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Brandan
10-18-01, 08:12 AM
Hello Full Preterists....

Could you verify this for me?

I've heard that Full-Preterists argue that faith comes before regeneration. Is that what you believe? Thanks.

Christ_†_Alone
10-18-01, 08:42 AM
In the thread here called "The new birth", the issue of faith and regeneration has come up, and there seems to be conflict over which comes first, in the process OF the new birth.

I'd like to start a new thread here based solely on this aspect OF the new birth, and surely welcome your insights here, on it.

When I picture in my mind, the state of a human being prior to being regenerated by the Holy Spirit, I picture (yeah, this might sound strange) a physical corpse, devoid of life.

Because the Scriptures say, that prior to being born again, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, being quickened by God, I see the unsaved man as unable to believe, unable to have any kind of faith, unable to repent, unable to please God, in any way.

Like a physical corpse that cannot walk, talk, hear, see or feel, the spiritual things, the things of God, are also impossible for an unsaved man to comprehend, or participate in.

Does God give man saving faith first, then regenerate him?

Or does God first regenerate man, and BY that act, place that faith in him TO believe?

Please state your viewpoint on this, either way, and provide Scriptural support for that view, that we all might learn a thing or three. :)

Brandan
10-18-01, 08:51 AM
This thread is a result of two threads that Christ_Alone and I both started around the same time. My original thread was directed toward Preterists in the eschatology forum, CA's was a general soteriological topic that really should be studied by all.

Christ_†_Alone
10-18-01, 08:54 AM
lol... careful there kermie, folks might wonder if we're the same person here, LOL.

As an afterthought, and after briefly speakin with my husband on this, the question must be asked:

If man has saving faith, before being regenerated, then what is the purpose of BEING regenerated? If he already believes, already possesses the faith TO believe, doesn't that say there is no need TO be regenerated?

Saying that faith comes first, truly doesn't make sense to me.

Saying that being regenerated first, then having the faith to believe, now THAT makes sense.

Christ_†_Alone
10-18-01, 08:55 AM
roflol... okay, now this is getting kinda spooky...:eek:

Brandan
10-18-01, 09:05 AM
You know what they say.... "Great minds think alike."

HIS
10-18-01, 07:27 PM
Hello CA and Kermie,

Statements From CA:


Because the Scriptures say, that prior to being born again, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, being quickened by God, I see the unsaved man as unable to believe, unable to have any kind of faith, unable to repent, unable to please God, in any way.

Like a physical corpse that cannot walk, talk, hear, see or feel, the spiritual things, the things of God, are also impossible for an unsaved man to comprehend, or participate in.

Your comments have sparked a question in me. I would like to pose a life scenario and have both of you (or anyone) give me your belief on the matter:

Scenario:

Assuming that I am not yet born again / regenerated . . .

Let us say that I am at a place and a minister of God is preaching the gospel. I am listening to what he is saying, and I suddenly fall under a conviction, I become truly sorry in my heart about the way I have lived and my sin, which has just been revealed by the preaching of God’s Word through this minister.

Questions:

Am I "now" in a regenerated or (as you define) saved condition?

OR

Do I (yet) need to do something else?

OR

Do I say or do nothing but “wait” for God to still do something before I am (or consider myself as) saved?

Please advise…

HIS

Christ_†_Alone
10-18-01, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by HIS

Let us say that I am at a place and a minister of God is preaching the gospel. I am listening to what he is saying, and I suddenly fall under a conviction, I become truly sorry in my heart about the way I have lived and my sin, which has just been revealed by the preaching of God’s Word through this minister.

Questions:

Am I "now" in a regenerated or (as you define) saved condition?

OR

Do I (yet) need to do something else?

OR

Do I say or do nothing but “wait” for God to still do something before I am (or consider myself as) saved?

Please advise…

HIS [/B]

This is a good question. I hope my answer makes sense, LOL.

You say "I am listening to what he is saying, and I suddenly fall under a conviction, I become truly sorry in my heart about the way I have lived and my sin".

Okay, first of all, who convicted you?
Why are you sorry right now, when 30 minutes ago, you weren't?

First of all, the Holy Spirit, is who convicts, and one way He does it, is by the preaching of the Word (Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?)

I'd like to note here, that YES His Word is indeed like a fire, and a hammer, that breaks a STONY heart into pieces - but - not all that hear it, have this happen to them. Something to think about there.

The same message is preached in a church with 100 unsaved people, yet only 4 of them are moved in such a way that they feel exactly as you do. (John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.)

Another note here that I think alot of us might miss, in this verse, is that it clearly says every man that has heard, AND has learned OF the Father, will come to Jesus. This is another way of saying the same thing Jesus said to Peter when He told him how he (Peter) knew who Jesus was - that it wasn't a knowledge Peter had, taught to him by man, it was a knowledge he had GIVEN to him, by the Father, something placed inside of Peter's heart, supernaturally, by God. So the reason that 100 unsaved men can hear the same gospel message, and only 4 feel a great conviction, is because only those 4 were able to hear, and understand their sinful nature, by the same process that God enabled Peter to KNOW, who Jesus was.

The only ones who did hear, were those who had ears to hear, by God's power.

And the the reason they were convicted NOW, and sorry NOW, as opposed to 30 minutes prior, was because NOW is when God chose to enable them to feel that godly repentance over their sinful nature.

We see something happening in these 4 men, out of the 100, that is a process. The process works something like this (and could take 30 minutes, or several years, that's all in God's hands):

1. unsaved, unable to hear, don't feel guilty about sin.
2. uncomfortable, maybe feeling a bit guilty, maybe even in a kind of denial that they don't really feel this.
3. admitting to themselves to what they really feel: sorrow over their sinful state, shame, sadness, guilty, in need of forgiveness
4. a knowing who Jesus really is, why He came, and the only way to forgiveness, and faith in Him.
5. prayer, confessing they are a sinner, they are sorry, and they trust in what Jesus did on the cross, for them.

Now of course there are all kinds of other feelings, and emotions that could fit into this process, but this is the basic process that happens in any true conversion.

The question is, at which point does conversion, or regeneration, begin? After which step? After they have been given faith to believe, or at the point of feeling godly repentance... that overwhelming NEED to fall on their faces before God and confess they have sinned against Him - (even before they do that)?

It might help to dig a little deeper into what the word regeneration actually means. I will briefly share that here (as briefly as a long winded person can be).

The word is only listed twice in Scripture, oddly enough. Here are some notes on both places it's mentioned:

Regeneration

Only found in #Mt 19:28 Ti 3:5 This word literally means a "new birth." The Greek word so rendered (palingenesia) is used by classical writers with reference to the changes produced by the return of spring.

1. In #Mt 19:28 the word is equivalent to the "restitution of all things" #Ac 3:21

2. In #Ti 3:5 it denotes that change of heart elsewhere spoken of

a. as a passing from death to life #1Jo 3:14

b. becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus #2Co 5:17

c. being born again #Joh 3:5

d. a renewal of the mind #Ro 12:2

e. a resurrection from the dead #Eph 2:6

f. a being quickened #Eph 2:1,5

g. This change is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God #Joh 1:12,13 1Jo 2:29 5:1,4

h. As to the nature of the change, it consists in the implanting of a new principle or disposition in the soul; the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins."

i. The necessity of such a change is emphatically affirmed in Scripture #Joh 3:3 Ro 7:18 8:7-9 1Co 2:14 Eph 2:1 4:21-24

I submit to anyone reading, that the regeneration of the soul does NOT begin after faith to believe is given, but that it begins BEFORE faith is given - when that very first moment of realization happens that "I am a sinner, I have sinned against God" hits the human heart, and they feel great sorrow over it.

At that point of the new birth process, faith to believe on Christ, His finished work on the cross, and what His blood accomplished for all who do believe... really hasn't impacted the heart yet, that comes next.

It's alot like going to the doctor, and being told you have a terminal disease, and you are going to die, in the next 6 weeks. You have a fatal disease, and the doctor explains to you, what it is, and how you got it.

You understand that, where before you went to the doctor, even if you felt sick, you didn't believe it was fatal because no one had confirmed that for you yet. Now it's been confirmed, and you know it's true.

What comes next? He tells you, THERE'S A CURE and all you have to do, is trust him, allow him to administer the cure to you, and you'll beat the disease and live.

That doctor isn't going to call you up and tell you he's got a cure for your disease, and all you have to do is come in and let him give it to you - BEFORE - he tells you that you even have a disease, what it is, or how serious it is. And if he did, you'd think he was a wacko, and probably hang up on him.

So to say a man has faith, and THEN is regenerated, says that he trusts and takes a cure for a disease that is surely GOING TO kill him in the next six weeks - that he doesn't even know he has yet. Trusting the cure does not come first, understanding the disease comes first. (And no man can understand the disease the human race has, until God begins a work in their heart, showing them their sinful nature).

I hope that made some kind of sense to someone reading. If I'm wrong anywhere here, or if something here DOESN'T make sense, please feel free to point these things out to me.

HIS
10-18-01, 10:12 PM
------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by HIS

Scenario:

Assuming that I am not yet born again / regenerated . . .

Let us say that I am at a place and a minister of God is preaching the gospel. I am listening to what he is saying, and I suddenly fall under a conviction, I become truly sorry in my heart about the way I have lived and my sin, which has just been revealed by the preaching of God’s Word through this minister.

Questions:

Am I "now" in a regenerated or (as you define) saved condition?

OR

Do I (yet) need to do something else?

OR

Do I say or do nothing but “wait” for God to still do something before I am (or consider myself as) saved?

Please advise…


CA . . . I think I understand most all of what you said in your previous post, but to be absolutely sure of your exact answers to my questions above, I will need you to just give me specific replies (i.e., Yes / No / This specific / That specific / etc. ).

Note: I'm pleased to see that you have looked at my scenario as a "real-life" scenario, but please tell me exactly what "specific" answers you would give to each of my three (3) basic questions above...

Please do this, and I will respond to your specific remarks as well as what you have already posted.

Thanks!

Christ_†_Alone
10-18-01, 10:53 PM
Q #1. Am I "now" in a regenerated or (as you define) saved condition?

A. You are just now being enabled by God to see yourself in the light of His holiness. He has brought you from spiritual death, and has begun the very work in you, noted in Phil. 1:6. If it can be said that the regeneration process has begun, or that you are just now being made aware, that it is beginning, this is that point of realization.

I would liken it to being physically born. I've had 6 kids so I can easily tell you that there is a process that MUST occur, in sequence, before a child is born. I'll save the gory details, lol, but the bottom line is, there is a process, a beginning of the new birth, steps in the middle, and the end result.

Q. #2. Do I (yet) need to do something else?

A. I don't see the Scriptures teaching it as a "need" to do something else, I see them teaching us what we WILLdo, once this process in us begins. (Similar again to a physical birth, once the process begins, by God's design, certain things WILL happen, in the process of the new birth).


Q. #3. Do I say or do nothing but “wait” for God to still do something before I am (or consider myself as) saved?

A. Technically, we were saved before we were ever born, for those who are, and who will be saved - we just didn't know it, until God drew us to His Son, showed us our sin, gave us the desire to repent, and place our faith in Him.

Generally, this is the point where we say that we are now born again, but truly, the regeneration process started BEFORE we had faith - again - very similar to the way a newborn baby arrives. The baby is there in the womb for 9 months, we just don't see it and hold it until it's outside of the womb - but the process it had to go thru, to get there, had to take place before it could get there.

Maybe I'm too analytical for my own good, lol, but knowing that God is a God of order, this is the way the Word speaks to me on this issue. Just like our LIFE in Him, has a starting pointing, and grows, and changes, and deepens along the way, so also our BIRTH (spiritual) had a starting point, and had a process it had to go thru, in order that we would indeed be regenerated.

I would say that it could be possible that being made able to see our sinfulness in the light of God's holines - and being given faith to trust Him for our redemption, could be imparted into our hearts at the same exact time (I certainly can't rule that one out). But in my own conversion, and in countless testimonies I have heard, and read, of other people's conversions, never once did I hear anyone say first they had faith in the cure, then they found out what the disease was.

Again, the first step is that moment of conviction, and I believe this is where regeneration begins (and at that point in our minds and hearts, we're NOT thinking about trusting Christ, or feeling assured that there is a cure for what's going to kill us, we're too busy BEING convicted that we deserve to face God's just and righteous condemnation for our sin).

To me, this is a true conversion, true regeneration. If there are folks out there who say they had faith in Christ, before they were convicted over their sin, I'd like to hear from them, and ask them how they knew He was the cure, when they didn't even know or believe there was a disease, and that THEY had it.

HIS
10-19-01, 08:49 PM
CA: I think we are getting close, but I still have something to ask. In answer to my first question of “Am I now regenerated or in a saved condition” you gave the following answer:


“You are just now being enabled by God to see yourself in the light of His holiness…you are just now being made aware, that it is beginning, this is that point of realization.”
This statement of yours leads me to assume that I am not quite born again, but only “just being enabled by God” to see myself and there is more to be done (either by myself or God).

****************

My question #2 was supposed to suggest: Do I (yet) need to do something else “to be saved”?

Your response was . . .


I don't see the Scriptures teaching it as a "need" to do something else, I see them teaching us what we WILL do, once this process in us begins…
Does your statement mean that the description given in my scenario was yet incomplete and there was still something else needed to complete the regeneration / new birth and it would be simply come automatically (not a need to do, but “will do” as in a natural sense)? IF so, what will be done to complete the new birth process?

Surely, a “born again” Christian does not live in a perpetual “new birth” process (?) At some point there is "birth" and then begins a walk toward maturity…right? (This is a YES/NO question, you don't need to explain the process of spiritual maturity on this thread...I am just wanting to know if you agree or disagree.)

*********************

On question three when I asked, “Do I say or do nothing but “wait” for God to still do something before I am (or consider myself as) saved?” you gave the response:


Technically, we were saved before we were ever born, for those who are, and who will be saved - we just didn't know it, until God drew us to His Son, showed us our sin, gave us the desire to repent, and place our faith in Him.

Generally, this is the point where we say that we are now born again, but truly, the regeneration process started BEFORE we had faith - again - very similar to the way a newborn baby arrives.
$5 Dollar question: Where is the point you are speaking of when we know we are "born again" (Please answer relative to my real-life scenario).

************

Side Notes: I do agree with your statement about a first step being that “moment of conviction” and that regeneration begins here…But, how long (in respect to time) does it take to go from conviction to believing / trusting Christ? I still seem to see a doctrine of being born again or “saved” and then a trusting or believing on Christ. Am I understanding you correctly?

The reason I am still confused is because at the same time you make the comments above, you then throw a curve ball and say this:


I would say that it could be possible that being made able to see our sinfulness in the light of God's holines - and being given faith to trust Him for our redemption, could be imparted into our hearts at the same exact time (I certainly can't rule that one out).
Also, in other posts, you seem to suggest that true and complete conversion or regeneration comes before repentance…right?

Final note: I do agree with this statement below:


If there are folks out there who say they had faith in Christ, before they were convicted over their sin, I'd like to hear from them, and ask them how they knew He was the cure, when they didn't even know or believe there was a disease, and that THEY had it.

God reveals our sin (the disease) to us through conviction and then faith (in Christ) is imparted …

Yours In Christ JESUS,

HIS

Christ_†_Alone
10-19-01, 08:55 PM
HIS,

honestly, I don't know how to answer your questions any other way, than the way I already have.

There are key factors that all have a pivotal role in the regeneration process, and I believe the Bible teaches we are indeed regenerated (brought from spiritual death, to spiritual life) before we are given the faith to trust Christ and His finished work on the cross.

How God does this, is maybe even something that I will never fully grasp, but as to where I am right this minute, today, in my walk with Him, this is how I understand it.

Sorry I couldn't be more clear on this, maybe someone else can elaborate further?

HIS
10-19-01, 09:23 PM
Hello CA,

Hope I haven't discouraged you in any way with my on-going questions. I just wanted to be absolutely clear before making my full response to your previous posts above.

I will give others a chance to see if they will answer these latest questions of mine, and if no one shows up by tomorrow, I'll go ahead and give you my reply...

Thanks again for all of your time and comments. It is really nice to share thoughts with someone who has an obvious love for the Lord and His Word.

God bless...

HIS

HIS
10-21-01, 02:55 PM
Hello CA,

Okay . . . I would like to respond to your analysis of my scenario below (originally posted on 10/19).


Scenario:

Assuming that I am not yet born again / regenerated . . .

Let us say that I am at a place and a minister of God is preaching the gospel. I am listening to what he is saying, and I suddenly fall under a conviction, I become truly sorry in my heart about the way I have lived and my sin, which has just been revealed by the preaching of God’s Word through this minister.

Questions:

Am I "now" in a regenerated or (as you define) saved condition?

OR

Do I (yet) need to do something else?

OR

Do I say or do nothing but “wait” for God to still do something before I am (or consider myself as) saved?

Please advise…

HIS [/b]

First, I would like to say that this scenario above is almost identical to the real-life scenario we read in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2.

At the beginning of Chapter 2, you see the apostles and those who were with them in the upper room being filled with the Holy Ghost. This was the promise originally foretold by John the Baptist, and later, promised (of the Father) by Jesus Himself.

There were many Jews visiting Jerusalem at this time and they were from many nations. They began hearing the people and wondering if they were drunk. Peter stood up and told the people that they were not drunk, but had just received the outpouring of God’s Spirit, which he statted was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (starting with verse 16).

Then the apostle Peter began to preach the Word of the Lord unto them. At verse 36, Peter makes the following statement:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Note: Those hearing were “pricked in their heart” and ask, “what shall we do”?

Clearly, they were asking what could they do to be saved from this condemnation they felt (by being pricked in their heart). I'm sure everyone will agree that they were being convicted by the Holy Spirit. So, they were certainly in some type of regenerated process.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

**************

Now . . . If I understand your explanations correctly you stated the following:

* Conviction comes from the Holy Ghost.

* The unsaved are unable to hear and don't feel guilty about sin.

You also state this:


I submit to anyone reading, that the regeneration of the soul does NOT begin after faith to believe is given, but that it begins BEFORE faith is given - when that very first moment of realization happens that "I am a sinner, I have sinned against God" hits the human heart, and they feel great sorrow over it.

And in another place:

“I don't see the Scriptures teaching it as a "need" to do something else, I see them teaching us what we WILLdo, once this process in us begins. (Similar again to a physical birth, once the process begins, by God's design, certain things WILL happen, in the process of the new birth).”

Also:

“Technically, we were saved before we were ever born, for those who are, and who will be saved - we just didn't know it, until God drew us to His Son, showed us our sin, gave us the desire to repent, and place our faith in Him. Generally, this is the point where we say that we are now born again, but truly, the regeneration process started BEFORE we had faith - again - very similar to the way a newborn baby arrives. The baby is there in the womb for 9 months, we just don't see it and hold it until it's outside of the womb - but the process it had to go thru, to get there, had to take place before it could get there.”
******************
I posted some of your comments above mainly for others to see if they consider this same set of questions.

If I understand you correctly (when considering my scenario), there is nothing else needed for me to saved or born again / regenerated. Yet, this does not seem to line up with the Scripture and what was stated by the apostle Peter that day.

Please note Peter’s immediate reply to their question of: What shall we do?

Acts 2:38-39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

What did Peter command?

A) Repent
B) Be baptized
C) Receive the Holy Ghost

IF these people were already regenerated and in a born again or “saved” condition, then I must ask one simple question:

WHY did he make this statement in verse 40:

“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, SAVE YOURSELVES from this untoward generation.”

SAVE yourselves? According to your notes, they should have already been saved.

Was this a misstatement by the apostle Peter? When you put all Scripture together, you will find that it was not a misstatement by Peter.

Let’s step back . . . The people were “pricked in their heart.”

Could this mean they were “quickened by God” or awakened from the dead as you would suggest?

IF so, then following the same teaching, doesn’t this mean they were “regenerated” in verse 37?

I will agree that it is reasonable to state that the regeneration process began in their hearts during the preaching of God’s word. BUT, this regeneration process (new birth experience) was not made complete without repentance and being born of water and Spirit. This was commanded in Acts 2:38 when they were instructed to repent, and be baptized (in Water) in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. If they did this, they would receive the promise of the Holy Ghost -- just as the apostles received.

"For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

Then, he tells them to “save themselves” from the crooked generation they were living in.

Please note the very next verse:

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

In Summary: The Scripture doesn’t talk about souls being added UNTIL they received his word and were baptized.

That’s not my word, it’s directly from the Word of God; and this is just one of many examples in the Scripture.

HIS

Odyssey
10-25-01, 11:08 AM
His, you wrote, 'I will agree that it is reasonable to state that the regeneration process began in their hearts during the preaching of God’s word. BUT, this regeneration process (new birth experience) was not made complete without repentance and being born of water and Spirit. This was commanded in Acts 2:38 when they were instructed to repent, and be baptized (in Water) in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. If they did this, they would receive the promise of the Holy Ghost -- just as the apostles received.'

You just nailed it! Salvation is not complete until the other aspects of repentance and so forth are accomplished. No where in the writings of the Reformers I have read do they ever teach that the elect are automatically saved just because they are elect. There are other aspects to it. The 'means' to the end, if you please. The same thing can be said about prayer. Why pray if god knows of what we need and has already supplied the answer? Because that is the way he set it up.

I have an article you may be interested in (then again you may not). It deals with both the issue of salvation and eschatology. It's call 'Grace and Covenant Eschatology.' You can find it here (http://www.preteristarchive.com/Journals/Odyssey/o-gillespie_03.html) at the Preterist Archive. It explains more fully how I view the whole process.

Grace to you,

jak

HIS
10-25-01, 07:56 PM
WOW...Odyssey, I'm surprised (and impressed) by your posting!

Glad you agree with me. I will read the article you recommend and let you know what I think.

God bless!

HIS