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Page 164

Read Ephesians 2:4-10:

But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us.

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Can you find all four of the corresponding scriptural characteristics of regeneration in these verses? Explain each.

God's Word ascribes the following four characteristics to the Holy Spirit's regenerational work:

Characteristic - Regeneration is: Example Text:

1. A work of God in which man is passive

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

- John 1:13

2. A sovereign, almighty irresistible work.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

- Philippians 2:13

3. A work which takes place only in the lives of the saved.

No man can come to Me, except thy Father which hath sent Me draw him.

- John 6:44a

4. An instantaneous work.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

- John 3:6

The following stories help illustrate these characteristics:

    "Regeneration is a person's spiritual birth. In your natural conception and birth, how important of a role did each of you perform?" Michelle's catechism teacher asked his class.

    "We were conceived and born by our parents - it was not our work," Michelle answered.

    "That is correct, and it is the same spiritually. God's children are passive in their spiritual conception and birth. This is only the work of their spiritual parent, God the Holy Spirit."

    Who deny the truth that man is passive in his spiritual birth? How does this denial necessitate a denial of man's total depravity? If man was not totally passive and God totally active in a person's regeneration, why would both God and man deserve credit for his salvation?

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