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Salvation - The Death of Christ (Part 2)


Regeneration

In the New Testament, the word “regeneration” appears only twice. In Matthew 19:28 it is used eschatologically, “at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne,” and in Titus 3:5, where it is speaking of the rebirth of the redeemed person, “…He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Norman Geisler defines regeneration as “the impartation of spiritual life by God, to the souls of those who were ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Eph. 2:1 KJV) and who were ‘saved’ made alive by God ‘through faith’ in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8 NKJV).”[1]
Wayne Grudem, as “…a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us. This is sometimes called ‘being born again’ (using the language from John 3:3-8).[2]
Millard Erickson states, Conversion refers to the response of the human being to God’s offer of salvation and approach to man. Regeneration is the other side of conversion. It is God’s doing. It is God’s transformation of individual believers, his giving a new spiritual vitality and direction to their lives when they accept Christ.”[3]

In the New Testament, John 3:3 and Titus 3:5 are the two passages that talk about the impartation of new life to those who have trusted Christ as Lord and Savior. John 3:3 does not use the word regeneration, but regeneration is referred to as the new birth. Unlike our first birth, our physical birth, when we believe, the Holy Spirit regenerates us; He causes us to be “born from above.” This second birth is a spiritual one and John 3:5 teaches us that this new birth is not something done by us but rather it is something done upon us by God.

Scripture is clear in teaching that we are regenerated or born again by the Holy Spirit and by the Word of God (John 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22). At regeneration we become the children of God (2 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26) and literally become a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). We become heirs of God (Gal. 4:7) and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). God regenerates us so that we may be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures (James 1:18), that we may become heirs of an inheritance (1 Pet. 3, 4), and so that we may be doers of good works (Eph. 2:10).
Paul Enns states, “The result of regeneration is the impartation of a ‘divine nature’ (2 Pet. 1:4). The believer has received a ‘new self’ (Eph. 4:24), a capacity for righteous living. He is a ‘new creature’ (2 Cor. 5:17)…The believer has received a new mind (1 Cor. 2:16) that he may know God; a new heart (Rom. 5:5) that he may love God (1 John 4:9); and a new will (Rom. 6:13) that we may obey God.”[4]




[1] Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Bloomington: Bethany House, 2004), p. 225.
[2] Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine, Jeff Purswell, ed., (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), p. 300.
[3] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985), p. 942.
[4] Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody, 1989), p. 340.

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