The following is comes from a manuscript I’m working on entitled, A Change of Heart: Understanding Regeneration and Why it Matters.
Regeneration and Evangelism
There is a certain faulty line of reasoning that says if God is completely sovereign in salvation, choosing whom He will and regenerating whom He will, then evangelism is unnecessary. This is an example of fallen men using fallen logic to reject the plain teaching of the Scriptures. The sovereignty of God in salvation in no way negates the responsibility of believers to proclaim the gospel nor does it lessen the responsibility of sinners to repent of their sins and believe the gospel. As Will Metzger notes, “[W]e should not consider these two doctrines of sovereignty and responsibility as enemies but rather see them the way the Bible does–as friends!”
Those perishing are “perishing, because they refused to love the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). It is not as though they wanted to embrace the truth but were hindered by God. Rather, they refused to love the truth. Calvin rightly notes that they “of their own accord refused salvation.”
How then is a person saved? I answered this question early in my first book, From Death to Life.
What must a person do to be saved? A person is saved when the gospel is proclaimed and the Holy Spirit works through that proclamation in such a way that He moves the sinner from death to life, “turning on the light” so to speak. Only then can a person see his or her sin (the breaking of God’s Law) and turn from it in repentance. Only then can they, by faith, trust in Christ alone as their only suitable and all sufficient Savior.
With this definition in mind, we must remember four key truths:
- The gospel must be published indiscriminately
The gospel is designed to go to every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. The church must take the gospel to every inch of the globe, proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. This is the external or gospel call whereby all sinners everywhere are to be summoned to come to Christ in repentance and faith.
- It is the duty of all men to believe on Christ for salvation
Unbelief is not merely a “condition” but an act of rebellion. To make a willing decision to refuse to love the truth is inexcusable. It is each person’s obligation to savingly look to Christ as their only hope.
- There is sufficiency in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to cleanse the vilest of sinners
God invites all sinners, great and small to partake of Christ. He commands all to repent. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather that they turn from their evil ways and live (cf. Ezekiel 18:23). No sinner can say, “I don’t know if the blood of Christ is enough for me.” No sinner can say, “I wonder if God would have me turn from my sin and believe the gospel?”
- No one will savingly believe on Christ apart from an efficacious work of divine grace
All men are invited to Christ and commanded to believe. However, “We are not born again by faith or repentance…we repent and believe because we have been regenerated.”
Therefore, we pray for, preach to, plead with, and press upon sinners to repent of their sins and close with Christ in saving faith. All the while we remember, “The ministry of the word is the pipe or organ; the Spirit of God blowing in it doth effectually change men’s hearts…Ministers knock at the door of men’s hearts, the Spirit comes with a key and opens the door.”
 Tell the Truth, 109.
 John Calvin and John Pringle, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 338.
 Allen S. Nelson IV, From Death to Life: How Salvation Works (Conway, AR Free Grace Press, 2018), 5.
 “Not everyone will heed that ‘external’ or ‘gospel’ call. The Bible attributes the conversion of the sinner to an internal call effected by God.” A. J. Smith, ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 254.
 Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 107.
 Thomas Watson, The Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, Comprising His Celebrated Body of Divinity, in a Series of Lectures on the Shorter Catechism, and Various Sermons and Treatises (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855), 148.