Saturday, July 10, 2010

from my Soteriology paper

i was reading through some of my papers i've written for seminary and decided to post this part of a paper that i wrote on "regeneration"...

Why do we need regeneration? Is it a necessary part of salvation? Can a man repent of his sins and trust in Christ for salvation without that specific work of God which we call regeneration? It is to these questions that we will now turn our attention.

First, we must understand the state of the human heart. Scripture is not unclear about the deadness of a sinnerʼs heart and its complete inability to obtain spiritual life by its own strength.

In John chapter three we see a Pharisee, Nicodemus, come to speak with Jesus. We first read Nicodemusʼ words, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” (John 3:2b). Jesusʼ response is interesting because He does not respond directly to Nicodemusʼ statement. Instead Jesus seems to cut right to the core issue: Nicodemusʼ need for regeneration, which He speaks of as being “born again”. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The phrase “born again” which Jesus uses, literally means “born from above.”

But Nicodemus, by his response, shows that he does not understand that Jesus is speaking not of physical birth leading to physical life, but of spiritual birth leading to spiritual life. Jesus goes on in order to make His point clearer:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ʻYou must be born again.ʼ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8).

Jesus here communicates the truth that one must experience the new birth which is brought about by the Spirit. Without this working of the Spirit no one can enter the kingdom of God. So, we can see from this passage that a work of the Spirit, namely regeneration, is necessary in order for one to enter the kingdom of God (i.e. truly be saved).

We see this truth again in Ephesians chapter two. Here Paul plainly tells his audience the state of their hearts prior to salvation:
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:1-3).

Paul is speaking to the church at Ephesus, a group of saints (see Eph. 1:1), and he tells them that they, before they were saved, were spiritually “dead” because of their sins. He tells them that they “were by nature children of wrath.” We should notice that he leaves no one out: “among whom we all once lived.” Paul is saying that there is no one who is spiritually alive in and of themselves. Not only were the saints spiritually dead, they were deserving of wrath--Godʼs eternal punishment for sin. Therefore, we see that man needs regeneration. Man needs God Himself to perform a work in his spiritually dead heart. Manʼs dead heart must be given new life through the new birth. If God does not work regeneration, man has no hope of eternal life.

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so i ask you, have you trusted in God's work of salvation? or are you trusting in your own righteousness? by nature you are a child of wrath which means that you deserve God's wrath as punishment on your sin. this is not something you want to face. turn to God. turn to Christ and His saving work. trust Him for salvation. there is salvation in none other.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't ever stop sharing the truth!
thank you!
slmo

11 July, 2010 14:02  
Blogger The Fathers Heart said...

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21 July, 2010 20:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

22 July, 2010 01:35  
Blogger joven said...

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08 August, 2010 16:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to read your whole paper now after this. If you will allow me. getradicalnow@gmail.com

31 August, 2012 12:16  
Blogger aranahomte said...

Here's a link to download it: http://db.tt/jXICb6wA

31 August, 2012 12:33  

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