Monday, June 12

Does regeneration precede faith? part 3

Jazzycat's post...............

Your case for death having different meanings depending on the context was well done. However, the primary meaning of death is simply a state of being without life. Physical death would render a person unable to achieve physical life unaided and spiritual death would render a person unable to achieve spiritual life unaided. This is certainly on the table as a possible meaning in this text. You state that Paul is describing their lifestyle by using the word dead, however; in verse 1 he clearly says, “you were dead” and in verse 5 he says that God made them alive and states that God did this while they were still dead in transgressions. It is clear that God took action and changed them without any movement on their part toward God. If faith is not a gift and man is capable on his own to responding with faith why in this passage does God take the initiative unilaterally to make them alive? Faith clearly follows God taking action in this passage.

Perhaps as you did in your post, we should look to other scripture for confirmation of fallen man’s spiritual condition. Can he respond on his own with faith or does God have to take action? If God has to change people’s hearts before they can respond, then they are indeed unable on their own and thus spiritual death must mean an inability to come to faith on their own. Jesus said in John 6:65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” That seems clear enough. But, you may say that by reading the Scripture one becomes enabled and can then come to Christ unaided. Well let us look further to what Jesus said in John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. This verse gives more information that also points to man being incapable (spiritually dead) apart from God’s grace, but further states that the enabling will be 100% effective. From these two verses and John 3:3 we can glean the following:

1. No one can come unless enabled by God. (They are incapable)
2. All that have been given to Christ by the Father will come. (Not everyone is enabled)
3. I will never drive any who come to me away. (Refutes the common misconception of Calvinism that some who want to come are turned away)
4. The way men are enabled is by being born again (regenerated)

Summary of John 3:3, 6:37, & 6:65:All that the Father gives Jesus will come because they have been enabled by the Father through regeneration from a state of Spiritual death which means they are incapable of coming on their own. After this regeneration with power they come willingly to faith due to a new heart of flesh rather than the heart of stone they were born with. This fits perfectly with what Paul is saying in Eph. 2:1-5. Spiritual death = inability. Regeneration precedes faith which makes faith a gift as Ephesians 2:8-9 flat out states. Also see: Rom 8:30, Eph 1:10-11, 2 Thess 2:13-14, John 5:25.

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