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Unconverted Elect (Part 1)

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For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse.



I. Sovereign grace makes the doctrine of the unconverted elect necessary.
1. All men are born in state of spiritual death because of Adam's sin (Rom 5:12; Eph 2:1).
2. In this state, men cannot seek God, understand God, nor do good (Rom 3:9-12).
3. Therefore, if anyone will be saved, God has to do the saving all by Himself.
4. God first, before the foundation of the world, chose (elected) in Christ those whom He would save (Eph 1:4).
5. The elect are still unconverted at this point since they don't yet exist.
6. In time, Christ came and died for their sins on the cross (2Co 5:18-19; 1Pe 2:24).
7. The elect are still unconverted at this point since they haven't yet been born.
8. Having forgiven their sins on the cross, the Holy Spirit regenerates them at some point in their lives (Col 2:13; Tit 3:5).
A. Prior to moment of regeneration, the elect are still unconverted because they are spiritually dead and yet incapable of hearing and believing the gospel (1Co 1:18).
B. After the moment when the elect are regenerated, they then have the ability to hear and believe the gospel, but until they do, they are still unconverted.
C. They may hear the gospel soon after they are regenerated, or it may take a long time if, for instance, they live in a country where there are no Bibles, churches, preachers, or Christians.
9. In that conversion always comes after regeneration, all of the elect will be unconverted for some period of time between the time they are regenerated and the time they hear and believe the gospel.

II. Conversion vs. Regeneration
1. Conversion is a process in which the person is an active participant.
A. Conversion - II. Change in character, nature, form, or function. 8. a. The bringing of any one over to a specified religious faith, profession, or party, esp. to one regarded as true, from what is regarded as falsehood or error. (Without qualification, usually = conversion to Christianity.)
B. Converted ppl. - 1. Turned, turned back; 2. That has turned or been brought over to a religious faith or profession, whether from a different religion or from irreligious life.
C. The Bible defines conversion the same as the dictionary: a turning to God (Act 15:3 c/w Act 15:19).
D. A person is active in conversion, which includes believing, repenting, being baptized, and becoming a member of the church (Act 14:1,21-23 c/w Act 15:3).
2. Regeneration is an instantaneous act of God in which the person is passive.
A. Regeneration - 1. a. The action of regenerating; the process or fact of being regenerated; re-creation, re-formation, etc. 2. a. In religious use: The process or fact of being born again in a spiritual sense; the state resulting from this.
B. Quicken v. - 1. a. To give or restore life to; to make alive; to vivify or revive; to animate (as the soul the body). b. fig. in renderings of Biblical passages, or echoes of these, occas. with ref. to spiritual life.
C. Regeneration (quickening) happens when a person is dead (Eph 2:1).
D. Therefore, a person is entirely passive in regeneration.

III. Categories of the unconverted elect
1. Unconverted, unregenerate elect
A. All of the elect prior to regeneration are unconverted.
B. At one time we all walked in sin according to the course of this world when we were dead in sins before God quickened us (Eph 2:1-5; Tit 3:3-5).
C. There is no way for us to distinguish an unregenerate elect person from a reprobate since they are both dead in sins.

2. Unconverted, regenerated elect who have not yet heard the gospel.
A. Cornelius
i. Cornelius was a devout man who feared God and whose prayers God heard (Act 10:1-4).
a. The unregenerate do not fear God (Rom 3:18).
b. God doesn't hear the prayers of the unregenerate (1Pe 3:12; Pro 15:29).
c. These two facts (he feared God and God heard his prayers) prove that Cornelius was an elect, regenerate child of God.
ii. God had already cleansed Cornelius before Peter ever preached the gospel to him (Act 10:15 c/w Act 10:28 c/w Act 10:35).
iii. Cornelius just needed to hear the gospel which told him about the Lord Jesus Christ who saved him so that he could commit his life to Him.
B. Lydia
i. Lydia, like Cornelius, was a regenerate child of God who worshipped God (Act 16:14).
ii. But Lydia was not yet a believer in Christ until the Lord opened her heart so that she attended to the things Paul preached (the gospel) (Act 16:14).
iii. Like Cornelius, once she heard the gospel, she was baptized (Act 16:15).
C. Gentiles which have not the law in Romans 2:14-15
i. Paul describes Gentiles "which have not the law" (the scripture), but nevertheless "do by nature the things contained in the law" (Rom 2:14).
a. These Gentiles are clearly regenerate, children of God because unregenerate people who are dead in sins are "by nature the children of wrath" (Eph 2:1,3).
b. The carnal, unregenerate man is "not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom 8:7).
ii. These Gentiles have "the law written in their hearts" (Rom 2:15).
a. These Gentiles were under the new covenant in which the law of God gets written in the elect's hearts when God forgives their sins and quickens them (Heb 8:10-12 c/w Col 2:13).
b. These Gentiles were able to do by nature the things contained in the law because God had put His Spirit in them so that they could walk in His statutes and keep His judgments (Eze 36:26-27).
iii. These Gentiles needed to hear the gospel which told them about the Lord Jesus Christ who saved them so that they could commit their lives to Him.
D. Unconverted Gentiles in Corinth
i. God told Paul to stay and preach the gospel in Corinth because He had much people in that city (Act 18:9-11).
ii. God's people were made His people through the new covenant in which Christ died for them and saved them from their sins (Heb 8:10-12 c/w Mat 1:21 c/w Heb 13:20).
iii. These were God's people who had yet to hear the gospel.
E. Children of God caught up in Mystery Babylon
i. God has some whom He calls "my people" in Mystery Babylon whom He tells to come out of her (Rev 18:4).
ii. These are God's elect who are unconverted followers of a false religion.
F. Before the gospel had gone to the Gentiles, God had children outside of the nation of Israel which were scattered abroad for whom Christ died (Joh 11:50-52).
i. Prior to the resurrection of Christ, the word of God was only given to the Jews (Psa 147:19-20).
ii. Yet, God's elect are taken out of every kindred, tribe, people, and nation (Rev 5:9), including the nations and peoples that lived prior to the coming of Christ.
iii. Therefore, God's elect among those Gentile nations who never heard the gospel during the OT times were unconverted, elect children of God.
G. Many righteous men in the past desired to see and hear what the disciples did concerning Jesus Christ and were not able (Mat 13:17). In other words, they were unconverted elect.

3. Unconverted, regenerated elect who believe the gospel, but still need to be converted.
A. Peter
i. Peter was an elect, regenerate child of God, which was evidenced by his faith (Mat 16:15-17 c/w 1Jo 5:1).
ii. Yet Peter clearly had areas in his life in which he needed converted (Mat 16:21-23).
iii. Just prior to Jesus' death, Peter still needed to be converted (Luk 22:31-32).
iv. Peter was an unconverted, elect, regenerate child of God.
B. Lot
i. Lot was said to be a righteous and a just man (2Pe 2:7-8).
ii. A survey of Lot's life will demonstrate that Lot was anything but a converted, obedient child of God, but yet he was righteous because of Christ's obedience (Rom 5:19).
C. The Galatians
i. The Galatians were God's elect (Gal 4:9), born again children of God (Gal 4:28-29) who were redeemed by the blood of Christ (Gal 3:13).
ii. Yet they believed "another gospel" (Gal 1:6), did not obey the truth (Gal 3:1), and thought that they were justified by the law (Gal 5:4).
iii. They were elect, regenerate, children of God who were yet unconverted on serious points of doctrine.

4. Unconverted, regenerated elect who have heard the gospel, but have rejected it.
A. The apostle Paul prior to his conversion
i. Paul was a child of God before his conversion.
a. Paul was elect before his conversion (Act 22:14).
b. Paul was regenerated (called by the grace of God) before his conversion (Gal 1:15 c/w Rom 8:29-30).
c. God called Paul by his grace to reveal Jesus Christ in him, not to him (Gal 1:15-16).
(i) Reveal v. - To disclose, make known (to one) in a supernatural manner.
(ii) Christ was in Paul (Gal 1:16), which means that Paul had the Spirit of God in him and was a born again man with new spiritual life (Rom 8:9-10).
(iii) It pleased God to reveal (make known) to Paul that Christ was in him on the road to Damascus.
ii. This is why Paul could feel the pricks in his heart and was resisting them prior to meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus (Act 9:5 c/w Act 2:37).
iii. Stony hearts don't feel pricks; but hearts of flesh do (Eze 36:26-27).
iv. Therefore, Paul was a regenerate, elect child of God before he believed on Jesus.
v. Paul had obviously heard the gospel of Jesus Christ prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus because he was in the process of persecuting Christians for believing it when Christ arrested him (Act 9:1-4).
vi. Therefore, prior to Christ appearing to Paul, he was an unconverted, elect, regenerate child of God who had heard the gospel, but rejected it.

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