(Lesson 15 on Bible Doctrines) 

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:3,7).

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (I John 3:9).


  1. Our English word regeneration is of Latin origin and simply means "to be born again" (cf. Titus 3:5).
  2. One who is born into this world spiritually dead must be born a second time. This new birth involves a new Father (John 1:12,13), a new life (II Cor.5:17), and a new destination (Eph.2:1-6).
    1. Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and other liturgical churches equate the new birth with baptism. Therefore, they do not understand what it means to be genuinely saved.
    2. In his first epistle to the church of Corinth, the apostle Paul states that he had "begotten" them through the Gospel (I Cor.4:15). In other words, they were born again under his ministry – through the preaching of the Gospel. And in the same letter he writes, "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius…For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (I Cor.1:14,17a).
    3. Being born again means being "born of the Spirit" (John 3:6). Many are confused over the reference to "water" in John 3:5 but in the Bible water is frequently used as an emblem of cleansing – we are cleansed by the water of the Word. Water is often used to represent the Word of God.
      1. "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word" (Eph.5:26).
      2. "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3).
      3. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word" (Ps.119:9).


  1. Just as a human agent is necessary in a human birth, a divine agent is necessary for the new birth and that agent is the Holy Spirit. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you" (Ezek.36:26a).
  2. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to transform sinners into children of God. "For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful…" (Heb.4:12). The Word of God is living and has power to impart life to those who believe in Christ (cf. John 5:24; 11:25,26).
      1. "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
      2. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom.10:17).
      3. "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth" (James 1:18a).
      4. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (I Peter 1:23).


  1. Regeneration is not baptism, "speaking in tongues," or moral reformation.
  2. "Regeneration is, then, a new birth, the impartation of a new life, wrought in the believer by divine power through a supernatural act, whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4)" (E. Schuyler English, Things Surely to be Believed).

Pastor James Barker
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