What is regeneration?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by KimS, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. KimS

    KimS
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    I'm trying to understand the Calvinistic/Arminian teachings but I'm confused about the term regeneration. One definition I found is that it means the renewing of our souls in salvation. But isn't that what happens when a person repents and comes to Christ? Calvinism states this must happen FIRST by God and that if God chooses not to regenerate us then we can never be saved because we are totally depraved. Arminianism seems to state that we are totally depraved but that we can be saved because of God's grace. If a person chooses to be saved, then they are "regenerated".

    So in Calvinism, is a person saved (regenerated) before they even accept Christ? And how will a person know this is happening? What if a person isn't of the elected group and they repent? What happens to them? And if God has an elected group of people that are going to be saved, why did Jesus have to die for our sins? Those God chose would be saved regardless, unless I'm misunderstanding the teachings of Calvin.

    I'm not trying to start an argument, just attempting to understand these theologies and this seems to be the best forum as everyone posting here seems quite knowledgeable.

    Thanks for any help. And I apologize if this is posted someplace else. Just point me to the post and I will read that thread.

    Kim [​IMG]
     
  2. Yelsew2

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  3. Frogman

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    Dear Brother Yelsew,
    First let's stay with a Biblical definition of Biblical concepts and terms, there would be less misunderstanding.

    Dear Sister Kim,

    I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. There are others more knowledgeable in relation to Calvin and what he taught. I have not read much of his writings, nor studied him much.


    You asked:
    One definition I found is that it means the renewing of our souls in salvation. But isn't that what happens when a person repents and comes to Christ?

    This is a true definition. The point is what causes a person to repent and come to Christ? If the repentance and coming to Christ is what warrants regeneration, then Grace is removed from the equation and a person is justified before God because of his/her repentance and coming to Christ. Anyone who believes regeneration occurs first (as I do) believes all the elect, the number of whom God alone knows will be regenerated from a condition of being dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2.1) and this person, because of the regeneration that is in them (which I believe is the same as the quickening or giving of life) will repent and come to Christ.

    A bigger and more important question is when this occurs. I believe this occurs solely by the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, but I believe because this witness is in the child of God (Rom. 8.16) this person will come to Christ in repentance toward God.

    You stated:

    Arminianism seems to state that we are totally depraved but that we can be saved because of God's grace. If a person chooses to be saved, then they are "regenerated".

    These two statements are contradictory. If a person chooses to be saved and then they are regenerated, then there is a condition placed upon eternal life. Placing a condition upon eternal life renders Grace no more Grace and the person is saved eternally because of the meeting of the condition or as you state because of their personal choice. Our repentance and faith does save us in that it provides for our personal experience in the finished work of reconciliation between God and man by Christ.

    You ask:
    So in Calvinism, is a person saved (regenerated) before they even accept Christ?

    yes, or they will not accept Christ. The Bible teaches us we are made accepted in Christ. Whether we accept Christ or not will not change the truth of God. Being dead in trespasses and sins means we are totally depraved. We possess much more than a propensity toward sin, we revel in this sin nature. We each possess a particular sin which we joyfully engage, while other sins we may wholly detest. Being regenerated, we then are able to see the depravity of our nature and we then repent.

    You ask:
    And how will a person know this is happening?
    The Bible teaches at Romans 8.16 that the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. The fact that we have come to Christ in repentance and faith is an assurance. Otherwise we would have no desire for him and his word, we would have no part in him.

    you ask:

    What if a person isn't of the elected group and they repent?

    This cannot happen. Christ said any who come to him he would in no wise cast out. Because the Son of God stood as the Lamb of God and has fulfilled the Covenant of the Law and because the Spirit of God is sent to all who are elected they are drawn to God through Christ. Because this is an operation of a just and merciful God there is no possibility of any such mistake happening.

    you ask:
    And if God has an elected group of people that are going to be saved, why did Jesus have to die for our sins?
    Because no man can be justified by the works of the law. Because the wages of sin is death; the reconciliation with God required a blood sacrifice, not to appease God, but to reconcile the world to himself. For this purpose the Bible says he was in Christ. In the OT the atonement foreshadowed the reconciliation, the atonement was accomplished by the sacrificed animal and this was a foreshadow of the promised Christ of God who would stand as the mediator, being fully God and fully man, he would be able to take hold of both natures and to reconcile the sinful nature of man to the holy nature of God. Without the sacrifice of Christ, there would be no reconciliation, no justification, no resurrection, and no eternal life for anyone for no one is able to keep the law of God. This is why we had need of a Savior and is also why we cannot repent until we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.


    You state:
    Those God chose would be saved regardless, unless I'm misunderstanding the teachings of Calvin.

    You have completely misunderstood the teaching of Calvinism and anyone who believes in Sovereign Grace. The reason is given above. Without the Lamb of God standing in our place there would be no salvation. Christ is the firstborn of all the elect. This does not mean that he has a beginning for he is the beginning, nor does he have an end for he is the end. But he is the firstborn of the elect in such that we were chosen in him and not he in us. This is the order of the election. Sometimes I think people misunderstand this. We are not eternal beings, Christ is, but the elect are in him from eternity. For this reason they could not have failed even before Christ to have possessed the faith that looked forward to the promise of his coming and since his coming the elect cannot fail to look back to that point. Simply, if any portion of this relied upon any kind of act, even to position man as a believer within the body of the elect, there is a possibility that none could be saved.

    Dear Sister, please post any question you have. There are many here who are very knowledgeable, I am not among them. I have attempted to answer your questions as simply as I can if I have confused you more I am sorry, that was not my intent.

    Please understand also that you are correct, there are those who call themselves Calvinists and others who vary somewhat from Calvin and call this the doctrines of Sovereign Grace. The primary difference that I can see is the understanding of the point of perseverance or preservation. Perseverance is taught in Calvinism and this means the elect will continue to manifest works until the end. Others will say this surety is founded in the fact that God preserves the elect. I think either side would agree that the elect persevere only by the preservation of God and all this is worked completely through his Grace alone.

    It is the goodness of God that leadeth you to repentance.

    May God Richly Bless you in your Walk and service to Him
    Bro. Dallas Eaton
     
  4. Frogman

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    Dear Sister,
    Here is a link you can access and read at your convenience. It is a sermon by Charles Spurgeon. In reading it I was able to come to a better understanding of many of the questions you have asked, and Spurgeon is a greater teacher than I am. It especially deals in a very good manner with the answer to your question of how a person will know when this (regeneration) is or has happened.

    here is the link:

    Election No Discouragement to Seeking Souls

    May God Richly Bless you.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton
     
  5. Yelsew2

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    Brother frogman, you have not posted a biblical definition, therefore I use what is "common to man"....You should too!
     
  6. KimS

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    Dear Bro. Dallas Eaton,

    Thank you very much for your responses. I will read the article you gave and then post questions after. Thank you for taking the time to try and help me. [​IMG]

    Kim [​IMG]
     
  7. Frogman

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    Brother frogman, you have not posted a biblical definition, therefore I use what is "common to man"....You should too! </font>[/QUOTE]I should use the word of God. Sorry if I have offended you.

    I am at work when I get home I will post a Biblical definition of regeneration. If you want a head start you can start at John 3.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  8. Frogman

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    You are welcome. May God Richly Bless you.

    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  9. KimS

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    Hi Bro. Dallas,

    Thank you for pointing me to the article. It was very informative and helped to explain many things to me. Although, I don't feel that the analogy with the prisoners who are pardoned and sinners who are saved is accurate.

    The criminals willingly commited their crimes knowing full well they were doing wrong while sinners, according to Calvinism, are are born into sin, do not know anything else and are not allowed to be saved because it must come from God.

    Kim
     
  10. Frogman

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    Dear Sister,
    You are correct, but all men are born in the same condition. All possess this love for sin. In this lost condition all men will rejoice in their sins. Both in the act and the appearance of getting away with them.

    This does not mean the lost do not believe God exists nor that they will not establish a religious system. But they have no desire for the truth of God and desire only to establish their own god(s).

    I would add also that I cannot say I have never knowingly committed a sin and that even sin in ignorance requires the wages of its hire.

    May God Richly Bless you.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  11. Yelsew2

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    There is no "love for sin", NO ONE loves sin, especially those sins committed against them. Among men there are very few who sin for the sheer joy of sinning! We sin because we fail to control ourselves, even with the Power of the Holy Spirit, as witnessed in Jim Bakker, Jim Swaggert, the legion of Priests, etc.

    Love for sin? My what a distorted view!
     
  12. Brutus

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    Love for sin? A distorted view? What about Jn.3:19-20?
     
  13. Me2

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    love for gain.

    1Ti 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
    1Ti 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
     
  14. Frogman

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    Love for sin should not be viewed out of context of the post I made.

    I simply meant it is the natural desire of the natural man to seek to please the lust of the flesh.

    This natural man possesses a love in that way for sin and detests the things of God. But I guess for anyone believing man is good cannot understand this concept.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  15. Yelsew2

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    Seeking gain is not a sin, basking in the gain gotten is!

    Jesus' story of the wealthy person who "tore down his grain storage bins to build bigger ones" is an example of one who sought gain for the sake of the gain, not because of a need, but a personal desire. He had no intention of distributing his wealth to the needy or otherwise helping the society in which he got his gain. The rest of the story is that very day he died. Now who gets "his gain"?
     
  16. Frogman

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    All sin comes forth from the desire to fulfill the lust of the flesh. All men are born in the flesh, all flesh is sinful by nature, therefore, all men are born sinful by nature.

    This equals total depravity.
     
  17. Me2

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    Vessels of wrath portray a good example of Greed of Gain.

    they seek knowledge and power of God yet they display the incapability of using either for their heart is selfish.

    they seek gain for individual growth. and not for the purposes intended of God.

    teachers receive to teach more.
    not to become greater teachers

    Jam 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.
     
  18. Yelsew2

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    The life of the flesh is spirit!
    The spirit controls the flesh!
    The spirit is what gets re-born in regeneration!
    The spirit is what lives on after the flesh dies!'
    The spirit is what was lost that Jesus came to seek and to save.
    The spirit is what Has everlasting life!

    The spirit is the seat of SIN in the old nature!
    The spirit converted controls the flesh!

    The flesh is not in the driver's seat! If it is, then you may not be born again!

    If you do not have control over your flesh then you are still yielding to your sin nature.
     
  19. Brutus

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    Yelsew: are you trying to say that in your present condition you are unable to sin?
     
  20. Yelsew2

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    NO! I am tempted just as all of you are, and Yes I am able to sin just as you are, but with my spirit submitted to the will of God, my spirit is in control of my flesh and I am able to resist temptation.
     

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