EXAMINING THE SCRIPTURES DAILY TO SEE WHETHER THESE THINGS WERE SO.
John, you're so familiar with the sermon illustrating this biblical truth and it can be found here:http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-298_The-Doctrine-of-Regeneration-Part-2?q=90+298"And the reason for all that can be easily established with one very poor descriptive...dead. The natural person is spiritually dead, non-existent as far as spiritual life is concerned, as far as the life of God is concerned and therefore unable to do any thing that pleases God. Scripture says we are all dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-4), we are excluded from spiritual life, from the life of God. This is our condition. And it sets the stage for God and God alone to take the initiative. If we are to be saved, it must be that God initiates it for there is nothing in us that can initiate life. This state of death then is a perfectly suited metaphor, a perfectly selected metaphor to describe the sinners total inability to interact with God. Dead people can't do anything, will anything, make anything happen, cause anything to happen or contribute to anything that does happen. They're in a hopeless situation unless something or someone acts on them from outside of them. Romans 8:7 says, "The mind set n the flesh is hostile toward God, not subject to the law of God, not even able to do so. Whoever is in the flesh can't please God. That is the big issue.If then salvation comes to anyone, it can't be initiated by that dead person that I have described with so many descriptive terms and phrases. Since we have no life and can do nothing for ourselves, it must come to us, this life, from God who alone is the life giver. This means then hat God's work of salvation in our lives begins with regeneration, giving us life.The doctrine of regeneration essentially addresses this. It is the divine impartation of spiritual life to the otherwise dead sinner, solely an act of God according to His own will, in His own grace and His own power. It is the divine gift of life that awakens us that produces understanding and along with it comes repentance and faith and the consequence that life which is given to us becomes eternal life. This initial act of regeneration is an act in which we do not participate, we are passive. This is the whole point of the Holy Spirit's chosen imagery.There are, in fact, three New Testament analogies of regeneration, three New Testament analogies of the new life...creation, resurrection and birth... (The unredeemed sinner can do none of these things on his or her own, so they can't come to Christ, God has to enable them. The person must hear the word of truth and repent and believe the Gospel (1 Tim 2:4, Mark 1:15)
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