Celebrating the God Who Already Resurrected Our Souls from the Dead
The doctrine of regeneration leaves the writer an ineffable task. Truly, regeneration, the resurrection of the soul from the dead, is integral to so great a salvation.
The Bible displays this exclusive work of God with exuberance. When the Word speaks of the need for one to be born again, it speaks of new birth. You must be born again of the Spirit, and it is the Spirit that causes one to be born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). The Christian is a new creation, a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10).
When the dead branch is grafted into the living Vine, it is brought to life (Rom 11). The soul, dead to God (1 Cor 2:14) and dead in sin (Eph 2:1–3), is made alive in Christ (Eph 2:5), the true Vine (Jn 15). The life of God is now flowing, and the Christian is spiritually growing (2 Pet 3:18), demonstrated by the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23).
The dead soul is resurrected from the dead in the manner of Lazarus being called forth from the tomb (Jn 11). Jesus said on that occasion, “I am the resurrection and the life; He who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me, shall never die. Do you believe this (Jn 11:25–26)?” Here Jesus differentiated between the soul that now lives forever and the body that will die and live again (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Cor 15).
All of this work (ie. new birth; grafted branch; resurrected soul) is exclusively the work of God in us…without us, that is, without our participation. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new (2 Cor 5:17). The dead (spiritually) hear the voice of Christ, and they live…by His grace (Jn 5:25). Awake O sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ shall give you light (Eph 5:14). It is God who quickens us (Eph 2:4–5). Adam was quickened and so is every elect soul at God’s appointed hour. Lazarus waited unaware, and so do the unregenerate elect.
Regeneration is the inward operation of the Spirit of Christ, as the authoritative preaching of the Gospel by the man of God is actuated by the same Spirit. The Spirit causes the preaching event (Is 61:1), and the Spirit makes the Gospel call in preaching to be made effectual in the chosen hearer (Acts 16:14). Here is the supernatural aspect of regeneration. It is powerful to the saving of souls (Rom 1:16–17; 1 Cor 2:4; Titus 3:5).
God is the Author of salvation (Jon 2:9; Heb 12:2). He begins this good work in the elect soul, and He brings it to completed perfection (Phil 1:6). Salvation is not a possibility; it is a precision work of God. As the life of God begins to flow, the mystery of the Spirit’s work manifests in the actual conversion of the soul. It is a delight to the adopted child and to the church (Rom 8:15, 23; 1 Cor 12:13).
Men made new are walking miracles. He who takes credit for his soul’s resurrection from the dead is a thief and a robber. He is as foolish as the child who claims to have been born without his mother or the adopted child who declares, “I was never an orphan.” We must boast in the Lord (1 Cor 1:31).
The Arminian centers his doctrine and his preaching at this very point. He boasts in his free will choice to decide to let the Spirit resurrect his soul from spiritual death. Free will decisionalists should be ashamed and embarrassed by their theft of glory from God, in their taking credit for conversion without regeneration.
The Arminian insists that faith is a work of man, self-generated to provoke God to act on His promises. The Arminian’s claim to control God never phases him. He cannot see his blasphemy. The Bible declares that God sits in the heavens and does as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6). If God wills to send the Spirit to apply the meritorious work of Christ to some (His elect) and not others (reprobate), then this is His sovereign right.
Many are called, but few are chosen for the Spirit’s regeneration (Mt 22:14). This is the astonishing and sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, which cannot fail to effectually bring to life God’s beloved. Jesus Christ loses none of His own (Jn 10:28–29; Rom 8:31–35), who belong to Him (1 Cor 3:23).
The effect of effectual regeneration is a marvelous display in the object of God’s love (1 Jn 3:1). The will of the child of God is ambitious to please God (2 Cor 5:9). A new mind and a new heart are now activated for life in the Spirit (Ezek 36:26; 1 Cor 2:16). Repentance and faith are daily works of the Spirit in the believer in Jesus. These are works of grace, granted or gifted to the regenerated saint (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim 2:25; Phil 1:29; Eph 2:8).
God spoke life into creation. God spoke life into Lazarus. Not deficient in efficacy, God speaks life into those He predestined to life in Christ Jesus, our Lord. It is an infallible work of God that accomplishes salvation for each one He intended to save from their sins (Rev 13:8; 17:8; Mt 1:21). It is effectual in every single case.
Christian, believe and repent, today and every day, and give thanks to God the Holy Spirit that you do. He has transformed you in mind, heart, and will. In other words, God has re-made you willing, by His grace alone. It is your will to repent and believe, and praise God for granting these that leave you with nothing to boast in except the Father’s election, Christ’s redemption, and the Spirit’s resurrection of your soul in regeneration.
Spokane Valley, Washington
May 4, 2022