09 January 2007

Motivation (27): Packer

J. I. Packer (1926-), Anglican theologian, author, professor at Regent College in Vancouver:

"Regeneration is . . . God renovating the heart, the core of a person’s being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ. . . . Regeneration is a transition from spiritual death to spiritual life, and conscious, intentional, active faith in Christ is its immediate fruit, not its immediate cause."

"[Sanctification is] a divinely wrought character change freeing us from sinful habits and forming in us Christlike affections, dispositions, and virtues. Regeneration is birth; sanctification is growth. In regeneration, God implants desires that were not there before: desire for God, for holiness, and for the hallowing and glorifying of God’s name in this world; desire to pray, worship, love, serve, honor, and please God; desire to show love and bring benefit to others. In sanctification, the Holy Spirit 'works in you to will and to act' according to God's purpose; what he does is prompt you to 'work out your salvation' (i.e., express it in action) by fulfilling these new desires (Phil. 2:12-13)."

--Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1993), 157-158, 169-170.

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