Regeneration Must Come Before Reformation

By David J. Stewart | August 2015 | Updated February 2020

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

       God only made one plan of salvation. I am frustrated with many of today's churches, who have two very different plans of salvation circulating around the world (and in many cases, even within their particular congregation). ...

GOSPEL OF FREE GRACE — The first group believes in a free-grace view of the Gospel, which is the simplicity that is in Christ. Biblically, you simply realize that you are a guilty sinner in God's sight (which is repentance), believing the Gospel to be saved. If you didn't repent, you would never come to Christ at all. Repentance is simply “a change of mind,” nothing more. The object of repentance is believing the Gospel (Mark 1:15). This is the simplicity that is in Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). We are saved solely by completely resting in the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:10-11).

LORDSHIP SALVATION — In the second group, repentance is errantly redefined to mean “a change of mind that produces a change of life,” so that if there is no change of life, it is alleged that there was never any repentance. The object of repentance becomes a changed life, instead of believing the Gospel. Hence, childlike faith in Christ is no longer enough to be saved. In addition, they say you must turn away from your sins, commit to living a holy life, completely surrender your will to Christ's Lordship, follow Jesus, and confess the name of Jesus before men, to be saved. This is the Satanic heresy of Calvinism (aka, Lordship Salvation).

If you think the two preceding theological ideals are a mere matter of semantics, then you are a big fool. These are two radically different plans of salvation. Only one or neither can be true. I believe 100% that the former is true, that is, the first group. I am reminded of a great quote from 16th U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)...

“In great contests [battles], each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God—both may be, but one must be, wrong—God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time!” —President Abraham Lincoln

Likewise, you either have to turn away from a lifestyle of sin to be saved, or you do not, but it cannot be both! Both plans of salvation may be, but only one must be, wrong! Pastor John MacArthur and Pastor Curtis Hutson cannot both be right on salvation. Both men may be, but one must be, wrong! Curtis Hutson teaches the wonderful free grace Gospel; whereas, John MacArthur teaches a complicated false plan of salvation that requires forsaking self, sin and the world.

Pastor Aiden Tozer's False Gospel of Reformation

Chicago's well-known Pastor, Aiden Tozer (1897-1963), was a reprobate concerning the plan of salvation, a teacher of Lordship Salvation. Here's a disturbing quote from Mr. Tozer...

“In the Bible the offer of pardon on the part of God is conditioned upon intention to reform on the part of man. There can be no spiritual regeneration till there has been a moral reformation” (The Best of A.W. Tozer, Book 2, pg. 115-117; Compiled by Warren W. Wiersbe).

BLASPHEMY!!! That is a Satanic lie! If receiving the free gift of God is conditional upon one's intent to reform their sinful ways, then eternal life becomes a reward, which requires human effort to obtain, and can no longer be considered a gift. In order to truly remain a free gift, there can be NO CONDITIONS of salvation. Salvation is a TAKE proposition, not a GIVE proposition. Salvation is received, not achieved. There is no human effort involved in Biblical salvation. Either God does the saving, all of it, or else there is no salvation at all. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved. Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do!

Let's look at our text Scripture passage again...

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Notice that the Christian does not live the Christian life; but rather, Jesus Christ lives the Christian life THROUGH US! In Romans 8:9 the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Christ.” God the Father and God the Son indwell the believer in God the Holy Spirit. So clearly, no man can have Christ living in him until he has first been born-again (i.e., regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God). Then, and only then, can there be true reformation (a changed life by and for God - Philippians 2:13). Religion attempts to reform man in human strength, to make him presentable to God; whereas in Christianity Jesus Christ went to the cross to bleed and die to pay for man's sins, so that man could by faith be presented faultless before God. Do you see the drastic difference? Hebrews 4:10-11 teaches that we are saved by simply RESTING in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Salvation is man ceasing from his own dead works (Hebrews 6:1), and resting in God's righteousness through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9).

I marvel at the lackadaisical and indifferent attitude amongst religious leaders today concerning these two opposing views. It is lukewarmness, which God hates (Revelation 3:15-16). Pick a side! God wants us hot or cold, not straddling-the-fence! I know an independent Baptist church with 700 members where both views on salvation are tolerated, so effectively it really doesn't matter what church members believe about salvation, just so long as the money keeps coming in. The church's official position is the same as their heroes, John MacArthur and Paul Washer, staunch Calvinists who propagate the Lordship Salvation garbage. If anyone exposes the heresy of Lordship Salvation, they are silenced quickly. So the confusion continues in the church. Kindly said, it is apostasy!!! God knows that my heart's desire is not to offend anyone, but to help others find the truth!

Folks, we need to “refute all works of darkness” as Ephesians 5:11 teaches; and to those false prophets “who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake,” we as born-again Christians must “rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” as Titus 1:10-13 teaches. As far as I'm concerned, this means exposing Evangelists Paul Washer and Billy Graham, Pastors John Piper and Rick Warren, and other reprobates concerning the plan of salvation. If you as a child of God don't expose untruths, falsehoods and evil, then you are complicit, bidding heretics Godspeed, and in time will likely go along to get along with darkness.

Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again!

Human Reformation (Dead Works) Prevents Spiritual Regeneration (The New Birth)

Regeneration (i.e., being born anew by the Holy Spirit of God) absolutely must come before reformation (behavior modification). Getting saved simply means that you are now indwelt with the blessed Holy Spirit (God living in us). Just because a person gets saved, doesn't mean that their life automatically changes. At the moment of conversion, God's Holy Spirit comes to live inside one's body (1st Corinthians 3:16-19; Romans 8:9; 1st John 3:24). Getting saved doesn't change a man! God saves a man and then the Holy Spirit changes him, if he grows in grace. 1st Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” Without proper mentoring (Matthew 28:19-20), and spending time nurturing on the milk of the Word, a new believer will not grow well.

And let me state emphatically that a changed life is not essential to being saved. If you never do a single good work throughout your entire life, it will not keep you from entering into God's Kingdom, just so long as you've been born-again by faith alone in the 'GOOD NEWS' of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen the third day! 1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” There is THE GOSPEL! We are saved by faith in THE GOSPEL!!! God the Father can read your mind, and the very moment that He sees you've placed your trust (reliance) upon His only begotten Son, Jesus, He saves you!

Dear reader, beware of the demonic teaching, which says you are not really saved if you're still living in willful sin. Everyone still sins, deliberately at times, even the most devout and surrendered Christians! The very idea that a child of God can live above sin is ridiculous. Although it is possible to live above reproach, NO ONE can live above sin. What saith the Scripture? 1st Timothy 5:24, “Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” Everyone has a skeleton closet! 1st John 1:10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Kindly, Pastor Aiden Tozer was a heretic for saying that a desire to reform must precede regeneration. That is no where taught in the Holy Bible. What saith the Scripture?

Romans 4:3-6, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,”

The only type of person that God justifies is “THE UNGODLY,” without any intent to reform, change or do better! No where in the Holy Scriptures are we taught anything different. Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” God only saves lost SINNERS, not the self-righteous! Matthew 9:12, “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” Not one Bible verse teaches that a person must have intent to reform as a prerequisite to saving-faith. God wants us to come as we are, in all our ugliness of sin and shame. Whatever changes God wants to see happen in the life of His children, you can rest assured that He will tend to that (Hebrews 12:6-8), but it has nothing to do with receiving the FREE GIFT of forgiveness of sins and eternal life, because Jesus paid for our redemption on the cross with His precious blood.


“Nobody can love God who doesn't love sinners!”
(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!) | Recent Articles

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