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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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    Question Regarding the Ordo Salutis (the order of salvation)

    Visitor: I have a question regarding the order of salvation. I realize that you have to be regenerated before you can believe, so the question I am asking is regeration the same as being born again? If so were does repentance fall into place? Before or after justification, then what about sanctification and so on? I have read some articals on the site and have probably missed it, so I will apreciate you taking the time to write me back.

    Response: Thanks for your great question. Jesus Christ is the source of all redemptive blessings, including regeneration, justification, sanctification (1 Cor 1:30). Regeneration is the fountain, and sanctification the river. In other words, when one is united to Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, our hearts of stone are made flesh, our blind eyes now see and our deaf ears now hear. All things, obedience, repentance, faith spring forth from the regenerating work of the Spirit within us. They all happen simultaneously once God breathes new life into us.

    I would suspect, however, that if we are to use logic, faith must come before repentance, for how can you repent if you don't know what you are repenting of. Yet these are all so close that it would be difficult to say. The Spirit, in working faith in us also reveals our spiritual bankruptcy and a repentance of all trust in our own self-sufficiency. In order to have genuine faith anyone who believe must recognize that we justly deserve the wrath of God save for Christ's mercy alone. We abandon all confidence in self and repent of all trust in our own works, good and bad. Neither are our savior. Christ alone is suffiicient to save. So ultimately you could say that genuine faith is a repentant faith. Hope this helps

    Visitor: I just want to thank you for taking the time to wright to me and explaining the issue it has been very helpful to me.

    ---------------

    "We are initially united with Christ in regeneration." [next] "We appropriate and continue to live out of this union through faith."Third, "We are justified in union with Christ."Fourth, "We are sanctified through union with Christ."Fifth, "We persevere in the life of faith in union with Christ."Finally, "We shall be eternally glorified with Christ." - by Anthony Hoekema

    Posted by John on January 31, 2008 11:21 AM

    Comments

    How would you answer a person that says that the Bible clearly states that we are saved through faith and not to faith? It seems that we are told that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, so how can we have life before faith? If we had life before faith then we would still be in sin, since we still had no faith? Are we not told in Romans 5:17-18 that “LIFE” comes after we were “JUSTIFIED”?

    Thanks,

    Paul

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for posting. Rom 5:18 "...one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

    It is Jesus Christ that leads to life, not our faith. Faith is the fruit of God's grace, not its root.

    In light of this, would your friends, therefore, conclude that they can come to faith in Jesus Christ APART from the work of the Holy Spirit? That they can draw on their own resources to believe the gospel. That their good will is entirely their own and not a gift of grace? If so, they can thank God for everything else but will not thank God for their "good will" and faith? Jesus plainly does not leave room for such boasting. See John 6:63-65 & 37

    Also my essay on the subject
    http://www.monergism.com/newbirth.html

    Doesn't the Bible likewise teach that it is grace itself that we even have the faith, the will and desire to believe? if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

    In light of this, simply ask your friends why some believe the gospel and not others? Is God rewarding him for his right/good thought over the other who didn't have this right thinking? Are we saved by Christ alone or by Christ with the additional exertion of our nature?

    See 1 Cor 2:14 says "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." BUT the text say, we are given the Spirit of God "that we might understand the things freely given us by God." Can we cry ABBA Father apart form the Spirit? Even Paul says, no one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit.

    So unless you have the Holy Spirit opeing your blind eyes, and changing your heart, you remain unspiritual and not only not understand spiritual things but think they are folly

    Read 2 Thess, Paul thanks God for the Thessalonains faith. Is there anything good we have that is not the gift of God?

    Hope this helps
    John

    John H,

    Thank you for your response on this and your teaching on this subject. I believe what they would say is that God enables man to believe, but does not give life. It seems that the view is that to be born from above means union with Christ and how can you have union with Christ before you are justified and how can you be justified before faith. It is because of this that faith must come first. What they always fall back on is that I am trying to make regeneration be separate from the new life, when in fact regeneration is the new life that one comes into this new life through faith. I intuitively know that this is a wrong view, but I am not capable of answering the charge.

    Paul

    Hi Paul

    Consider: causes and effects happen at the same time. God creates the world and it exists. It did not hesitate 5 seconds but sprung into existence the same moment he called it into existence. If a pool ball hits another, they touch at the same time, but only ONE is the cause of the other moving. Likewise, God breathes new life into us and we breathe. God opens our eyes and we see, He gives us a new heart and we believe. no time delay takes place. They occur simultaneously, but one actually causes the other. This is plainly what the bible teaches. Faith is the fruit of grace. We can only ascribe all glory to God, not part to God and part to us. A natural person cannot accept the humbling terms of the gospel. It requires a supernatural change of heart. God the author of spiritual life from its beginning to its end. Faith can only spring from a renewed heart.

    Justification is only a declaration by God of our just standing before himself. It does not mean that we are just in ourselves, only that we are declared just in his sight because of Christ's righteousness counted to us. All redemptive benefits are applied by Christ at the same time, but they come from the outside. God can and does work in us by his Holy Spirit prior to our being justified. Are your friends saying that God can do nothing in their heart until we believe?

    The important thing is to always stick with the Text of Scripture and make sure they do to. Your friends say, "that God enables man to believe, but does not give life."

    It may be good to ask, what the Spirit actually does for a person in this divine enablement, according to your friends? Ask them to give you clear passages in Scripture which places man in a middle ground between a regenerate and unregenerate state? No longer depraved but yet not saved? Where ANYWHERE in Scripture does it teach that God so enables a man to believe, without giving him a new heart to do so? A post regenerate - pre-conversion state in some limbo. The Bile says that we are either regenerate or unregenerate and never gives a middle ground. it is important to note that their position is pure hypothesis painting their logic into the text to fit their interpretation perhaps because human nature wants so badly to believe that salvation is not by the grace of Jesus Christ alone. Can an unspiritual man have spiritual thoughts?

    Jesus himself says that no one can believe in him unless God grants it (John 6:65) and all that the Father grants, will believe (John 6:37) This passage leaves no room for the enabling they speak of. There us a universal positive and a universal negative in the above. So we can only conclude that they are deriving their view from human logic, when their logic should, rather, yield to the God of Scripture alone.

    And where does it say that the Spirit who turns the heart of stone to a heart of flesh must first find a believing heart that is already justified before it gives life?

    If two persons are given the same enabling grace, but only one believes the gospel, what makes the two persons to differ? Jesus Christ or something else?

    Union with Christ in regeneration is the cause AND faith, justification, sanctification are the effect.

    Of those who did not believe Jesus said: "But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep." John 10:26

    he does not say you are not my sheep because you do not believe. Jesus is very careful about how he says this. We need to read the text as he spoke it.

    I have a piece on Arminian prevenient grace that may be helpful
    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/prevenient.html

    Hello John,

    My name is also John.
    A site dedicated to Monergistic regeneration is very refreshing in contemporary evangelical Christianity. I am deeply encouraged by this website.

    My question is related to monergistic regeneration in the Old testament. Now, i am sure you have had this question before, so sorry for asking.

    But, in terms of monergistic regeneration, are saints of the Old testament regenerated by God's holy spirit? or is it a type of synergistic process? I was hoping you could clarify this for me...

    In Christ,

    John

    In our Sunday School we are studying the state of a person before being saved, person at salvation and after being saved.

    For example. A person before being saved was at enmity against God, Truth Suppressor,etc.

    I would appreciate if you could tell me what happen to a person at salvation and after being saved.

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