Regeneration, or being born again, is a sovereign work of God (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3) a radical work or total transformation (Ezekiel 36:26-27; 1 John 3:9) and not just an addition to our salvation. The SOURCE of regeneration is Christ (1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:3, 2:4, 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The AGENT of regeneration is the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5). The INSTRUMENT of regeneration is the Word of God (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23-25) which precedes and causes faith (John 6:63-65, 1 John 5:1, Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13).
Theologian John Murray explains, “God effects a change which is radical and all-pervasive, a change which cannot be explained in terms of any combination, permutation (transformation) or accumulation of human resources, a change which is nothing less than a new creation by Him who calls the things that be not as though they were, who spoke and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast. This, in a word, is regeneration.”
Regeneration is the communication of the new heart to sinners by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God in general, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in particular. Regeneration is a Christ-generated act of instantaneously communicating spiritual life to a person convicted of sin.
One commentator states that, “Regeneration is expressly denied to be of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man (John 1:13), and is ascribed to God himself. Not all men have faith in Christ; and those who do have it, have it not of themselves; it is the gift of God, worked out through the Redemption which is in Christ through the mighty operation of his Spirit, which is the fruit and effect of His invincible grace. This is because the natural man is wholly captive under the power and dominion of sin, and a slave unto it, and has neither a power nor will to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 9:16, “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
Ezekiel 37:14, “I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live…Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”
Ephesians 2:4-5, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive [quickened us] with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
John 6:63, 65, “It is the Spirit who gives life [quickens]; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”…And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
Titus 3:3-5, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
I Peter 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,”
I Peter 1:22-23, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”
I John 5:1, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”
Dr. Joel Beeke writes, “No presentation (of the gospel) is plain enough to get through to a sin-clouded mind. No amount of conviction can open glazed eyes wide enough to see Jesus. No amount of love can break down a defiant heart. But we can evangelize in faith, looking to the Spirit of God irresistibly to call and regenerate our friends and bring them to faith in Christ, we have hope.”
May today we give all the glory for our conversion and new birth to God and to God alone on the basis of grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
Soli deo Gloria!