Regarding the theories which we are about to discuss, most theologians hold to the theory that God changes the heart and that there is no effort on the part of the subject or they consider it to be works for salvation. The Bible discusses these two opposing views in Romans and in James. The problem is that when a sinner thinks of God being the one that makes a change in him, he becomes complacent and neglects his duty to make changes in his own life. Most theologians consider the view of Regeneration mentioned in the book of Romans to be the heavenly view, because God does the work in the heart even when he is influencing the choice of the sinner. The book of James, on the other hand, views regeneration as from man’s view point that where if there are no works then it can be assumed that there is no heart for God. This is the same thing that is true of moral depravity. Those that teach that man has a constitutional sin problem often live in sin with an excuse that they feel makes them acceptable with God. They also have the thinking that God makes changes in their constitutional make-up which are eventually seen in the life. The problem with this thinking is that far too many supposed Christians are living in sin with no conscience because their sin nature is God’s fault and the change that is to come in their life is God’s responsibility. In effect, our theology has given a cloak for the sinner and it causes him to have no conscience. Charles Finney saw this in his day and we have the same conditions in our generation. That is the precise reason that I have taken this book on as a project. I want to wake up our generation to the fact that what they call believing with the heart is no more than mental acknowledgment of facts with no change in the heart and thus no new birth. We need to revisit the thinking that brought hundreds of thousands to Christ here and in England from the revivals of the greatest of all revivalists, Charles G. Finney. We will here examine some existing theories and try to understand why they don’t produce results in the life. Only one of the four theories works in every day practice.
Some philosophical theories of regeneration.
Most theologians have varying views of regeneration that seem to coincide with their various positions regarding moral depravity, intellectual philosophy, moral government, and of the freedom of the human will. Let’s examine these as follows. 1) We will state the theories held by different theologians as we understand them and then, 2) we will examine them in order.
The various theories are as follows:
- The taste theory.
- The divine efficiency theory.
- The susceptibility theory.
- The divine moral suasion theory.
Let’s examine them in order.
The taste theory.
- This is a theory that makes the assumption that the heart is the senses and emotions. They say that moral depravity is a constitutional condition where the heart craves, relishes, and has a taste for sin as an end irrespective of the appetites that are the basis for these cravings which are not necessarily wrong unless chosen for a selfish reason. This position says that “original sin” constitutes a sinful nature or constitution so that no living person has the ability to make a moral choice because this nature is what causes sinful choices. They do not separate the curse on the world which includes a depraved body from the moral ability to make choices. They make the sinful constitution something that has nothing to do with voluntary choices of the will but that it has complete control over voluntary actions by the will. They say that a wicked heart is an appetite for sinning so that the appetites tastes and passions of human nature are sinful in themselves. Reference is often made to the taste of a carnivorous animal in his craving for flesh to eat.
- With this philosophy a change of heart must mean a change in the constitution from one of sinful appetites that control the choices to a new constitution that gives a new taste that craves for holiness. They make this a physical change of sorts where the Holy Spirit comes into the soul and changes the complete make-up by giving the soul new tastes, appetites, and cravings so that there is now a love for holiness. They say that God implants a new principle that desires holiness, a new taste, a holy principle within. With this view, regeneration is totally passive. According to this theory the Holy Spirit performs an operation on the sinner while asleep or in a fit of rage or perhaps while deeply engaged in sin, it matters not since the sinner has no ability on is own to make any choice whatsoever. They say that a sovereign God makes this change and that the change is irresistible and a creative act of a holy God. This would mean that there is nothing that can be done to cause this from a human side since regeneration is a complete act of creation by God. They then make a claim that conversion is the act by the sinner in which he takes his regenerated heart and performs an act of conversion upon himself in turning finally to God. They insist that before this created transformation that any approach to them by someone with the gospel message is only fuel for the fire that inflames them more against God because of their constitutional hatred for God.
- The problem that I have with this is that if it is only a sinful nature or constitution that causes one to sin, then it is not a moral or immoral choice. It means that men are not sinful but that they are made constitutionally unable to be holy which has nothing to do with any choices of their own but merely with the nature that they possess. It means that God is unjust in demanding that they love Him and obey his laws and then threatens punishment for their inability to do that which they were unable to do in the first place. Then, as if to add insult to injury, God comes in and creates a new nature that desires holiness instead of sin but, oops! God must not have done a good enough job for the Holy Spirit has, for some reason, left part of the sinful nature and combines it with the holy nature. What confusion! My question to them is this: if they were totally unable to live for God when they had the sinful nature, then why did God only do a halfway job in regeneration so that they seem to be unable to be holy even though there is now a new nature? It is as if God condemns them for being unable to do what he commands under terror of eternal death, and then he does not do a complete job in changing them into holy beings. If God is as sovereign as they claim, then God certainly has made a mess of the original creation and also of the new “nature” which is still capable, evidently, of gross sin because God never got rid of the old nature in the process. Their claim is that when God puts a holy nature into a man, the sinful nature is not eliminated; only weakened because the body is still connected to the soul. Their claim is that only when the body dies will the soul be free of sin. It makes God to blame for the initial sinful nature and then for His inability to make someone new at regeneration. Our answer as we have been saying it is as follows:
- We say that moral depravity is voluntary and consists in selfishness, a voluntary state of the mind and heart and this false theory has no biblical foundation.
- We have also stated that sin is not chosen for its own sake but that there are constitutional tastes that are not necessarily sinful but that they are chosen for selfish reasons. Sin, in this case, is not the end chosen but self-gratification is the actual end chosen. This would make the “Taste Theory” completely without merit and utterly baseless.
- The taste, relish, or craving of which this theory speaks is not a taste, relish, or craving for sin but a desire for something which is sinful if chosen under the wrong conditions or for the wrong reasons. This is why sin is defined as to “miss the mark.” It is not the appetite that is sinful but the indulgence of that appetite for selfish reasons that is.
- This theory makes the temptation a sin. In that case Jesus sinned because he had appetites and he was tempted by them.
- This theory is not consistent with the Bible definition of sin and regeneration.
- This theory would make the command of the Bible a false and unjust command: “Make you a new heart and a new spirit, for why will ye die?”
- This theory would also negate the need for a soul-winner to win them since only God can have any influence upon them. “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 4:15) The taste theory would make it impossible for Paul to “beget” anyone as he says here.
- This theory blames God for a person not being regenerated since no choice can be made and only God can decide who will be his children and who will be changed by the Holy Spirit. This theory would make God responsible for anyone that is not regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
- This theory makes regeneration as a miracle.
- This theory makes it totally unnecessary to live holy or to persevere. Any holy living that is done under this theory is merely the gratifying of a new holy appetite that was implanted at regeneration.
- Under this theory, perseverance and holiness is not a virtue. It makes holiness a form of self-gratification, the fulfilling of a new appetite.
- This theory is at war with the teaching of the Bible.
- This theory destroys individuality and personal identity. It makes moral agents into robots.
The divine efficiency theory.
Now this one is just as bad as the other only it comes from an ancient heathen philosophy that uses the same name as the theory. Under this theory there is no such thing as a second cause where God creates something and then that creation makes its own way to what is a second cause of action. In the case of Adam and Eve, God created them without sin but they chose to eat of the tree which means that the choice that they made was not God’s choice but a second cause, namely, their own choice that caused them to sin. In the theory we are discussing this would not be acceptable. This theory says that all causes are directly the result of divine operation. It takes all natural laws for granted and instead takes the position that every natural law is an act of perpetual creation so that if God does not stand back and observe processes that he has put into motion like the orbits of the planets and other natural phenomena but that every part of creation is God’s hands-on movement. It is almost like pantheism which makes all created things into “gods” that may be worshipped. This mindset also affects their view of the actions of moral beings. The thinking is that every action of any moral being is a direct creation of God. They make God the originator of all moral actions, holy or sinful, because God has created the causes irresistible so that the actions come from an irresistible cause. They make the cause the agency or efficiency of God. This theory does not accept the concept of moral depravity or original sin but that character belongs only to choices of the will. They do believe is a change from selfishness to benevolence but that the change is directed by Divine efficiency which is irresistible in the same way a creative act would be. The only part the sinner has is in submitting the will to have a new character formed which God then does as if creating a new universe. The arguments for this theory are as follows:
- They use the Bible out of context by taking verses that make statements which need to be compared with other scriptures for clarity and yet they accept them in an erroneous misunderstood way. Here are some examples: “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:33) “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” (Isaiah 26:12) “But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” (Isaiah 45:17) “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35) “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6) “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36) “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” (Ephesians 1:11) “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21) These are their proof texts and we can comment as follows:
- They don’t really prove the point. They don’t truly state that God is creating every moral choice. They don’t prove that God is a first cause and there are no second causes.
- There are other passages of scripture that state that God is not the originator of every moral choice as if he were creating every action. “Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” (Jeremiah 7:9-10) “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:13-17) “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:14-17) These passages completely contradict the position that God’s agency is direct, efficient, and irresistible. Unless one takes the complete teaching of scripture, they cannot build a doctrine on only their favorite proof texts while leaving conflicting verses out of the picture. This is precisely what all false cults do and it is wrong.
- Another claim that this theory teaches is that divine foreknowledge implies this theory. Foreknowledge is merely knowing the future, not creating the future. They are wrong. There is no proof of this assumption.
- They think that God has purposed it to be this way. Only an assumption, nothing more.
- They also claim that prophesies of future events implies that God created the events and not that he foreknew what would happen.
- They say that the Bible ascribes both the holy and sinful actions of man to God in equally unqualified terms. My answer is that this proves nothing and how could anyone think that God would create evil.
- They actually think that the Bible talks about the sinful actions of man toward God as being no different than holy actions toward God and for some strange reason they don’t believe that man can make that choice himself so it must mean that God created it. What blasphemy!
- They teach that God could not create a being that could have the power to originate his own actions. No rational human being would say that God could not create a moral being as we have discussed in this book. In fact, moral law demands that God could not be holy if he did not make such a being.
- They say that if a creature existed that could make choices that this creature would be independent of God so that God could not control him or know what to do. All I can say is that they have a very weak image of God and have assigned no intrinsic value to his omnipotence and omniscience.
- As a response to these erroneous suppositions let us state the following:
- This theory is mere philosophy, it is certainly not logical nor is it Biblical.
- This theory is supported by unwarranted assumptions.
- One look at the tendency of this theory will cause anyone to condemn it just by what it produces.
- This theory produces a sense of divine injustice. It claims that God creates a being by direct agency like creating the world and then condemns them for their character as created by God. Perhaps this is why so many in our own world have a very hostile opinion of God. Normal reason would condemn such logic.
- This theory destroys accountability by its own tendency to make God the reason for both good and bad.
- This theory contradicts our own conscience which condemns us every day for our sins. Every living human being has a sense of his or her sin and they also have a sense that they are responsible for those sins. They would never in an eternity of life times think that God was the reason for their sinful choices as if he created them to be sinful. We are all conscious of the choices that we make and that we are the originators of those choices.
- This theory destroys the difference between the right to choose and the necessity to do so. There is no taking of responsibility in moral agents with this type of thinking. It all gets put at the feet of a “sovereign” God.
- Human beings are made up in such a way that we could not believe this theory even if it were true since our nature and relations say otherwise.
- If God is the only moral agent in the universe as this theory claims, then human beings are no more than plants growing out of the ground. No one could possibly call us moral agents if God produces all our actions as they say.
- If this theory is true, we are no better than the wind or the waves of the sea, which the Bible describes as like the wicked. We would be robots, to use a more contemporary term that would not have existed in Charles Finney’s day.
- If this theory is true, then no being in the universe has moral character besides God and no one is the author of his or her own actions. It makes us all the subjects of some cruel movement of God on the affairs of men and we are nothing more than pawns or chess players that God in his sovereign will moves across the board of the world or the universe and we have no control over anything that we do or say but must blame all our misery on God. They to try to make us moral characters when we have absolutely no ability at all to make choices is to charge God with one of the most heinous of selfish arbitrary sins and condemn him as a master of evil rather than the originator of disinterested benevolence.
- If this theory is true then we have no liberty to make choices and we are not moral agents no matter what logic they try to use. Freedom exists in the sovereign will of an individual to make his or her own choices and without that, we are living by choices already made like a reflex that cannot be controlled by the mind.
- If this theory is true, then God and the devil are partners. Consider the tendency of such a theory:
- This theory teaches that the Holy Spirit influences the sinner in both a physical and a moral way. It says that the Holy Spirit makes certain changes in the soul that prepares that soul to be affected by truth and then the Holy Spirit uses a persuasive influence in presenting truth to the person.
- How does this agree with Divine moral suasion?
- This theory teaches that there is a physical influence that is added to the moral influence of the Holy Spirit that is a result of regeneration. It says that a physical change is made before the influence of the Holy Spirit can be felt in the soul. Here are some of the points that differ:
- That regeneration is a change in the ultimate intention, the preference of the mind. This is a change from selfishness to benevolence as can only be effected when one comes to know the Lord because to know Him is to love Him.
- The change that comes is by a divine moral influence as only happens to a person that meets Jesus face to face. The Holy Spirit does not make a physical change, he only speaks to the spirit of a man, his conscience, his intuition, and his communion with God where the spirit becomes alive to God because it comes to know God. It is not physical, it is spiritual. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 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. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-16) It is not a physical change but a persuasion effected by the Holy Spirit that comes in to dwell in the believer. The reasons for this theory are as follows:
- They object because they think that if all that the Holy Spirit does is influence the mind through the spirit of a man then, they think, that we don’t believe in moral depravity.
- They object that if the truth is what converts a sinner then sinners in hell who have now come to know the truth would be saved because they now know the truth.
- Divine moral suasion honors the Holy Spirit without changing the truth about God.
- Regeneration by the Holy Spirit through the truth of the Word of God shows the wisdom of God; it shows the deep and divine philosophy behind regeneration.
- This has great practical value for if sinners are influenced by argument and persuasion of the truth then ministers and soul-winners can win them by presenting powerful arguments that make them workers together with God in presenting the Gospel.
- This theory is also good for the sinner because the sinner may respond immediately to the gospel without the need to be physically changed first. He must submit to the truth as a choice and embrace it if he will ever hope to be saved. Now he must realize that it is all or nothing and he cannot blame God for what he has failed to do by way of obeying the truth as presented.
- We can also see that when the truth is presented and made clear and then resisted that the sinner is resisting the Holy Spirit, for this is His work and they have trampled under foot the Holy Spirit by refusal to accept the truth.
- If this theory is true then we know how sinners may be saved. They are saved while sitting under the hearing of the gospel or by being won to Christ by a soul-winner who has told them the truth so that they are in the position to make a decision to accept or reject the truth as presented.
- Ministers and soul-winners should make every effort to convert the sinner by way of the truth that they present as if they were the one doing the converting by themselves. They should not only aim at results but they should expect that sinners will be changed right on the spot before they leave either the church where the preacher has just preached a powerful message, or the presence of a soul-winner who has given them the plan of salvation.
- Now there is no need for sinners to wait for the “physical omnipotence of God” to regenerate them.
- Even in light of a physical omnipotence of God, no one could be converted by mere physical power. It is a spiritual and moral regeneration.
- Satan cannot tempt those who cannot make their own choices unless directed to do so by God.
- Then, when you think about it, we cannot yield to the temptation that Satan brings unless God causes us to yield by creating the decision in us to yield. This is blasphemy. It makes God the author of sin. It is amazing that such a theory is taught at all but yet the world is swallowing this up under the name of Calvinism and the theory of “inability” and “gracious ability.”
- This theory is inconsistent with the Bible and it would mean that the Bible is a book of lies and frauds.
- This theory is not even consistent with itself because they say on the one hand that God wills for us and then on the other hand they say that we cannot act unless we will do to something. Then they say that what we will is by divine agency. They are only making God the mover in a master chess match in which we get blamed if the move is wrong.
- Mankind cannot possibly deserve punishment for choices that they have no ability to make in the first place and why would God require a Savior from that which cannot be helped by any living being. It is even an insult to Jesus Christ to make him die for “sins” which God chose for mankind and then condemned them for doing sins which he chose and then sent Jesus to die for that which God created in the first place.
- Now, mind you, God causes a gospel to be preached which no one can accept since they have no ability to make choices but if they do not accept it, then God sends them to hell for a choice that God makes for them. Such is the sovereignty of God in their eyes.
- We could not deny that if taught in the Bible.
- Regeneration is always accomplished by the Holy Spirit, but how? If we try to deny physical influence they will cry that we believe in Pelagianism which is a denial of any divine influence at all.
If this theory is true then the whole moral government of God is a sham and not even a government since God makes all the decisions by a sovereign act of his own will and he could never condemn us for the decisions that he has made for us. Also, the gospel itself is an insult since God is at first condemning us for choices that He made for us and then he is providing a remedy for his own choice and then since we cannot choose to accept that remedy of our own free will, then God will condemn us for a choice that we cannot make since we have no ability unless God makes the decision for us with irresistible choice in our behalf. It is an insult because:
- This theory does as we have said previously; it makes no distinction between moral and physical power. It does not discern between moral and physical government. It makes all power and government physical.
- This theory makes repentance, remorse, and self-condemnation impossible since man cannot make rational decisions on his own.
- This theory, if true, would mean that God has deluded all of us creating all our volitions and then creating a position that makes us seem responsible for the decisions that he has made. What a shame that anyone could ever preach or teach such a theory so devastating to the nature and relations of every human being by causing them to have no possible hope of doing any more than God decides to do for them.
The susceptibility theory.
- They both reject the taste and efficiency theories.
- They both reject constitutional moral depravity.
- They both reject physical regeneration since this theory teaches that any physical influence has no part in regeneration.
- They both agree that moral agents have natural ability or liberty.
- They agree that the constitutional appetites of all moral beings have no moral character in themselves.
- They both agree that natural appetites can be the reason for sin when strongly excited.
- They both agree that sin is identical with moral depravity, which is a violation of moral law.
- They both agree that the moral heart has a ruling preference or ultimate intention of the best ends for God and others.
- They both agree that the carnal mind is one of pure selfishness.
- They both agree that a truly saved person has a heart of love – benevolence.
- The both agree that regeneration is a moving from selfishness to benevolence; from supreme love to self to supreme love of God and an equal love of our neighbor, and that the thing that causes this is knowing God because to know Him is to love Him.
- They both agree that a person’s life is changed as he is presented more and more truth by the Holy Spirit so that as he learns new things every day, he changes his life accordingly.
- They maintain that the Bible seems to indicate that the influence of the Holy Spirit is not just moral but that the Holy Spirit prepares the mind physically to be affected by the truth.
- Both theories understand that the Holy Spirit persuades but this theory tries also to say that there is a physical change in addition. They use the verse, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” (Luke 24:45) There is no physical change needed in opening understanding, it is only revealing light to the spirit of a man. This obviously has nothing to do with physical change. Besides, if a physical change were necessary for understanding to take place, then the term moral would not apply since only those with a change could understand and thus make the right choice. We could go farther into this with many other proof texts from this theory but it won’t change the facts. Nothing can be moral that requires a physical change to take place before the proper choices can be made.
The Divine moral persuasion theory.
Call it the indwelling Holy Spirit as teacher theory. It teaches the following:
- The Bible claims it in John: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6) “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23) “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18) “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 4:15)
- Men are sanctified by the truth. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:13-14) “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:12-14) “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:26-28)
- The nature of regeneration is that it is effected by truth and this truth is taught by the Holy Spirit to the human spirit and understood by the mind through the spirit.
- Because regeneration is totally through the influence of the Holy Spirit who teaches and then man makes choices, it has moral character. Unless it is this way and not a physical change of some kind, it cannot have moral character.
- People who are saved are conscious that they have responded to truth and the knowledge that they have is spiritual knowledge that is comprehended in the spirit, not necessarily in the reasoning of the mind. Spiritual truth may defy logic, but it is clearly comprehended in the mind of the spirit. Saved people know that their choice is effected by the truth as they turn to God under its influence.
- Saved people have had no other influence besides a spiritual experience where the Holy Spirit poured light into their spirit which affected their intelligence through the spirit and helped the will to make a decision to know God which then resulted in the Holy Spirit coming to indwell the believer.
- God makes statements about regenerating the soul by the truth through the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. The Bible is the final authority on the philosophy of regeneration. It nowhere states that the influence that changes the heart is anything else but a Divine teaching and illumination of the Holy Spirit and any other assumption regarding some constitutional change is totally unfounded in Scripture.
Here are objections and answers to these objections of the moral persuasion theory:
- Yes we do deny constitutional moral depravity and constitutional physical regeneration. No, we did not deny spiritual moral depravity through self-gratification.
- If Adam and angels could be changed from perfection to sinfulness by the motives that Satan presented to them where they made a moral choice based upon the information provided with no constitutional change brought into play, then why cannot God do just the opposite and change a sinner into a holy follower of Jesus Christ by the same influence of the truth that causes a man to be born again? Why can’t God do in reverse what Satan did to make man fall?
- Now they may counter with a statement that it is easier to convert Adam from holiness to sinfulness than to convert us from sinfulness to holiness.
- Are we saying that God is incapable or that he has made a human in such a way that this is not possible? Are we blaming God?
- Even if this were true, the motives for holiness are far greater than the motives for sinfulness.
- The Bible never says that sinners in hell have anything besides darkness, spiritual and physical.
- They have no Holy Spirit. The truth cannot be brought to bear upon their spirits who will remain dead through out eternity.
- They have no motive such as pardon and acceptance with God which work to produce repentance and obedience. No sinners will be converted in hell.
- This means that when a sinner rejects the truth, it is fatal to his soul.
- This means that any sinner who is not regenerated is in that state because he has resisted and neglected the truth.
- This means that God cannot do what a sinner is required to do before God and by influence of the Holy Spirit, respond to the truth as presented.
- This view means that the degree of the dependence upon the Holy Spirit reflects the degree of voluntary stubbornness that causes this dependence. The more that the Holy Spirit is needed, the more a person recognizes his own weakness.
- This view shows that the moral law and the gospel of God is made to influence, regenerate, sanctify and save the souls of men.
- This view shows even more why we need to use every means that we can to use as instrumentalities for accomplishing the salvation of mankind. God will not do it as a sovereign act, we must use the means at our disposals to reach the masses.
- This shows how that Hyper-Calvinism is nothing more than a stumbling block to regeneration and to winning men, women and children to Jesus.
- This helps us conclude that original sinfulness, physical regeneration, and anything associated with these false doctrines are subversive to the gospel, repulsive to the intelligence, contrary to the Holy Spirit and the spirit that is in every human being, and they should be discarded as relics of confusion and unreasonableness.
In short, regeneration is not a creative act whereby God does something to the physical constitution of a moral being or they would not be moral beings. Regeneration is rather a process whereby the Holy Spirit influences the will through the spirit of a man and only when a person comes to know the Lord by spiritual knowledge are they born again. This being born again cannot be accomplished by wishing, willing, praying a prayer, or any other human means, it can only be accomplished by a personal meeting with Jesus Christ as illuminated by the Holy Spirit so that a person truly is born of God.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:12-14)
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:9-17)
Regeneration is accomplished by Divine moral suasion by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God which lead a sinner to call upon the name of the Lord receiving Christ as both Lord and Savior and making themselves a life-time servant of Jesus Christ.