Question: The Spirit’s Role in Salvation?

A friend of mine, Tyler Williamson, recently contacted me with a fantastic question about the role of the Holy Spirit leading people to salvation. In my experience, I have discovered that many others have similar questions. So, with his permission, I thought I’d share our informal internet conversation.

Now certainly the Holy Spirit’s role of  in salvation is a huge topic; but given the context of his question, my response more narrowly addressed the Holy Spirit’s work in what is called effectual calling and briefly touched on the Spirit’s related work of regeneration. (If the answer I provide is not as direct as you may like, please bear in mind that this was an informal conversation.)

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Christian Tyler Williamson: The Holy Spirit–integral to the relationship of the believer with Christ. Many people talk of free will; many people talk of predestination. What do you believe is the role of the Holy Spirit in the salvation process? Detailed (as you typically are) would be great.

Me: The Bible speaks much of the Holy Spirit’s work of drawing individuals to faith in Christ. This is what theologians call the doctrine of “calling.”

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Is Predestination Based on Whom God Foreknows Will Believe?

The Bible explicitly speaks about predestination, and therefore, the doctrine is undeniable. However, many disagree on how to interpret its meaning. One view in particular believes that God predestines to salvation all He foreknows will believe on Him. This view is commonly called conditional election because it states God chooses (elects) individuals to be saved based upon (conditioned upon) their foreknown future belief. It makes election conditional on man’s will in essence. The main text used to support this view is Romans 8:29.

Romans 8:29 – For those whom He [speaking of God] foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

From simply reading this verse, it is very possible to make the assumption that God’s predestining is based on His foreknowledge of people’s future faith in Him. However, I feel that the very next verse (v. 30) is vital to a proper understanding of what verse 29 is truly saying. Verse 29 by itself is an unfinished thought in many senses.
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