Monday, March 12, 2012

The Damming Effect of Decisional Regeneration (Part I)

The Gospel for Believers

Paul wrote to the Christian believers in Rome, “So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” (Romans 1:15, ESV) Why would he want to preach the gospel to men and women who were already Christians? In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received, in which also you stand…” (I Corinthians 15:1, NASB) Again, I ask you, why would Paul preach again the gospel that first of all he had already preached, and second, they had accepted, and third were committed to?

There are a number of reasons for this of course. The gospel, for Paul, was not just a call to saving faith. It was a call to continue in a daily walk of faith. The gospel converts the unconverted and completes the converted. We make a drastic and dangerous mistake when we relegate the gospel to just the unbelievers. The gospel is for believers!

I agree with Milton Vincent (A Gospel Primer) when he wrote, “God did not give us His gospel just so we could embrace it and be converted. Actually, He offers it to us every day as a gift that keeps on giving to us everything we need for life and godliness.” [1]

If you read Paul very carefully you will note that in each of his epistles he spends almost if not half of his letter restating the gospel. Paul rehearses the gospel to the recipients of each of his letters. Once he has carefully restated the historical data concerning the gospel of God, he then demonstrates how those gospel facts apply to their lives. Paul restates the gospel message so that it is accurately recalled and brings each believer to the same page in order to show how those gospel truths affect their lives.

False Assurance

The most damming and destructive effect of decisional regeneration is the false assurance it produces. When asking an individual such questions as, “How do you know you are “saved,” or “What are you placing your confidence in,” or “Why do you think God should let you in His heaven,” we usually are given the answer, “On such and such a date I asked Jesus into my heart.”  Or, one may hear, “I made a decision for Jesus.”

First of all, such terms and expressions as “receive Jesus,” ask Jesus into your heart,” or “pray the sinner’s prayer” are not biblical terms. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to receive Jesus or ask Jesus into our hearts. Second, a date upon which one hangs their eternal security is not necessarily the grounds for assurance of one’s salvation.

Neither the bible nor the gospel for that matter advocates using a date or a decision for assurance of salvation. Are you shocked? You should be! So, you say, “What does the bible teach about assurance?

To be continued...

[1] Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer, (Bemidji: Focus Publishing, 2008), p.5


Persis said...

Looking forward to these posts. It seems like decisional regeneration and non-Lordship salvation go hand in hand.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I to will look forward to the post.

Have a good day.

Scott said...

You mean we're actually supposed to call people to repentance the way the Bible does? You mean "asking Jesus into my heart" isn't enough? You mean it's not just about God voting for me and Satan voting against me and me getting the deciding vote? Oh, the horror!!!! What will we do???? Sorry, I'm on full sarcastic mode today. Good post, looking forward to more.

Leslie Wolf said...

Excellent post.

Sinclair Ferguson gave a great lecture on assurance called "Blessed Assurance & Bickering Theologians" at the 2006 Westminster Confession for Today Conference. It is available free through iTunes. I highly recommend it - was very helpful to me when I first started studying Reformed theology.

Gregg said...

Persis - You are so right, they both go together in an ugly way. Thanks, hope this series is a blessing to you.

Yvonne - thanks for being such a faithful reader! Hope this series is a blessing to you also.

Scott - sarcasm is good sometimes, it can get a point across. Repentance is the missing element in most gospel presentations.

Leslie - thanks for stopping by. I haven't heard his presentation but knowing him it has to be both good and right on!

Petra said...

Awesome posts, Gregg!