Ok, this is going to be a quick post…
Thursday mornings are theology morning for me. I am walking through Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem with Tony, our hispanic pastor. He is the best. I am learning how to be a mature Christian from him, he is learning the ins and outs of theology from me. Good deal.
Today we were in chapter 34 on Regeneration. Just for your information, Regeneration comes before Faith and Repentance in Grudem’s book, both chronologically in chapter order and in the order of salvation (ordo salutis). I agree with Grudem. Here is how Grudem defines regeneration: “Regeneration is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us” (Systematic Theology, p. 699).
To summarize his chapter he affirms that 1) Regeneration is totally a work of God. Since regeneration is totally a work of God we are passive with regard to it. This means that it is something that God performs upon us. It is the equivalent of being born again. Just as we had no part in our conception, we have no part in the initiation of our new birth. He cites the following verses: James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3; John 3:3-8. This is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit, see especially Titus 3:5.
2) The exact nature of Regeneration is Mysterious to us. This section is inserted to alleviate tension that exists between those who want to switch the order from Regeneration > Repentance > Faith to Repentance > Faith > Regeneration. So he compares it to the passage in John where the movement of the Spirit is compared to the wind (John 3:8). Grudem also wants to emphasize that regeneration and repentance/faith may happen so close together as to make the difference imperceptible.
3) In this sense of “Regeneration,” it comes before saving faith. “…we have defined regeneration to be the act of God awakening spiritual life within us, bringing us from spiritual death to spiritual life. On this definition, it is natural to understand that regeneration comes before saving faith. It is in fact this work of God that gives us teh spiritual ability to respond to God in faith” (Grudem p. 702).
4) Genuine regeneration must bring results in life. The results of regeneration will be the ceasing of sin (1 John 3:9) genuine Christlike love (1 John 4:7), overcoming the world (1 John 4:7), protection from Satan (1 John 5:18), and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
In other conversations today that I will expand on in future posts, maybe tonight: Chuck Smith and Don Stewart make disturbing comments in answer to a question about the Trinity. This was interesting in light of the passage I am working on for Sunday, John 1:1. Also had several conversations with regard to why we don’t do altar calls. Stay tuned.