The Holy Spirit is the one who opens the heart and gives us ears to hear the truth of the Word so that a sinner is enabled to receive it from God and believe it. I don't think you would deny that the Holy Spirit is the one who works through the Word of God to convict the sinner whom God is drawing to Himself and to show them their desparate condition bringing them to a godly sorrow that leads to repentance..

Yes, I agree

Your statement that the word carries faith sounds a little strange to me, but if you mean faith comes by hearing the Word, I can agree. The Word doesn't always have the effect of faith in the hearers unless God gives them ears to hear that truth.

again, i would have to agree.

You are still left with the question how can a natural man receive those things which are folly to him? Wouldn't he hate the Word of God? Wouldn't he think it was foolishness? Doesn't he hate the God of the Bible and the Bible?

Yes, a natural man, left to himself, has no way of ever coming to God. He must be drawn. There must be something outside of him that can reach him in his fallen condition. whether that is a prevenient grace given to all in varying degrees, or whether it is a predestinating grace given only to the elect - i don't know. There is a sense in which Christ lightens every man. In this sense man must actively resist the truth which he instinctively knows inside to be true. This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, but people love darkness rather than light. People know that the gospel is true, and that Jesus is the Son of God, but still they will not respond unless God draws and calls.

I don't have all the answers. These things have been argued over for centuries, and until I get some clearer light - and a better knowledge of Greek - I am shelving it, knowing that I can't get any further with it for right now. But there are just too many scriptures that attribute new life itself to faith in the clearest and most unmistakable terms. The clearest, as I have quoted again and again, is this:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

We have life through his name when we believe. Jesus rebuked the pharisees, telling them that they would not come to him and receive life. There is a coming to him. There is an eating and a drinking of his flesh and of his blood, whereby we receive life. And "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." John 6:53. There is a drinking of the heavenly water which leads to an inward well springing up to eternal life. There is a purifying of our souls which comes, not prior to, but with believing. and in the hebraic style peter repeats the thought from a different angle, showing that this purification is nothing other than being born again, and the truth none other than the word of God.

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

This is the circumcision made without hands - the putting off of the flesh and putting on of the new man, the man created anew in Christ. "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." Not the outward baptism of water, but the baptism into His Death, that we might, through faith, be raised into newness of life.

This is the impasse between you and me, and between myself and the people on this group. I don't see it being resolved, but I refuse to budge off of solid ground.

I do not consider faith a work of man. I consider it a God-given endowment, given by grace, resulting in new life. Since people are rebuked for their unbelief, it seems reasonable to conclude that man is given the opportunity to believe by hearing the Word of God. It is the dead who hear the voice of the Son of God. They do not need to be given life in order that they can hear and respond to the voice of the Son of God. They hear and then live.

"The hour is coming when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear WILL live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself. John 5:24-26

Whatever the working of the Lord prior to regeneration is, whether I call it awakening or calling, it cannot be regeneration. Regeneration is to be quickened with Christ, and this is through the faith of the operation of God. In qualifying this quickening ("you has he quickened"), the apostle writes "for by grace you are saved." To Paul the quickening was God's salvation. Salvation was not a result of regeneration.

Certainly, the idea that we can play nice soft music and plead with people to "accept Christ" and "invite him into your heart" is pure deception. The apostolic gospel struck men to the heart. It came, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. To the Jews it was a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called it is the power of God unto salvation. if only more calvinists (and arminians!) preached like this one,

I offer you salvation this day; the door of mercy is not yet shut, there does yet remain a sacrifice for sin, for all that will accept of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will embrace you in the arms of his love. O turn to him, turn in a sense of your own unworthiness; tell him how polluted you are, how vile, and be not faithless, but believing. Why fear ye that the Lord Jesus Christ will not accept of you? Your sins will be no hindrance, your unworthiness no hindrance; if your own corrupt hearts do not keep you back nothing will hinder Christ from receiving of you. He loves to see poor sinners coming to him, he is pleased to see them lie at his feet pleading his promises; and if you thus come to Christ, he will not send you away without his Spirit; no, but will receive and bless you.