From a September 29 post on Pulpit Magazine Dr. MacArthur wrote:
“We must remember above all that salvation is a sovereign work of God…. As a part of His saving work, God will produce repentance, faith, sanctification, yieldedness, obedience, and ultimately glorification. Since He is not dependent on human effort in producing these elements, an experience that lacks any of them cannot be the saving work of God.”In The Gospel According to Jesus Dr. MacArthur wrote:
“Thus conversion is not simply a sinner's decision for Christ; it is first the sovereign work of God in transforming the individual.” (The Gospel According to Jesus [Revised & Expanded Edition], p. 114.)
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged,” (John 16:9-10).The Holy Spirit is come to convict the world of “sin” (note singular). What is the “sin” that the Holy Spirit will reprove the world over? That “sin” is explained in verse 10, which is the sin of “unbelief.” The lost man needs to be confronted with the Law to bring him/her to know the need for forgiveness through Christ. The book of Galatians is very helpful in this matter. The sin that is damning the lost man to hell is “unbelief” and the only act that will result in salvation is “belief” (John 3:16; Acts 16:31).
Lordship Salvation adds a commitment to discipleship (i.e. “take up your cross, losing your life for my sake, etc.”) which requires a decision from a lost man, which is impossible for him to make. (John 15:5). This kind of gospel message, which Dr. MacArthur advocates, frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). The Holy Spirit does not yet indwell this lost man, he is not regenerated. He cannot make a decision of surrender to the Lord because he does not yet know the Lord.
Thus reformed theologians, like John MacArthur demonstrates above, must come to an extra-biblical, a rational view of the order of salvation: regeneration before profession of faith rather than simultaneous to it. After repenting of the sin of “unbelief” the newborn child of God enters into the life of sanctification and begins to repent of his “SINS” (1 John 1, etc.).