Regeneration

by Derek Gentle


Ephesians 2:1-10

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" -- Titus 3:5


The Land of Beginning Again
I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.
     -- Louise Tarkington
 

Regeneration = New birth, the production of a new life. The word is often used to denote the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, its renovation.

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.   Baptist Faith and Message, 1963

Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God's free and special grace alone. Abstract of Principles, Charter, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1858
 

Jesus: "You must be born again" (John 3:3,8)

Paul: "A new creation" and "New man" (Galatians 6:15 & Ephesians 4:24)

Peter: "Begotten us again" (1st Peter 1:3)

John: "Born of God" (1st John 2:29, 3:9, 4:7, 5:1,4,18)

James: "Brought forth" (James 1:18)
 
 

1. The Need for Regeneration    Ephesians 2
Key word: Inability

1.1 Inability to Fellowship with God vs. 1
 

1.2 Inability to Respond to God vs. 1
 

1.3 Inability to Escape the Power of Evil Influences vs. 2
 

1.4 Inability to Change Our Sinful Nature vs. 3
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you do good who are accustomed to do evil"    Jeremiah 13:23

1.5 Inability to Understand the Things of God 4:17-18


 

2. The Newness of Regeneration

2.1 New Life    Ephesians 2:4-5
 

2.2 A New Heart

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh"    Ezekiel 36:26

"Regeneration in Christ changes the disposition from lawless, Godless, self-seeking (Rom. 3:9-18; 8:7) which dominates the man in Adam into one of trust and love, of repentance for past rebelliousness and unbelief, and loving compliance with God's law henceforth. It enlightens the blinded mind to discern spiritual realities (I Cor. 2:14-15; II Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:10), and liberates and energizes the enslaved will for free obedience to God (Rom. 6:14, 17-22; Phil. 2:13)."       J. I. Packer, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology


 

3. The Cause of Regeneration

3.1 Regeneration Is Not a Human Achievement
". . .Born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God"  John 1:13
 

3.2 Regeneration Is the Work of the Holy Spirit
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit"   Titus 3:5

". . .Born of the Spirit" John 3:8
 

3.3 Regeneration Takes Place Through the Instrument of God's Word
"He brought us forth by the word of truth" James 1:18

"Having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the word of God" 1st Peter 1:23


 

Carl Bruin, a Christian poet, re-wrote that stanza by Louise Tarkington to read:

I have found in the Book, that wonderful place,
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where the sins of the past are remembered no more
And the years, locust-eaten, the Lord doth restore.
All our filthy rags changed for a garment of grace,
And the soul is begotten again!
Oh, I've found, yes, I've found, that wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again.