By W.F. Bell
These are the three R's of the Christian Faith: Ruin, Redemption, and Regeneration . A proper understanding of these terms is essential to a proper understanding of the true Gospel. Man's "ruin" is the malady; "redemption" and "regeneration" are the remedy for man's sinful condition.
Ruin by Sin
Before one can ever come to appreciate and magnify God's grace in salvation, there must first be some realization of the awful fact of man's complete and entire ruin by his own sin. It is absolutely necessary, under the illumination of the Holy Ghost, to see oneself as horribly, hopelessly, and helplessly lost!
The first major concern of the Gospel is to reveal man's need of salvation. This need arises from the fact that sinners are under God's judgment and condemnation, due to the fall of man in the person of Adam. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). There is a world of deep theology in this one verse! How often preachers are guilty of not declaring with clarity the truth of man's total and complete fall. Men are sinners because of Adam's sin! Men are sinners because there is a sin nature in every son of Adam! The entire human race has been ruined by man's fall in Genesis 3.
Men are now by nature dead, lost and blind. Our condition by nature is indeed incurable, at least from the standpoint of Man! "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). There is no hope for any sinner within himself; there is no hope for any sinner in another human; there is no hope for any sinner apart from the God of glory in the person of the God-Man, Christ Jesus. We are in ruin by our own sin, by the association we have with other sinners, by the work of Satan, and by the power of deceit of self.
Redemption By The Savior
With this deplorable background, we now come to the good news of the glorious Gospel. The good news out of heaven is that the infinite and eternal God (Yahweh or Jehovah) has come to man's rescue! "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him" (1
Here, dear reader, is our only hope: it is in the good news that Christ has come to redeem sinners by the giving of Himself on the cross. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1
Christ came to the manger; He lived a sinless life; He performed mighty miracles; He died a vicarious (substitutionary) death; He arose and ascended back to His Father; He is now exalted and intercedes for His own; some blessed day this Redeemer will come again to redeem the bodies of all His chosen, and bring retribution on the ungodly. "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews ).
Regeneration By The Spirit
Men who are ruined by sin can only be regenerated by the Spirit of God. "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life" (2 Corinthians 3:6). Regeneration means the making new of sinners by a sovereign act of God the Holy Ghost (
The Gospel comes to us as lost, guilty sinners, in need of salvation. The Holy Ghost accompanies the Gospel for many, and opens their eyes to see the Lord Jesus as the only suitable and sufficient Saviour. When we see Christ we gladly repent of our sins, and trust the matchless Lord. When God Almighty acts upon man, then man can and will act! When the Holy Spirit regenerates us, then we are given repentance and faith (Acts ; ; ). Thus, from start to finish, salvation is all of God's free and superabounding grace! All glory to God and the Lamb forever. "Worthy is the Lamb" (Revelation ). This is the song of the redeemed both now and in glory!
I know that my Redeemer lives;
What joy the blest assurance gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my everlasting Head!
He lives, to bless me with His love;
He lives, to plead for me above;
He lives, my hungry soul to feed;
He lives, to help in time of need.
He lives, to grant me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death;
He lives, my mansion to prepare;
He lives, to bring me safely there.
He lives, all glory to His Name;
He lives, my Saviour, still the same;
What joy the blest assurance gives,