What is Regeneration and is it before Faith?

I was driving home last night with my darling wife from shopping and we started to talk about my post yesterday on Why do People Deny the Doctrine of Election? We had a nice discussion about that, then it went on to regeneration and what that is all about. She wanted to know more about it.

I gave her a short answer.

“Regeneration is the Holy Spirit making us spiritually dead people (Ephesians 2:1) spiritually alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5) to bring us to God and saving faith in Jesus Christ.” For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9) and the work of the Holy Spirit by grace is effectual and irresistible.

RCsproulI remember reading what R.C Sproul wrote in and issue of Tabletalk, March 2007 from Ligonier Ministries  that was very helpful and clear explanation.

The New Birth (Regeneration is) Pictures Added.

1. Regeneration is the divine work of God the Holy Spirit upon the minds and souls of fallen people, by which the Spirit quickens those who are spiritually dead and makes them spiritually alive. This supernatural work rescues that person from his bondage to sin and his moral inability to incline himself towards the things of God. Regeneration, by being a supernatural work, is obviously a work that cannot be accomplished by natural man on his own. If it were a natural work, it would not require the intervention of God the Holy Spirit.

2. Regeneration is a monergistic work. “Monergistic” means that it is the work of one person who exercises his power. In the case of regeneration, it is God alone who is able, and it is God alone who performs the work of regenerating the human soul. The work of regeneration is not a joint venture between the fallen person and the divine Spirit; it is solely the work of God.

Monergism

3. The monergistic work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit is an immediate work. It is immediate with respect to time, and it is immediate with respect to the principle of operating without intervening means. The Holy Spirit does not use something apart from His own power to bring a person from spiritual death to spiritual life, and when that work is accomplished, it is accomplished instantaneously. No one is partly regenerate, or almost regenerate. Here we have a classic either/or situation. A person is either born again, or he is not born again. There is no nine-month gestation period with respect to this birth. When the Spirit changes the disposition of the human soul, He does it instantly. A person may not be aware of this internal work accomplished by God for some time after it has actually occurred. But though our awareness of it may be gradual, the action of it is instantaneous.

4. The work of regeneration is effectual. That is, when the Holy Spirit regenerates a human soul, the purpose of that regeneration is to bring that person to saving faith in Jesus Christ. That purpose is effected and accomplished as God purposes in the intervention. Regeneration is more than giving a person the possibility of having faith, it gives him the certainty of possessing that saving faith.

electing grace

5. Regeneration is a gift that God disposes sovereignly to all of those whom He determines to bring into His family.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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