Mar 30, 2009

The Faith Experience

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places..." (Ephesians 1: 19, 20 KJV)

Is this work of making a believer out of an unbeliever, the same work that we call "regeneration" or the "new birth"? Or, is it something different? Something that occurs as a "second work of grace" following regeneration? Is the creation of faith a distinct and separate act from the creation of life and a new heart and spirit? Is the faith experience subsequent to the life experience?

These verses answer these questions. They show how the apostle did not make the experience of coming to faith different from the experience of coming to life, of being resurrected and born of the Spirit.

It is clear that the apostle equates the experience of coming to faith, or coming to Christ, as the same as being "quickened" or "raised to life." This is seen in that the apostle says it is the same power that both raises the dead sinner to life and faith.

The apostle mentions the "quickening from the dead" of the body of Christ and then says - "and you (also) has he quickened who were dead..." (2: 1)

Now, why do the Hyper Calvinists want to make this quickening a different experience from that of being made a believer? Why is the experience of 2:1 different from that of 1: 19, 20?

Further, if it is admitted, by the Hyperist, that verses 19 & 20 are speaking of conversion, a post regeneration experience, and of regeneration itself in 2: 1, then what is there, in the passage, that leads us to think of these two experiences as separate and distinct?

The truth is, Paul does not distinguish between regeneration and conversion in these verses. Rather, he equates them. The coming to faith is the coming to life. He could just as well have said - "and you has he quickened and made believers who were dead in sins and unbelief."

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