Archive for the ‘regeneration’ Category

The whole passage ought always to be read with affectionate reverence. It contains words which have brought eternal life to myriads of souls.

We should notice … in these verses, what a mighty change our Lord declares to be needful to salvation, and what a remarkable expression He uses in describing it. He speaks of a new birth.

The change which our Lord here declares needful to salvation is evidently no slight or superficial one. It is not merely reformation, or amendment, or moral change, or outward alteration of life. It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. It is a resurrection. It is a new creation. It is a passing from death to life. It is the implanting in our dead hearts of a new principle from above. It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with a new nature, new habits of life, new tastes, new desires, new appetites, new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears. All this, and nothing less than this is implied, when our Lord declares that we all need a "new birth."

This mighty change, it must never be forgotten, we cannot give to ourselves. The very name which our Lord gives to it is a convincing proof of this. He calls it "a birth." No man is the author of his own existence, and no man can quicken his own soul. We might as well expect a dead man to give himself life, as expect a natural man to make himself spiritual.

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The opening of your hearts to receive the Lord Jesus Christ is not a work done by any power of your own, but the arm of the Lord is revealed therein.

Source: John Flavel, The Method Of Grace

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What does redemption mean? It does not mean redeemability, that we are placed in a redeemable position. It means that Christ purchased and procured redemption. … Did Christ come to make the salvation of all men possible, to remove obstacles that stood in the way of salvation, and merely to make provision for salvation? Or did he come to save his people? Did he come to put all men in a salvable state? Or did he come to secure the salvation of all those who are ordained to eternal life? Did he come to make men redeemable? Or did he come effectually and infallibly to redeem?


Murray comments that the word "call" has more power in the Greek than in its English translation.

If we are to understand the strength of this word, as used in this connection, we must use the word ‘summons.’ The action by which God makes his people the partakers of redemption is that of summons. And since it is God’s summons it is efficacious summons.”


It is calling that is represented in Scripture as that act of God by which we are actually united to Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 1:9). And surely union with Christ is that which unites us to the inwardly operative grace of God. Regeneration is the beginning of inwardly operative saving grace.


The basic religious question is that of our relation to God. How can man be just with God? How can he be right with the Holy One? In our situation, however, the question is much more aggravated. It is not simply, how can man be just with God, but how can sinful man be just with God? In the last analysis sin is always against God, and the essence of sin is to be against God. The person who is against God cannot be right with God. For if we are against God then God is against us. It could not be otherwise. God cannot be indifferent to or complacent towards that which is the contradiction of himself. His very perfection requires the recoil of righteous indignation. And that is God’s wrath. … This is our situation and it is our relation to God; how can we be right with him?

The answer, of course, is that we cannot be right with him; we are all wrong with him. And we are all wrong with him because we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Far too frequently we fail to entertain the gravity of this fact. Hence the reality of our sin and the reality of the wrath of God upon us for our sin do not come into our reckoning. … We are not imbued with the profound sense of the reality of God, of his majesty and holiness. And sin, if reckoned with at all, is little more than a misfortune or maladjustment.

If we are to appreciate that which is central in the gospel, if the jubilee trumpet is to find its echo again in our hearts, our thinking must be revolutionized by the realism of the wrath of God, of the reality and gravity of our guilt, and of the divine condemnation. It is then and only then that our thinking and feeling will be rehabilitated to an understanding of God’s grace in the justification of the ungodly.


Justification is both a declarative and a constitutive act of free grace. It is constitutive in order that it may be declarative. God must constitute the new relationship as well as declare it to be. The constitutive act consists in the imputation to us of the obedience and righteousness of Christ. The obedience of Christ must therefore be regarded as the ground of justification; it is the righteousness which God not only takes into account but reckons to our account when he justifies the ungodly.


source: John Murray, Redemption, accomplished and applied (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1975). 

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For every look at your sin take ten looks at Christ.

Source: Robert Murray McCheyne

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… That act of kindness had a profound effect on Dad. It made him want to be good. He was so filled with gratitude that he decided he was going to change. He was going to be a Christian … The only problem with his plan was that he could no more make himself a Christian than dry bones can will themselves to live.

Jesus said that in order to be saved … a person has to be ‘born again’ (John 3:3). … The new birth Jesus described is called regeneration. John Frame writes that regeneration is "a sovereign act of God, beginning a new spiritual life in us." In regeneration God gives a person a new nature, a new heart, and new spiritual life.

… The problem with Dad’s decision to make himself a ‘good Christian’ at age sixteen was that he hadn’t experienced the miracle of regeneration. … His pseudoconversion after his jail stint was an attempt at self-reform.

Josh Harris later in the chapter describes how his dad truly came to be born again. and ends the chapter with an encouragement to consider our stories as:

God loves us

He chose us

He called us

He regenerated our hearts

He justified us

He adopted us

He is sanctifying us day by day

And one day, when Jesus returns, we’ll receive glorified bodies.

Source: Joshua Harris, ‘How God Saved Gregg Eugene Harris’ Dug down deep : unearthing what I believe and why it matters, 1st ed. (Colorado Springs Colo.: Multnomah Books, 2010).

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A law proposed unto us is not to be compared, for efficacy, to a law inbred in us.

Adam had a law of sin proposed to him in his temptation; but because he had no law of sin inbred and working in him, he might have withstood it. … The law of God was at first inbred and natural unto man; it was concreated with his faculties, and was their rectitude, both in being and operation, in reference to his end of living unto God and glorifying of him. Hence it had a special power in the whole soul to enable it unto all obedience, yea, and to make all obedience easy and pleasant. Such is the power of an inbred law. …

Afterward God renews this law and writes it in tables of stone. But what is the efficacy of this law? Will it now, as it is external and proposed unto men, enable them to perform the things that it exacts and requires? Not at all.

God knew it would not, unless it were turned to an internal law again; that is, until, of a moral outward rule, it be turned into an inward real principle. Wherefore God makes his law internal again, and implants it on the heart as it was at first, when he intends to give it power to produce obedience in his people: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts” (Jer. 31:31-33). …

“The written law,” says God, “will not do it; mercies and deliverances from distress will not effect it; trials and afflictions will not accomplish it.” “Then,” says the Lord, “will I take another course: I will turn the written law into an internal living principle in their hearts; and that will have such an efficacy as shall assuredly make them my people, and keep them so.”

Source: Owen, Indwelling Sin, Chapter 2 ‘What Kind Of Law Indwelling Sin Is’

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Selected Quotes

According to the Bible human depravity is such that the fulfilment of the demands of the biblical ethic is an impossibility

The answer is that we must be brought into the orbit of the forces of redemption. Regeneration is the only way whereby there may begin to be formed in us that disposition and character which have affinity with the demands of holiness.

If we accept the biblical witness to human depravity and iniquity, then there must be a radical breach with sin in its power and defilement if the demands of the biblical ethic are even to begin to be realized in us.

The old man has been crucified and that this is one of the ways in which Paul announces the definitive cleavage with the world of sin, which union with Christ insures. The old man is the unregenerate man; the new man is the regenerate man created in Christ Jesus unto good works. It is no more feasible to call the believer a new man and an old man, than it is to call him a regenerate man and an unregenerate.

The believer is a new man, a new creation, but he is a new man not yet made perfect. Sin dwells in him still, and he still commits sin. He is necessarily the subject of progressive renewal; he needs to be transfigured into the image of the Lord from glory to glory.

Sin does not have the dominion over the person who is united to Christ and is under the governance of redeeming grace. It is this destruction of the power of sin that makes possible a realized biblical ethic.

It is in virtue of union with Christ in his resurrection that the believer is able to walk in newness of life. But if this is union with Christ in his resurrection, it is union with the resurrected Lord in that pneumatic conditioning, endowment, and power which are his. This is why the resurrection of Christ is the dynamic of the biblical ethic; the resurrected Lord is life-giving Spirit and therefore communicates life to those who are in him.

This is the answer to the impossibility of our depravity — the Holy Spirit is dynamic in the realization of the biblical ethic. It is God who works in the saints ‘both to will and to do for his good pleasure’.

Source: John Murray, Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics ‘The Dynamic of the Biblical Ethic’ pp. 202-228.

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