#552 (8/3/22) THE SPIRIT GIVES REGENERATION
This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the Holy Spirit’s role in our becoming Christians.
Christianity is not principally a decision to believe that we make; rather, it is a supernatural impartation of life by the Holy Spirit. As Greg Haslem has written,
‘We believe in regeneration and not ‘decisionism’!
Salvation is not just responding to the information of the gospel; rather, it is being acted upon by the Spirit to enable one to believe the gospel in the first place.
REGENERATION IS NEW SPIRITUAL LIFE
To be a Christian is to have received a new life by the Spirit. We read of this in Ephesians,
‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.’ (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Wayne grudem summarises regeneration,
‘Regeneration is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us’
To be ‘born again’ is another way of saying that one has experienced regeneration. Jesus said,
‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’ (John 3:3)
John Piper writes of this,
‘In the new birth, the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ in a living union. Christ is life. Christ is the vine where life flows. We are the branches (Jn.15:1–17). What happens in the new birth is the supernatural creation of new spiritual life, and it is created through Union with Jesus Christ. The Spirit brings us into vital connection with Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life. That is the objective reality of what happens in the new birth’. (Piper)
Regeneration is something to that it’s important to be mindful of. Our friends cannot come to faith without the intervening life-giving work of the Holy Spirit. The experience of Ezekiel is a very helpful illustration of what has happened to every member of Jesus’ church; it’s also a very helpful text to use as we pray for our non-believing community.
‘As I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.’ (Ezekiel 37:7-10)