Helpful References to Monergistic Regeneration from Church History
edited by John Hendryx -
Also available in (Kindle .mobi ) & (ePub Version) formats
To download eBook, click the link and select "Save Target As..." or "Save Link As..."
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, the following are Christians in the course of the history of the Church who believed and taught monergistic regeneration: (we will add to this list as more resources are found)
Scripture, Augustine, Council of Orange, Martin Luther (who considered this doctrine the heart of the Reformation), John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, Blaise Pascal, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, John Flavel, Thomas Manton, William Gurnall, Thomas Watson, Thomas Boston, Stephen Charnock, Francis Turretin, more Puritans of the 17th century including all the signatories of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and other church creeds and confessions, George Whitefield, Augustus Toplady, John Newton, Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, J. C. Ryle, A. W. Pink, John Murray and some contemporary pastors and theologians such as Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, R.C. Sproul, Iain Murray, J.I. Packer, and signatories to the Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and more...
"And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live." - Deut 30:6
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. - Ezek 36:27
"Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple." - Psalm 65:4
"He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.'" - Matthew 16:15-17
"John answered, 'A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.'" - John 3:27
"For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will" - John 5:21
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me [i.e. believe in me] unless it is granted him by the Father." - John 6:63-65 [All of God's operations in the economy of salvation proceed from the Father, are through the Son, and are executed by the Spirit. No one believes unless God grants it]
"All that the Father gives to me will come to me" (i.e. believe in me) - John 6:37 [all whom God grants to the Son, believes]
"Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." - John 8:47
"He [Jesus] said, 'To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that "seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand." - Luke 8:10
"One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul." - Acts 16:14
"...it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." - Rom 9:16
"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." - John 1:13
"...no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except in the Holy Spirit." - 1 Cor 12:3
"What have you that you did not receive?" - 1 Cor. 4:7
"In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." - 2 Cor 4:4-6
" In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raise...d with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." - Colossians 2:11-14
"But by the grace of God I am what I am" - 1 Cor. 15:10
"The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." - Prov 16:9
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."..."Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." - John 3:3-5
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive [quickened us] with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved." - Ephesians 2:4-5
"The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both." - Proverbs 20:12
"For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." 1 Thess 1:4-5
"...the Son gives life to whom he will." - John 5:21
"...Christ Jesus has made me his own" - Philippians 3:12
"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God."- 1 John 5:1
"And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live...Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD."
- Ezekiel 37:14
"Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction." - 1 Thessalonians 1:5
Grace is not a reward for obedience; obedience is the result of grace. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." - 1 Corinthians 1:30
"Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have GIVEN HIM ... I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have GIVEN ME, for they are yours."
- John 17:2, 9
At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one... knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. - Matt 11:25-27
"Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners" - 1 Timothy 1:12-17
"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." - Job 42:2
QUOTES FROM CHURCH HISTORY:
For them [the Pelagians], grace means the knowledge with which the Lord God helps us, by which we can know what our duty is. The true meaning of grace, however, is the love that God breathes into us, which enables us with a holy delight to carry out the duty that we know.
Augustine - Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 4:11
Can you say, ‘We will first walk in His righteousness, and will observe His judgments, and will act in a worthy way, so that He will give His grace to us’? But what good would you evil people do? And how would you do those good things, unless you were yourselves good? But Who causes people to be good? Only He Who said, ‘And I will visit them to make them good,’ and, ‘I will put my Spirit within you, and will cause you to walk in my righteousness, and to observe my judgments, and do them’ (Ezek.36:27). Are you asleep? Can’t you hear Him saying, ‘I will cause you to walk, I will make you to observe,’ lastly, ‘I will make you to do’? Really, are you still puffing yourselves up? We walk, true enough, and we observe, and we do; but it is God Who He makes us to walk, to observe, to do. This is the grace of God making us good; this is His mercy going before us.
Augustine - Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 4:15
"To will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace." - Augustine
"God bids us do what we cannot, that we may know what we ought to seek from him."- Augustine
"Grace alone brings about every good work in us."- Augustine
"Nature is common to all, but not grace."- Augustine
"The grace of God does not find men fit for salvation, but makes them so."- Augustine
"The nature of the Divine goodness is not only to open to those who knock. but also to cause them to knock and ask."- Augustine
"Let God give what he commands, and command what he will."- Augustine
"Grace does not destroy the will but rather restores it."- Augustine
"In some places God requires newness of heart [Ezek 18:31]. But elsewherre he testifies that it is given by him [Ezek. 11:19; 36:26]. But what God promises we ourselves do not do through choice or nature; but he himself does through grace."- Augustine
"Indeed, God requires faith itself of us; yet he does not find something to require unless he has given something to find."- Augustine
'Can we possibly, without utter absurdity, maintain that there first existed in anyone the good virtue of a good will, to entitle him to the removal of his heart of stone? How can we say this, when all the time this heart of stone itself signifies precisely a will of the hardest kind, a will that is absolutely inflexible against God? For if a good will comes first, there is obviously no longer a heart of stone.' - Augustine
"Since these things are so, everything that is commanded to human beings by the Lord in the holy Scriptures, for the sake of testing human free will, is either something we begin to obey by God's goodness, or is demanded in order to show us our need of grace to do it. Indeed, a person does not even begin to be changed from evil to good by the first stirrings of faith, unless the free and gratuitous mercy of God produces this in him…. So, therefore, we should think of God's grace as working from the beginning of a person's changing towards goodness, even to the end of its completion, so that he who glories may glory in the Lord. For just as no-one can bring goodness to perfection without the Lord, so no one can begin it without the Lord."
- Augustine, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 2:23
The following Quotes form Augustine are compilled by Dr. N.R. Needham (with references)
A definition of grace
The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord must be understood as follows: grace is the only thing that delivers human beings from evil; without it, they do absolutely nothing good, whether in thought, or in will and emotion, or in action. Grace not only makes known to people what they ought to do, but also enables them to perform with love the duty that they know.
The apostle Paul certainly asked God to inspire the Corinthians with this good will and action when he said, ‘Now we pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear to be approved, but that you should do what is good’ (2 Cor.13:7). Who can hear this and not wake up and confess that the Lord God is the One Who turns us away from evil so that we do good? For the apostle does not say, ‘We admonish, we teach, we exhort, we rebuke.’ He says, ‘We pray to God that you do no evil, but that you should do what is good.’ Of course, he was also in the habit of speaking to them, and doing all those things which I have mentioned — he admonished, he taught, he exhorted, he rebuked. But he knew that all these things which he was openly doing in the way of planting and watering were of no avail, unless He Who secretly gives the increase answered his prayer on the Corinthians’ behalf. For as the same teacher of the Gentiles says, ‘Neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God Who gives the increase’ (1 Cor.3:7).
On Rebuke and Grace, 3
Two more definitions
Listen to the apostle Paul when he says, ‘Love is the fulfilment of the law’ (Rom.13:10). How do we obtain the love? By the grace of God. By the Holy Spirit. For we could not have it from ourselves, as if we created it for ourselves. Love is the gift of God. And a great gift it is! For the apostle says, ‘The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who was given to us’ (Rom.5:5).
Sermons on John, 17:6
For them [the Pelagians], grace means the knowledge with which the Lord God helps us, by which we can know what our duty is. The true meaning of grace, however, is the love that God breathes into us, which enables us with a holy delight to carry out the duty that we know.
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 4:11
No-one has any right to God’s grace
The grace of Christ, without which neither infants nor adults can be saved, is not bestowed on account of any virtues, but is given gratuitously, which is why it is called ‘grace’. As Paul says, ‘being justified freely through His blood’ (Rom.3:24). So those who are not liberated by grace are indeed justly condemned ¾ those who are not yet able to hear, those who are unwilling to obey, or again those who did not receive (at the time when their youth made them unable to hear) that washing of regeneration, which they might have received and through which they might have been saved. All these are justly condemned, because they are not without sin, either the sin that they have derived from their birth, or the sin that they have added from their own misconduct. ‘For all have sinned’ whether in Adam or in themselves ‘and come short of the glory of God’ (Rom.3:23).
The entire mass of humanity, therefore, becomes liable to punishment. And if the deserved punishment of condemnation were inflicted on all, it would without doubt be righteously inflicted. Consequently, those who are delivered from punishment by grace are called, not vessels of their own virtues, but ‘vessels of mercy’ (Rom.9:23). Whose mercy? God’s ¾ the One Who sent Christ Jesus into the world to save the sinners whom He foreknew, and predestined, and called, and justified, and glorified. Now, who could be so madly insane as to fail to give inexpressible thanks to the mercy which liberates whom it chooses? The person who correctly appreciated the whole subject could not possibly blame the justice of God if He utterly condemned all people absolutely.
On Nature and Grace, 4-5
There is no true goodness in us prior to our conversion
You [Julian of Eclanum] think that a person is helped by the grace of God in a good work, in such a way that grace does nothing to stir up his will towards that good work. Your own words sufficiently declare this. For why have you failed to say that a person is aroused by God’s grace to a good work, as you have indeed said that he is aroused to evil by the suggestions of the devil? Why have you merely said that a person is always ‘helped’ in a good work by God’s grace? As if by his own will, and without any grace of God, he undertook a good work, and then was divinely helped in the work itself, on account of the virtues of his good will. In that case, grace is rendered as something due, rather than given as a gift — and so grace is no longer grace. But this is what, in the Palestinian verdict [the synod of Diospolis — see Introduction], Pelagius with a deceitful heart condemned, namely, that the grace of God is given according to our virtues.
Tell me, please, what good Paul willed while he was still Saul, when he was in fact willing great evils, breathing out slaughter as he went, in a horrible darkness of mind and madness, to destroy Christians? What virtues of Saul’s good will prompted God to convert him by a marvellous and sudden call from those evils to good things? What shall I say, when Paul himself cries, ‘Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us’ (Tit.3:5)? And what about that saying of the Lord which I have already mentioned, ‘No one can come to Me’ — that is, ‘believe in Me’ — ‘unless it has been granted to him by My Father’ (Jn.6:65)? Is faith given to the person who is already willing to believe, in recognition of the virtues of his good will? Or rather, is not the will itself stirred up from above, as in the case of Saul, in order that he may believe, even though he is so hostile to the faith that he persecutes believers?
Indeed, how has the Lord commanded us to pray for those who persecute us? Do we pray that the grace of God may reward them for their good will? Do we not rather pray that the evil will itself may be changed into a good one? Surely the saints whom Saul was persecuting prayed for Saul, that his will might be converted to the faith which he was destroying; and they did not pray in vain. Indeed, the obviously miraculous nature of Saul’s conversion made it clear that it originated in heaven. How many enemies of Christ at the present day are suddenly drawn to Him by God’s secret grace! And let me set down this word from the gospel: ‘No-one can come to Me, unless the Father Who sent me draws him’ (Jn.6:44). What would Julian not have said against me, if it were not for that verse? As it is, he is rousing himself, not against me, but against Christ Who spoke these words. For He does not say, ‘unless He leads him,’ which would have allowed us to think that the person’s will went beforehand. But who is ‘drawn,’ if he was already willing? And yet no-one comes unless he is willing. Therefore in wondrous ways a person is drawn into a state of willingness, by Him who knows how to work within the very hearts of human beings. Not that unwilling people are made to believe, which cannot be. Rather, unwilling people are
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 1:37
The proud Pelagian takes the credit for his own goodness
What good does it do the Pelagians to praise free will by saying, ‘grace assists everyone’s good resolution’? We could accept this without hesitation as being said in a Catholic spirit, if they did not attribute worthiness to the good resolution. For that would mean that God’s assistance was now a wage paid as a debt to this worthiness ¾ and that is no longer grace. They need to understand and confess that even that good resolution itself, which grace then comes and assists, could not have existed in a person if grace had not gone before it. How can there be a good resolution in someone without the mercy of God going first, since it is the good will which is itself prepared by the Lord?
When the Pelagians say that ‘grace assists everyone’s good resolution,’ and then add, ‘yet grace does not infuse the love of virtue into a heart that resists,’ even this might be understood in a right sense, except that we know what they really mean. For in the case of the heart that resists, God’s grace itself first of all makes the heart willing to hear the divine call; and then, the heart no longer resisting, grace kindles the desire for virtue. So then, in everything where anyone does anything in accordance with God, God’s mercy works first. And this our adversaries will not confess, because they choose to be not Catholics, but Pelagians. For it gives much delight to a proud ungodliness to think that, even when a person is forced to acknowledge that the Lord has given him something, it was not given as a gift, but paid in return for something. In this way, the children of destruction, not of the promise, think that they have made themselves good, and that God has repaid the self-made virtuous the reward they deserve for their work.
This is the pride that has blocked up the ears of the Pelagians’ hearts, so that they do not hear, ‘For what do you have that you did not receive?’ (1 Cor.4:7) They do not hear, ‘Without Me you can do nothing’ (Jn.15:5) They do not hear, ‘Love is from God’ (1 Jn.4:7) They do not hear, ‘God has dealt out to each one a measure of faith’ (Rom.12:3). They do not hear, ‘The Spirit breathes where He wills’ (Jn.3:8), and, ‘Those who are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’ (Rom.8:14). They do not hear, ‘No-one can come to Me, unless it has been granted to him by My Father’ (Rom.8:14). They do not hear what Ezra writes, ‘Blessed is the Lord of our fathers, Who has put into the heart of the king to glorify His house which is in Jerusalem’ (Ezra 7:27). They do not hear what the Lord says through Jeremiah, ‘And I will put My fear into their heart, so that they will not depart not Me. Yes, I will visit them to make them good’ (Jer.32:40-41).
And especially they do not hear that word spoken by Ezekiel the prophet, where God fully shows that He does not make people good (that is, obedient to His commands) because He is moved by worthy qualities in them. No, He repays people good for evil, by doing this for His own sake, and not for theirs. For He says, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations, where you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, I will cleanse you. A new heart also I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them’ (Ezek.36:22-27).
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 4:13-14
God is the source of the new heart and Christian obedience
What does the putrid flesh of humanity have left to puff itself up with, and to refuse to glory in the Lord? Whatever it claims it has done to achieve virtue by its own effort, so that God must then reward it — against all such claims it shall be answered, it shall be exclaimed, it shall be contradicted, ‘I do it; but for My own holy name’s sake; I do not do it for your sakes, says the Lord God’ (Ezek.36:22). Nothing so overthrows the Pelagians when they say that the grace of God is given according to our virtues. (In fact, Pelagius himself condemned this view, although he did not embrace the correct one — he was just afraid of the Eastern judges.) Nothing so overthrows the arrogance of people who say, ‘We do it, that we may by our virtues establish a basis for God to work.’ It is not Pelagius that answers you, but the Lord Himself: ‘I do it, and not for your sakes, but for My own holy name’s sake.’ For what good can you do out of a heart that is not good? But in order that you may have a good heart, He says, ‘I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you’ (Ezek.36:26).
Can you say, ‘We will first walk in His righteousness, and will observe His judgments, and will act in a worthy way, so that He will give His grace to us’? But what good would you evil people d? And how would you do those good things, unless you were yourselves good? But Who causes people to be good? Only He Who said, ‘And I will visit them to make them good,’ and, ‘I will put my Spirit within you, and will cause you to walk in my righteousness, and to observe my judgments, and do them’ (Ezek.36:27). Are you asleep? Can’t you hear Him saying, ‘I will cause you to walk, I will make you to observe,’ lastly, ‘I will make you to do’? Really, are you still puffing yourselves up? We walk, true enough, and we observe, and we do; but it is God Who He makes us to walk, to observe, to do. This is the grace of God making us good; this is His mercy going before us.
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 4:15
Without Me, you can do nothing
The Pelagians think they have good grounds for accusing us of false teaching when we say, ‘God inspires an unwilling and resisting person with the desire,’ not for any very great good, but ‘even for imperfect good.’ Possibly, then, they themselves are keeping open a place for grace (at least in some sense) by thinking as follows: a person can have the desire for good without grace, but only for imperfect good; he could not easily have the desire for perfect good even with grace, but without grace he could not desire perfect good at all.
But actually, even this view sees God’s grace as being given according to our virtues (which Pelagius, in the church synod in the East, condemned, merely from the fear of being condemned). For if the desire for good begins from ourselves without God’s grace, virtue itself will have begun — and to this virtue, the assistance of grace then comes, as if it were owed. Thus God’s grace is not bestowed freely, but is given according to our virtue. However, in order that he might provide a reply to the future Pelagius, the Lord does not say, ‘Without Me, it is with difficulty that you can do anything,’ but He says, ‘Without Me, you can do nothing’ (Jn.15:5). And, that He might also provide an answer to these future heretics, in that very same Gospel saying He does not say, ‘Without me you can bring nothing to perfection,’ but ‘do’ nothing. For if He had said ‘bring nothing to perfection’, they might say that God’s help is necessary, not for beginning good, which rests with ourselves, but for perfecting it. But let them hear the apostle too. For when the Lord says, ‘Without me you can do nothing,’ in this one word He comprehends both the beginning and the ending. The apostle, indeed, as if he were an expounder of the Lord’s saying, distinguishes both [beginning and ending] very clearly when he says, ‘Because He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it even to the day of Christ Jesus’ (Phil.1:6).
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 2:18
From first beginnings to final completion, salvation is by grace
Since these things are so, everything that is commanded to human beings by the Lord in the holy Scriptures, for the sake of testing human free will, is either something we begin to obey by God’s goodness, or is demanded in order to show us our need of grace to do it. Indeed, a person does not even begin to be changed from evil to good by the first stirrings of faith, unless the free and gratuitous mercy of God produces this in him…. So, therefore, we should think of God’s grace as working from the beginning of a person’s changing towards goodness, even to the end of its completion, so that he who glories may glory in the Lord. For just as no-one can bring goodness to perfection without the Lord, so no one can begin it without the Lord.
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 2:23
Pelagius turns grace into a reward for human goodness
Then again, whatever it is that Pelagius means by ‘grace,’ he says is given even to Christians according to their virtues, although (as I have already mentioned above), when he was in Palestine, in his truly remarkable vindication of himself, he condemned those who hold this opinion! Now these are his words: referring to non-Christians, he says, ‘In these, the good of their created condition is naked and defenceless.’ Then he adds: ‘In those, however, who belong to Christ, there is defence afforded by Christ’s help.’ You see it is still uncertain what this ‘help’ is, according to the remark we have already made on the same subject. Pelagius goes on, however, to say of those who are not Christians: ‘They deserve judgment and condemnation, because they possess free will whereby they could come to have faith and deserve God’s grace, but they make a bad use of the freedom which has been granted to them. But as for those who by the right use of free will merit the Lord’s grace, and keep His commandments ¾ these deserve to be rewarded.’
Now it is clear; he says grace is bestowed according to worthiness (whatever he means by grace, which he does not make clear). For when he speaks about people deserving reward because they make a good use of their free will, so that they merit the Lord’s grace, he asserts in fact that a debt is paid to them. What, then, becomes of the apostle’s saying, ‘Being justified freely by His grace ‘ (Rom.3:24)? And what of his other statement too, ‘By grace you are saved’ (Eph.2:8)? In this verse, Paul prevents us from supposing that salvation is by works, by expressly adding, ‘by faith.’ And even further, in case anyone imagines that faith itself is of human origin independently of the grace of God, the apostle says: ‘And that not of yourselves; for it
is the gift of God.’
On the Grace of Christ and Original Sin, 1:34
The Pelagians call it ‘fate’; we call it ‘grace’
I was carefully meditating about why the Pelagians think they have a trump card when they accuse us of teaching ‘fate’ under the name of grace. So I first of all looked into their statements on the matter. They thought they could bring this objection against us: ‘Under the name of grace, they teach fate, for they say that unless God inspired an unwilling and resisting person with the desire for good (even an imperfect good), he would not be able to cease from evil, nor to embrace good.’ Then a little later, they assert their own beliefs, which I also examined: ‘We confess that baptism is necessary for all ages, and that grace assists the good resolutions of everybody. But grace does not infuse the love of virtue into a reluctant soul, because there is no favouritism with
From these words of theirs, I perceived that the Pelagians think (or wish others to think) that we ‘teach fate under the name of grace’ merely because we say that God’s grace is not given in respect of our virtues, but according to God’s own most merciful will. For He said, ‘I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy to whom I will show mercy’ (Rom.9:15). And by way of consequence, Scripture adds, ‘Therefore it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God Who shows mercy’ (Rom.9:16). Here, anyone might be equally foolish in thinking or saying that the apostle teaches fate! But these Pelagians sufficiently lay themselves open to accusation. For when they slander us by saying that we ‘maintain fate under the name of grace’, because we say that God’s grace is not given on account of our virtues, beyond a doubt they confess that they themselves say that grace is given on account of our virtues!
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 2:10
The effective transforming teaching of the Holy Spirit
The kind of teaching we are talking about is spoken of by the Lord when He says: ‘Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me’ (Jn.6:45). So if someone does not come to Christ, we cannot correctly say of him, ‘he has heard and learned that he ought to come to Christ, but he is not willing to do what he has learned.’ It is indeed absolutely improper to apply such a statement to God’s method of teaching people by grace. For if, as the Truth says, ‘Everyone who has learned comes,’ it follows, of course, that whoever does not come has not learned. But who can fail to see that a person’s coming or not coming is by the choice of his will? If a person does not come to Christ, he has simply made his choice not to come. But if he does come, it cannot be without assistance — such assistance that he not only knows what it is he ought to do, but actually does what he knows.
And so, when God teaches, it is not by the letter of the law, but by the grace of the Spirit. Moreover, He teaches so that whatever a person learns, he not only sees it with his perception, but also desires it with his choice, and accomplishes it in action. By this method of divine instruction, our very choosing itself, and our very performance itself, are assisted, and not merely our natural ‘capacity’ of willing and performing. For if nothing but this ‘capacity’ of ours were assisted by this grace, the Lord would have said, ‘Everyone that has heard and learned from the Father may possibly come to Me.’ This, however, is not what He said. His words are these: ‘Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.’
Now Pelagius says that the possibility of coming lies in our nature. Or as we even found him attempting to say some time ago, it lies in grace (whatever that may mean according to him), as when he says, ‘grace assists our capacity of coming to Christ.’ But he holds that our actual coming to Christ lies in our own will and act. Now just because a person may come to Christ, it does not follow that he actually comes, unless he has also willed and acted to come. But everyone who has learned from the Father not only has the possibility of coming, but actually comes! And in this result are already included the use of the capacity, the affection of the will, and the effect of the action.
On the Grace of Christ and Original Sin, 1:27
Only those taught by the Father come to Christ
Accordingly, our only Master and Lord Himself, when He had said what I previously mentioned — ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent’ (Jn.6:29) — says a little afterwards in the same discourse, ‘I said to you that you also have seen Me and have not believed. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me’ (Jn.6:37). What is the meaning of ‘will come to Me’ but ‘will believe in Me’? But it is the Father’s gift that this happens. Moreover, a little later Jesus says, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves. No-one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes to Me’ (Jn.6:43-5). What is the meaning of ‘Everyone who has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes to Me,’ except that there is no-one who fails to come to Me if they hear from the Father and learn? For if everyone who has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes, then certainly everyone who does not come has not heard from the Father! For if he had heard and learned, he would come. No-one has heard and learned, and yet has failed to come. But everyone, as the Truth declares, who has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes.
This teaching in which the Father is heard, and teaches to come to the Son, is far removed from the senses of the flesh. The Son Himself is also involved in this teaching, because He is the Father’s Word by which He teaches; and He does not do this through the ear of the flesh, but the ear of the heart. The Spirit of the Father and of the Son is also, at the same time, involved in this teaching; He, too, teaches, and does not teach separately, for we have learned that the workings of the Trinity are inseparable. And that is certainly the same Holy Spirit of Whom the apostle says, ‘We, however, having the same Spirit of faith’ (2 Cor.4:13). But this teaching is especially ascribed to the Father, because the Only Begotten is begotten from Him, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from Him, of which it would be tedious to argue more elaborately. I think that my work in fifteen books on the Trinity which God is, has already reached you.
No, this instruction in which God is heard and teaches is very far removed, I say, from the senses of the flesh. We see that many come to the Son because we see that many believe in Christ; but when and how they have heard and learned this from the Father, we do not see. It is true that that grace is exceedingly secret, but who doubts that it is grace? This grace, therefore, which is invisibly bestowed on human hearts by the divine gift, is not rejected by any hard heart — because it is given for the purpose of first taking away the hardness of the heart! When, therefore, the Father is heard within, and teaches, so that a person comes to the Son, He takes away the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh, as He has promised in the declaration of the prophet. He thus makes them children and vessels of mercy which He has prepared for glory.
On the Predestination of the Saints, 13
Free will and a good will both come from God
It is not enough simply to have choice of will, which is freely turned in this direction and that, and belongs among those natural gifts which a bad person may use badly. We must also have a good will, which belongs among those gifts which it is impossible to use badly. This impossibility is given to us by God; otherwise I do not know how to defend what Scripture says: ‘What do you have that you did not receive?’ (1 Cor.4:7) For if God gives us a free will, which may still be either good or bad, but a good will comes from ourselves, then what comes from ourselves is better than what comes from God! But it is the height of absurdity to say this. So the Pelagians ought to acknowledge that we obtain from God even a good will.
It would indeed be a strange thing if the will could stand in some no-man’s-land, where it was neither good nor bad. For we either love righteousness, and this is good; and if we love it more, this is better. If we love it less, this is less good; or if we do not love righteousness at all, it is not good. And who can hesitate to affirm that, when the will does not love righteousness in any way at all, it is not only a bad will, but even a totally depraved will? Since therefore the will is either good or bad, and since of course we do not derive the bad will from God, it remains that we derive from God a good will. Otherwise, since our justification proceeds from a good will, I do not know what other gift of God we ought to rejoice in. That, I suppose, is why it is written, ‘The will is prepared by the Lord’ (Prov.8:35, Septuagint). And in the Psalms, ‘The steps of a man will be rightly ordered by the Lord, and His way will be the choice of his will’ (Ps.37:23). And what the apostle says, ‘For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure’ (Phil.2:13).
On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, 2:30
What we need is love
We maintain that God does not only create a person with a free will, and give teaching by which he is instructed how he ought to live. We say further that the human will is so divinely aided in the pursuit of righteousness, that a person receives the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit forms in his mind a delight in, and a love of, that supreme and unchangeable good which is God, even now while he is still ‘walking by faith’ and not yet ‘by sight’ (2 Cor.5:7). By this gift to him of the Spirit as the pledge, as it were, of the free gift [of eternal life], he conceives an ardent desire to cling to his Creator, and burns to enter into a state of participation in that true light, so that he may enjoy blessing from the One to Whom he owes his existence. A person’s free will, indeed, avails for nothing except to sin, if he does not know the way of truth. And even after his duty and his true goal begin to become known to him, he still fails to do his duty, or to set about it, or to live rightly, unless he also takes delight in it and feels a love for it. Now, in order to win our affections to what is right, God’s ‘love is shed abroad in our hearts,’ not through the free-will which arises from ourselves, but ‘through the Holy Spirit Who is given to us’ (Rom.5:5).
On the Spirit and the Letter, 5
God’s grace works in us sovereignly to produce a godly will
Some might interpret ‘It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God Who shows mercy’ (Rom.9:16), in this sense — that salvation comes from both, that is, both from the human will and from the mercy of God. In that case, we must understand the saying, ‘It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God Who shows mercy,’ as if it meant that the human will alone is not sufficient, unless the mercy of God goes with it. But then it would follow that the mercy of God alone is not sufficient, unless the human will goes with it! Therefore, if we may rightly say, ‘it is not of man who wills, but of God Who shows mercy,’ because the human will by itself is not enough, why may we not also rightly put it the other way round: ‘It is not of God Who shows mercy, but of man who wills,’ because the mercy of God by itself is not sufficient? Surely, no Christian will dare to say this, ‘It is not of God Who shows mercy, but of man who wills,’ in case he openly contradicts the apostle!
So it follows that the true interpretation of the saying, ‘It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God Who shows mercy,’ is that the entire work belongs to God, Who both makes the human will righteous, and prepares it in this way for His assistance, and then assists it when it is prepared. For human righteousness of will precedes many of God’s gifts, but not all of them; and it must itself be included among those gifts which it does not precede. We read in Holy Scripture, both that God’s mercy ‘shall meet me’ (Ps.59:10), and that His mercy ‘shall follow me’ (Ps.23:6). Mercy goes before the unwilling person to make him willing; it follows the willing person to make his will effective. Why are we taught to pray for our enemies, who are plainly unwilling to lead a holy life, unless that God may produce willingness in them? And why are we ourselves taught to ask in order that may receive, unless that He who has created in us the wish, may Himself satisfy the wish? We pray, then, for our enemies, that the mercy of God may go before them, as it has gone before us; and we pray for ourselves that His mercy may follow us.
Grace creates a truly free will
Do we by grace destroy free will? God forbid! We establish free will. For even as the law is not destroyed but established by faith, so free will is not destroyed but established by grace. The law is fulfilled only by a free will. And yet the law brings the knowledge of sin; faith brings the acquisition of grace against sin; grace brings the healing of the soul from the disease of sin; the health of the soul brings freedom of will; free will brings the love of righteousness; and the love of righteousness fulfils the law. Thus the law is not destroyed but established through faith, since faith obtains grace by which the law is fulfilled. Likewise, free will is not destroyed through grace, but is established, since grace cures the will so that righteousness is freely loved. Now all the stages which I have here connected together in their successive links, are each spoken of individually in the sacred Scriptures. The law says: ‘You shall not covet’ (Ex.20:17). Faith says: ‘Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You’ (Ps.41:4). Grace says: ‘See, you have been made well: sin no more, in case a worse thing comes upon you’ (Jn.5:14). Health says: ‘O Lord my God, I cried to You, and You have healed me’ (Ps.30:2). Free will says: ‘I will freely sacrifice to You’ (Ps.54:6). Love of righteousness says: ‘Transgressors told me pleasant tales, but not according to Your law, O Lord’ (Ps. 119:85).
How is it then that miserable human beings dare to be proud, either of their free will, before they are set free, or of their own strength, if they have been set free? They do not observe that in the very mention of free will they pronounce the name of liberty. But ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty’ (2 Cor.3:17). If, therefore, they are the slaves of sin, why do they boast of free will? For ‘by whatever a person is overcome, to that he is delivered as a slave’ (2 Pet.2:19). But if they have been set free, why do they puff themselves up as if it were by their own doing? Why do they boast, as if their freedom were not a gift? Or are they so free that they will not have Him for their Lord Who says to them, ‘Without Me, you can do nothing’ (Jn.15:5), and, ‘If the Son sets you free, you shall be truly free?’ (Jn.8:36).
On the Spirit and the Letter, 52
Sovereign grace humbles human pride
God does not grant His mercy to some people because they know Him, but in order that they may know Him. Nor is it because they are upright in heart, but that they may become so, that He grants them His righteousness by which He justifies the ungodly. This thought does not inflate us with pride! The sin of pride arises when anyone has too much self-confidence, and makes himself the supreme reason reason for living. Driven by this conceited feeling, the proud person departs from the Fountain of life, from Whose streams alone we can drink the holiness which is itself the good life. Yes, the proud person departs from that unchanging Light, by sharing in which the rational
soul set on fire (so to speak) and becomes a created and reflected light.
On the Spirit and the Letter, 11
Spiritual desire comes from God
God does many good things in a human being that the human being does not do. But a human being does nothing good that God does not cause him to do. Accordingly, the Lord would not put a desire for something good in a person, if that thing were not indeed good; but if it is good, we derive it only from Him Who is supremely and incomparably good. For what is the desire for good but love? John the apostle speaks of this without any ambiguity, and says, ‘Love is from God’ (1 Jn.4:7). Love does not begin from ourselves, and then get perfected by God. No, if love is from God, we have the whole of it from God. May God by all means turn us away from this folly of making ourselves first and Himself last in our reception of His gifts!
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 2:21
Love comes from God
It is no wonder that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it. In John’s letter, the Light declares, ‘Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God’ (1 Jn.3:1). And in the Pelagian writings the darkness says, ‘Love comes to us from our own selves.’ Now, if the Pelagians only possessed true love, that is, Christian love, they would also know where they obtained possession of it. The apostle knew this when he said, ‘But we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God’ (1 Cor.2:12). And John says, ‘God is love’ (1 Jn.4:16). So the Pelagians are saying that they actually have God Himself, not from God, but from their own selves! They admit that we have the knowledge of the law from God, but they insist that love is from our own selves. They are not listening to the apostle when he says, ‘Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up’ (1 Cor.8:21). Now what can be more absurd, what can be more insane and more alien to the very sacredness of love itself, than to maintain that God merely gives us the knowledge which (apart from love) puffs us up, while the love that prevents the possibility of this inflated knowledge springs from ourselves?!
On Grace and Free Will, 40
The difference between knowledge and love
Now even Pelagius should frankly confess that this grace is plainly set forth in the inspired Scriptures. He should not, with shameless insolence, hide the fact that he has too long opposed it. Let him admit it with healthy regret, so that the holy Church may cease to be troubled by his stubborn persistence, and rejoice instead in his sincere conversion. Let him distinguish between knowledge and love, as they ought to be distinguished. For ‘knowledge puffs up, but love builds up’ (1 Cor.8:1). Knowledge no longer puffs up when love builds up. And since each is the gift of God (although one is less, and the other greater), Pelagius must not extol our righteousness above the praise which is due to God Who justifies us. Yet this is what he does, when he says that the lesser of these two gifts (knowledge) is assisted by divine grace, and claims that the greater gift (love) comes from the human will.
But if Pelagius agrees that we receive love from the grace of God, he must not think that any virtues of our own preceded our reception of the gift. For what virtues could we possibly have had, at the time when we did not love God? Indeed, so that we might receive the love that enables us to love, God loved us while as yet we had no love ourselves. This the apostle John most expressly declares: ‘Not that we loved God,’ says he, ‘but that He loved us’ (1 Jn.4:10). And again, ‘We love Him, because He first loved us’ (1 Jn.4:19). Most excellently and truly spoken! For we could not have any power to love Him, unless we received it from Him in His first loving us. And what good could we possibly do if we possessed no love? But how could we help doing good if we have love? God’s command may appear sometimes to be kept by those who do not love Him, but only fear Him; but where there is no love, God does not reckon any work as good, nor is there any ‘good work’ rightly so called. For ‘whatever is not from faith is sin’ (Rom.14:23) and ‘faith works by love’ (Gal.5:6).
On the Grace of Christ and Original Sin, 1:27
When we do good, God’s will inspires ours
It is certain that we keep the commandments if we will. But because ‘the will is prepared by the Lord’ (Prov.8:35, Septuagint), we must ask Him for such a force of will that is sufficient to make us act by willing. Again, it is certain that when we will, we are the ones who do the willing. But it is God Who causes us to will what is good, of whom it is said (as he has just now expressed it), ‘The will is prepared by the Lord.’ Of the same Lord it is said, ‘The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord, and He wills his way’ (Ps.37:23). Of the same Lord it is also said, ‘It is God who works in you, even to will!’ (Phil.2:13) Again, it is certain that when we act, we are the ones who act. But it is God who causes us to act, by applying efficacious powers to our will. As He has said, ‘I will make you to walk in my statutes, and to observe my judgments, and to do them’ (Ezek.36:27). When he says, ‘I will make you ... to do them,’ what else does He say in fact than, ‘I will take away from you your heart of stone,’ from which used to arise your inability to act, ‘and I will give you a heart of flesh,’ in order that you may act (Ezek.36:26)? And what does this promise amount to but this: I will remove your hard heart, out of which you did not act, and I will give you an obedient heart, out of which you shall act?
On Grace and Free Will, 32
Called according to God’s purpose, not ours
Why do the Pelagians say they believe that ‘grace assists the good resolution of everyone, but it does not instil the desire for virtue into a reluctant heart’? They say this as if a person from his own resources, without God’s assistance, has a good resolution and a desire for virtue; and this preceding virtue is worthy of being assisted by the subsequent grace of God. For they think, perhaps, that when the apostle said, ‘For we know that He works all things for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to purpose’ (Rom.8:28) — they think perhaps that Paul meant human purpose, so that this purpose, as a worthy quality, would secure the mercy of the God Who calls.
If that’s what they think, they are ignorant of Paul’s real meaning: ‘Who are called according to purpose,’ that is, not human purpose, but the purpose of God, by which before the world’s creation He elected those whom He foreknew and predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom.8:29). For not all the called are ‘called according to purpose’, since ‘many are called, few are chosen’ (Matt.22:14). But those who are called according to purpose are the persons who were elected before the creation of the world. Of this purpose of God, it was also said (as I have already mentioned concerning the twins Esau and Jacob), ‘that the purpose of God might stand according to election, not by works, but by Him Who calls, it was said, that the elder shall serve the younger’ (Rom.9:11-12). This purpose of God is also mentioned in that place where, writing to Timothy, he says, ‘Labour with the gospel according to the power of God, Who saves us and calls us with this holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before eternal ages, but is now made manifest by the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ’ (2 Tim.1:8-10).
This, then, is the purpose of God, of which it is said, ‘He works together all things for good for those who are called according to purpose.’ Subsequent grace indeed assists a human good purpose, but the good purpose would not itself exist if grace did not work first.
Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 2:22
Grace in operation and co-operation
‘Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law’ (Rom.13:10). This love the apostle Peter did not yet possess, when he denied the Lord three times out of fear. ‘There is no fear in love,’ says the gospel writer John in his first letter, ‘but perfect love casts out fear’ (1 Jn.4:18). But still, however small and imperfect Peter’s love was, it was not entirely lacking when he said to the Lord, ‘I will lay down my life for Your sake’ (Jn.13:37). For he supposed he was able to carry out what he felt himself willing to do. And who was it that had begun to give Peter his love, however small? Who but God Who prepares the will, and perfects by His co-operation what He begins by His operation? For in beginning to work, He works in us to give us the will, and in perfecting this work, He works with us when we have the will. This is why the apostle says, ‘I am confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ’ (Phil.1:6). He operates, therefore, without our help, in order that we may will; but when we will, and will so as to act, He co-operates with us. We can, however, ourselves do nothing to carry out good works of godliness, without God either working to give us the will, or co-working with us when we will.
On Grace and Free Will, 33
Give what You command, and command what You will
When we commit sin, we get no help from God; but we are not able to act justly, and to fulfil the law of righteousness in every part, unless we are helped by God. Light does not help our physical eyes to shut out light; rather, light helps our eyes to see, and the eye cannot see at all unless light helps it. Likewise God, Who is the light of the inner self, helps our mental sight, in order that we may do some good, not according to our own righteousness, but according to His. But if we turn away from God , it is our own act; then we are wise according to the flesh, then we consent to the lust of the flesh for unlawful deeds. When we turn to God, therefore, He helps us; when we turn away from Him, He forsakes us. But God even helps us to turn to Him; and this, certainly, is something that light does not do for the eyes of the body.
When, therefore, He commands us in the words, ‘Turn to Me, and I will turn to you’ (Zech.1:3), and we say to Him, ‘Turn us, O God of our salvation’ (Ps.85:4), and again, ‘Turn us, O God of hosts’ (Ps.80:3) — what else do we say but, ‘Give what You command’? When He commands us, saying, ‘Understand now, O simple among the people’ (Ps.94:8), and we say to Him, ‘Give me understanding, that I may learn Thy commandments’ (Ps.119:73) — what else do we say but, ‘Give what You command’? When He commands us, saying, ‘Do not go after your lusts’ (Ecclesiasticus 18:30), and we say to Him, ‘We know that no-one can be chaste, unless God gives it to him’ (Wisdom 8:21) — what else do we say but, ‘Give what You command’? When He commands us, saying, ‘Do justice’ (Isa.56:1), and we say, ‘Teach me Your judgments, O Lord’ (Ps.119:108) — what else do we say but, ‘Give what You command’? Likewise, when He says: ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled’ (Matt.5:6), from whom should we seek the meat and drink of righteousness, but from Him Who promises His fullness to those who hunger and thirst after it?
On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, 2:5
Is faith itself the gift of God?
We must still try to answer briefly this question: Is the will by which we believe itself the gift of God, or does it arise from that free will which is naturally implanted in us? If we say that faith is not the gift of God, we must then fear that we have discovered some answer to the apostle’s reproachful appeal: ‘What do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you received it, why do you boast, as if you had not received it ?’ (1 Cor.4:7) If the will to believe is not God’s gift, we could reply: ‘See, we have the will to believe, which we did not receive. See what we boast about — even something we did not receive!’ If, however, we were to say that this kind of will is entirely the gift of God, we would then have to fear that unbelieving and ungodly people might unreasonably seem to have a fair excuse for their unbelief, in the fact that God had refused to give them the will to believe.
On the Spirit and the Letter, 57
Faith itself is God’s gift
Paul’s last statement here is, ‘I have kept the faith’ (2 Tim.4:7). But the man who says this is the same man who declares in another passage, ‘I have obtained mercy that I might be faithful’ (1 Cor.7:25). He does not say, ‘I obtained mercy because I was faithful,’ but ‘in order that I might be faithful.’ This shows that even faith itself cannot be had without God’s mercy, and that it is the gift of God. Paul very expressly teaches us this when he says, ‘For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God’ (Eph.2:8). The Pelagians might possibly say, ‘We received grace because we believed.’ as if they would attribute the faith to themselves, and the grace to God. Therefore the apostle, having said, ‘You are saved through faith,’ added, ‘And that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God.’ And again, in case they say they deserved so great a gift by their works, he immediately
added, ‘Not of works, in case anyone should boast.’ Not that Paul denied good works, or emptied them of their value, for he says that God renders to everyone according to his works (Rom.2:6); but works proceed from faith, not faith from works. Therefore it is from God that we have works of righteousness, as it is from Him that faith, concerning which it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’ (Rom.1:17).
On Grace and Free Will, 17
Faith is part of our re-creation in Christ
And in case people should arrogate to themselves the merit at least of their own faith, not understanding that this too is the gift of God, this same apostle, who says in another place that he had ‘obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful’ (1 Cor.7:25), here also adds: ‘and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, in case anyone should boast’ (Eph.2:8). And in case it should be thought that good works will be lacking in those who believe, he adds further: ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them’ (Eph.2:10). We shall be made truly free, then, when God fashions us, that is, forms and creates us anew, not as human beings — for He has done that already — but as good people. His grace is now doing this, so that we may be a new creation in Christ Jesus, according as it is said: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God’ (Ps.51:10). For God had already created David’s heart, so far as the physical structure of the human heart is concerned; but the psalmist prays for the renewal of the life which was still lingering in his heart.
If faith is not God’s gift, salvation is no longer by grace
It follows, therefore, that without any virtue of our own, we receive the gift of faith, from which the rest of salvation flows — although according to the Pelagians, we obtain salvation because of our virtue. If, however, they insist on denying that faith is freely given to us, what is the meaning of the apostle’s words: ‘According as God has dealt to everyone a measure of faith’ (Rom.12:3)? And if they argue that faith is bestowed as a reward for virtue, not as a free gift, what then becomes of another saying of the apostle: ‘To you it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake’ (Phil.1:29)? The apostle’s testimony makes each of these a gift — both that a person believes in Christ, and that he suffers for Christ’s sake. These Pelagians, however, attribute faith to free will, in such a way as to make it seem that grace is given to faith not as a gratuitous gift, but as a debt. Thus grace ceases to be grace any longer. How can something be grace if it is not gratuitous?
On the Grace of Christ and Original Sin, 1:34
Giving thanks to God for faith proves that faith is His doing
The apostle gives thanks to God for those who have believed — not, clearly, because the gospel has been declared to them, but because they have believed. For he says, ‘in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation — in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is a pledge of our inheritance, for the redemption of God’s own possession, for the
praise of his glory. For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus and with reference to all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you’ (Ephesians 1:13-16). Their faith was new and recent, following on the preaching of the gospel to them. When the apostle hears of this faith of theirs, he gives thanks to God for them. If he were to give thanks to someone for what he might think or know that person had not given, it would be called a flattery or a mockery, rather than a giving of thanks. ‘Do not be deceived, for God is not mocked’ (Gal.6:7); for the beginning of faith is also His gift, unless we rightly judge the apostolic giving of thanks to be either mistaken or fallacious! What then? Does that not stand forth as the beginning of the faith of the Thessalonians, for which the same apostle gives thanks to God when he says, ‘Forthis reason also we thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works in you, and which you believed’ (1 Thess.2:13)? What does Paul gives thanks to God for here? Surely it is a vain and idle thing if He to whom Paul gives thanks did not Himself do the thing! But, since this is not a vain and idle thing, certainly God, to whom Paul gave thanks for this work, Himself did it, so that when they had received the word of God which they heard, they received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God. God, therefore, works in human hearts with that ‘calling according to His purpose’ (Rom.8:28), of which we have spoken a great deal, in order that people should not hear the gospel in vain, but when they hear it, should be converted and believe, receiving it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God.
On the Predestination of the Saints, 39
The example of Lydia
For what is the meaning of, ‘praying also for us that God would open to us a door of the word’ (Col.4:3), unless it is a most manifest demonstration that even the very beginning of faith is the gift of God? For faith would not be sought from God in prayer, unless it were believed to be given by Him. This gift of heavenly grace had descended to that seller of purple for whom, as Scripture says in the Acts of the Apostles, ‘The Lord opened her heart, and she gave heed to the things spoken by Paul’ (Acts 16:14). For she was called so that she might believe. For God does what He wills in human hearts, either by His assistance or by His judgment, so that through
their means may be fulfilled what His hand and counsel have predestined to be done.
On the Predestination of the Saints, 41
Why pray that God will give faith to unbelievers, if faith is not a gracious gift?
If God does not make people willing who were not willing, on what principle does the Church pray, according to the Lord’s commandment, for her persecutors?…. For what do we pray for on behalf of those who are unwilling to believe, except that God would work in them to make them willing? Certainly the apostle says, ‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation’ (Rom.10:1). He prays for those who do not believe — for what, except that they may believe? For they will obtain salvation in no other way. If, then, the faith of those praying precedes the grace of God [in converting unbelievers], what about the faith of those for whom prayer is offered that they may come to faith? Does their faith precede the grace of God? How can it, since this is the very thing that we seek for them, that on those who do not believe— that is, who have no faith — faith itself may be bestowed?
On the Predestination of the Saints, 15
The same theme pursued
Now if faith comes simply from free will, and is not given by God, why do we pray for unbelievers that they may believe? This it would be absolutely useless, unless we believe (quite correctly) that almighty God is able to take wills that are perverse and opposed to faith, and turn them to faith. Human free will is addressed when it is said, ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts’ (Ps.95:7-8). But if God were not able to remove from the human heart even its obstinacy and hardness, He would not say, through the prophet, ‘I will take from them their heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh’ (Ezek.11:19). All this was foretold in reference to the New Testament, as is shown clearly enough by the apostle when he says, ‘You are our epistle, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart’ (2 Cor.3:2-3).
We must not, of course, suppose that this phrase is used as if those who ought to live spiritually might live in a fleshly way. But a stone, with which the hard human heart is compared, has no feeling. What was there left for God to compare the wise human heart with, but the flesh which possesses feeling? For this is what is said by the prophet Ezekiel: ‘I will give them another heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh, so that they may walk in My statutes, and keep My ordinances, and do them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, says the Lord’ (Ezek.11:19-29). Can we possibly, without utter absurdity, maintain that there first existed in anyone the good virtue of a good will, to entitle him to the removal of his heart of stone? How can we say this, when all the time this heart of stone itself signifies precisely a will of the hardest kind, a will that is absolutely inflexible against God? For if a good will comes first, there is obviously no longer a heart of stone.
On Grace and Free Will, 29
Repentance is the gift of God
The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent. How else can we explain what the apostle says of certain people: ‘if perhaps God may give them repentance’ (2 Tim.2:25)? And before Peter wept bitterly, we are told by the gospel-writer, ‘The Lord turned, and looked upon him’ (Lk.22:61).
Grace is the death of pride
Beware, O Christian, beware of pride. Even though you are a disciple of the saints, ascribe it always and wholly to grace. It was not brought about by what you deserve, but by the grace of God, that there is any ‘remnant’ in you. For the prophet Isaiah, having this remnant in view, had already said, ‘Unless the Lord of Hosts had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and would have been like Gomorrah’ (Isa.1:9, Rom.9:29). ‘So then,’ says the apostle, ‘at this present time also a remnant is saved through the election of grace. But if it is by grace,’ he says, ‘then it is no longer by works’ (that is, ‘do not be puffed up any longer on what you deserve’); ‘otherwise grace is no longer grace’ (Rom.11:5-6). For if you build on your own work; then a reward is rendered to you, rather than grace freely bestowed. But if it is grace, it is gratuitously given.
I ask you, then, O sinner, ‘Do you believe in Christ?’ You say, ‘I do believe.’ ‘What do you believe? Do you believe that all your sins can be forgiven freely through Him?’ Then you have what you have believed. O grace gratuitously given! And you, righteous soul, what do you believe? Do you believe that you cannot keep your righteousness without God? If you are righteous, then, impute it wholly to His mercy; but if you are a sinner, ascribe it to your own iniquity. Be your own accuser, and He will be your gracious Deliverer. For every crime, wickedness, or sin comes from our own negligence, but all virtue and holiness come from God’s gracious goodness.
Sermons on the Gospels, 50:4
When God crowns our virtues, grace is crowning its own gifts
The Pelagians say that the only grace that is not given according to our virtues is the grace by which a person’s sins are forgiven, but that the final grace of eternal life is given as a reward to our preceding virtues. They must not be allowed to go without an answer. If, indeed, they understand and acknowledge our virtues to be the gifts of God too, then their opinion would not deserve condemnation. But since they preach human virtues by declaring that a person has them from his own self, then most rightly the apostle replies: ‘Who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now, if thou received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?’ (1 Cor.4:7) To a person who holds such views, it is perfect truth to say: It is His own gifts that God crowns, not your virtues. If your virtues come from your own self, not from God, then they are evil, and God does not crown them. But if they are good, they are God’s gifts, because, as the Apostle James says, ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights’ (Jam.1:17). In accordance with this John the Lord’s forerunner also declares: ‘A man can receive nothing unless it is given to him from heaven’ (Jn.3:27) — from heaven, of course, because from there came also the Holy Spirit, when Jesus ascended up on high, led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. If, then, your good virtues are God’s gifts, God does not crown them as your virtues, but as His own gifts.
On Grace and Free Will, 15
The same theme pursued
Finally, after the redemption from all corruption, what remains but the crown of righteousness? This at least remains, but even here, under the crown, do not let your head be swollen, in case it fails to receive the crown! Listen, mark well the psalm, how that crown will not rest on a swollen head. After the psalmist had said, ‘Who redeems your life from corruption,’ he says, ‘Who crowns you’ (Ps.103:4). Here you were ready at once to say, ‘The phrase “Crowns you” is an acknowledgment of my virtues; my own excellence has done it; it is the payment of a debt, not a gift.’ Listen rather to the psalm. For it is you again that say this; and ‘all men are liars’ (Ps.116:11)!
Hear what God says: ‘Who crowns you with mercy and pity’ (Ps.103:4). From His mercy He crowns you, from His pity He crowns you. For you had no worthiness that He should call you to Himself; or being called, no worthiness that He should justify you; or being justified, no worthiness that He should glorify you. ‘The remnant is saved by the election of grace. But if it is by grace, then it is no longer by works; otherwise grace is no more grace’ (Rom.11:5-6). ‘For to him who works, the reward shall not be reckoned according to grace, but according to debt’ (Rom.4:4). The apostle says, ‘Not according to grace, but according to debt.’ But ‘He crowns you with pity and mercy.’ If your own virtues have gone before, God says to you, ‘Examine well your virtues, and you shall see that they are My gifts.’
This then is ‘the righteousness of God’ (Rom.1:17). It is like the phrase, ‘the Lord’s salvation’ (Ex.14:13) — not that by which the Lord is saved, but which He gives to those whom He saves. So too the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord is called ‘the righteousness of God’ — not that by which the Lord is righteous, but by which He justifies those ungodly people whom He makes righteous.
Sermons on the Gospels, 81:8-9
Chapter 5 of The Triumph of Grace: Augustine's Writings on Salvation
Dr. N.R. Needham
Council of Orange 529 AD Canons 3-8
CANON 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me" (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).
CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, "The will is prepared by the Lord" (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism -- if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.
CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, "For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5).
CANON 8. If anyone maintains that some are able to come to the grace of baptism by mercy but others through free will, which has manifestly been corrupted in all those who have been born after the transgression of the first man, it is proof that he has no place in the true faith. For he denies that the free will of all men has been weakened through the sin of the first man, or at least holds that it has been affected in such a way that they have still the ability to seek the mystery of eternal salvation by themselves without the revelation of God. The Lord himself shows how contradictory this is by declaring that no one is able to come to him "unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44), as he also says to Peter, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3).
- Council of Orange 529 AD
'It is indisputable that free will is not sufficient to enable man to do good works, unless he is helped by grace, indeed by special grace, which only the elect receive through regeneration. For I do not tarry over those fanatics who babble that grace is equally and indiscriminately distributed."
~John Calvin, Institutes
[Referring to man after the fall]- "He is so banished from the Kingdom of God that all qualities belonging to the blessed life of the soul have been extinguished in him, until he recovers them through the grace of regeneration. Among these are faith, love of God, charity toward neighbor, zeal for holiness, and for righteousness. All these, since Christ restores them in us, are considered adventitious, and beyond nature; and from this we infer that they were taken away."
- John Calvin
"...the Lord by his Spirit directs, bends, and governs, our heart and reigns in it as in his own possession, indeed, he does not promise through Ezekiel that he will give a new Spirit to his elect only IN ORDER that they may be able to walk according to his precepts, but also that they may ACTUALLY so walk [Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:27].
- John Calvin
The first part of a good work is will; the other, a strong effort to accomplish it; the author of both is God. Therefore we are robbing the Lord if we claim for ourselves anything either in will or in accomplishment. If God were said to help our weak will, then something would be left to us. But when it is said that he makes the will, whatever of good is in it is now placed outside us...Therefore the Lord in this way both begins and completes the good work in us. It is the Lord's doing that the will conceives the love of what is right, is zealously inclined toward it, is aroused and moved to pursue it. Then it is the Lord's doing that the choice, zeal, and effort do not falter, but proceed even to accomplishment; lastly, that man goes forward in these things with constancy, and perseveres to the very end.
- John Calvin
Indeed the Word of God is like the sun, shining upon all those to whom it is proclaimed, but with no effect among the blind. Now, all of us are blind by nature in this respect... Accordingly, it cannot penetrate into our minds unless the Spirit, as the inner teacher, through his illumination makes entry for it.
John Calvin from The Institutes of the Christian Religion (3.2.34)
David had the law, comprehending in it all the wisdom that could be desired, and yet not contented with this, he prays, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law," (Ps. 119: 18.) By this expression, he certainly intimates, that it is like sunrise to the earth when the word of God shines forth; but that men do not derive much benefit from it until he himself, who is for this reason called the Father of lights (James 1: 17,) either gives eyes or opens them; because, whatever is not illuminated by his Spirit is wholly darkness.
John Calvin, from But Spiritual Discernment is Wholly Lost Until we are Regenerated
"...Only when God shines in us by the Holy Spirit is there any profit from the Word. Thus the inward calling, which alone is effectual and peculiar to the elect, is distinguished from the outward voice of men."
- John Calvin, Commentary on Romans and Thessalonians on Romans 10:16, p 232
"How can it be said that the weakness of the human will is aided so as to enable it to aspire effectually to the choice of good, when the fact is, that it must be wholly transformed and renewed?" - John Calvin, Institutes II.III
"The whole comes to this, that Christ, when he produces faith in us by the agency of his Spirit, at the same time ingrafts us into his body, that we may become partakers of all spiritual blessings." - John Calvin
"It is entirely the work of grace and a benefit conferred by it that our heart is changed from a stony one to one of flesh, that our will is made new, and that we, created anew in heart and mind, at length will what we ought to will." - John Calvin, The Bondage and Liberation of the Will
"In the elect alone God implants the living root of faith, so that they persevere even to the end." - John Calvin
"When we see that the whole sum of our salvation, and every single part of it, are comprehended in Christ, we must beware of deriving even the minutes portion of it from any other quarter." - John Calvin
"Because the will renewed is the Lord's work, it is wrongly attributed to man that he obeys prevenient grace with his will as attendant." - John Calvin
"God works in his elect in two ways: inwardly, by his Spirit; outwardly, by his Word." - John Calvin
"But we have nothing of the Spirit except through regeneration. Everything, therefore, which we have from nature is flesh." - John Calvin
"The gift of faith proceedeth from the free election of the Father in Christ, after which followeth necessarily everlasting life. Therefore faith in Christ Jesus is a sure witness of our election, and therefore of our glorification to come." - John Calvin on John 6:37
"For the Lord has so knit together the certainty of his Word and his Spirit, that our minds are duly imbued with reverence for the Word when the Spirit shining upon it enables us there to behold the face of God.and, on the other hand, we embrace the Spirit with no danger of delusion when we recognise him in his image, that is, in his Word. Thus, indeed, it is. God did not produce his Word before men for the sake of sudden display, intending to abolish it the moment the Spirit should arrive; but he employed the same Spirit, by whose agency he had administered the Word, to complete his work by the efficacious confirmation of the Word." - John Calvin
"The first part of a good work is the will, the second is vigorous effort in the doing of it. God is the author of both. It is, therefore, robbery from God to arrogate anything to ourselves, either in the will or the act." - John Calvin
"Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration." - John Calvin
"When God designs to forgive us he changes our hearts and turns us to obedience by His Spirit." - John Calvin
"...nothing good can proceed from our will until it be formed again, and that after it is formed again in so far as it is good, it is of God, and not of us."
- John Calvin
"The grace of God has no charms for men till the Holy Spirit gives them a taste for it."- John Calvin
I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit's kingdom, does and endeavours nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created has does and endeavors nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerate, without ourselves..."
Martin Luther fromThe Bondage of the Will (pg. 268)
"If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright."
When God works in us, the will, being changed and sweetly breathed upon by the Spirit of God, desire and acts, not from compulsion, but responsively.
"The will of man without grace is not free, but is enslaved, and that too with its own consent." - Martin Luther
"Let all the 'free-will' in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength." - Martin Luther
"Free will without God's grace is not free will at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bondslave of evil, since it cannot turn itself to good." - Martin Luther
"All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance are they that do away with "free-will", and these are countless...For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because "free-will" can do nothing." - Martin Luther
"Does it follow from: 'turn ye' that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from "'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart' (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the 'free-will' does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power....But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: "if thou wilt turn,telling man what he should do. When he knows it, and sees that he cannot do it, he will ask whence he may find ability to do it..." 164" - Martin Luther
"God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another -- God alone. - Martin Luther
"A man who has no part in the grace of God, cannot keep the commandments of God, or prepare himself, either wholly or in part, to receive grace; but he rests of necessity under the power of sin."- Martin Luther
"It is false that the will, left to itself, can do good as well as evil, for it is not free, but in bondage...On the side of man there is nothing that goes before grace, unless it be impotency and even rebellion."- Martin Luther
"As long as a man is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God. Such a man plans out for himself a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation, but which will not."- Martin Luther
"So these truths are published for the sake of the elect, that they may be humbled and brought down to nothing, and so saved. The rest of men resist this humiliation; indeed, they condemn the teaching of self-despair; they want a little something left that they can do for themselves ... and therefore enemies of the grace of God."- Martin Luther
"The saved are singled out not by their own merits, but by the grace of the Mediator."- Martin Luther
"He that will maintain that man's free will is able to do or work anything in spiritual cases, be they never so small, denies Christ." - Martin Luther, Table Talk
"Even like as St. Paul was converted, just so are all others converted; for we all resist God, but the Holy Ghost draws the will of mankind, when he pleases, through preaching."- Martin Luther
"God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, "Free-will" is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces."- Martin Luther
"The Christian, delivered from the law, depends entirely on Jesus Christ. Christ is his reason, his counsel, his righteousness, and his whole salvation. Christ lives and acts in him. Christ alone is his leader, and he needs no other guide." - Ulrich Zwingli
"This calling is an act of the grace of God in Christ by which he calls men dead in sin and lost in Adam through the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, to union with Christ and to salvation obtained in him." Francis Turretin
The law demands what it cannot give; grace gives all it demands." - Blaise Pascal
"No man ever believes with a true and saving faith unless God inclines his heart; and no man when God does incline his heart can refrain from believing." - Blaise Pascal
Westminster Confession of Faith
Under the terms of the covenant of grace, God "freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe."
- Westminster Confession of Faith CHAP. VII. - Of God's Covenant with Man III
"... the whole efficiency of the new birth is ascribed to God alone...The natural and carnal means of blood, flesh, and the will of man, are rejected wholly in this matter." (John 1:13), - John Owen
"To say that we are able by our own efforts to think good thoughts or give God spiritual obedience before we are spiritually regenerate is to overthrow the gospel and the faith of the universal church in all ages."- John Owen
"To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect." [this includes faith] - John Owen
"If we believe not with faith divine and supernatural, we believe not at all." - John Owen
"As among all the doctrines of the gospel, there is none opposed with more violence and subtlety than that concerning our regeneration by the immediate, powerful, effectual operation of the Holy Spirit of grace."- John Owen
"There neither is, nor ever was, in the world, nor ever shall be, the least dram of holiness, but what, flowing from Jesus Christ, is communicated by the Spirit, according to the truth and promise of the gospel." - John Owen
"In or towards whomsoever the Holy Spirit puts forth His power, or acts his grace for their regeneration, he removes all obstacles, overcomes all oppositions, and infallibly produces the intended effect." - John Owen
"Where any work of grace is not effectual, God never intended it should be so, nor did put forth that power of grace which was necessary to make it so. Wherefore, in or towards whomsoever the Holy Spirit puts forth his power, or acts his grace for their regeneration, he removes all obstacles, overcomes all oppositions,... and infallibly produceth the effect intended."- John Owen
"A natural man hath no such thing as free-will at all, if you take it for a power of doing that which is good and well-pleasing unto God in things spiritual." - John Owen
"All spiritual acts well-pleasing unto God, as faith, repentance, obedience, are supernatural; flesh and blood revealeth not these things." - John Owen
A spiritual darkness and death came by sin on all mankind… In thi state of things, the Holy Spirit undertook to create a new world… wherein righteousness should dwell. And this, in the first place, was by his effectual communication of a new principle of spiritual life to the souls of God's elect… This he does in their regeneration… All our faith and obedience to God, and all our acceptance with him, depend on regeneration or being born again.
—John Owen, "Discourse on the Holy Spirit"
"All believing motions towards Christ are the effects of the Father's drawing. A glorious and irresistible power goes forth from God to produce it, whence it is called the faith of the operation of God." Colossians 2:12." - John Flavel
"Creation is out of nothing; it requires no pre-existent matter; it doth not bring one thing out of another, but something out of nothing; it gives a being to that which before had no being. So it is also in the new birth... The work of grace is not educed out of the power and principles of nature, but it is a pure work of creation." - John Flavel, The Method Of Grace
"No repentance, obedience, self-denial, prayers, tears, reformation or ordinances, without the new creation, avail any thing to the salvation of thy soul."
- John Flavel
"The opening of your hearts to receive the Lord Jesus Christ is not a work done by any power of your own, but the arm of the Lord is revealed therein."
- John Flavel
"As the blood of Christ is the fountain of all merit, so the Spirit of Christ is the fountain of all spiritual life; and until he quicken us and infuse the principle of the divine life into our souls, we can put forth no hand, or vital act of faith, to lay hold upon Jesus Christ."- John Flavel
"That soul is dead to which the Spirit of Christ is not given in the work of regeneration; and all its works are dead works."- John Flavel
"Let all Arminians know: we have as high an esteem for faith as any men in the world, but yet we will not rob Christ to clothe faith." - John Flavel
"The Spirit must therefore first take hold of us before we can live in Christ, and when he doth so, then we are enabled to exert that vital act of faith, whereby we receive Christ."- John Flavel
"We acknowledge no righteousness but what the obedience and satisfaction of Christ yields us. His blood, not our faith; his satisfaction, not our believing it, is the matter of our justification before God."- John Flavel
"Regeneration expresses those supernatural, divine, new qualities imparted by the Spirit to the soul, which are the principle of all holy action."
- John Flavel
"Christ's resurrection is the ground-work of our hope. And the new birth is our title or evidence of our interest in it."
- John Flavel
The gospel is a ministry of the Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 8. It not only requireth duty, but giveth power to perform it. The letter of the law requireth, but giveth no principle or inclination to do it; that which is from regenerating grace ... John iii. 6, ' is suited, inclined, disposed, fitted for spiritual life."
- Thomas Manton
"It is necessary man should be converted and changed, as well as God satisfied and Satan overcome. Now who can convert himself or change his own heart? That work would cease for ever unless God did undertake it by his all-conquering Spirit." - Thomas Manton
Because the Spirit's revelation is the token of God's special love; and that is not given to every one: God has appointed his special love but for a few. The outward revelation is to leave men without excuse; it is but a token of God's comm...on love: 2 Cor. 4:3, 'If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost'—hidden from their hearts, though it be revealed to their ears. Those that are lost have not the inward discoveries—that is, the effectual discovery and special effect of God's peculiar love: Acts 13:48, 'As many as were ordained to eternal life believed;' such have God's special love. - Thomas Manton
"A Christian is nothing and hath nothing but what God is pleased to work in him by his creating word... we need not only leave to come to God by Christ, but also quickening and encouragement, for we are backward."- Thomas Manton
"We cannot get, nor keep, nor act, nor increase grace of ourselves, if forsaken by the Spirit of grace."- Thomas Manton
"It is one thing to know a truth, and another thing to know it by unction." - William Gurnall
"The glory of the work shall not be crumbled and piece-mealed out, some to God and some to the creature, but all entirely paid in to God, and He acknowledged all in all."- William Gurnall
"As the eye of the body once put out, can never be restored by the creature's art, so neither can the spiritual eye lost by Adam's sin be restored by the teaching of men or angels. It is one of the diseases which Christ came to cure."- William Gurnall
"The regenerating Spirit is compared to the wind. His first attempts on the soul may be so secret that the creature knows not whence they come, or whither they tend; but, before he hath done, the sound will be heard throughout the soul."- William Gurnall
"Indeed all the saints are taught the same lesson - to renounce their own strength, and rely on the power of God; their own policy, and cast themselves on the wisdom of God; their own righteousness, and expect all from the pure mercy of God in Christ, which act of faith is so pleasing to God, that such a soul shall never be ashamed." - William Gurnall
"Faith is the chief work which the Spirit of God works in a man's heart. In making the world God did but speak a word, but in working faith he puts forth his arm." - Thomas Watson
"The greatest of all disorders is to think we are whole and need no help." - Thomas Watson
"The ministry of the Word is the pipe or organ; the Spirit of God blowing in it, effectually changes men's hearts... Ministers knock at the door of men's hearts; the Spirit comes with a key and opens the door."- Thomas Watson
"Believing, repenting, and the like, are the product of the new nature; and can never be produced by the old corrupt nature... as the child cannot be active in his own generation, so a man cannot be active in his own regeneration. The heart is shut against Christ: man cannot open it, only God can do it by his grace." - Thomas Boston
"Persuade yourselves, that the faith of the gospel is beyond the power of nature; that there is a necessity of a power from on high to bring you to believe. This will raze the old foundation, and cause you to look up for it."- Thomas Boston
"The gospel casts out a rope to hale sinners to land; but the sinner has no hands to lay hold on it; his very faith must be wrought in him by the Spirit." - Thomas Boston, Necessity of Divine Power In Order To Faith
"There is no true believing or trusting to the report of the gospel, but what is the effect of the working of a divine power on the soul for that end."
- Thomas Boston, Necessity of Divine Power In Order To Faith
"The natural man cannot but resist the Lord's offering to help him; yet that resistance is infallibly overcome in the elect, by converting grace." -
- Thomas Boston
"We are born spiritually blind, and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace. This is thy case, whoever thou art, who are not born again."
- Thomas Boston
"No work nor deed of ours whatsoever, no not faith itself, can be the condition of the covenant of grace properly so called; but only Christ's fulfilling all righteousness."- Thomas Boston
"Sinners in their natural state lie dead, lifeless, and moveless; they can no more believe in Christ, nor repent, than a dead man can speak or walk: but, in virtue of the promise, the Spirit of life from Christ Jesus, at the time appointed, enters into the dead soul, and quickens it; so that it is no more morally dead, but alive, having new spiritual powers put into it, that were lost by Adam's fall."- Thomas Boston
"Ye are God's building -- All hands of the glorious Trinity are at work in this building. The Father chose the objects of mercy, and gave them to the Son to be redeemed; the Son purchased redemption for them; and the Holy Ghost applies the purchased redemption unto them."- Thomas Boston
"Free grace will fix those, whom free will shook down into a gulph of misery."- Thomas Boston
"Call it no more free-will, but slavish lust; free to evil, but free from good, till regenerating grace loosens the bands of wickedness."- Thomas Boston
"As the corruption of our nature shews the absolute necessity of regeneration, so the absolute necessity of regeneration plainly proves the corruption of our nature; for why should a man need a second birth, if his nature were not quite marred in the first birth?"- Thomas Boston
"Good education is not regeneration. Education may chain up men's lusts, but cannot change their hearts." - Thomas Boston
"If a man be new-born, he will desire the sincere milk of the word."- Thomas Boston
"The believer is sensible of his infirmities, for it is supposed that he is wrestling under them. He sees, he feels, that he is not man enough for his work; that his own hands are not sufficient for him, nor his own back for his burden; this is what drives him out of himself to the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And thus he lies open to the help of the Spirit, while proud nature in unbelievers is left helpless."- Thomas Boston
"The regenerate man's desires are rectified; they are set on God himself, and the things above... Before, he saw no beauty in Christ, for which he was to be desired; but now he is all he desires, he is altogether lovely... regenerating grace sets the affections so firmly on God, that the man is disposed, at God's command, to quit his hold of every thing else, in order to keep his hold of Christ... If the stream of our affections were never thus turned, we are, doubtless, going down the stream into the pit."- Thomas Boston
"There is, in the unrenewed will, an utter inability for what is truly good and acceptable in the sight of God. The natural man's will is in Satan's fetters, hemmed in within the circle of evil, and cannot move beyond it, any more than a dead man can raise himself out of his grave. We deny him not a power to choose, pursue and act what is good, as to the matter; but though he can will what is good and right, he can will nothing aright and well. Christ says -- Without me -- that is, separate from me, as a branch from the stock, as both the word and context will bear -- ye can do nothing -- which means, nothing truly and spiritually good."- Thomas Boston
"In regeneration, the mind is enlightened in the knowledge of spiritual things... The will is renewed... The will is cured of its utter inability to will what is good. While the opening of the prison to them that are bound, is proclaimed in the Gospel, the Spirit of God comes and opens the prison door, goes to the prisoner, and, by the power of his grace, makes his chains fall off; breaks the bonds of iniquity, wherewith he was held in sin, so as he could neither will nor do any thing TRULY good; and brings him forth into a large place."- Thomas Boston
"Saving faith is the faith of God's elect; the special gift of God to them, wrought in them by his Spirit."- Thomas Boston
"All that the Father giveth me SHALL COME... Here, therefore, the Lord Jesus positively determineth to put forth such a sufficiency of all grace as shall effectually perform this promise. They shall come; that is, he will CAUSE them to come, by infusing of an effectual blessing into all the means that shall be used to that end." - John Bunyan
"Run, John, run. The law commands but gives neither feet nor hands. Better news the gospel brings; it bids me fly and gives me wings."- John Bunyan
"Though it be said that faith cometh by hearing, yet it is the Spirit that worketh faith in the heart through hearing, or else they are not profited by hearing."
- John Bunyan
"Faith is a fruit, work, or gift of the Spirit of God, whereby a poor soul is enabled through the mighty operation of God, in a sense of its sins and wretched estate to lay hold on the righteousness, blood, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and coming again of the Son of God which was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, for eternal life."- John Bunyan
"Without the Spirit man is so infirm that he cannot, with all other means whatsoever, be enabled to think one right saving thought of God, of Christ, or of his blessed things."- John Bunyan
"God, as I may say, is forced to break men's hearts, before he can make them willing to cry to him, or be willing that he should have any concerns with them; the rest shut their eyes, stop their ears, withdraw their hearts, or say unto God, Be gone."- John Bunyan
"What comes from this throne of grace is pure grace, and nothing else; clear grace, free grace; grace that is not mixed, nor need be mixed with works of righteousness that we have done. It is of itself sufficient to answer all our wants, to heal all our diseases and to help us at a time of need. It is grace that chooses, it is grace that calleth, it is grace that preserveth, and it is grace that brings to glory; even the grace that like a river of water of life proceedeth from this throne. And hence it is, that from first to last, we must cry, Grace, grace unto it!"- John Bunyan
"It is the Spirit that showeth us our sins, and the Spirit that showeth us a Saviour, and the Spirit that stirreth up in our hearts desires to come to God."
- John Bunyan
"Men, even the elect, have too many infirmities to come to Christ without help from heaven; inviting will not do."- John Bunyan
"God beareth with his own elect, for Christ's sake, all the time of their unregeneracy, until the time comes which he hath appointed for their conversion."
- John Bunyan
"Beware of resting in the word of the kingdom, without the spirit and power of the kingdom of that gospel, for the gospel coming in word only saves nobody, for the kingdom of God or the gospel, where it comes to salvation, is not in word but in power."- John Bunyan
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. By this one word, down goes all carnal privilege of being born of flesh and blood, and of the will of man. Canst thou produce the birthright?"- John Bunyan
"There can be but one will the master in our salvation, but that shall never be the will of man, but of God; therefore man must be saved by grace." - John Bunyan
"To lay hold of and receive the gospel by a true and saving faith is an act of the soul that has been made a new creature, which is the workmanship of God... Wherefore whoever receiveth the grace that is tendered in the gospel, they must be quickened by the power of God, their eyes must be opened, their understandings illuminated, their ears unstopped, their hearts circumcised, their wills also rectified, and the Son of God revealed in them."- John Bunyan
Stephen Charnock"Since we are dead in sin, a spiritual light and flame in the heart suitable to the nature of the object of our worship, cannot be raised in us without the operation of supernatural grace... such a worship God must have, whereby he is acknowledged to be the true sanctifier and quickener of the soul."
- Stephen Charnock
Man, in all his capacities, is too weak to produce the work of regeneration in himself. This is not the birth of a darkened wisdom and an enslaved will. We affect a kind of divinity, and would centre ourselves in our own strength; therefore it is good to be sensible of our own impotency, that God may have the glory of his own grace, and we the comfort of it in a higher principle and higher power than our own...God challenges this work as his own, excluding the creature from any share as a cause: Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27, 'I will sprinkle clean water upon you, I will cleanse you, I will give you a new heart, I will put a new spirit into you, I will take away the heart of stone, 1 will give you a heart of flesh, I will put my Spirit into you.' Here I will no less than seven times. Nothing is allowed to man in the production of this work in the least; all that is done by him is the walking in God's statutes by virtue of this principle. The sanctifying principle, the actual sanctification, the reception of it by the creature, the removal of all the obstructions of it, the principle maintaining it, are not in the least here attributed to the will of man. God appropriates all to himself. He does not say he would be man's assistant, as many men do, who tell us only of the assistance of the gospel, as if God in the gospel expected the first motions of the will of man to give him a rise for the acting of his grace. You see here he gives not an inch to the creature. To ascribe the first work, in any part, to the will of man, is to deprive God of half his due, to make him but a partner with his creature. - Stephen Charnock from A Discourse of the Efficient of Regeneration
"Regeneration is a spiritual change; conversion is a spiritual motion." - Stephen Charnock
"What God requires of us he himself works in us, or it is not done. He that commands faith, holiness, and love, creates them by the power of his grace ..."
- Matthew Henry
The Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ implants the principle of [repentance] at regeneration, and converts this principle into a habit in sanctification. True repentance is not the work of nature but of grace; not of man's own spirit but of the Spirit of Christ..." - John Colquhoun
"The passive receiving of Christ is the process by which a spiritual principle of grace is generated in the will of man." - William Ames
"The inward offer is a kind of spiritual enlightenment, whereby the promises are presented to the hearts of men, as it were, by an inward word."
- William Ames
"God works with power, and can make the unwilling willing; if He undertakes the conversion of a soul, it will be converted. All the pious workings of our heart towards God are the fruit and consequence of the powerful working of His grace in us."
- Thomas Goodwin
"Christ quickens none but the dead. Why do not the papists attain to this grace of justification? They never see themselves wholly dead, but join some life to the natural estate of man. Therefore Christ quickens them not." - Richard Sibbes
"God knoweth we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace he requireth no more than he giveth, and giveth what he requireth, and accepteth what he giveth." - Richard Sibbes
"Saving faith, by which alone a man can heartily close with God in Christ, is above our power and is the gift of God... The Lord commanding this thing, which is above our power, willeth us to be sensible of our inability to do the thing, and would have us to put it on him to work it in us." - William Guthrie
"True faith in the lowest degree is the gift of God, and above the power of flesh and blood; for God must draw men to Christ." - William Guthrie
"True faith is not a mere passive impression, or an inoperative notion. It is a holy principle wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God, producing gracious habits, holy affections, filial reverence, and obedience." -- Thomas Reade
"Conversion is a work above man's power... Never think you can convert yourself. If ever you would be savingly converted, you must despair of doing it in your own strength. It is a resurrection from the dead, a new creation, a work of absolute omnipotence... This is a supernatural work."
- Joseph Alleine, An Alarm To The Unconverted
"None are drawn to Christ by their calling, nor come to him by believing, but only his sheep, those whom the Father has given him,. Effectual calling runs parallel with eternal election." - Joseph Alleine
"Conversion is not a repairing of the old building, but it takes all down, and erects a new structure... The sincere Christian is quite a new fabric, from the foundation to the top-stone. He is a new man, a new creature; all things are become new. Conversion is a deep work, a heart work. It makes a new man in a new world. It extends to the whole man, to the mind, to the members, to the motions of the whole life." - Joseph Alleine
"When Christ comes with regenerating grace, he finds no man sitting still, but all posting to eternal ruin, and making haste toward hell; till, by conviction, he first brings them to a stand, and then, by conversion, turn first their hearts, and then their lives, sincerely to himself." - Richard Baxter
"To be the people of God without regeneration, is as impossible as to be the children of men without generation." - Richard Baxter
The regenerate are such as sons both by receiving a new nature in their regeneration, and a new title in their adoption…. Because they are sons, therefore, God sends the Spirit of His Son into their hearts (Gal. 4:6), and he is styled the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:14-15). Receiving the Son…. and believing in his Name, they have authority or right to become the sons of God (John 1:12), being also regenerate, born not of flesh and blood—but of God. And thus, by faith, receiving him, by faith they retain him, or have him abiding in them, as they abide in him. Their union is intimate and mutual. What was lately a ruinous heap is become an animated temple, inhabited by the Divine presence. Where one person of the Godhead is present, there the whole Trinity is present. Amazing thing! The Old and New Testament evince the right which believers—they who are God’s own people—have to the abiding indwelling presence of his Spirit as the inhabitant of that temple which they are now become. [All this is through] Emmanuel, the founder and restorer of this temple.
"Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons." - Stephen Charnock
"The internal call is when the Spirit of God accompanies the outward administration of the Word to call a man from ignorance to knowledge, and a state of nature to a state of grace." - Christopher Love
"Faith is a fruit of the Spirit, and not the cause of a spiritual experience." - Jonathan Edwards
"It is from mean thoughts of God, that you contend with him, because he bestows grace on some, and not on others....Therefore consider what you do in quarrelling with God, and opposing his sovereignty. Consider with whom it is you contend."- Jonathan Edwards
"Those who are in a state of salvation are to attribute it to sovereign grace alone, and to give all the praise to him, who maketh them to differ from others."
- Jonathan Edwards
"...whatever scheme is inconsistent with our entire dependence on God for all, and of having all of him, through him, and in him, it is repugnant to the design and tenor of the gospel, and robs it of that which God accounts its luster and glory." - Jonathan Edwards, God Glorified In Man's Dependence
Without ... VITAL UNION there is, there can be, no faith. This being the case, a VITAL UNION is formed before faith can have any ground of existence; and consequently a justification which is a necessary result of this union takes place. - Jonathan Edwards
"The notion that there is a Christ, and that Christ is holy and gracious, is conveyed to the mind by the Word of God, but the sense of the excellency of Christ by reason of that holiness and grace, is nevertheless immediately the work of the Holy Spirit."- Jonathan Edwards
"God insists that his sovereignty be acknowledged by us, even in this great matter, a matter which so nearly and infinitely concerns us, as our own eternal salvation. This is the stumbling-block on which thousands fall and perish; and if they go on contending with God about his sovereignty, it will be their eternal ruin. It is absolutely necessary that we should submit to God as our absolute sovereign, and the sovereign over our souls, as one who may have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and harden whom he will." - Jonathan Edwards, God's Sovereignty In The Salvation Of Men
"A person therefore may have affecting views of the things of religion, and yet be very destitute of spiritual light. Flesh and blood may be the author of this; one man may give another an affecting view of divine things with but common assistance; but God alone can give a spiritual discovery of them."
- Jonathan Edwards
"There is a discovery of the divine superlative glory and excellency of God and Christ peculiar to the saints; and this is as immediately from God as light from the sun, and it is the immediate effect of his power and will."- Jonathan Edwards
"Hath any man hope that he is converted? ...that his sins are forgiven, and he received into God's favor, and exalted to the honor and blessedness of being his child, and an heir of eternal life? let him give God all the glory; who alone makes him to differ from the worst of men in this... world, or the most miserable of the damned in hell."- Jonathan Edwards
"We are dependent on God's power through every step of our redemption. We are dependent on the power of God to convert us, and give faith in Jesus Christ, and the new nature. It is a work of creation."- Jonathan Edwards
"We are dependent on God, not only for redemption itself but for our faith in the Redeemer; not only for the gift of His Son but for the Holy Ghost for our conversion." - Jonathan Edwards in a public lecture in Boston July 8, 1731
"...the first effect of the power of God in the heart in regeneration is to give the heart a Divine taste or sense; to cause it to have a relish of the loveliness and sweetness of the supreme excellency of the Divine nature ... The word of God is no proper cause of this effect: it does not operate by any natural force in it. The word of God is only made use of to convey to the mind the subject matter of this saving instruction: and this indeed it doth convey to us by natural force or influence. It conveys to our minds these and those doctrines; it is the cause of the notion of them in our heads, but not of the sense of the divine excellency of them in our hearts. Indeed a person cannot have spiritual light without the word. But that does not argue, that the word properly causes that light. The mind cannot see the excellency of any doctrine, unless that doctrine be first in the mind; but the seeing of the excellency of the doctrine may be immediately from the Spirit of God; though the conveying of the doctrine or proposition itself may be by the word. So that the notions that are the subject matter of this light, are conveyed to the mind by the word of God; but that due sense of the heart, wherein this light formally consists, is immediately by the Spirit of God. As for instance, that notion that there is a Christ, and that Christ is holy and gracious, is conveyed to the mind by the word of God: but the sense of the excellency of Christ by reason of that holiness and grace, is nevertheless immediately the work of the Holy Spirit."
- Jonathan Edwards - A Divine and Supernatural Light
Jonathan Edwards even said of Peter Van Mastricht's "A Treatise of Regeneration" "This book is much better than any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion." From beginning to end this book was a defence for monergistic regeneration.
"If we are not inwardly wrought upon, and changed by the powerful operations of the Holy Spirit, and our moral actions proceed from a principle of a new nature, however we may call ourselves Christians, we shall be found naked at the great day." - George Whitefield
C. H. Spurgeon
Faith in the living God and his Son Jesus Christ is always the result of the new birth, and can never exist except in the regenerate. Whoever has faith is a saved man.
- C.H. Spurgeon from "Faith and Regeneration"
"A man's conversion is nothing, his believing is nothing, his profession is nothing unless he is made to be a new creature in Christ Jesus... If our faith has not brought with it the Holy Spirit, if, indeed, it is not the fruit of the Spirit...then our faith is presumption, and our profession is a lie."
- C. H. Spurgeon Quote Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol XXX, Receiving The Holy Ghost
"No sooner is the soul quickened, than it at once discovers its lost estate, is horrified thereat, looks for a refuge, and believing Christ to be a suitable one, flies to him and reposes in him." - C.H. Spurgeon
"God the Holy Ghost must illuminate us, or all the suns in the milky way never will."- C.H. Spurgeon
"The new creation is as much and entirely the work of God as the old creation"- C.H. Spurgeon
"To fear God and to walk uprightly is a higher nobility than blood or birth can bestow."- C.H. Spurgeon
"We are chosen of God, according to the good pleasure of his will, and this alone is blessedness. Then, since we cannot and will not come to God of ourselves, he works graciously in us, and attracts us powerfully; he subdues our unwillingness, and removes our inability by the almighty workings of his transforming grace."- C.H. Spurgeon
"Conversion is as divine a work as creation." - C.H. Spurgeon on Psalm LXXX
"If there is to be in our celestial garment but one stitch of our own making we are all of us lost."- C.H. Spurgeon
"It is not your hold of Christ that saves, but his hold of you!"- C.H. Spurgeon
"...none take Jehovah to be their God till he takes them to be his people."- C.H. Spurgeon
"You may be quite certain that if you love God it is a fruit, not a root."- C.H. Spurgeon
"We are chosen of God, according to the good pleasure of his will, and this alone is blessedness. Then, since we cannot and will not come to God of ourselves, he works graciously in us, and attracts us powerfully; he subdues our unwillingness, and removes our inability by the almighty workings of his transforming grace."- C.H. Spurgeon
"The Spirit of God must come, and make the letter alive to you, transfer it to your heart, set it on fire and make it burn within you, or else its divine force and majesty will be hid from your eyes."- C.H. Spurgeon
Without the Spirit of God, we are like a ship stranded on the beach when the tide has receded-there is no moving her until the flood shall once again lift her from the sands. Until the Spirit of God shall thaw the chilly coldness of our natural estate, and bid the life-floods of our heart flow forth, there we must be- ...cold, cheerless, lifeless, and powerless. - C.H. Spurgeon
"All that the Father gives me shall come to me."- John 6:37 ... Oh! the power and majesty which rest in the words "shall come." He does not say they have power to come, nor they may come if they will, but they "shall come" ... subdued by sovereign love!"- C.H. Spurgeon
"A man is opposed to Christ, he hates his gospel, does not understand it and will not receive it-- the Holy Spirit comes, puts light into his darkened understanding, takes the chain from his bondaged will, gives liberty to his conscience, gives life to his dead soul, ... and the man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus." - C.H. Spurgeon
Preach the necessity for the Holy Ghost's divine operations. ... 'Men must be told that they are dead, and that only the Holy Spirit can quicken them; that the Spirit works according to his own good pleasure, and that no man can claim his visitations or deserve his aid. This is thought to be very discouraging teaching, and so it is, but men need to be discouraged when they are seeking salvation in a wrong manner. To put them out of conceit of their own abilities is a great help toward bringing them to look out of self to another, even the Lord Jesus. The doctrine of election and other great truths which declare salvation to be all of grace, and to be, not the right of the creature, but the gift of the Sovereign Lord, are all calculated to hide pride from man, and so prepare him to receive the mercy of God.' - C.H. Spurgeon (from Lectures to My Students)
"Only God himself can satisfy the craving of a soul really aroused by the Holy Spirit."- C.H. Spurgeon
"You think that if you had a long hand you could reach the grace of God. No, but if you have a withered hand, that grace can reach you."- C.H. Spurgeon
"Do not think Christians are made by education; they are made by creation... The vital spark must come from above! Regeneration is not of the will of man, nor of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but by the power and energy of the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God alone!"
- C.H. Spurgeon, "Light, Natural and Spiritual" No. 660.
"God wrought our deliverance alone, and he alone shall have the praise."- C.H. Spurgeon
"No Christian man will ever say that faith came of itself without the gift and without the working of the Holy Spirit."- C.H. Spurgeon
"When a man is converted to God, it is done in a moment. Regeneration is an instantaneous work. Conversion to God, the fruit of regeneration, occupies all our life, but regeneration itself is effected in an instant. A man hates God-- the Holy Spirit makes him love God. A man is opposed to Christ, he hates his gospel, does not understand it and will not receive it-- the Holy Spirit comes, puts light into his darkened understanding, takes the chain from his bondaged will, gives liberty to his conscience, gives life to his dead soul, so that the voice of conscience is heard, and the man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.And all this is done, mark you, by the instantaneous supernatural influence of God the Holy Spirit working as he wills among the sons of men."
From C.H. Spurgeon's, "THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT"
"Grace alone makes the elect gracious; grace alone keeps them gracious; and the same grace alone will render them everlastingly glorious in the heaven of heavens." - Augustus Toplady
"Faith, repentance, and holiness are no less the free gifts of God than eternal life."- Augustus Toplady
"Ask almost any man, “Whether he hopes to be saved eternally?” He will answer in the affirmative. But enquire again, “On what foundation he rests his hope?” Here too many are sadly divided
...The Pelagian hopes to get to heaven by a moral life and a good use of his natural powers.
The Arminian by a jumble of grace and free-will, human works, and the merits of Christ.
The Deist by an interested observance of the social virtues.
Thus merit-mongers, of every denomination, agree in making any thing the basis of their hope, rather than that foundation which God’s own hand hath laid in Zion.
But what saith Scripture? It avers, again and again, that Jesus alone is our hope: to the exclusion of all others, and to the utter annihilation of human deservings.Beware, therefore, of resting your dependence partly on Christ, and partly on some other basis. As surely as you bottom your reliance partly on the rock, and partly on the sand; so certainly, unless God give you an immediate repentance to your acknowledgment of the truth, will your supposed house of defence fall and bury you in its ruins, no less than if you had raised it on the sand alone.Christ is the hope of glory." - Augustus Montague Toplady
"Though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be--I can truly say that I am not what I once was--a slave to sin and Satan. And I can heartily join with the apostle and say that "by the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10 - John Newton
J. C. Ryle
"On the one hand stand salvation by free grace for Christ's sake; but on the other stands renewal of the carnal heart by the Spirit. We must be changed as well as forgiven; we must be renewed as well as redeemed." - J. C. Ryle
"Without the blessing of the Lord, your best endeavors will do no good. He has the hearts of all men in His hands, and except He touch the hearts of your children by His Spirit, you will weary yourself to no purpose. Water, therefore, the seed you sow on their minds with unceasing prayer."- J. C. Ryle
"Let it be a settled principle ...that men's salvation, if saved, is wholly of God; and that man's ruin, if lost, is wholly of himself."- J. C. Ryle
"No more soul-destroying doctrine could well be devised than the doctrine that sinners can regenerate themselves, and repent and believe just when they please...As it is a truth both of Scripture and of experience that the unrenewed man can do nothing of himself to secure his salvation, it is essential that he should be brought to practical conviction of that truth. When thus convinced, and not before, he seeks help from the only source whence it can be obtained."- Charles Hodge
"Sanctification is not a work of nature, but a work of grace. It is a transformation of character effected not by moral influences, but supernaturally by the Holy Spirit." - Charles Hodge
A. A. Hodge
"Whatever man may do after regeneration, the first quickening of the dead must originate with God."
- A.A. Hodge
A. W. Pink
"It is supposed that the Holy Spirit quickens only those who believe. But this is to put the cart before the horse. Faith is not the cause of the new birth, but the consequence of it." - A. W. Pink
"We are born spiritually blind, and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace...No sinner ever comes to Christ until the Holy Spirit first comes to him! And no sinner will savingly believe on Christ until the Spirit has communicated faith to him."- A. W. Pink
"Saving faith is not a native product of the human heart, but is a spiritual grace communicated from on High."- A. W. Pink
"The mission of the Holy Spirit in the world today is to apply the benefits of Christ's redemptive sacrifice."- A. W. Pink
"The demands of Christ are too humbling to our natural pride, too searching for the callous conscience, too exacting for our fleshly desires. And a miracle of grace has to be wrought within us before this awful depravity of our nature, this dreadful state of affairs, is changed."- A. W. Pink
"Regeneration is that miracle of Divine grace wrought in the soul which enlists the affections Godward, which brings the human will into subjection to the Divine, and which produces a real and radical change in the life...from worldliness to godliness, from disobedience to obedience." (1 John 2:3, 3:9, 4:7, 5:18) - A. W. Pink
"We are born spiritually blind, and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace. This is thy case, whoever thou art, that art not born again."- A. W. Pink
"In every instance where God has decreed an end, He has also decreed every means to that end. The One who decreed the salvation of His elect also decreed to work faith in them."- A. W. Pink
"Of himself the fallen sinner can no more repent evangelically than he can create a world. "With men it is impossible" rules out of court all special pleading for the power of man's will. Nothing but a miracle of grace can lead to the saving of any sinner. - A. W. Pink
"A natural faith is sufficient for trusting a human object; but a supernatural faith is required to savingly trust in a Divine object."- A. W. Pink
"To declare that God helps those who help themselves, is to repudiate one of the most precious truths taught in the Bible, and in the Bible alone; namely, that God helps those who are unable to help themselves, who have tried again and again only to fail."- A. W. Pink
"Christ...is supernaturally revealed and applied to the heirs of salvation by the Holy Spirit, when, where, and as He pleases, and not when, where, and how men please."- A. W. Pink
"to mortify the lusts of the flesh, to be crucified unto the world, to overcome the Devil, to die daily unto sin and live unto righteousness, to be meek and lowly in heart, trustful and obedient, pious and patient, loving and gentle is a task far, far beyond the poor resources of fallen human nature."- A. W. Pink
D. M. Lloyd-Jones
"Grace is in no sense contingent upon or dependent upon what man does." - D. M. Lloyd Jones
"God, through the gospel and by the Holy Spirit, sends out this general call to the whole world, but He calls certain people in particular, and no man is a Christian unless he is called in this special sense. They are people in whom the Word of God has been made effective; it has come to them in power, it has come as a command which they find to be irresistible, and they readily respond to it with the whole of their being."" Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"A Christian is the result of the operation of God, nothing less, nothing else. No man can make himself a Christian; God alone makes Christians... A Christian is one who has been created anew; and there is only One who can create, namely, God. It takes the power of God to make a Christian."
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"In every view of salvation the place given in it to the glory of God provides the ultimate test. The proof that it is truly scriptural is that it gives ALL the glory to God."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"The extent of man's fall is so great and extensive that no man by the exercise of his own will or understanding can ever save himself or become a Christian." - Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Exposition of Ephesians
"If God did not make this call effectual for the people whom He has marked out they would not believe. This is the way in which God guarantees their full salavtion and glorification. He calls them in such an effectual manner by the Spirit that this is what they now desire above everything else."
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"Why is it that some have believed? It is because the Spirit has sanctified them, has set them apart, has called them out. It is the call of the Spirit; it is the work of the Spirit in conviction, and calling out, and giving power to believe."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"Our Lord did not come to tell us what we have to do in order to save ourselves; He came to save us... The Christian doctrine of salvation and redemption is this - that Christ Himself is the salvation."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"If a man is saved it is because God saves him; if he is lost it is because he has not believed. Paul teaches both and we must not try to get rid of either."
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"No man can believe the gospel in and of himself; the power of the Spirit alone can lead anyone to belief; without it we are spiritually dead and lost and ruined, and under the wrath of God."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"A Christian is the result of the operation of God, nothing less, nothing else. No man can make himself a Christian; God alone makes Christians... A Christian is one who has been created anew; and there is only One who can create, namely, God. It takes the power of God to make a Christian."
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"God causes the word of the gospel, which is preached to all creatures, to come to these people whom He has foreknown, with power, the power of the Holy Ghost."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"Our very believing is the result of the power of God... There is a strong tendency to talk in a superficial manner about believing, as if it were an easy thing which any man can do if he feels disposed to it. - Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"If you are clear in your theology and in your doctrine you will know that no natural man can believe the gospel... So if you expect a natural man to believe the gospel simply because you are putting it to him, you are denying the gospel; you have not understood it yourself."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"There has been so much emphasis upon decision, receiving, yielding, being willing, and giving ourselves that salvation is regarded almost exclusively in terms of our activity... [But] We do not give birth to ourselves, we are not reborn because we believe. We believe be...cause we are reborn."
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"We can do nothing, it is all of God... If God had not quickened us we should still be dead. A dead man cannot give himself life. God quickened us, and because God has put new life into us we are alive in Christ Jesus, and in the realm of the Spirit."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"If we hold that we become regenerate because we have already believed, then we have to show why we need to be regenerated at all... The doctrine of regeneration has a great deal to say about election and this doctrine of divine choice... The natural man hates this doctrine more than any other."
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
J. I. Packer
"Infants do not induce, or cooperate in, their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are 'dead in trespapasses and sins' prompt the quickening operation of God's Spirit within them."
- J I Packer
"...sinners cannot obey the gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart."- J I Packer
"As grace led me to faith in the first place, so grace will keep me believing to the end. Faith, both in its origin and continuance, is a gift of grace."- J I Packer
"You thank God [for your salvation] because "you do not attribute your repenting and believing to your own wisdom, or prudence, or sound judgment, or good sense."- J I Packer
"The saving power of the cross does not depend on faith being addded to it; its saving power is such that faith flows from it"- J I Packer
"The gift of sonship to God becomes ours not through being born, but through being born again."- J I Packer
"God is triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it."- J I Packer
"We do not make friends with God; God makes friends with us, bringing us to know him by making his love known to us...The word know, when used of God in this way, is a sovereign-grace word, pointing to God's initiative in loving, choosing, redeeming, calling and preserving."- J I Packer
"It cannot be over-emphasised that we have not seen the full meaning of the Cross till we have seen it as the divines of Dort display it—as the centre of the gospel, flanked on the one hand by total inability and unconditional election, and on the other by irresistible grace and final preservation. - J I Packer
J. I. Packer was recently asked, "which theological issues he would commend young Christian leaders to study in order to be prepared for the next fifty years.?" His number one answer was Regeneration — He said that the doctrine of regeneration has not been fully appreciated by many who do not understand that to be born again with a new heart and new nature means that we have at our deepest level a new identity and new passionate desires for God’s Word and ways. He commended to all young Christian leaders a thorough study on the doctrine of regeneration.
Regeneration is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us. As the gospel comes to us, God speaks through it to summon us to himself (effective calling) and to give us new spiritual life (regeneration) so that we are enabled to respond in faith. Effective calling is thus God that Father speaking powerfully to us, and regeneration is God that Father and God the Holy Spirit working powerfully in us, to make us alive. Sometimes the term irresistible grace is used in this connection. It refers to the fact that God effectively calls people and also gives them regeneration, and both actions guarantee that we will respond in saving faith. The term irresistible grace is subject to misunderstanding, however, since it seems to imply that people do not make a voluntary choice in responding to the gospel - a wrong idea, and a wrong understanding of the term irresistible grace. The term does preserve something valuable, however, because it indicates that God's work reaches into our hearts to bring about a response that is absolutely certain - even tough we respond voluntarily. - Wayne Grudem from Systematic Theology (pg. 699)
"Faith is the evidence of new birth, not the cause of it."- JOHN PIPER
"Regeneration is inseperable from its effects and one of its effects is faith." - John Murray
"We are not born again by repentance or faith or conversion: we repent and believe because we have been born again." - John Murray
"The embrace of Christ in faith is the first evidence of regeneration and only thus may we know that we have been regenerated." - John Murray
R. C. Sproul
"Regeneration Precedes Faith" - R. C. Sproul
"No sinner has the right to say with impunity, 'God you owe me grace.' If grace is owed, it is not grace. The very essence of grace is its voluntary character. God reserves to himself the sovereign, absolute right to give grace to some and withhold that grace from others." - R.C. Sproul
"Non-Christians are in a condition of blindness and bondage. They are under a power greater than the will of man and from which only Christ can set them free." - Iain Murray
"The error of Arminianism is not that it holds the Biblical doctrine of responsibility, but that it equates this doctrine with an un-Biblical doctrine of 'free-will' and preaches the two things as if they were synonymous." - Iain Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon
"To make human action the cause of divine blessing is to overturn the whole nature of salvation." - Iain Murray
"To cut off the sinner from all reliance upon himself, his merits and his powers; and throw him, naked and helpless, into the hands of the Holy Spirit to lead him to Christ in faith; should be the one great aim of the ministry." - Ichabod Spencer
The new life is not imparted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is imparted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated." - W. T. Shedd
"...though man by his sin has lost his power to obey the will of God in a right manner, yet God has not lost his authority to command; which he may use without obliging himself to find man sufficient strength to act in obedience to it." - John Gill
Even though the Holy Spirit could accomplish this without means, it pleases Him to use the Word as a means. Nevertheless He immediately (that is, without means) touches the soul in a manner not known to us, exerting a creative power similar as at the time of creation when He moved upon the face of the waters. The Hebrew uses the word מְרַחֶפֶת (Merachepheth), which is indicative of motion that forms and brings forth. As I stated, the Spirit uses the Word in regeneration. “Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth” (James 1:18); “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23).
—Wilhelmus â Brakel “The Christian’s Reasonable Service”
"Before faith and obedience become acts of man they are gifts of God." - R.B. Kuyper
"Whatever contribution men make to their salvation they make by the grace of God. And that makes salvation the work of grace a hundred percent."
- R. B. Kuiper
"Regeneration, however it is described, is a divine activity in us, in which we are not the actors but the recipients." - Sinclair Ferguson
If salvation is the implantation of a new, infinite life in the soul, it must be a work of God. Self-caused effects can never rise above the characer or qualities of their cause. "Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit," Jesus told Nicodemus. This saving grace cannot be caused by the creature, it can only come from God. - John Hannah from To God be the Glory (pg. 34-5)
"Because He is gracious, God takes the initiative, drawing the sinner (John 6:44, 65), granting repentance (Acts 3:26; 5:31; 11:18), and awakening the heart to faith (Acts 13:48; 16:14). Every aspect of the believer's response--conviction, repentance, and faith--is the result of God's gracious work in the heart...."Scripture teaches that sanctification begins at conversion. The process of practical sanctification is launched by God's regenerating work, when He graciously gives the sinner a new heart and a new spirit of obedience (Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:26-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17)."- John MacArthur
The fruit of regeneration is faith." - Steven Lawson
"All that is necessary for salvation is accomplished in Christ's work, even the guarantee of its application." - Ernest Reisinger
"Grace is not a reward for faith; faith is the result of grace." - John Blanchard
"Regeneration is the fountain, sanctification is the river." - J Sidlow Baxter
"God does not expect any good in us but what He has wrought in us." - Anon
"Whatever the details and steps of the work of redemption, all must be traced up to this original fountain, the sovereign grace and mercy of our God... The eternal, free, unchangeable, inexhaustible mercy of our God revealed through his dear Son Jesus Christ." - Edward Bickersteth
Grace is not like a box of candy that you can send back if you don't want it. Grace is divine favor, an attitude of God's own heart. We cannot stop him from loving us, if he chooses to do so. Nor can we stop him from giving us blessings of salvation: regeneration, justification, adoption, sanctification, glorification. His purpose in us will certainly be fulfilled, Phil. 1:6, Eph. 1:11. - John Frame
If salvation is the implantation of a new, infinite life in the soul, it must be a work of God. Self-caused effects can never rise above the character or qualities of their cause. "Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit," Jesus told Nicodemus. This saving grace cannot be caused by the creature, it can only come from God.
John Hannah from To God be the Glory (pg. 34-5)
"All men's hearts are fully set in them to do evil, and would certainly continue impenitent did not God, out of His gracious purpose, efficaciously persuade some to come to Him." - R.L. Dabney
"The [Roman Catholic] Council of Trent anathematizes anyone who says you can be saved without the grace of God. The Reformers, however, never claimed Rome believed you can be saved apart from grace. That wasn't the debate. The debate of the Reformation was never, ever about the necessity of grace, it was always about the sufficiency of grace. That remains the issue today in so many contexts." - James White
"It is wrong to suppose that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that storm center of the Reformation, was the crucial question in the minds of such theologians as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin. This doctrine was important to the Reformers because it helped to express and to safeguard their answer to another, more vital, question, namely, whether sinners are wholly helpless in their sin, and whether God is to be thought of as saving them by free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying them for Christ's sake when they come to faith, but also raising them from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit in order to bring them to faith." - Michael Haykin
"Yet, after all, faith is not our righteousness. It is accounted to us in order to righteousness (Rom 4:5, GREEK), but not as righteousness; for in that case it would be a work like any other doing of man, and as such would be incompatible with the righteousness of the Son of God; the righteousness which is by faith. Faith connects us with the righteousness, and is therefore totally distinct from it. To confound the one with the other is to subvert the whole gospel of the grace of God. Our act of faith must ever be a separate thing from that which we believe." - Horatius Bonar
"Faith is not our physician; it only brings us to the Physician. It is not even our medicine; it only administers the medicine, divinely prepared by Him who healeth all our diseases. In all our believing, let us remember God's word to Israel: I am Jehovah, that healeth thee (Exod. 14:26). Our faith is but our touching Jesus; and what is even this, in reality, but His touching us?" - Horatius Bonar
"Faith is not our saviour. It was not faith that was born at Bethlehem and died on Golgotha for us. It was not faith that loved us, and gave itself for us; that bore our sins in its own body on the tree; that died and rose again for our sins. Faith is one thing, the Saviour is another. Faith is one thing, and the cross is another. Let us not confound them, nor ascribe to a poor, imperfect act of man, that which belongs exclusively to the Son of the Living God." - Horatius Bonar
"...the cross saves completely, or not at all. Our faith does not divide the work of salvation between itself and the cross. It is the acknowledgment that the cross alone saves, and that it saves alone. Faith adds nothing to the cross, nor to its healing virtue." - Horatius Bonar
"Faith is the acknowledgment of the entire absence of all goodness in us, and the recognition of the cross as the substitute for all the want on our part. Faith saves, because it owns the complete salvation of another, and not because it contributes anything to that salvation. There is no dividing or sharing the work between our own belief and Him in whom we believe. The whole work is His, not ours, from the first to last." - Horatius Bonar
"God's grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation... We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature."
- Cambridge Declaration
More Historical Church Councils and And Documents Which Teach the Doctrine of Monergistic Regeneration
Related concepts in The Canons of Dordt of 1618-19 teaching monergistic regeneration
Article 11: The Holy Spirit's Work in Conversion
Moreover, when God carries out this good pleasure in his chosen ones, or works true conversion in them, he not only sees to it that the gospel is proclaimed to them outwardly, and enlightens their minds powerfully by the Holy Spirit so that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God, but, by the effective operation of the same regenerating Spirit, he also penetrates into the inmost being of man, opens the closed heart, softens the hard heart, and circumcises the heart that is uncircumcised. He infuses new qualities into the will, making the dead will alive, the evil one good, the unwilling one willing, and the stubborn one compliant; he activates and strengthens the will so that, like a good tree, it may be enabled to produce the fruits of good deeds.
Article 12: Regeneration a Supernatural Work
And this is the regeneration, the new creation, the raising from the dead, and the making alive so clearly proclaimed in the Scriptures, which God works in us without our help. But this certainly does not happen only by outward teaching, by moral persuasion, or by such a way of working that, after God has done his work, it remains in man's power whether or not to be reborn or converted. Rather, it is an entirely supernatural work, one that is at the same time most powerful and most pleasing, a marvelous, hidden, and inexpressible work, which is not lesser than or inferior in power to that of creation or of raising the dead, as Scripture (inspired by the author of this work) teaches. As a result, all those in whose hearts God works in this marvelous way are certainly, unfailingly, and effectively reborn and do actually believe. And then the will, now renewed, is not only activated and motivated by God but in being activated by God is also itself active. For this reason, man himself, by that grace which he has received, is also rightly said to believe and to repent.
Article 14: The Way God Gives Faith
In this way, therefore, faith is a gift of God, not in the sense that it is offered by God for man to choose, but that it is in actual fact bestowed on man, breathed and infused into him. Nor is it a gift in the sense that God bestows only the potential to believe, but then awaits assent--the act of believing--from man's choice; rather, it is a gift in the sense that he who works both willing and acting and, indeed, works all things in all people produces in man both the will to believe and the belief itself.
Article 16: Regeneration's Effect
However, just as by the fall man did not cease to be man, endowed with intellect and will, and just as sin, which has spread through the whole human race, did not abolish the nature of the human race but distorted and spiritually killed it, so also this divine grace of regeneration does not act in people as if they were blocks and stones; nor does it abolish the will and its properties or coerce a reluctant will by force, but spiritually revives, heals, reforms, and--in a manner at once pleasing and powerful--bends it back. As a result, a ready and sincere obedience of the Spirit now begins to prevail where before the rebellion and resistance of the flesh were completely dominant. It is in this that the true and spiritual restoration and freedom of our will consists. Thus, if the marvelous Maker of every good thing were not dealing with us, man would have no hope of getting up from his fall by his free choice, by which he plunged himself into ruin when still standing upright.
Article 17: God's Use of Means in Regeneration
Just as the almighty work of God by which he brings forth and sustains our natural life does not rule out but requires the use of means, by which God, according to his infinite wisdom and goodness, has wished to exercise his power, so also the aforementioned supernatural work of God by which he regenerates us in no way rules out or cancels the use of the gospel, which God in his great wisdom has appointed to be the seed of regeneration and the food of the soul. For this reason, the apostles and the teachers who followed them taught the people in a godly manner about this grace of God, to give him the glory and to humble all pride, and yet did not neglect meanwhile to keep the people, by means of the holy admonitions of the gospel, under the administration of the Word, the sacraments, and discipline. So even today it is out of the question that the teachers or those taught in the church should presume to test God by separating what he in his good pleasure has wished to be closely joined together. For grace is bestowed through admonitions, and the more readily we perform our duty, the more lustrous the benefit of God working in us usually is and the better his work advances. To him alone, both for the means and for their saving fruit and effectiveness, all glory is owed forever. Amen.
The Lutheran Formula of Concord states that "man of himself, or from his natural powers, cannot contribute anything or help to his conversion, and that conversion is not only in part, but altogether an operation, gift and present and work of the Holy Ghost alone, who accomplishes and effects it, by his virtue and power, through the Word, in the understanding, heart and will of man."
1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling
1._____ Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
( Romans 8:30; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:10, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; Ephesians 2:1-6; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17, 18; Ezekiel 36:26; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 1:19; Psalm 110:3; Song of Solomon 1:4 )
2._____ This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.
( 2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:5; John 5:25; Ephesians 1:19, 20 )
Some Confessions of Faith or Historic Creeds that Teach Monergism
Canons of the Council of Orange (529)
The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)
The Belgic Confession
The Canons of Dordt of 1618-19
The Heidelberg Catechism
Scottish Confession of Faith 1560
The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of the Anglican Church
The Westminster Confession of Faith
Doctrinal Position of the Lutheran Missouri Synod (1932)
For the record, these are some of the historical persons who opposed monergism:
Semi-Pelagians as led by John Cassian (440); Then later there were clear denunciations from the Council of Trent (1563) Justification Canons, which is the standard of the Roman Catholic Church, Arminius and his followers in the Remonstrance of 1610 also disapproved; Finally, this list also includes individuals such as John Wesley, Charles Finney and a high percentage of evangelicals from 20th century America.
This is an excerpt from a much larger eBook, The Work of the Trinity in Salvation, edited by John Hendryx