We Have Absolutely Nothing to Do With the First Birth nor the Second Birth

Since the grace of regeneration is monergistic and requires no cooperation from us, its efficacy lies in itself and not in us.  We can do nothing to make it effective; we can do nothing to make it ineffective.  We are as passive with respect to our own regeneration as Lazarus was to his resurrection, and as the universe was to its creation.  We were not cooperating agents in our original biological conception or generation, nor are we active agents in our regeneration.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 189

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What Role Does Monergistic Regeneration Play?

Monergistic regeneration has to do, not with the whole process of redemption, but strictly with the initial condition or first step of our coming to faith.  To be sure, Lazarus acted.  He responded.  He came forth from the tomb.  But the crucial point is that he did none of these things while he was still dead.  He did not respond to the call of Christ until after he had been made alive.  His resurrection preceded his coming forth from the tomb.  His restoration to life preceded his response.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 185

The Central Issues Was Deeper than the Doctrine of Justification

From the vantage point of the twentieth century, it appears that the central issue of the Reformation was the doctrine of justification.  To a degree this is an accurate statement.  But behind and beneath the doctrine of justification was the deeper concern of the graciousness of our savlation, wrought entirely by God himself and by no human achievement whatever.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 181

Don’t Confuse the Sufficiency of the Cross with its Efficacy

To be sure, Christ’s propitiation on the cross is unlimited in its sufficiency or value.  In this sense Christ makes an atonement for the whole world.  But the efficacy of this atonement does not apply to the whole world, nor does it ultimate design.

The atonement’s ultimate purpose is found in the ultimate purpose or will of God.  This purpose or design does not include the entire human race.  If it did, the entire human race would surely be redeemed.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 177

The Atonement is Christ’s Chief Work but It’s Not His Only Work

The atonement is Christ’s chief work as our great High Priest, but it is not his only priestly task.  He also lives as our intecessor with the Father.  His intercession is another means to the end or purpose of the elect’s redemption.  Christ not oly dies for his sheep, but also prays for them.  His special work of intercession is definite in its design (John 17:6-12)

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 175

The Goal of Atonement and The Father’s Ultimate Purpose

The goal of atonement was to save the lost.  Christ loved his church and gave himself for it.  He died in order to save his sheep.  His purpose was to offer reconcilation and redemption for his people.

The Father’s ultimate purpose was to save the elect.  he designed the Son’s atonement to accomplish the goal or end of redemption.  Every Arminian would agree with that.  The issue is this: Was God’s purpose to make salvation for all possible or to make salvation for the elect certain?  The ultimate aim of God’s plan of redemption was to redeem his elect.  To accomplish this end he ordained the means.  One was the atonement made by his Son.  Another was the Holy Spirit’s application of this atonement to the elect.  God provides for his elect all that is necessary for their salvation, including the gift of faith.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 175

God Never Says “That Depends”

It is said that God knows all contingencies, but none of them contingently.  God never says to himself, “That depends.”  Nothing is contingent to him.  He knows all things that will happen because he ordains everything that does happen.  This is crucial to our understanding of God’s omniscience.  He does not know what will happen by virtue exceedingly good guesswork about future events.  He knows it with certainty because he has decreed it.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 172