One of my students today got a Miss Roberts’ Patented Five-Minute Bonus Lesson ™. Seems a friend of hers had been given some pretty half-hearted and misleading information about a pretty dang important theological concept, so we talked about regeneration, salvation in general, and perseverance, for about an hour this morning.
I love my job.
So, in the course of the conversation, I drew a little stick figure guy running away from Jesus (you know, as one does*) and said to myself, “I shall turn this into a blog series.” Way to go, self. So. Gather ’round, boys and girls, time for Stick Figure Theology!**
This is Joe. Joe is unregenerate.
Because Joe is unregenerate, he hates the things of God. Though burdened with sin (look! A bag of sin! Or… a… Samsonite carry-on suitcase full of sin!), Joe runs from Jesus, and refuses to hear the good news of salvation. He loves and cherishes his sinful nature, and wants nothing more than to follow his own path.
Joe is SCREWED.
Something must happen for Joe to turn to Jesus for salvation. So because God has set His love on Joe from the eternal, timeless past, God sends the Holy Spirit to give Joe a completely new heart and nature. This new heart desires the things of God, hates sin, and wants to be like Jesus. While Joe’s old nature was insensitive to conviction of sin and the voice of the Spirit, this new nature hears and responds to God, and feels the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
That is supposed to be the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. I am clearly not an artist. Moving on.
Joe’s new heart causes him to want to cast off the sin that burdens him, and to turn to Jesus. So, when he hears the Good News of a Savior who took his sin and gave him perfect righteousness, he does just that! Joe repents and believes the Gospel.
Lemme sum up. Joe, in his unregenerate state, neither desires to worship God nor is able to. In a miraculous action of undeserved grace, God’s Spirit replaces Joe’s sinful nature with a new nature — one that desires salvation and longs to worship God, and that actually CAN worship God. Joe then responds when he hears the Gospel, something he could not and did not want to do before. He turns from sin and turns to Jesus, his only hope.
That’s Stick Figure Theology: Regeneration. Stay tuned for more Stick Figure Theology updates.
*Actually, one DOES do this all the time. Just ask one’s students.
** Please excuse the crudity of these drawings.***
*** I have always wanted to say that.