Hi, James -

You wrote:

> Thank you for your post. I have several questions, but I don't have
> the time right now to compose them. However, I could ask just this
> one that came to mind after I finished reading your essay. You write:
>
> "All who deny The Atonement, including all who believe that Jesus
> Christ died for everyone without exception, are not true Christians."
>
> Do you make a distinction between regeneration and being a true
> Christian? Or are they synonymous?


I welcome your questions. I hope I can be clear.

All true Christians are regenerate. All who are regenerate are true Christians. Perhaps you're asking about the difference between regeneration and conversion.

Regeneration (also known as the new birth) is that grace in which the Holy Spirit brings a sinner from spiritual death to spiritual life, takes away his old heart and old spirit, implants within him a new heart and a new spirit, and indwells him. He is made a new creation, dead to in and alive to God in Jesus Christ, so that he is no longer totally depraved and no longer serves sin. God's grace in regeneration is irresistible; that is, no man is able to resist the motions of the Holy Spirit to regenerate him. Regeneration is never preceded by any condition the sinner meets, can meet, or is enabled to meet. [Deu 30:6; Jer 24:7; Eze 11:19-20; 36:25-27; Zec 4:6; Joh 1:13; 3:3-8; 6:37,44,63; 10:3-5,27; 17:2; Rom 5:5; 6:1-22; 7:6; 8:2,5-16,30; 1Co 15:45; Eph 2:5; 4:22-24; Col 2:11-13; Tit 3:5; Heb 9:13-15; 1Pe 1:23]

Conversion is that grace in which the Holy Spirit causes the sinner to repent and believe the gospel. The regenerate person is given a knowledge and understanding of the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone and the realization that he was unregenerate when he believed a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. He counts all of his former life and deeds, whether religious or irreligious, as dead works, evil deeds, and fruit unto death. Conversion is the immediate and inevitable fruit of regeneration; therefore, a person may not be regenerated without being converted. There has never existed and will never exist a regenerate person who is ignorant of the gospel. Scripture rejects the lie that an unregenerate person can be under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit only leads people to Jesus Christ and His righteousness as the only ground of salvation. [Deu 4:34-35; Isa 45:6,20-25; Mat 13:23; Mar 16:16; Joh 6:40; 8:32; 16:8-11; 17:3; Act 16:14-15; Rom 1:16-17; 3:26; 6:17,21; 7:6; 1Co 2:10-12; 2Co 4:2-6; Eph 1:13; Phi 3:7-8; 2Th 2:13-14; Heb 9:14; 1Jo 5:20]

I hope this helps.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc


Jim wrote:

> I agree with you. My follow-up question is this: What, if any,
> contingency
> precedes regeneration? Would you say a proper belief in
> particular redemption
> (i.e., non-universal atonement) is prerequisite to regeneration?


No contingency precedes regeneration. Proper belief in particular redemption is not a prerequisite to regeneration. Belief in any gospel doctrine is not a prerequisite to regeneration. I encourage you to read the article entitled "Doctrinal Regeneration" at www.outsidethecamp.org/doctregen.htm .

While belief of essential gospel doctrine is NOT a prerequisite to regeneration, belief of essential gospel doctrine IS a necessary and immediate FRUIT of regeneration. When God regenerates someone, He also converts that person, causing that person to believe the gospel (which is made up of certain doctrines) and to repent of believing a false gospel.

I also encourage you and anyone else who is interested to read a series of sermons on the gospel at www.outsidethecamp.org/sermons.htm .

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter
www.outsidethecamp.org


Dear Jim,

You wrote:

> I also agree with this. Now the question is: What is essential gospel
> doctrine?


and

> Again, I agree, but the rub is this: What is the gospel and what are its
> essential doctrines?


and

> Marc, do you know what the glorious gospel is?

and

> Again, I agree with this. But yet again, the question remains:
> What is the
> knowledge of the gospel, specifically, the glorious gospel that
> Paul speaks of?
> Do you believe the glorious gospel and what it refers to?


In my previous posts, I referenced a series of sermons on the gospel that can be found at www.outsidethecamp.org/sermons.htm . The first sermon in the series is entitled "The Gospel - What It Is." The second sermon is "The Gospel - What It Isn't." Sermons three through nine go over "Essential Gospel Doctrine." Sermon ten is entitled "Gospel Repentance and Judgment." These should answer your questions.

Simply, the gospel is God's promise to save His people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. It is the gospel of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. If one is wrong about the person of Christ, he does not believe the gospel. If one is wrong about the work of Christ, he does not believe the gospel.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc


Jim asks:

> Marc, what my question about the essential doctrines of the
> specific gospel
> boils down to is this: How do you define "the mystery" Paul
> refers to in Ro
> 11:25 16:25,26 1Co 2:7 4:1 13:2 14:2 15:1 Eph 1:9 3:3,4,9 5:32
> 6:19 Col 1:26,27
> 2:2 4:3 1Ti 3:9,16. Please note that Paul's goal was "And to make
> all men see
> what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning
> of the world
> hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:" (Eph 3:9).
> Precisely *what* was hidden (held in silence) from the beginning
> of the world, Marc?


The "mystery" that has now been revealed is that the Gentiles are included in the covenant. God did not just love the Jews; He loved the world of both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus did not come just to save the Jews; He came to save the world of both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews and Gentiles are a joint-body, joint-heirs, and joint-sharers in the promise of the gospel.

Eph 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Eph 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Eph 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
Eph 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc


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