, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.” Chapter X, Paragraph 1
Monergistic Regeneration - The word “monergistic” means “the energy of one.” In regeneration, it refers to the fact that it is the Holy Spirit’s work alone that gives life to man. Some teach a “synergistic” salvation. That is, the work of God is aided by the work of man and they together (syn) work (ergistic) in achieving man’s regeneration. But no, man does not cooperate in his own salvation for the simple fact that, being dead to spiritual things; he is incapable of doing so.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins…. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus…. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Ephesians 2:1, 4-6, 8-9
A good example of how the Spirit works in salvation is through the analogy of the story of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus did not, and indeed could not, cooperate with Christ is his resurrection. He could not exercise, through cooperation, an energy that was not present in his body. After Christ issued his order for Lazarus to “come forth” thereby giving him life, then Lazarus was capable of cooperating with the Lord. As a result, struggling with the grave wrapping he made every effort possible to obey Christ and come out of the tomb. So it is with man in salvation. After the Holy Spirit has imparted life, man is capable of obeying Christ and repenting of his sin and believing on Him as Savior. But as a corpse he is incapable of any such response. Arminians reverse the biblical order and place repentance and faith before regeneration. But that is as impossible as asking Lazarus to struggle forth with his grave wrappings first, in the hope of being given life as a reward for his effort, afterwards. Instead, first the Holy Spirit regenerates, that is, gives life, after life is imparted, the sinner responds in gratitude with repentance and faith.
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. Romans 9:16
…who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:13
Clearly, the work of God in salvation is not dependent on “the man who wills” nor is the new birth dependent on “the will of the flesh.” It is God’s sovereign work. Man does not cooperate in his salvation. His salvation is monergistic not synergistic. It is wholly the work of God.
Resistible Grace - Resistible grace means that the sinner can resist the grace of God in regeneration and thereby thwart the purpose of God’s Spirit in applying the work of Christ to sinners. Irresistible grace means that although all sinners resist the love, mercy and grace of God in salvation, nevertheless, God takes it upon Himself to insure that ultimately his mercy is invincible to the hardened sinner. The efficacy of regeneration lies not in our willingness to cooperate with God but in his sovereign power to overcome our hatred of his holiness.
In Arminianism, grace is necessary for salvation but it is not effectual for salvation. That is, man must have the grace of God to be saved, but grace in itself will not bring a man to salvation. What is the missing element? It is the positive response of the sinner, who is himself, at this point, still “in the flesh.” The grace of Arminianism offers salvation if man will only turn himself to God in repentance and faith. The grace of the Bible does not merely offer salvation; it actually saves, and thereby turns man to God in repentance and faith.
Just as we are not cooperating agents in our own biological generation, our first birth, so we are not cooperating agents in our own spiritual regeneration, our second birth. In both cases the decision to generate comes from another, leaving us passive agents to the will of another.
Regeneration precedes faith because it is itself the necessary condition for faith.
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As taught in the Presbyterian church, Each member of the Trinity participates in the work of salvation. The Father elects, the son redeems, and the Holy Spirit applies the work of Calvary to those elected by the Father and redeemed by the Son. This doctrine is sometimes called Irresistible Grace. What this means is that all those that the Father elects, and the Son redeems, those will certainly be brought to faith by the calling ministry of the Holy Spirit. None for whom Christ died will be lost.
The Westminster Confession of Faith addresses the subject of the Spirit’s effective call in these words. “All those whom God has predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and
Reformed Theology: The Spirit's Effective Call
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