Somehow I feel certain that many who will read John Piper’s book will quickly relegate it to just another one of those foolish hyper-Calvinists who really doesn’t have it all together. Sadly they are wrong. For what John teaches here as he did in the wonderful series of messages he brought to his own fellowship of believers, is truth for it is based on the infallible Word of God. And those who will not hear it do so on the basis of the fallacious teaching that men have a free will to accept what God has done for us through the cross of Christ or reject it as having no relevance whatsoever in their own lives. There are literally thousands of evangelical church web pages that hold this statement or something very closely akin to it with respect to salvation, to wit, “God the Holy Spirit regenerates the believing sinner”. In short, they have placed the order of salvation in a reverse position, viz, “belief, regeneration, justification”. The question then becomes: “How does one who is dead in trespasses and sins and totally incapable of doing one infinitesimal good thing, do that which is the greatest good for a human being, that is – believe in Christ for salvation?’ The fact is, he or she cannot do this apart from the grace of God.
John gives to us several excellent points to ponder in this book and I would love to give many of them here, but that is not practical. However, on page sixty one he lays out five things that happen to us when God regenerates an unbeliever. Note them carefully:
1. “When God causes us to be born again, saving faith is awakened, and we are united to Christ.
2. “When the new birth awakens faith, and unites us to Christ, we are justified – that is, counted righteous – through that faith.
3. “When new birth awakens faith and unites us in Christ, all the legal obstacles to our acceptance with God are removed through justification. So God adopts us into his family and conforms us to the image of his Son.
4. “When the new birth awakens faith and we are united to Christ and all condemnation is replaced with justification and the Spirit of adoption moves into our lives, he produces the fruit of love.
5. “Finally, when the new birth awakens faith and unites us to Christ, who is our righteousness, and releases the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, we are on the narrow way that leads to heaven.”
In short, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” – it is not self induced; it is not self made or propagated: it is all of grace, it is all of God. Period. Listen as John explains this mighty and Sovereign act of God.