You Need to Accept the Gift?
Have you ever encountered this particular scenario? A Christian says to his non-Christian friend, â€œChrist died for you so you need to accept the gift or it does you no good." In this situation faith is seen as something a person (a natural person) conjures up from his unregenerated human nature. This is unbiblical. The Scriptures argue that faith is a gift (John 6:63-65). Regeneration is produced in you by the preaching of the word as the Holy Spirit works 'germination' through it. You were dead in your sins and transgressions and God came to you first by His Spirit and Word to regenerate you and give you faith (Eph 2:5). J.I. Packer said, The saving power of the cross does not depend on faith being added to it; its saving power is such that faith flows from it"
So the gift is not like a piece of candy which we can accept or refuse but the gift can be likened to the gift of eyes or the reception of new life as a baby. We did not receive either of these things by choosing them, but God just granted them to us at our natural birth. Likewise we trust in Christ, not because we came to Jesus apart from the Holy Spirit in our natural state. Rather we trust Jesus because He removed our heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh which loves Christ. A heart without the Spirit is dead to God and needs the Spirit to make it alive so the person may believe. It was not our good will which caused our regeneration but our regeneration which caused our will to desire what is good. We "were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13).
So when we present the gospel we need to herald the new about what Jesus has accomplished and the command for all persons everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. Telling people the command of God is not the same as telling them the unbiblical and impossible supposition that they have the power to believe apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. (See Rom 3:19, 20).
Resources: Canons of Dort, Heads 3 & 4, Articles 14 & 15
Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 2:1-10, John 1:13, 6:63-65