The Essential Work of the Holy Spirit in the Salvation of God’s Elect People
The Arminian error begins with the false teaching of conditional election. God looks down the corridor of time to see who chooses Jesus to be his or her Savior, then God elects that person to salvation. The second Arminian error is that Jesus Christ came to die on the cross to make salvation a possibility for those who generate their own faith and decide to make Jesus their Savior.
The Arminian error continues with a mild estimation of the corruption of man after the fall. Using the light of nature and the Law of God, man is led to saving grace. He sees his plight in sin and reasons that Jesus is an able Savior. Man is willing and able to obtain his salvation by his free will choice. The fact that one is saved is credited to his or her own wise decision. At Christmas, pithy statements like, “Wise men still seek Him,” fit the Arminian heresy perfectly.
The great majority of Americans, claiming Christ, have the Arminian heresy as the basis of their faith. Faith was their choice, and their trust is in the faith that saved them.
Against these lies promoted by Arminius, the Remonstrants, and Arminians, today, the Christian position derived from the Bible is notably more God-centered. Whereas Arminianism credits man for his being saved, the Reformed doctrines pertaining to the salvation of man credit God, entirely.
In eternity past, God chose a people for Himself (Rom 11:5; Eph 1:4–5, 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 13:8; 17:8). Before creation, these elect ones were given to Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God (Jn 6:37; 17:2, 6, 24). After creation and after the fall (Gen 1–3), at the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son conceived by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of a virgin, and born of the woman, Mary (Is 7:14; 9:6; Mt 1:20; Gal 4:4).
Jesus Christ came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). He gave Himself up to death, even death on a cross, for His bride, the church (Eph 5:25). He bore the sins of God’s elect in His body on the tree (1 Pet 2:24). He propitiated the sins of the many sons He came to redeem (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10). He saved us, by His meritorious works.
The application of Christ’s works, to God’s elect people, is the operation of the Holy Spirit. This begins, when at God’s appointed time, the Spirit is sent to baptize the elect soul (Mt 3:11; Acts 2:38; 10:45; 11:16). Prior to this event, the person receiving the Spirit of Christ was dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1).
Sin and death is there for everyone in Adam, who has cursed his offspring with original sin (Rom 5:12), him being the federal head of all humanity (Rom 5:12–21). All are conceived in sin and possess a sin nature (Ps 51:5), which influences the flesh to practice sinning (Rom 3:23). By nature, all are children of wrath (Eph 2:3).
There is none who is righteous (has right standing) before God. There is none who understands, nor who is wise to the things of God and man. There is none who seeks after God because of the natural enmity he has against God. There is none who does good, no, not even one (Rom 3:10–12).
Man is totally depraved. There is no willingness to be saved from the wrath of God justly directed at man (Jn 1:12–13). There is also no ability to reform oneself by one’s own flesh (Rom 8:7). The light of nature is no help, nor is the knowledge of the Law of God.
The sole remedy for men, dead to God and dead to the spiritual things of God (1 Cor 2:14), is the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity baptizes and indwells God’s elect redeemed (Jn 14:17; Acts 10:44–45; Rom 8:9, 11). In His work of regeneration, the Spirit makes the sinner alive in Christ (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). He causes the unregenerate to be born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3).
The spiritual birth of the Christian leads to a life led by the Spirit (Gal 5:18). The believer walks by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 25), who causes the Christian to walk in God’s statutes (Ezek 36:27). The Christian life is one of being sanctified by the Spirit of truth (Jn 17:17; Rom 15:16; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2), as a vessel of mercy being fitted for glory (Rom 9:23).
This life of faith in Christ, filled with the Spirit of Christ, is authored and perfected by Christ (Heb 12:2). The blessed hope of the Christian is that Christ, who began a good work in him, will bring it to completion (Phil 1:6).
Christian, it is right to praise each member of the Trinity for His respective work in your salvation. Today, it is God the Spirit willing and working His good pleasure in you (Phil 2:13), so Christ may present you holy and blameless before God the Father (Eph 1:4; 5:27; Col 1:22).
This is the essential work of the Holy Spirit in God’s elect: issuing the Gospel call through preaching; effectually calling the elect; regenerating; converting by granting grace for repentance and faith; justifying us by grace; adopting us; sanctifying us; seeing us through the death of the body and glorifying us on the day of Christ’s return at the resurrection of the dead. For from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36). Give thanks!
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 22, 2022