The Power of Regeneration

Written By: John - May• 20•14

One of the best books I have ever read on the Holy Spirit is by Sinclair Ferguson. In one chapter he deals with the Spirit’s work in our salvation/regeneration. He said,

“Regeneration is, consequently, as all-pervasive as depravity. On the basis of such statements as ‘the heart is…beyond all cure’ (Jer. 17:9), theologians have spoken of total depravity, meaning not that man is as bad as he could be, but that no part of his being remains untainted by the influence of sin. Regeneration reverses that depravity, and is universal in the sense that, while the regenerate individual is not as holy as he or she might be, there is no part of life which remains uninfluenced by this renewing and cleansing work…The new man is put on; he is constantly being renewed by the Spirit (Col. 3:10), and finally will be resurrected and glorified through his power.” (The Holy Spirit, pages 122-123)

In Ferguson’s statement we find the depth of sin from which we have been saved, the declaration of God’s justification, the work of the Spirit in sanctification, and the hope of our glorification.

Jesus spoke of the Spirit’s work in our salvation/regeneration in John 3. He compared His activity to the wind—it blows where it wishes, you can’t see it, but you do hear it and you do see the effects. Ferguson said, “The Spirit’s presence is recognized exclusively by its effects.” The single greatest source of assurance in my life is the work of the Holy Spirit.

We must look at our lives and ask the hard questions:

  1. Am I different because of the presence of the Holy Spirit? Paul tells us that if anyone is in Christ he or she is a new creation—the old is gone and the new is come. Am I different?
  2. Am I convicted when I sin? There were times in my life that I worried only about being caught—I didn’t worry about the sin as much as I worried about Walter Thweatt finding out that I sinned. The Holy Spirit convicts us when we sin.
  3. Am I disciplined when I continue in sin? The Word of God clearly tells us that God disciplines those whom He loves. You cannot continue in sin singing Happy by Pharrell Williams. If you are a child of God you sin will grieve His Spirit and that will lead to you being disciplined if you do not repent.

Let me wrap this post up by going back to the original quote. I don’t have to be convinced of my depravity. As David said, “For I know my transgressions, and my is ever before me.” It has been over 29 years since I was born again on that creek bank in Pigeon Forge…can I see the signs of regeneration? Can I see the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in my life? Am I more like Jesus? His Spirit has been in me for almost 30 years and I was in the flesh without Him for almost 19 years—surely I should be more like Jesus than the enemy! How about you? Are you closer? Are you more like Jesus? Can you sing what we sang in our 9 AM service Sunday, “If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ‘tis now.”?

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