Systematic Theology II - Lesson 18

The Doctrine of Salvation (Part 4)

Continuing in the logical order of salvation, Rob Lister examines regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption and sanctification.

Bruce Ware
Systematic Theology II
Lesson 18
Watching Now
The Doctrine of Salvation (Part 4)

The Doctrine of Salvation (Part 4)

3. Regeneration: Work of the Holy Spirit that gives the sinner a renewed origination.

4. Conversion: is a two-fold turning to Jesus Christ in faith and away from sin.

a. Repentance: Act of the human will whereby one recognizes the evil and destructive character of sin and turns from them.

1) Intellectual: intellectual recognition of sin

2) Emotional: sorrow and abhorrence of evil

3) Volitional: willful rejection of sin

b. Faith: Conscience act where one who willfully turns from evil simultaneously turns to God in Christ who alone can forgive sin

1) Intellectual: Recognition of God’s truth in contrast to the lies of sin and evil

2) Emotional: Affectional assent to the gospel

3) Volitional: Will to give one’s self to Christ

c. Repentance and faith and the gospel message

5. Justification: God’s declaration that the one who has believed in Jesus Christ stands before him fully righteous by virtue of Christ’s imputed righteousness

a. Main elements of Justification

1) Debt removed

2) Positive acceptance by God (righteousness imputed)

b. Method of Justification

1) Christ’s death is basis of our Justification

2) Grace is accessed instrumentally by faith

c. Results of Justification

1) Peace with God

2) Salvation from God’s wrath

3) Glorification

4) Heirs of the hope of eternal life

6. Adoption: Believers are made legally adopted as sons and daughters of God and as such have all the accompanying privileges and responsibilities

a. Passages of Scripture

b. Privileges

1) Heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ

2) Gift of the Holy Spirit

3) Communion with the Spirit that assures our sonship

4) A hope of future glory

7. Union with Christ (the hub of all the other blessings of salvation)

8. Sanctification: Making us righteous as he works within us to make us like Jesus Christ.

a. Positional Sanctification

b. Progressive Sanctification: Growth in holiness which an outworking of the Spirit’s presence in our lives

  • Both the Old and New Testaments teach that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human. The Old Testament contains specific references to His pre-incarnate existence. The New Testament teaches that the incarnation is an historical event that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christ fulfills the roles of prophet, priest and king. His deity is emphasized by the names of God that are ascribed to Him.

  • The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ had attributes belonging solely to God, and did works that were done by God alone. Christ was worshipped and accepted worship. He Himself claimed to be God.

  • Christ was fully human, as well as fully God. The Old Testament prophesied it and His historical life demonstrated it. Philippians 2: 6-8 uses the word kenosis to explain the relationship between Christ's human and divine natures.

  • The "impeccability" of Christ deals with the question of whether or not Christ could have sinned. The answer to this question has implications for both His life and ministry. (At the 51 minute mark, the reference to "John the Baptist," Dr. Ware meant to say, "John the Apostle.")

  • Delegates at the Council of Chalcedon tried to explain the hypostatic union of Christ's natures. The theological bases for the work of Christ on the cross focus on the sin of humanity and God's holiness and mercy. The atonement is God's self-satisfaction through self-substitution

  • Christ's atoning sacrifice was comprehensive. The different aspects of the atonement may be compared to light refracting through a diamond – you can see different colors, but they are all light. Three aspects of the atonement are sacrifice, substitution and redemption.

  • Three more aspects of the atonement are propitiation, expiation, and reconciliation. Christ's resurrection is a ratification of the efficacy of the atonement.

  • The most significant aspect of the past work of Christ is the atonement. Some people teach that the extent of the atonement is limited, while others teach that it is unlimited. Christ's present work is mediator and Lord. His future work is coming judge and reigning king.

  • Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as having the attributes and performing the actions of a person. He is also shown to have the attributes of God, and is declared to be God. Both the Old and New Testaments cite examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering people.

  • The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is characterized by the empowerment of selective individuals for a temporary period of time, for the purpose accomplishing a specific task. The Old Testament prophets record a vision of the role of the Holy Spirit in the latter days.

  • The Holy Spirit had a central role in the life and ministry of Jesus. Many Old Testament passages prophesied the coming of a Spirit empowered Messiah. The New Testament records specific examples of the involvement of the Spirit in Jesus' life and ministry. Jesus also promises the future coming of the Holy Spirit and describes what he will do.

  • At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came into the world and filled the lives of every believer. The first great work of the Holy Spirit is bringing people to Christ. He also empowers believers for service in the Church where we are remade and conformed to the image of Christ. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is for us to serve one another.

  • The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ and bring attention to Jesus. He does this by empowering believers in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. There are specific gifts of the Spirit and He gives specific gifts to each believer. There is a question about whether all the gifts are still active today. There is also a distinction between people having a certain gift and God performing mighty acts.

  • The Holy Spirit accomplishes the work of regeneration in a person by bringing them new life. The Spirit also indwells and fills a believer, produces fruit and gives us the freedom to become what God created us to be. The Holy Spirit is also the guarantee of the hope of our eternal future in God's presence.

  • Rob Lister, a Garret Fellow, introduces concepts that are basic to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. Salvation is both physical and spiritual, includes all of creation, it is "already, but not yet," and the goal is the glory of God. Election is a key concept in Scripture. Some people think that there is a conditional aspect to election.

  • Rob Lister continues by reviewing the Arminian position (conditional election), then explains the Calvinist view. The Calvinist position is based on God's sovereign rulership over everything, salvation by grace alone, and God's love and justice. There are major differences between the ideas of conditional and unconditional election.

  • Among those who hold to the view of unconditional election, there are those who believe in single predestination, and those who believe in double predestination. There is also a difference between a "general call," and a "special" or "effectual call."

  • Continuing in the logical order of salvation, Rob Lister examines regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption and sanctification.

  • Christ is Lord of the Church and it is formed by the Spirit. As a community, we testify to what God has done in our lives through the ordinances, the proclamation of the word and the testimony of our lives. We worship God together, and Jews and Gentiles are united in one community, testifying to the preeminence of our identity in Christ.

  • The "mystery" of the Church refers to the truth that was formerly concealed, but now revealed. Another aspect of the "mystery" is the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles in one community of faith. There is some debate about whether or not Israel and the Church are the same. The "Body of Christ" and "Bride of Christ" are two metaphors used in the New Testament that refer to the Church.

  • An additional New Testament metaphor for the Church is a "Building," which is made up of the "Cornerstone," "Foundation" and the "Living Stones." "Christ's Flock" is also a metaphor for the Church and relates to Jesus as the "Good Shepherd." There are also passages in the New Testament that give us insight into local congregations by referring to elders as the leaders.

  • New Testament passages give specific instructions about the functions of elders in local congregations. There are also lists qualifications for elders that emphasize character qualities. The roles and qualifications for deacons are also given.

  • The question of the role of men and women in ministry is a significant issue. The main question is, "According to Scripture, is gender particularly and uniquely relevant in assessing whether or not a person is qualified for a given ministry in a church or home?"

    You can download the Roles Handout by right-clicking on the link and selecting the "Save Link As" option. 

  • Different denominations have chosen different models of hierarchy and leadership based on their understanding of Scripture. The two ordinances of the Church are Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are ordained by Christ, point to the Cross, and are to be done in remembrance of what He has done for us.

  • There is value in studying eschatology besides curiosity about what will happen in the future. The three most common views of the millennium that can be supported by Scripture are postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillennialism. Also related to eschatology is the Scriptural teaching regarding physical death and the intermediate state.

  • Within the premillennial position, there is a difference of opinion on whether the rapture will be pretrib, midtrib or posttrib. Regardless of your position on the millennium, there is clear teaching in Scripture about the final judgment and our eternal state. There will be a final judgment and everyone will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.

The second of a two semester class on Systematic Theology.

Dr. Bruce Ware
Systematic Theology II
The Doctrine of Salvation (Part 4)
Lesson Transcript


Father, we are grateful for this opportunity to come together and to study your word, particularly as we think through the doctrine of salvation. Lord, as each of us in here individually confesses, Christ is our Savior. We trust and rest confident in the fact that these benefits that we will talk about today apply to us. The promises pertain to us, and you have included us in Christ, Florida, on the basis of your free and sovereign decision, your free and sovereign wisdom. And we bless you for that, Lord. We pray that you would be with us in our time, be with the doctor, whereas he's away. So we pray that you would be with him in this time and then bring him back to us safely. Next week. We pray in Jesus name. Dr. Weir said that he finished up the discussion of double predestination single predestination last week, and then the doctrine of calling mention in talking about the general call and then the effectual call. And I think you concluded with that in his point being there, of course, that both categories are true. It's a mistake to only affirm one. So we'll pick up this afternoon, as the case may be. Anybody see that with the doctrine of regeneration. So moving through this order salute is a logical ordering of the decrees as it pertains to salvation and the mind of God. And the first one we're going to discuss this afternoon is the doctrine of regeneration. First definition of regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit that gives us a renewed origination. If you're going to put it in short form, it would be something like that work of the spirit that gives the sinner a renewed origination.


If you were to expand on this a little bit, we can say that it's a rebirth or a new birth whereby a new life principle or new governing affection is imparted to us, a new governing disposition is imparted to us, orienting us towards God in Christ. It changes our affections, changes our hearts. So whereas we previously hated God. ROMANS five eight. Now we have an increasing affection for God, disdain for sin, and increasing love of holiness. I don't know if I can say it exactly the same way, but try and work our way back through that and just to make sure you've got it all. It's a rebirth or a new birth whereby a new life principle is imparted. A new governing disposition is given to the individual, given to the sinner, awakening our affections for God so that whereas we once hated God. Whereas we once hated God. ROMANS five eight. We now have an increasing love for God and increasing love for holiness and an increasing disdain of sin. So we're going to talk about in a minute conversion. And when you're working through the order salute is the order of salvation. One of the decisions that you come to, one of the decisions that you have to make is how are you going to rank? Because we're talking about a logical decree in the mind of God, but we're going to put first, we're generation or conversion. And your frame of reference, your big picture thought, thoughts on the doctrine of salvation, the doctrine of God, providence, and whether or not you're a Calvinist or an Armenian is going to shape what you do here. And our minyan is going to put conversion prior to regeneration. The Calvinist. This is Dr. Wares lectures, and I concur with this.


Of course, we're going to go the other way and we'll talk about why that. So we put regeneration and then conversion. So and the argument that's going to be made here is that regeneration precedes conversion and we talk about conversion in a minute. We're going to talk about that in two key aspects repentance and faith, making up the very heart of conversion. But the argument is here for now that regeneration precedes conversion in general. Why is it so what you think of Ephesians two more dead in our trespasses and sins? We can't trust Christ when our raining disposition is as a sinner and total depravity. We can't end here. You know, this gets to the moral and natural inability issues. I say we can't trust Christ. The real reason is that we don't want to. Our governing disposition is such that we are what Romans five eight God haters. So we don't want to trust Christ. So in other words, in order to trust, in order to place faith and repent, we have to be made willing to do that. We have a heart that is unwilling to do that. The general call, the general gospel call goes out that says, Repent from your sins, put your faith in Christ and you'll be saved. But the sinner who is not regenerate doesn't want to do that. They're dead and their trespasses and sins. That command goes contrary, their prevailing disposition. So we have to be made able to do that. That's what your generation does. Makes us willing, as it were, to place faith and repent. And then conversions are opinions of faith are the automatic expression, the automatic but necessary expression of the sinner who has been regenerated. Okay, so where do you places in the order of salvation, regeneration and conversion.


Our minions, of course, would have to go the other way. Talking about providing grace. As we mentioned, at least the last time that I was with you all, they would have to say that enough grace is given, prevent grace is given. That makes this conversion, that makes repentance and faith possible, kind of puts you back into neutral, where you're in a position that you accept or reject and it's on your head, whatever you do. So prevent it, prevent grace renders faith possible, you believe, and in response you're born again. That would be the Armenian argument. Okay, well, let's look at a couple of texts. John Chapter one verses 12 through 13. John Chapter one versus 12 and 13. Looking at some texts. Speaking of the doctrine of regeneration, this is a debated passage. Armenians and Calvinists go opposite ways on this are many and points of this passage, particularly verse 12, and wants to say, you know, look, you have a faith in repentance first and then rebirth. Well, let's read, let's read the text. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. So they are many and says, Look here, verse 12 to it's to all who received him, to all who believed in his name. He gave the right to become children of God. That's their argument.


And this then issues forth and the new birth. But if you pay attention to verse 13, verse 13 emphasizes that the priority goes with regeneration. Why? Because it is a birth that is not of blood, not of the will of man, not of flesh, but of God. So it is a birth. It's a new birth that is initiated by the work of God. You have both aspects here regeneration and conversion, repentance and faith and regeneration. But verse 13 gives clarity to the fact that regeneration has the logical priority because it's a birth that is wrought by God, not the will of man. Another passage first, John five one Take a look over at first John Chapter five, First John Chapter five, verse one, and then I'll point it to a couple of other texts. It have a similar feature. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whomever has been born of him. So in first John one five, we have a perfect participle telling us what has happened to us so that we presently believe. In other words, we presently believe because we have been born of God. You see something similar in 1 John 2:29 and in 1 John 3:9 this perfect participle indicating what has occurred to us and the result of that is our present belief. So 1 John 5:1, 1 John 2:29 and then 1 John 3:9. Now we talked about this in our discussion on the doctrine of election and the different points we made for each camp. We only do what our natures render us capable of doing. Here's the debate between libertarian freedom and compatible is freedom. Libertarian freedom says that you're.


Free to the degree that you could have chosen other than you did. But in libertarian freedom, there's no prevailing reason why you choose A or B. I know Dr. Mares talked about this at length. We won't indulge it for a long period of time. But compatible is freedom, on the other hand, is freedom of nature or freedom of desire. That is, you choose in every moment based on your greatest prevailing desire. You choose on the basis of what it is that you want to do. So your freedom is one of nature. Well, if our nature is characterized by total depravity of our nature, as characterized by our being an atom, then we freely do what it is that we want to do. But the thing that we don't want to do is worship God. Thing that we don't want to do is repent and place faith. We are, as we talked about from Romans chapter one the other week, Idolaters. So we worship the creature rather than the creator, for instance. So we do what our natures render us capable of doing. So to place faith, to repent, for conversion to take place, we have to be given a renewed nature. Our nature has to be changed. And this is what's taking place. And regeneration. When that happens, when the nature is changed, when we were generic by the work of the spirit, given the new birth, then we do what regenerate people do, namely repent and place faith. It's like a blind person who's healed of their blindness up until the time that they are healed of their blindness. They can't see if they're healed miraculously or in any other capacity. Their eyes immediately begin to do what sighted eyes do, namely see. So this is kind of what's taking place in the relation of regeneration generation to conversion.


Let me give you some more texts just on the doctrine and then if you like, we can pause and take some questions. More texts. John Chapter three verses 3 to 8 states in the passage. “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John Chapter three verses 3 to 8. Titus 3:5, “He saved us not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” That's Titus 3:5. First Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again, not a seed, which is perishable, but imperishable.” So, you are born again. The new birth. Let me rattle off a couple of texts here for you. And 1 John, we've already mentioned some, but here are some others. 1 John 4:7. 1 John 4:7. 1 John 5:4. And 1 John 5:18. 1 John 4:7. 1 John 5:4. 1 John 5;18. And then three passages that convey the meaning of what we've been talking about without actually mentioning the new birth. Second Corinthians 5:17. Ephesians 4:24 and Romans 6:3-7, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24, Romans 6:3-7. Okay. Well, we can pause for the moment if there are questions on regeneration before we move to conversion. Yeah, I'll set you up the time and I've told you that regeneration needs conversion and you said I was here, you know. Yeah. What? Yeah. I'm not sure where that charge originates from, other than other than the fact that he doesn't like it. And yeah, it's not something that I've read in the Armenian critique of the Calvinist position. It's not something that's typically charged with heresy. So I'm not sure where that came from.


Yeah. This might betray my knowledge of Armenian teaching debate today because of the Holy Spirit, the conviction of the Spirit of the new role as far as regeneration. Conversion. Yeah. Obviously they're going to argue for the work and the conviction of the Spirit. But here again, God's not going to do what? Violate libertarian freedom. So you know exactly how they work that out. I'll leave to the Armenian to defend. But they are going to argue for the you've got, though, got it in reverse order that you've got conversion and then rebirth. So my best assumption for what they're arguing for is you have conversion, so you have Praveen and Grace. It comes puts your put you in a place where you're capable to exercise faith, but it's not necessary that you will exercise faith. So it's not it's not the effectual call, but proving it Grace comes to the general call. You're not put in a position to repent and believe should you choose to do so. If you do, then the spirit regenerates you. So they're putting it in reverse order. The moment you exercise faith, the spirit grants the new birth and like. But I mean, you have to be the one to exercise faith. And they would give that the priority because of commitment to libertarian freedom and the like. So that makes sense. There's going to put it in the reverse order. Yeah. When you accept Christ, it's just a one. It's not like there's a point in time where you're actually right. You're not speaking chronologically. You're saying regeneration. You are actually having the same time. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember when we talk about the Order of Salvation, we're talking about a logical construct. I mean, and one of the things that we're going to we're going to get to here.


I'll save it for when we get there, but we're going to talk about the Union of Christ. Another way to present the material and the doctrine of salvation is to order everything around the hub of the of union with Christ. And that's a very appropriate way to do it. We'll talk about that when we get there. But, yeah, this is a logical ordering. I mean, so some of the aspects would work out temporally in our experience of it. But I mean, you can pinpoint it on a timeline. The blessings happen together. Revert regeneration and conversion in our experience of them are simultaneous. So yeah, that's a good point. Yeah, but we're election plus time. Mm hmm. Is there more baggage to go along with those two terms or is it just basically double predestination versus single? Is that the only meaning associated with that word or level? And what do you mean by baggage? I guess what I think about I think is professionalism is not just defined by one simple, precise terminology, but it has a whole lot of baggage along with it. In the area of eschatology, in the area of the church structure. Right. I don't know. It seems like it has a lot more areas than say, you know. Right. Right. Well, let's admit in the first place that I mean, your discussion of lap surgery and theology, it's admittedly speculative and everybody's going to admit that. I mean, here you are trying to work out the logical ordering of the decrees in the mind of God. Predominantly, that is the issue that that it gets at in terms of whether or not you're a single or double predestination. But it does play with other things it will affect and in some cases, your view of the extent of the atonement.


You've already talked about this, I know, in class, but one of the positions and I don't know if you covered it in class, but there's another position called Sublets Arianism. It's the route that a lot of Calvinists go who are four pointers. We're not going to bring up that discussion since you've already had it, if you want to ask.