Regeneration “is sometimes called in the Old Testament ‘circumcision of the heart;’ and sometimes ‘the creation of a new heart and a new spirit;’ or ‘the taking away of the stony heart and the imparting of a heart of flesh.’”
The Holy Spirit had other roles in the Old Testament, which included a part in the creation of the physical universe (Gen. 1:2); filled humans to provide skill and strength (Exod. 35:31); empowered leaders and officially qualified them (Num. 27:18-20; 1 Sam. 16:13) and provided messages to the prophets (Zech 7:12).
The Spirit, therefore, has always worked in human beings. His role in humans has been one of power; to provide for us things of the spirit in which we could not provide ourselves.
R.C. Sproul referenced Martin Luther, who said that we, in the flesh, are an anathema to the Spirit. “All that the flesh yields is more flesh. It cannot yield an ounce of Spirit.” Therefore, in context of salvation, there is nothing we can do for our rebirth. It must be through the Spirit. Sproul said, “We can no more assist the Holy Spirit in the quickening of our souls to spiritual life than Lazarus could help Jesus raise him from the dead.”
- The Holy Spirit’s Role in Salvation: Part 4 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Holy Spirit in the Role of Salvation: Part 3 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Holy Spirit: Why should we study The Holy Spirit? (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Role of The Holy Spirit in Salvation: Part 1 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Role of The Holy Spirit in Salvation: Part 2 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)