), regeneration must precede faith.  After all, you cannot trust the Lord if you cannot see the truth of His kingdom.
    Mongergism, on the other hand, says the God's Spirit is the sole agent in regeneration.  God moves sovereignty upon the souls of those He has chosen, enabling then to have faith.  He takes the spiritually dead and makes them alive.  We are actually born again- regenerated_before the faith.  We are not born again because we trust Jesus; we trust Jesus because we are born again.
    God's sovereignty in regeneration is seen clearly in the account of Paul's conversion found in today's passage.  Saul of Tarsus was completely unwilling to follow Jesus the Messiah before God took the initiative.  He was so heard-hearted, in fact, that he did all he could to destroy the church of Jesus Christ.  But when Jesus appeared to Him, Saul could not resist. Christ, by His Spirit, gave Paul the eyes to see the kingdom and to become one of it's greatest ambassadors (Acts 9:1-19).  Had Jesus not overpowered Saul's natural inclination against Him, there never would have been an apostle Paul. 

    This answers my earlier question.  "Did Saul have a choice in his conversion experience?"

Just a note to make us think,


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