Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Posts Tagged ‘conversion’

Regeneration Does Precede Faith (I Was Wrong)

Posted by Job on March 22, 2013

In the past, I have vehemently criticized the doctrine that regeneration precedes faith. The reason for this was my ignorance. I took regeneration to be another word for conversion in that it had the exact same meaning.

However, regeneration only refers to passing from death to life. It is what happened in the natural sense when Lazarus and a number of unnamed characters were raised from the dead by those such as Jesus Christ, Elijah and Elisha. Those natural regenerations were types, or prefigurements, of the spiritual regeneration that happens when a sinner becomes a believer. We can include the resurrection of Jesus Christ as this sort of natural regeneration, as Jesus Christ’s physical existence went from being dead to alive. Obviously, being the sinless perfect and pre-existing God and Son of God, Jesus Christ needed no spiritual regeneration of any sort. This is in contrast with Lazarus, who not only experienced natural regeneration after being dead four days, but being one born into original sin and having sinned – as the soul that sinneth shall die as Lazarus did – he needed to receive spiritual regeneration also.

The subject of confusion: being regenerated, being born again, is only part of the salvation process. The actual conversion process happens after regeneration. Further, the effectual calling occurs before regeneration.

1. Effectual call: this is when God (the Holy Spirit) calls the sinner to salvation. It takes place when the sinner hears the gospel. (Note: the providence of God must place the sinner in position to hear the gospel first.)

2. Regeneration: this is when the Holy Spirit raises the sinner from the dead.

3. Conversion: this is when the sinner receives faith from the Holy Spirit, believes the gospel of Jesus Christ and hence fulfills John 3:16, Romans 10:8-9 etc.

The effectual calling cannot and will not happen unless one has first been chosen (elected by God the Father unto salvation from before the foundation of the world). The regeneration will not occur until one has been called. And salvation occurs after regeneration.

Why must regeneration precede faith? I am certain that you have heard that “dead men tell no tales.” Similarly, dead men cannot have faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). How can a dead man have assurance or conviction? A secular dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” How can a dead man have trust or confidence of any sort in anything, let alone a complete and total one in the unseen God? A dead man cannot even have wishy washy confidence in the casket that he is lying in. Why? Because he is dead. He doesn’t even know that he is in a casket. He has no feelings, thoughts or emotions.

This is not a contrivance of philosophy or idle speculation, but a truth clearly taught in scripture. Consider 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.” Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” But that is Paul’s doctrine, right? Well from the words of Jesus Christ in John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Now John 3:3 is key. Seeing the kingdom of God or entering the kingdom of God is always used by Jesus Christ to refer to salvation. Always. So, Jesus Christ explicitly states that one must be born again before that person can be saved. Again, when Jesus Christ said “except”, He was making a condition. So, the condition of being saved was being born again. Regeneration precedes conversion or salvation. And take a look at Ephesians 2:8, which says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God.” Regeneration precedes salvation. Salvation comes by faith. Thus, regeneration precedes faith. It is clearly, explicitly taught in scripture.

The doctrine of regeneration precedes faith is considered to be a Calvinist distinctive. However, many non-Calvinists believe so also without acknowledging or admitting it. Many non-Calvinists believe that God makes a change in the sinner that allows the sinner to make a choice to accept or reject him. Of course, the acceptance is a decision made through faith, and the rejection is a decision made through a lack of faith according to this doctrine. The non-Calvinist does not refer to this as regeneration, of course, because he recognizes that regeneration must necessarily result in salvation. So the non-Calvinist regards this as God’s merely opening the sinner’s eyes and hearts for the purposes of allowing him a free choice.

Problems with this doctrine are many. The Bible makes it clear that unsaved people are spiritually dead. So the person goes from spiritually dead to “sort of dead”, akin to the woman who says that she is “sort of pregnant”? Just as you are either pregnant or not, you are either dead or not … there is no in-between! Second, how can the “sort of dead/alive” person choose to believe and accept God on this basis in the absence of faith? Simple: he cannot. He cannot accept the gospel and believe without faith. And if God gives him faith, he will inevitably believe. There is no such thing as conditional, decision-based faith that is only activated on choice. So, for the sinner to choose God once God makes this choice possible requires the sinner to already have faith present within himself. And if this faith is present, he never was a sinner to begin with, and he was never spiritually dead to begin with. The Bible states that without faith it is impossible to please God. The converse would mean that those who have faith are already acceptable to God, meaning that they were righteous, justified, regenerate and converted already. Instead of being in a condition of original sin, this person would have had to have been inherently righteous already without having heard the gospel and without need of Jesus Christ. Moreover, if such a righteous person were to confess and repent of his sinful condition and state his need for Christ to be his savior, that person would be a liar!

The doctrine of regeneration coming after faith – or truthfully that regeneration and conversion are the same – is due to people being determined to believe that God must offer a man a free choice to accept or reject Him in order to be just and righteous. However, accepting God cannot be made in the absence of faith! The Bible is clear on this. Thus, denying that regeneration precedes faith is nothing more than an absolute determination to believe a lie.

This also solves the problem of those who fall away and confirms the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, or “once saved always saved.” Be not deceived: faith is not mere belief. Faith only comes by the Holy Spirit after the Holy Spirit regenerates you. And after conversion, the Holy Spirit seals you and keeps you in the faith. The Bible is clear on this. The Bible is also clear with the parable of the sower that it is possible to believe the gospel at one point but later renounce that belief. The Bible further states clearly that it is possible to believe the gospel, retain this belief but not bear fruit. The Bible further still states that it is possible to believe the gospel, do good works and bear fruit but not be obedient. These are the teachings of Jesus Christ, and Christ makes it clear that those people (the ones who renounce the gospel after believing at one point, those who believe but do not bear fruit, and those who believe and bear fruit but are disobedient) will be cast into the lake of fire! Why is this so? Because these people believed without receiving faith, and they did not receive faith because they are still unregenerate. You cannot have faith and be spiritually dead, but you can certainly believe and be spiritually dead. Hence, rejecting the truth that regeneration precedes faith is one of the reasons why many Christian denominations (Methodists and many Pentecostals for example) believe that it is possible to lose your salvation. The regeneration precedes faith doctrine provides both absolute proof that those who fall away were never saved to begin with, and provides absolute assurance that those who are truly saved will bear fruit, attain obedience and endure trials and tribulations until the end, even unto death!

So God will accept anyone who comes to Him through His Son, because those who come to God are those that God has called to do so. Is God calling you today? If so, repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. If you wish for more information on how to do so:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Marks Of A False Convert

Posted by Job on March 4, 2009

From Reformed Voices.

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

A Particular Commentary On Matthew 22:14 – For Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

Posted by Job on October 29, 2008

Please click on link below!

Matthew 22:14 For many are called but few are chosen

It contains a link to this good teaching as well:

Romans 11:5 The Election of Grace

Posted in Bible, Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Sermon Accepting Jesus Christ From AW Tozer

Posted by Job on October 2, 2008

Courtesy of NaturalSystah.

Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Wasilla Bible Church Promoting Conversion of Gays to Heterosexuals!

Posted by Job on September 6, 2008

Pursuant to the policy of this site, if people do wrong, I criticize them. But if they do well, I praise them. I have criticized Palin and her former church recently for words and actions that I perceive to be wrong. But this article depicts the church boldly having a controversial ministry that I support (I choose to ignore the ties to Dobson) and Palin’s doing the right thing on a domestic partner bill. On Palin specifically … let me mention again that I am not among those that criticize the woman for her daughter getting pregnant (her daughter is 17, old enough to know right from wrong herself) or for her choosing to be a career woman (as many women, including but not limited to single parents, have to work to keep roofs over heads and food on the table). I repeat: I was only criticizing the hypocrisy of people like Bill O’Reilly, who was so incensed at being called on his hypocrisy that he sent a squad of goons to harass a liberal oped writer (see link). Please note the comments of evil people who are doing their best to run from the hypocrisy of O’Reilly (and their own hypocrisy) in this matter … people who know good and well what O’Reilly would say – and what THEY would say – were it Obama’s daughter pregnant. Isn’t it amazing that we live in a Christian environment where Christians do not believe that they or anyone else has to be responsible for being just, fair, consistent, equitable, and responsible for what they say and do? We are now witnessing how thanks to the politics of the religious right and the religious left, it is perfectly acceptable to be a hypocrite, to hate others for doing the very same things that you or that people “on your side” do. Since James Dobson is incontrovertibly one of these people, is his “straight camp conference” going to be effectual, or is he going to make them twice the sons of hell that they were before?

My answer to that rhetorical question is “No.” Even though they will be using Dobson’s materials, it will be the church that is running this conference, not Dobson, and yes there is a huge difference. Despite the general tone of this website (primarily dictated by the subject matter that I choose to deal with), I am a positive person, and believe that this effort by Palin’s former church will bring lost sinners into the kingdom of God, and I thank them for taking on a difficult controversial ministry that most people will not touch, either for their hatred of homosexuals or their fear of persecution. So let us pray for this church as they do this ministry, and the people that they will be ministering to as well. The work of Jesus Christ is bigger than any one person or any local church, and I have no doubt that there are people in this church that despite their flaws – and I say this as a VERY flawed person myself! – love Jesus Christ by keeping His commandments and are true and sincere believers. Did I believe this before I found out that it was running a straight camp? Yes. Should I have said so? Yes. Evidence that I myself am flawed!

Palin’s Church Promoting Conversion of Gays to Heterosexuals

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

“You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,” according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years.

Palin’s conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain’s candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice. She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.

Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, is conducting the “Love Won Out” Conference in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla. (Focus On the Family is NOT fundamentalist.)

Palin, campaigning with McCain in the Midwest on Friday, has not publicly expressed a view on the so-called “pray away the gay” movement. Larry Kroon, senior pastor at Palin’s church, was not available to discuss the matter Friday, said a church worker who declined to give her name.

Gay activists in Alaska said Palin has not worked actively against their interests, but early in her administration she supported a bill to overrule a court decision to block state benefits for gay partners of public employees. At the time, less than one-half of 1 percent of state employees had applied for the benefits, which were ordered by a 2005 ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court. (The state is not the church, so I fully support Palin not using the the power of the state to impose her views on people.)

Palin reversed her position and vetoed the bill after the state attorney general said it was unconstitutional. But her reluctant support didn’t win fans among Alaska’s gay population, said Scott Turner, a gay activist in Anchorage. (Still say that she did the right thing in this matter. The state is not the church.)

“Less than 1 percent of state employees would even apply for benefits, so why make a big deal out of such a small number?” he said.

“I think gay Republicans are going to run away” if Palin supports efforts like the prayers to convert gays, said Wayne Besen, founder of the New York-based Truth Wins Out, a gay rights advocacy group. Besen called on Palin to publicly express her views now that she’s a vice presidential nominee. (I would trade the entire Republican Party for one born again Christian in half a heartbeat.)

“People are looking at Sarah Palin as someone who might feasibly be in the White House,” he said.

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments »

Iran Steps Up Arrests Of Suspected Converts To Christianity

Posted by Job on June 1, 2008

Original link: Report: Iran Arrests Suspected Converts to Christianity

Amid a growing crackdown on religious freedom, Iranian police reportedly have been rounding up people they suspect have converted to Christianity. On May 11, police arrested eight people in the southern city of Shiraz, according to Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, a Christian organization that fights religious persecution.

Converting from Islam is a crime in Iran; converts can face jail and other penalties. Most of those detained have been released, but at least one of them, 21-year-old Mojtaba Hussein, is still behind bars and is not cooperating with his captors, according to Moeller.

“He may not be willing to give up the names of other Muslim converts. He may not be willing to recant his faith himself,” Moeller said. Numerous calls to Iranian government representatives in the U.S. have not been returned. Though they are protected under the Iranian constitution, Christians are not given the same freedoms as other citizens in Iran. Christians can’t worship freely or hold public office, and they can be arrested for even speaking to Muslims about Christianity.

“Such people are persecuted, and particularly in the 1990s such converts were killed — it’s thought by government agents,” said Paul Marshall, a senior fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. Under the watchful eye of the Iranian government, many have been forced to worship in secret and are moving underground into what are called house churches —although some sects, such as Armenians and Syrians, have been allowed to worship in churches.

“With [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad as president, the Iranians are intensifying the religious dimension of their rule,” Marshall said. “The concern about the religious purity of the regime has become stronger in the last two or three years.” Earlier this year, Ahmadinejad proposed a law that would impose a death sentence for any Muslim who converts to another religion. Under current laws, those charged with converting can be prosecuted and face jail time for vague crimes like “blasphemy” and “insulting Islam.”

Marshall said these restrictive policies may be creating a backlash among Muslims. “There are indications that with the deep unpopularity of the regime that people are turning away from Islam,” he said. “Seeing Muslims converting to Christianity is directly threatening to an Islamic regime,” said Moeller.

He compared these small groups of converts to early Christians living under the yoke of the Roman Empire, who met in secret and whose beliefs were “dependent on dreams, visions, signs and wonders.” Because Bibles are rare in Iran and teachings are not “as dependent on the Bible as Evangelical Christianity in America is,” said Moeller, there is a “real lack of scriptural foundation.”

But despite the growing pressure from the state, worshippers continue to practice, and Moeller said the house church system seems to be growing. “We’ve got confirmed reports of groups of Muslim convert believers doubling in size in the last six months,” he said.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, evangelism, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Documentary Of Indonesian Muslim Woman’s Conversion To Christianity Testimony

Posted by Job on November 4, 2007

[splashcast JCYS4414WC]

Posted in Christianity, evangelism, Indonesia, Islam, Muslim | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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