An Effort to Get the Horse Before the Cart: A Study of Regeneration and How it Precedes Faith

A couple months ago, I was asked to provide evidence from Scripture how regeneration could precede faith. The medium of the conversation, Facebook, provided limited means to do this. Taking the time to work out the theology through biblical study, scholarly research, examination of church history, and prayer has rewarded me with a greater grasp on the doctrine. Putting this into writing has also allowed the theology derived from the Scriptures to flow into a system of logic and inspire worship at the same time. That has been the motivation behind this: the desire to worship God rightly. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, “We worship what we know” (Jn. 4:22 ESV). One cannot rightly worship if one does not have an accurate knowledge of God. Worship is a matter of ascribing worth to an object, acknowledging the worthiness of it. We will never be able to fully worship God without error until we are glorified in Him in heaven, but we can and should seek to worship Him rightly by seeking to know Him as revealed in His Word as best as we can. Worship is the goal of theology, and the practice of theological study to the best of one’s ability is part of the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37 ESV). To that end, let us press in to know God’s glory in the doctrine of regeneration.

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David Brainerd: A Life Given for Christ

“I continued in a solemn frame, lifting up my heart to God for assistance and grace that . . . my whole soul might be taken up continually in concern for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom . . . Continued in this frame till I dropped asleep” (Brainerd 167). These are the words of David Brainerd, missionary to the American Indians in the 18th century. Though he was continually afflicted with illnesses and depression, Brainerd persisted in the call on his life to preach the gospel. He lived a short life, dying at the age of 29, but as John Piper says regarding why David Brainerd’s life is significant to him, “Brainerd’s life is a vivid, powerful testimony to the truth that God can and does use weak, sick, discouraged, beat-down, lonely, struggling saints, who cry to him day and night, to accomplish amazing things for his glory” (Kindle Locations 111-113). David Brainerd’s life remains an inspiration for Christians today because it is a testimony of the extraordinary sustaining grace that God gives to even the feeblest of His children to accomplish His will.

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