Opening the Way to His Fatherly Heart

Dane Ortlund: Yes, justification is received with genuine human faith. But listen to Bavinck: If for insignificant, guilty, and impure persons there is to be a possibility of true religion, that is, of genuine fellowship with God, of salvation and eternal life, then God on his part must reestablish the broken bond, again take them into fellowship with him and share his grace with them, regardless of their guilt and corruption. He, then, must descend from the height of his majesty, seek us out and come to us, take away our guilt and again open the way to his fatherly heart. If God were to wait until we . . . had made ourselves worthy, in part or in whole, to receive his favor, the restoration of communion between him and ourselves would never happen, and salvation would forever be out of reach for us. –Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 4:204-5

Mighty to save

C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, January 14, morning reading: Isaiah 63:1 “Mighty to save” By the words “to save” we understand the whole of the great work of salvation, from the first holy desire onward to complete sanctification. The words are multum in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word. Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but he is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but he is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of his name to bend the knee before him. Nay, this is not all the meaning, for the divine power is equally seen in the after-work. The life of a believer is a series of miracles wrought by “the Mighty God.” The bush burns, but is not consumed. He is

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Taking a stand for Monergism

“It is wrong to suppose that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that storm center of the Reformation, was the crucial question in the minds of such theologians as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin. This doctrine was important to the Reformers because it helped to express and to safeguard their answer to another, more vital, question, namely, whether sinners are wholly helpless in their sin, and whether God is to be thought of as saving them by free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying them for Christ’s sake when they come to faith, but also raising them from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit in order to bring them to faith.” – Michael Haykin

Monergistic Regeneration

From John Hendryx: Since faith is infinitely beyond all the power of our unregenerated human nature, it is only God who can give the spiritual ears to hear and eyes to see the beauty of Christ in the gospel. God alone disarms the hostility of the sinner turning his heart of stone to a heart of flesh. It is God, the Holy Spirit, alone who gives illumination and understanding of His word that we might believe; It is God who raises us from the death of sin, who circumcises the heart; unplugs our ears; It is God alone who can give us a new sense, a spiritual capacity to behold the beauty and unsurpassed excellency of Jesus Christ. The apostle John recorded Jesus saying to Nicodemus that we naturally love darkness, hate the light and WILL NOT come into the light (John 3:19, 20). And since our hardened resistance to God is thus seated in our affections, only God, by

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Spiritual Life & Faith in Jesus

“Spiritual life and faith in Jesus come into being together. The new life makes the faith possible, and since spiritual life always awakens faith and expresses itself in faith, there is no life without faith in Jesus. Therefore, we should never separate the new birth from faith in Jesus. From God’s side, we are united to Christ in the new birth. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. From our side, we experience this union by faith in Jesus.” – John Piper, Finally Alive (Scotland, UK; Christian Focus, 2009), 32. (HT: Of First Importance)

Are Faith, Repentance and Sanctification Synergistic?

John Hendryx, at Reformation Theology, posts a good answer to an enquirer concerning the believer’s role in sanctification: Visitor: I think that conversion and regeneration are mongergistic; but is repentance synergistic, and faith synergistic; is sanctification synergistic? Response: In a manner of speaking yes. One could say that technically only regeneration is monergistic. This is because it is the only grace God gives us when we are utterly passive, or even hostile to Him. We do not cooperate with God to be regenerated. He regenerates us and, as a consequence of our new heart and the Spirit living in us, we most willingly cooperate. And, like you appear to conclude in your question, it is we, and not God, who actually exercise faith and repentance. Yet, I must admit that I am uncomfortable with the word “synergism” when applying it to faith, repentance and sanctification. This may perhaps be an improper word since these things effectually arise from a renewed

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Sovereign Spirit

This week’s sermon from John Piper: “The Free Will of the Wind” The Wind has a will of his own. We don’t control the Wind of God’s Spirit. He gives the new birth as he pleases. His will is decisive, not ours. For sure, our will moves when we receive the new birth—it moves toward the crucified Christ. But the decisive Mover is the Spirit. He gets the credit for our new birth. The free will of the Wind is threatening to those who would be captain of their own souls. But to those who know they are desperate, dead in sin, and utterly unable to save themselves, this truth can be thrilling. (HT: David Mathis) Here’s an excerpt: