THE DOCTRINE OF REGENERATION
(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).
- Our English word regeneration is of Latin origin and simply means "to be born again" (cf. Titus 3:5).
- 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).
- THE NEW BIRTH IS NOT BAPTISM
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word" (Eph.5:26).
- "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3).
- "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word" (Ps.119:9).
II. THE NEW BIRTH IS A SPIRITUAL BIRTH
- 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).
- 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).
- "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
- "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom.10:17).
- "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth" (James 1:18a).
- "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).
- Regeneration is not baptism, "speaking in tongues," or moral reformation.
- "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