"...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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  • « Spurgeon on Monergistic Regeneration | Main | Chapter Eight: The Greatness of the Love of Christ is Displayed in His Subjection of All Else to His Purpose of Redeeming Us. »

    1 John 5:1 - Regeneration Precedes Faith

    Being Born of God Precedes Saving Faith.

    Is 1 John 5:1 relevant to the discussion of regeneration and faith? It surely is, even if many in evangelicalism today refuse to go deep enough into the text to discover that fact.

    Dr. James White, in this video below, provides a study of 1 John 5:1, 1 John 2:29 and 1 John 4:7, in light of Calvary Chapel's Brian Brodersen's comments.

    Posted by John Samson on February 27, 2010 03:50 AM


    Assurance of salvation is something I have struggled with for over 30 years. The 1 JOHN passages White cites have cut more than soothed over that time. Initially, I can find comfort in 5:1 (Everyone who is believing Jesus is the Christ has been born of God). Belief seems like a light switch; it’s either on or off. Even if I wanted to disbelieve it, I always know deep down Jesus is the Christ. But in the other two verses (2:29 and 4:7) White mentions, I flounder. (Everyone who is doing righteousness has been born of him. Everyone who is loving has been born of God.)

    Unlike belief, which is always present with me, the other two, “doing” and “loving”, are frequently absent. White concurs with Piper that belief is the evidence of regeneration in 5:1; therefore, it seems that 2:29 (“doing”) and 4:7 (“loving”) must also be evidence of regeneration. But if the “doing” and “loving” are half-hearted, shouldn’t that raise doubts about the underlying regeneration?

    Thus, at least for me, I feel I’m in limbo between 5:1 on the one hand and 2:29 and 4:7 on the other.

    Granted, 1:8 confirms that all of us sin. And 1:9 throws us a lifeline by letting us know if we confess our sins, he’ll forgive us and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. But by the time I get to 2:29 and 4:7, there’s no hint of the lifeline. It seems that if you have been born of God, you will be doing righteous and loving fully.

    the present participle in both cases does not deal with at what point the present action begins--the present participle never does in koine Greek!

    The present tense is not normally used in Greek to show ingression, or beginning. Daniel Wallace's grammar gives only two instances when the present is ingressive: the "mostly futuristic" use in which "The present tense may describe an event begun (Wallace's emphasis) in the present time, but completed in the future" (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 537). Again, there is an ingressive-progressive use of the present imperative (Wallace, p. 721-722). But our three passages in 1 John fit neither of these cases.

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