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About Doctrines

Regeneration



Regeneration is a word that appears only a couple of times in the Scriptures.  As a theological concept, it is part of the process of being made into a new person as a child of God.  The word properly means to have a new birth or to be reborn.  The two uses are found in only found in Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5.  The Titus verse appears below.  Matthew 19:28 tells us that:

So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. NKJV

This concept, especially as stated in John 3:3-5 (above) is one of the most difficult concepts to understand.  It is equivalent to being “born of God,” a phrase common to John (John 1:13; 1 John 2:29; 3:7-10; 4:7; 5:4).  First Peter provides another dimension to the concept. 

1 Peter 1:22-25
22 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, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because "All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. NKJV

Verse 23 expounds the idea of the new birth.

So, what Happens When We Are Reborn?

Ezekiel 36:25-27
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. NIV

In simple terms “to regenerate” means to impart life.

Titus 3:5
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, NIV

Why is this new birth necessary?  Sin has permanently bent us out of shape.

Psalm 51:5
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. NIV

This condition separates us from God and causes us to enjoy the ways of Satan.

Ephesians 2:1-3
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. NIV

The rebirth is God infusing new life into us – a life that makes us alive to God, a new kind of life where there was formerly death.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! NIV

Ephesians 2:5
. . . made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.NIV

It is the Holy Spirit working with the Word of God that accomplishes this act.

Ephesians 5:26
. . . to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word NIV

This new life produces a new capacity to please God, a “nature” that is eternal and is actually part of the life that is in the resurrected Lord.

We become capable of doing righteous things.

1 John 2:29
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. NIV

We have the capacity to love others as God loves

1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.NIV

We can overcome the world of sin

1 John 5:4
. . . for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.NIV

We are made alive in Christ – Eph 2:5 above

It is no wonder then that this new birth is characterized as many different things.

In secular literature, the Greek word translated “new birth” or “regeneration” is used with reference to the changes produced by the return of spring.

In the Bible it denotes:

This regeneration is implanting a new principle or disposition in the soul, the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature “dead in trespasses and sins.”

Colossians 3:8-10
8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. NIV

Regeneration, then, implies not merely an addition of certain gifts or graces, but a radical change that revolutionizes our whole being.  It contradicts the old nature and places our spiritual center of gravity outside of our own powers.  It turns our spiritual welfare over to God.

There is a consciousness in the soul of the effects on the will, the intellect, and the affections.  A new life power is given by God and through God.  Human nature is now able to fulfill the Will and Law of God.

 

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