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Page 368

Does Scripture permit us to speak of a tree as being good, as having a good root, before it brings forth good fruit? Does Scripture permit us to speak of persons as being regenerated before they bring forth the fruits of spiritual life? Why not?

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

- Matthew 7:18-20

Does Scripture give us the right to presume that individuals will be saved, and to view them in that manner, before the evidences of saving grace are evidenced in their lives? Why not?

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.

- Matthew 7:24

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

- Romans 2:13

But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

- James 1:22

An Example Of Dormant Regenerational Teaching

In the second place, we must bear in mind that our covenant seed, exactly because they are covenant seed, are also born again, even as children. The Bible gives every indication that within the sphere of the covenant our elect children are regenerated in infancy, perhaps even before birth. It's true of course that in infancy and early childhood our children are not conscious of this new life they have in Jesus Christ. Nor does that new life immediately bear fruit in their lives, at least not fruit that is discernible to us as parents. Nevertheless, the power of the new life is present, implanted into their hearts by the Holy Spirit.

We may view this new life in our covenant children in much the same way that we view other natural gifts with which our children are endowed even at birth. At birth our children are endowed with the potential of speaking, singing, walking, reading, writing, and a host of other essential things. However, in early childhood our children are neither conscious of these gifts nor are they able to use them. Our children become conscious of these powers and are able to use them only through proper development and training. In much the same way do our covenant children receive the power of the new life in Jesus Christ at birth.

- Rev. J. Slopsema, The Standard Bearer

2. Presumptive (or Presupposed) Regeneration - Presumptive regeneration is a belief that, based upon God's covenant promises, we should presume or presuppose baptized children and young people to be saved until it would be clearly shown by the fruits of their lives that they are not. Such falling away would be shown by breaking with religion, living unrepentantly in public sins, promoting God-dishonoring doctrines, or in other similarly public ways. Public confession of faith, on the other hand, would testify of a desire to remain with God and His church. Presumptive regeneration does not teach that all children are actually in a saving relationship in the Covenant of Grace, but that we must presume they are until the contrary would clearly manifest itself.

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