- Arminian Position: The Holy Spirit cannot regenerate fallen man until he believes. The Holy Spirit does all He can to bring every fallen man to salvation, but until fallen man responds in faith, of his own free will, the Spirit cannot give life. Faith preceded and makes possible the New Birth. Faith gives Life.
- Reformed Position: The Holy Spirit regenerates every one of God’s chosen people, enabling them to believe. The Holy Spirit graciously regenerates every one of God’s chosen people, creating within them a new heart and enabling them to freely and willingly believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. The New Birth precedes and makes possible Saving Faith. Life gives Faith.
- Scriptural Support for the Reformed Position:
- Every one whom the Father has chosen and for whom Christ died, will certainly experience the application of that salvation by the Holy Spirit.
John.6:37All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
John 6:44 -“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 10:16 – “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Rom.8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Rom.8:32 – He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
1Cor.6:11 – And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
1Cor.12:3 -Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
2Cor.3:6- who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2Cor.3:17 -Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Eph.1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
Eph.1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
Eph.1:13 -In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
1Pet.1:2 – elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
- Spiritual Regeneration is an inward change in man performed solely by the Holy Spirit and is not dependent upon man’s help or cooperation.
A New Birth
John 1:12 – as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Rom.9:16 – then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
John 3:3 -8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
1Pet.1:3 -Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pet.1:23 – having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
1John 5:4 -For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world our faith.
Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
A New Heart
Deut.30:6 – “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Ezek.36:26 – “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
A New Creation
2Cor.5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
Gal.6:15 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
Eph.2:10 -For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Jn.5:21 -“For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
Jn.11:14, 15, 25, 38-44 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.15 “And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.42 “And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Eph.2:1 – And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Eph.2:5 – when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Col.2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Jn.17:2 “as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
1Cor.4:7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
Eph.2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
- Repentance and Faith are divine gifts which are the result, not the cause, of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
Acts.5:31 – Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Acts.11:18 – When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
Acts.13:48 – Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
Acts.16:14 – a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.
Acts.18:27 -And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace;
Eph.2:8 – by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Phil.1:29 – For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
2Tim.2:25 – in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
- Westminster Confession of Faith X, 1,2
All those whom God has predestined to life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving to them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being made alive and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
- Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 31
What is effectual calling? Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.