The Work of the Holy Spirit in Regeneration

Redemption: Accomplished and Applied  John Murray’s book Redemption Accomplished and Applied is an outstanding biblical explanation of Christ’s work for us and in us.  I like this section where Murray talks about regeneration from John 3 – specifically 3:8: The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (NIV).

“…We are instructed by our Lord that for entrance into the kingdom of God we are wholly dependent upon the action of the Holy Spirit, an action of the Holy Spirit which is compared to that action on the part of our parents by which we were born into the world.  We are as dependent upon the Holy Spirit as we are upon the action of our parents in connection with our natural birth.  We were not begotten by our father because we decided to be.  And we were not born of our mother because we decided to be.  We were simply begotten and were born.  We did not decide to be born.”

“This is the simple but too frequently overlooked truth which our Lord here teaches us.  We do not have spiritual perception of the kingdom of God nor do we enter into it because we willed to or decided to.  If this privilege is ours it is because the Holy Spirit willed it and here all rests upon the Holy Spirit’s decision and action.  He begets or bears when and where he pleases.”

“Is this not the burden of [John 3] verse 8?  Jesus there compares the action of the Spirit to the action of the wind.  The wind blows – this serves to illustrate the factuality, the certainty, the effect of the Spirit’s action.  The wind blows where it wills – this enforces the sovereignty of the Spirit’s action.  The wind is not at our beck and call; neither is the regenerative operation of the Spirit.  ‘Thou canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth’ – the Spirit’s work is mysterious.  All points up the sovereignty, efficacy, and inscrutability of the Holy Spirit’s work in regeneration.”

John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, p. 123.

shane lems

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