Is either conversion or regeneration an ongoing event? Is either reversible or repeatable?


Although in conversion we have an active part, without God working in us first, enabling us to answer the gospel, we never would. So though it looks like we are the author of conversion, and may even feel like it to some when it is happening, it is in fact, as I said in the previous answer, God who is ultimately the author conversion. This is in fact, the same logic that the author of Hebrews uses to encourage believers to run the marathon of the Christian life, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2) The Canons of Dort Article 12 states that, “when God hath done his part, it should remain in man’s choice to be or not to be regenerate; to be or not to be converted: but in a very supernatural, a most powerful, and withal most sweet, a wonderful, hidden, working, being, the mightiness thereof, (according to the scriptures, which are the doubtless word of the very author o this mighty work,) not inferior to the creation of the world, or raising of the dead (John 5:25, Romans 4:17). So that all those, in whose hearts God worketh after this admirable manner, are certainly, infallibly, and effectually regenerated, and actually believe (Phil. 2:13). And then the will, being now renewed, is not only drawn and moved by God, but, God having now set it on going, itself also worketh: whereupon a man is rightly said, by this grace received, himself to repent and believe.” No, all men are not enabled to believe. The Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 10:5 states, “Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come to Christ, and therefore can not be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may is without warrant of the Word of God.” So often we ask people, “Do you know God?”, and maybe the better question would be, “Does God know you?” I heard an illustration once about, how all of us know who the President of the United States is. And say for instance we really wanted to see him, and somehow got through all the security and were able to get to the front door of the Whitehouse and knock on the door. Well, now we have a security guard who answers the door, and says, “Can I help you?”, and you say, “I am here to see the President”. The next question he asks is, “Does he know you?” Now, you could say you know him all day, but unless he knows you, it does’t really matter. What does Jesus say in Matthew 7:23? He says, “depart from me, for I never knew you” In John 8:42, why does Jesus say the Pharisees he is rebuking not love him? Because God is not their Father. Why do they not understand this? It is because their father is the devil, so they cannot bear to hear his word. (vs. 43) These are deep rooted issues, rooted in who they are, not who they choose to be or choose not to be. They didn't will themselves to be children of the devil, and they cannot will themselves to be children of God. They can’t make themselves love and understand the things of God, anymore than a shark can decide to be a vegetarian. Why? Because they don’t want to. Their desires are rooted deeply in the natures of who they are. “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:5) Jesus says some are given the ability to understand the kingdom, and some are not: “Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matthew 13:10-11) We don’t work hard to understand the kingdom, and thus become one of the elect. No. We understand the kingdom, because we are one of the elect. God does the choosing, God does the revealing. We can’t choose to reveal the secrets of God’s kingdom to ourselves. It God’s kingdom, not ours. He does the revealing. They are his secrets. He reveals them to who he wishes. In the same way, we don’t follow Christ to become one of the elect. We follow Christ, because we are one of the elect. John 10 uses the terminology of sheep. Sheep don't choose their shepherd. They aren't mysteriously born somewhere and wake up one day when they come of age, and say to themselves, “you know, I am a sheep, I better go find a shepherd, because thats what sheep do, they get shepherds” and then go out wandering around through the fields, looking for a shepherd. No. That doesn’t make sense. Sheep are born with a shepherd. Now sometimes sheep get lost, and wander away. And thats what we are pictured as, before we come to him. He is the shepherd, who came to seek and to save that which was lost. He is the shepherd who came to lay down his life for his sheep. He is the shepherd who came to gather us in, to cause us to lay down in green pastures or along still waters as Psalm 23 would say. We don't follow Christ, to become one of the elect (his sheep). We follow Christ, because we hear his voice through the preaching of the gospel. There is something in it that we recognize, because we are one of his, something in it that resonates with us, so we follow him. Thats why we follow Christ, not to become one of his, but because we are one of his. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)


© 2014 by CORAM DEO MISSIONS

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