Regeneration-New Birth


Index to Sections on this page:

Titus 3:5 (commentary) He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

  • by the cleansing power of a new birth and the moral renewal of the Holy Spirit (Phillips)
  • by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Amplified)
  • through the washing of the new birth and the giving of new life in the Holy Spirit (BBE)
  • He saved us through a second birth, Renewed us by the Spirit's work (ISV)

Washing of regeneration - is another way of describing the new birth.

J Vernon McGee explains that "This washing of regeneration is what the Lord was speaking about in the third chapter of John: “… Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The water represents the Word of God—the Bible will wash you. It has a sanctifying power, a cleansing power. We are cleansed by the Word of God. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God—“born of water and of the Spirit.” That is the way we are born again. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

Hiebert comments that "Most commentators take the washing as a reference to water baptism. But if water baptism is the means that produces the spiritual rebirth, we then have the questionable teaching of a material agency as the indispensable means for producing a spiritual result (but cf. Mt 15:1-20; Ro 2:25, 26, 27, 28, 29-note; Gal 5:6). We accept the washing as a divine inner act, although the experience is viewed as openly confessed before men in baptism.

Wiersbe - I do not think that washing here refers to baptism because, in New Testament times, people were baptized after they were saved, and not in order to be saved (see Acts 10:43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48). (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)

Washing (3067) (loutron from louo = bathe whole person as in John 13:10) in the Greek writings refers (from Homer down) to a bath, a bathing place or performance of a complete ablution (act of washing the body).

In John 13 John used the root word louo explaining to Peter that…

He who has bathed (louo in the perfect tense = past completed action with ongoing effect) needs only to wash (nipto) his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean. (John 13:10, 11)

Comment: The imagery is oriental, where the Roman citizen would louo his entire body at the public baths and nipto his feet when he arrived home. Jesus used louo to refer to the cleansing of the sinner in "the Fountain filled with Blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins" at the moment of salvation when he is completely and eternally justified or declared righteous by faith in Christ. "Wash his feet" refers to a daily cleansing of the saint in his walk and his feet become "dirty" from sin and thus has to do with progressive or practical sanctification or daily being set aside more and more to God and from this world which is passing away. The partial washing indicated by the verb nipto is a picture of the daily need for confession and cleansing as in 1John 1:7,9. But see comment on this verse in the Net Bible regarding this interpretation.

A T Robertson notes that loutron is a "Late and common word with the Stoics (Dibelius) and in the Mystery-religions (Angus), also in the papyri and Philo… The usual meaning from Homer to the papyri is the bath or bathing-place, though some examples seem to mean bathing or washing… here (Titus 3:5 [note]) as there (Ep 5:26 [note]) (loutron refers to) the laver or the bath. Probably in both cases there is a reference to baptism, but, as in Romans 6:3, 4, 5, 6 (see notes Ro 6:3; 6:4; 6:5; 6:6), the immersion is the picture or the symbol of the new birth, not the means of securing it.

Metaphorically in the NT loutron is used of the Word of God as the instrument of spiritual cleansing (Ep 5:26-note). Here in Titus 3:5 loutron brings to mind the close connection between cleansing from sin and regeneration. "Mikveh" the Jewish ritual bath, renders the Greek word loutron.

Vincent adds that loutron "does not mean the act of bathing, but the bath, the laver. "

Milligan writes loutron denotes “the water for washing,” or “the washing” itself, as in the Mysteries’ inscriptions from Andania."

There are two uses of this word in Scripture…

Ephesians 5:26 (note) that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing (Some find a reference to the bride’s bath before marriage) of water with the word,

Titus 3:5 (note) He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit

Jesus used the root verb louo in John 13:10 declaring that

"He who has bathed (louo - perfect tense) needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you."

In Jesus' first use (louo) refers to the cleansing of the sinner in the Fountain filled with Blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins. The second word (nipto) refers to the need for the daily cleansing of the saint in his walk. The first has to do with justification, the second with sanctification. In regeneration there is also a cleansing, in that a new life is introduced into the believing sinner.

In Romans 6:3-6 (see notes Ro 6:3; 6:4; 6:5; 6:6), the immersion is the picture or the symbol of the new birth, not the means of securing it. The washing mentioned can easily be understood metaphorically and contextually there is no WATER anywhere near this verse! Regeneration itself is an operation portrayed in Scripture as effecting a spiritual cleansing (Ezekiel 36:25, 26; John 3:5; 1Cor 6:11). In addition, since the expression “washing of regeneration” stands parallel to “renewing by the Holy Spirit”, it is more natural to assume the force of the gen. is also parallel. The gen. of latter phrase is certainly subjective. Hence, the words “washing of regeneration” refer to the washing produced by regeneration.

Listen to Alan Jackson sing Are You Washed In The Blood / I'll Fly Away

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Lay aside your garments that are stained with sin
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb.
There's a fountain flowing for the soul unclean.
O, be washed in the blood of the Lamb!

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Thomas Watson writes that "Grace has a soul-CLEANSING excellency. By nature we are defiled; sin makes things filthy (2Cor 7:1-note). A sinner's heart is so black that nothing but hell can equal it; but grace is a spiritual laver—and therefore it is called "the washing of regeneration" in Titus 3:5. The grace of repentance cleanses. Mary's tears, as they washed Christ's feet—so they washed her heart. Faith has a cleansing virtue. Acts 15:9: "Having purified their hearts by faith." Grace whitens the soul; it takes out the leopard spots—and turns it into an azure beauty. Grace is of a celestial nature; though it does not wholly remove sin—it does subdue it. Though it does not keep sin out, it does keep it under control. Though sin in a gracious soul does not totally die—yet it dies daily. Grace makes the heart into a spiritual temple which has this inscription on it: "Holiness to the Lord!" (The Beauty of Grace)

Apologetics Study Bible - Regeneration - The Greek word for regeneration is paliggenesia, which means “regeneration,” “rebirth,” or “spiritual renovation.” Paliggenesia is used twice in the New Testament (Matt. 19:28—of Messianic renovation; Titus 3:5—of salvation). In Titus it refers to the impartation of spiritual life to the soul:   [God] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Regeneration is 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). The Source of regeneration is God; the result of regeneration is sonship; the means of regeneration is the Holy Spirit; and the duration of regeneration is eternal:   To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12–13) “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). Parallel ideas are expressed in many biblical texts. Born Again - Being born again or born from above is parallel to regeneration. Rebirth is the point at which a person “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1 KJV) receives spiritual life. Jesus said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’ ” (John 3:6–7). Peter adds, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23; cf. John 1:13; 1 John 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18.). This idea was expressed in the Old Testament by Ezekiel when he spoke of God giving a new heart to Israel if they repented (Ezek. 11:19).


Regeneration (3824) (paliggenesia or palingenesia from the adverb palin = back, again, back again + noun genesis = origin, race and birth in turn derived from ginomai = cause to be ["gen"-erate], to become, to begin to be or to come into existence) means literally a birth again and so to be born again. In every day speech paliggenesia denoted various kinds of renewal -- the return or restoration of something, return to former circumstances, termination of captivity, restoration to health following a birth or illness.

As emphasized by the TDNT "the original notion was not that of human birth" (F. Büchsel, TDNT). It has two basic meanings as used in the NT, one speaking of the future as the restoration and renewal of the world or the new age and secondly referring to a spiritual and moral renewal of an individual which equates with a new birth, or regeneration. Paliggenesia refers to the experience of a complete change of life as one sees in the rebirth of a redeemed person.

The only other use of paliggenesia is by Jesus in answer to Peter's query that in view of the fact that the disciples had left every to follow Him what would there be for them, to which Jesus answered…

Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration (paliggenesia) when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne (at His second coming to establish His 1000 year Messianic Kingdom, the Millennium = Mt 25:31), you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)

So here in Matthew 19:28 paliggenesia refers to a "new world" or "new age" fulfilling Jewish hopes that were awaiting a renewal both of land and of the entire world. The Jews thus used paliggenesia in as eschatological sense of the renewing of the world in the time of the Messiah.

As discussed in NIDNTT, paliggenesia was used in Stoicism to describe periodic restorations of the natural world. They believed that

the cosmos would periodically perish through a world-conflagration (ekpurosis) and then arise anew in a rebirth (palingenesia). But the cosmos did not attain to a new mode of being or quality through the rebirth; the world that has passed away was there once again… Plutarch used the word in describing the myths of Dionysus and Osiris and also in an individual sense in describing the rebirth of souls (used as a synonym for anabiosis, reanimation)… palingenesia was also used to express the rebirth of individuals in a new cosmic age. It thus denotes a human occurrence as well as a cosmic event. In the mystery religions of the Hellenistic period the idea of rebirth occupied a large place. All the mystery religions know of a deity who died and awoke to new life. In the cultic rites this was not taught as a doctrine, but represented in a dramatic way in which the initiate (mystes) took part thus sharing in the life-giving and renewing power of their deity… it cannot be denied that NT language at this point presents certain parallels to the mystery religions. Palingenesia does not occur in the Septuagint (LXX)… There is, however, the thought of eschatological renewal in Ezek. 11:19:

And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (RSV)

God will put his law within them and write it on their hearts (Jer 31:33; cf. Isa 60:21; Jer. 24:7; 31:18; Ezek 36:26, 27). This change and renewal is proclaimed as a future blessing of salvation which the Lord himself will bring about. The people are not themselves capable of such a change (Ge 6:5; 8:21; Jer 13:23). In Hellenistic Judaism palingenesia occurs frequently. Philo used it to denote the renewal of the world after the flood and also of individuals… Josephus describes the revival of Israelite national life after the exile as the palingenesia of the land (Ant. 11, 66). Jewish thought, influenced by the OT, gave the word a different meaning from that of the Stoics. The world’s new existence is not simply a return of the old. Regeneration is unique, and does not occur in cycles. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Wuest commenting on the use of paliggenesia in Titus 3:5 writes that…

Regeneration is described as a washing here. The word is lutron, which word means “a bath.” We have the same word used in Eph. 5:26 where the bath of water (genitive of description), the water-bath cleanses the life of the believer. The Word of God is conceived of as a water-bath cleansing the life by putting out of it things that are sinful, and introducing into it, things that are right. In our present text, regeneration is spoken of as a bath in that the impartation of the divine nature results in the cleansing of the life by the fact that the new life from God provides the believer with both the desire and power to do the will of God and to refuse to fulfill the behests of the evil nature whose power has been broken by the identification of the believer with the Lord Jesus in His death on the Cross." (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament writes that paliggenesia .

designates various forms of rebirth or renewal, e.g., restoration of health, the beginning of the new life of an individual or a people, the anticipated restoration of the world, or the reincarnation of souls, among many others" (Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 3, Page 8. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans)

John MacArthur explains that in Titus 3:5, palingenesia

carries the idea of receiving a new life, of being born again, or born from above. Jesus told the inquiring Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5; cf. Eph. 5:26). (MacArthur. Titus: Moody Press)

He goes on to add that in Titus 3:5 paliggenesia "or regeneration is characterized by or accompanied by the action of washing. The regenerative activity of the Holy Spirit is characterized elsewhere in Scripture as cleansing and purifying (see Ezekiel 36:25, 26, 27; John 3:5). The Greek term for regeneration literally means “being born again”—indicating the new birth effected by the Holy Spirit (see John 3:6; Ro 8:16 [note]; Galatians 4:6). Thus God saved us through one process with two aspects: the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit." (MacArthur, J. The MacArthur Quick Reference Guide to the Bible. Page 284. Nashville, Tenn.: Word)

Regarding the second use of paliggenesia in Matthew 19:28 John MacArthur writes that this term was

used by Josephus for the new birth of the Jewish nation after the Babylonian Captivity and by Philo of the new birth of the earth after the Flood and after its destruction by fire… In (Matthew 19:28) Jesus uses (paliggenesia) to represent the rebirth of the earth under His sovereign dominion at the time of His second coming. It will be paradise regained and a global parallel to the individual rebirth of Christians. The earth and the world of men will be given a new nature, described in great detail by the Old Testament prophets and by John in Revelation 20:1–15. Just as they have been given spiritual life and a new nature in Jesus Christ but are not yet perfected, so there will be a rebirth of the earth that is divinely recreated. Although it will not yet be a totally new earth (Rev 21:1-note), it will nevertheless be wonderfully superior to the present fallen and unredeemed earth. It was the belief of the Jews that Messiah would renew the earth and heavens, based on the prophecy of Isaiah 65:17 and Isa 66:22. Peter called it “the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times” (Acts 3:21). All believers will sit on the throne of Christ (Re 3:21-note), exercising authority over the people of the earth (Re 2:26-note), while the apostles are uniquely ruling restored Israel. This cannot be the eternal state described in Revelation 21:12, 13, 14, where twelve gates in the New Jerusalem are inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes and twelve foundations are inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles. At the time of the restoration of the earth, righteousness will flourish, peace will abound, Jerusalem will again be exalted, health and healing will prevail, the earth will produce food as never before, the lion will lay down in peace with the lamb, the deserts will blossom, and life will be long. The age-old curse that began with the Fall will then be limited, in anticipation of its being eliminated completely in the eternal state to follow (Rev 22:3)." (MacArthur, J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press) (Bolding added)

Although there are some (such as Kenneth Wuest) who interpret Jesus' reference to "the regeneration" as occurring after the Millennium, as MacArthur reasons in the preceding comment, this time period is more compatible with the 1000 year reign of Christ. Furthermore numerous able expositors agree with MacArthur (King James Version Study Bible, Morris' Defender's Study Bible, Ryrie's Study Bible, Believer's Study Bible, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible, et al) writing that the regeneration in Matthew 19:28 is not a reference to heaven, William MacDonald explaining that…

"The Lord assured Peter that everything done for Him would be rewarded handsomely. As to the twelve specifically, they would have places of authority in the Millennium. The regeneration refers to Christ’s future reign on earth." (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

W E Vine writes that in Titus 3:5…

the word paliggenesia signifies new birth (“birth again”), i.e., spiritual regeneration. This involves the impartation of a new life, and the operating powers which effect this are “the word of truth,” James 1:18 (note); 1Pe 1:23 (note), and the Holy Spirit, John 3:5, 6. The “washing” does not refer to baptism… The new birth and regeneration do not represent successive stages in spiritual experience; they refer to the same event but view it in different ways. The new birth stresses the communication of the spiritual life in contrast to antecedent spiritual death; regeneration stresses the inception of a new stage of things in contrast with the old. Hence the connection of the word in its application to Israel in Matthew 19:28. With the new birth, or regeneration, comes the washing away of sin. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Easton's Bible Dictionary gives a nice summary definition of "regeneration" noting that palingenesia

literally means a “new birth.” The Greek word so rendered (palingenesia) is used by classical writers with reference to the changes produced by the return of spring. In Matthew 19:28 the word is equivalent to the "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). In Titus 3:5 it denotes that change of heart elsewhere spoken of as a passing from death to life (1John 3:14); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2Corinthians 5:17); being born again (John 3:5); a renewal of the mind (Ro 12:2-note); a resurrection from the dead (Ep 2:6-note); a being quickened (Eph 2:1, 5-see notes Ep 2:1; 2:5). This change is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God (John 1:12,13; 1 John 2:29; 5:1,4). As to the nature of the change, it consists in the implanting of a new principle or disposition in the soul; the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins." The necessity of such a change is emphatically affirmed in Scripture (John 3:3; Ro 7:18 [note]; Ro 8:7, 8, 9- see notes Ro 8:7; 8:8; 8:9; 1Corinthians 2:14; Ep 2:1 [note]; Ep 4:21, 22, 23, 24-notes Ep 4:21;22; 23; 24). (Easton, M. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897)

Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament


  • palingenesia Regeneration
  • anakainosis Renewing

Palingenesia is one of the many words that the gospel found and then glorified by expanding its meaning and lifting it to new heights to express deeper truths. Although palingenesia was used before the birth of Christ, it could be used to refer to the Christian new birth only after Christ's death. Men could not experience new birth until Christ was born (John 1:12), and their regeneration could only follow his generation.

Although palingenesia could not be used in its highest and most mysterious sense until the birth of the Son of God, it is quite interesting to trace its subordinate and preparatory uses. In some instances it means nothing more than revivification. In the Pythagorean doctrine of the transmigration of souls, their reappearance in new bodies was called their palingenesia. For the Stoics, palingenesia referred to the periodic renovation of the earth, to that time when the earth awakened in the blossoming of springtime from its winter sleep and revivedfrom its winter death. Philo often used palingenesia to refer to the phoenixlike resurrection of the material world out of fire, a doctrine that also was taught by the Stoics, and Philo described Noah and his companions in the ark with these words: "They became leaders of a restoration [palingenesias] and chiefs of a second cycle." Basil the Great spoke thusly of some heretics who brought old heathen speculations into the Christian church: "They introduce infinite destructions and rebirths [palingenesias] of the world." Cicero called his restoration to dignity and honor after his return from exile "this rebirth [palingenesian] of ours." Josephus characterized the restoration of the Jewish nation after the Babylonian captivity as "the recovery and restoration [palingenesia] of the fatherland." Olympiodorus, a later Platonist, styled recollection or reminiscence (which must carefully be distinguished from memory) as the palingenesia of knowledge: "Recollection is a restoration [palingenesia] of knowledge."

Thus the pre-Christian usage of palingenesia refers to a recovery, a restoration, or a revival, but not to the type of new birth referred to in the New Testament. Palingenesia is not used in the Old Testament and appears only twice in the New Testament (Matthew 19:28; Titus 3:5). In each case it has a different meaning. Our Lord's own words evidently refer to the new birth of the whole creation, the apokatastasis panton (the restoration of all things, Acts 3:21), that will occur when the Son of Man comes in his glory. Paul, however, used "the washing of regeneration" to refer to the new birth of human souls, not to the birth of the new creation. Is there a common denominator to the two New Testament uses of palingenesia?Certainly, otherwise all the laws of language would be violated. Palingenesia is used in a wider sense by Christ and in a narrower sense by Paul. There are two concentric circles of meaning with a common center. The palingenesia of Scripture begins with the microcosm of single souls but does not end until it has embraced the whole macrocosm of the universe. As seen in the Pauline reference, the primary seat of the palingenesia is man's soul. Having established its center there, the palingenesia extends in ever-widening circles, first embracing man's body, for which the day of resurrection is its palingenesia. Jesus' words in Matthew 19:28 certainly imply (or presuppose) the resurrection, but they involve much more. Beyond the day of resurrection, or contemporaneous with it, will come a day when all nature will put off its soiled, worn garments and clothe itself in holy attire. This will be "the times of restoration of all things" that is referred to in Acts 3:21. In an interesting intimation of this glorious truth, Plutarch refers to the "new arrangement," and frequently the Bible mentions "the new heaven and the new earth." According to Paul, the day of the palingenesia of the whole creation is one day in the labor-pangs of which all creation is groaning and travailing until now (Romans 8:21-23). Man is presently the subject of the palingenesia and the wondrous changes it implies, but in that day the palingenesia will include the whole world.

The uses of palingenesia in Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5 may be reconciled as follows. In Titus 3:5 palingenesia refers to the single soul; in Matthew 19:28 it refers to the whole redeemed creation. Each use refers to a different stage of the same event. As Delitzsch so concisely said: "Palingenesia is a brief term expressing rebirth or transfiguration of human bodily existence and of the entire non-human nature."

Anagennesis, a word commonly found in the Greek fathers, does not occur in the New Testament. If it were in the New Testament, it would constitute a closer synonym to palingenesia than does anakainosis. Were it used in the New Testament, anagennesis would refer to the active operation of Christ, the author of the new birth, and palingenesia to the new birth itself. Without further discussion, we will examine anakainosis and its relation to palingenesia.

Although palingenesia is drawn from the realm of nature, anakainosis is derived from the world of art. Anakainosis is found only in the Greek New Testament, where it occurs twiceonce in connection with palingenesia (Titus 3:5) and in Romans 12:2. The verb anakainoo (Strong's #341) also occurs only in the Greek New Testament in 2 Corinthians 4:16 and in Colossians 3:10. The more classical anakainizo (Strong's #340) appears in Hebrews 6:6, and the nouns derived from it are anakainismos (L-S 107, renewal) and anakainisis (L-S 107, renewal). Ananeoo (Strong's #365) is used in a similar way in Ephesians 4:23. The "collect" for Christmas day well expresses the relationship between the palingenesia and the anakainosis. That prayer reads: "That we being regenerate" (in other words, having already been made the subjects of the palingenesia)"may daily be renewed by the Holy Spirit"may continually know the renewal (anakainosis) of the Holy Spirit. In this "collect," which contains profound theological truths in simple and accurate form, the new birth is contemplated as already past, and the "renewal," or "renovation," takes place daily. The gradual restoration of the divine image progresses in the one who through the new birth has come under the transforming powers of the world to come. It is called "the renewal of the Holy Spirit"because he alone is the means for putting off the old man and putting on the new.

Palingenesia and anakainosis are closely bound together; the second is the consequence, or consummation, of the first. The palingenesia is that free act of God's mercy and power by which he removes the sinner from the kingdom of darkness and places him in the kingdom of light; it is that act by which God brings him from death to life. In the act itself (rather than the preparations for it), the recipient is passive, just as a child has nothing to do with his own birth. Such passivity does not characterize the anakainosis, the gradual conforming of the person to the new spiritual world in which he now lives, the restoration of the divine image. In this process the person is not passive but is a fellow worker with God. How many conflicts and obscurations of God's truth have arisen from confusing and separating palingenesia and anakainosis! - Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament

Liddell defines paliggenesia as "a being born again, new birth; used by Cicero of his restoration after exile:—hence, in N.T., 1. the resurrection. 2. regeneration by baptism. (Ed note: I strongly disagree with this latter definition but mention it because you will encounter it in some Lexicons) (Liddell, H. A lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English lexicon. Page 587)

Holman's Bible Dictionary gives a nice summary of the relationship between baptism and regeneration writing that

Some churches hold that the experience of regeneration is brought about by the act of baptism. The view which advocates this teaching is known as baptismal regeneration. The Scriptures do not present baptism as the means of regeneration but as the sign of regeneration. Peter's discussion of baptism in 1 Peter 3:21 pictures the experience of baptism as the symbol of a conscientious response to God. In other texts (Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5) we can understand the meaning of the biblical writer by distinguishing between regeneration as an inward change and baptism as the outward sign of that change. The actual change of regeneration is an instantaneous experience brought about by the Holy Spirit. Baptism becomes a means of demonstrating publicly and outwardly the nature of this change." (Bolding added0

TDNT writes that paliggenesia means (1) "new genesis" or "return to existence" or (2) "renewal to a higher existence". TDNT goes on to add that…

"this word takes its distinctive impress from Stoicism with a cosmic and then an individual sense. It then spreads to educated circles with a more general reference, and occurs later in the mysteries… Philo has it for restoration of life and the reconstitution of the world after the flood, and Josephus for the reestablishment of the people after the exile, but the only LXX instance is in Job 14:14 (Ed note: the actual word "paliggenesia" is not used but the two component words are used "palin ginomai" literally "I exist again" translating the NAS "until my change comes") . In Judaism existence in the new aeon is not just a repetition of this life but an existence in righteousness following the definitive crisis of the last judgment." (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans) (Bolding added)

Arndt, et al write that paliggenesia was "technical term of the Pythagoreans and Stoics as well as the mysteries of Dionysus and of Osiris" and generally had one of two meanings…

(1) State of being renewed, with focus on a cosmic experience, renewal. (a) after the Deluge (so Philo… ) (b) of the renewing of the world in the time of the Messiah, an eschatological sense… "in the new (Messianic) age or world Mt 19:28" (2) Experience of a complete change of life, rebirth of a redeemed person (Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)

William Barclay writes that paliggenesia

"… had many associations. When a proselyte was received into the Jewish faith, after he had been baptized he was treated as if he were a little child. It was as if he had been reborn and life had begun all over again. The Pythagorean used the word frequently. They believed in reincarnation and that men return to life in many forms until they were fit to be released from it. Each return was a rebirth. The Stoics used the word. They believed that every three thousand years the world went up in a great conflagration, and that then there was a rebirth of a new world. When people entered the Mystery Religions they were said to be “reborn for eternity.” The point is that when a man accepts Christ as Saviour and Lord, life begins all over again. There is a newness about life which can be likened only to a new birth." (The Daily Study Bible - Titus)

Louw and Nida define paliggenesia as…

to experience a complete change in one’s way of life to what it should be, with the implication of return to a former state or relation—‘to be born again, to experience new birth, rebirth.’ and (2) as an era involving the renewal of the world (with special reference to the time of the Messiah)—‘new age, Messianic age.’" (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. Semantic Domains Vol. 1, Page 509. New York: United Bible societies)

The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia notes that…

Regeneration is to be distinguished from justification. Justification changes the believer’s relationship to God, regeneration affects his moral and spiritual nature and changes his nature. Justification removes his guilt; regeneration, his spiritual atrophy, so that he passes from spiritual death to spiritual life. Justification brings forgiveness of his sins; regeneration, the renewal of spiritual life so that he can function as a child of God. Regeneration is also to be distinguished from sanctification (q.v.). Sanctification, or the life of progressive growth in grace, begins only after regeneration and continues on till a believer goes to be with Christ. Yet sanctification is spoken of in similar terms to regeneration. The Christian is exhorted to be transformed by the renewing of his mind (Ro 12:2), to put on the new man (Eph 4:22, 23, 24; Col 3:9, 10), and to count himself dead to sin and alive unto God (Rom 6:3-11). These passages show that he begins the period of sanctification with this regeneration. (The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia. Chicago: Moody Press)

Wayne Grudem writes that one may define …

Regeneration as a secret act of God in which He imparts new spiritual life to us. This is sometimes called “being born again” (using language from John 3:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)… Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

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. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed. (Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine)

Wayne Grudem - Chapter 34: Regeneration What does it mean to be born again? (from his online outline) - even better listen to Dr Grudem's Mp3 Lecture on Regeneration

I. Definition: Regeneration is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us.

II. Explanation & Scriptural Basis

A. Regeneration is Totally a Work of God: (Ezek. 36:26-27; John 1:13; Eph. 2:5; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23, 25)

1. Scripture speaks of being born (John 3.3-8) and there is nothing you can do to be born (John 1:13).

2. In the OT, God promised a future time of giving new spiritual life to his people (Ezek. 36:26-27)

3. Distinction between effective calling and regeneration: Effective calling is God the Father speaking powerfully to us, and regeneration is God the Father and the Holy Spirit working powerfully in us to make us alive

4. Also called Irresistible Grace.

a. God effectively calls people and also gives them regeneration.

b. Both actions guarantee that we will respond in saving faith.

c. People still make voluntary, willing choice in responding to the gospel.

B. The Exact Nature of Regeneration is Mysterious to Us:

1. From spiritually dead to alive (Eph. 2:1, 5) (not exactly right to say that only our spirits are made alive)

2. Every part of us is affected by regeneration (2 Cor. 5:17)

3. Just as wind has mysterious qualities, regeneration also shows us the result even though we cannot see the act itself (John 3:8)

4. While regeneration is an instantaneous event (it happens only once), the change will become evident over time.

C. In This Sense of “Regeneration,” It Comes Before Saving Faith:

1. It is in fact this work of God that gives us the spiritual ability to respond to God in faith. (John 3:5, 6:44, 65; Acts 16:14; 1 Cor. 2:14; Col. 2:13)

2. But it is often so close in time that it is hard to see how anyone could know about someone’s regeneration unless it comes to expression in saving faith.

3. Sometimes people talk about regeneration following saving faith (e.g., Evangelical Free Church of America statement).

a. This emphasis focuses on the outward evidence or results of regeneration.

b. Yet the wording of Scripture uses “regeneration” as the instantaneous, initial work of God in which he imparts spiritual life to us.

D. Genuine Regeneration Must Bring Results in Life:

1. Cannot Go on Sinning (1 John 2:29, 3:9)

2. Christ-like Love (1 John 4:7)

3. Overcoming the World (1 John 5:3-4)

4. Protection from Satan (1 John 4:4; 5:18)

5. Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23; Matt. 7:15-20)

6. These results are character traits, not church activity or even miracles (Matt. 7:22-23)

7. Therefore, it is impossible for a person to be regenerated and not become truly converted.

Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary explains that

"Regeneration is the spiritual change brought about in a person’s life by an act of God. In regeneration a person’s sinful nature is changed, and that person is enabled to respond to God in faith. The word “regeneration” occurs only in the New Testament (Mt 19:28; Titus 3:5), but the concept or idea is common throughout the Bible. The literal meaning of regeneration is “being born again.” There is a first birth and a second birth. The first, as Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:1-12) is “of the flesh”; the second birth is “of the Spirit.” Being born of the Spirit is essential before a person can enter the kingdom of God. Every biblical command to people to undergo a radical change of character from self-centeredness to God-centeredness is, in effect, an appeal to be “born again” (Ps. 51:5-11; Jer. 31:33; Zech. 13:1)… Thus, regeneration involves an enlightening of the mind, a change of the will, and a renewed nature. It extends to the total nature of people, changing their desires and restoring them to a right relationship with God in Christ. The need for regeneration grows out of humanity’s sinfulness. It is brought about through God’s initiative. God works in the human heart, and the person responds to God through faith. Thus, regeneration is an act of God through the Holy Spirit, resulting in resurrection from sin to a new life in Jesus Christ (2Cor. 5:17). (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

Gerald Cowen writing on the general topic of regeneration notes that .

palingenesia literally means a "new genesis" or "birth again." Kittell says that it may have reference either to a "return to existence," a "coming back from death to life," or a "renewal to a higher existence." In the Greek world, it was used primarily by the Stoics to describe the restoration of the earth after its destruction by fire, which they believed would come. However, it was not a new earth, but the old one restored to its former existence. In the latter part of the first century B.C., palingenesia was used to describe Cicero's return from exile and his restoration to rank and fortune. It is thus used in a more individual sense. In the New Testament palingenesia is used with both the cosmic and the individual senses. Matthew 19:28 speaks of cosmic regeneration… The passage seems to refer to the times of restoration during the millennial period that follows the coming of Christ. The Criswell Study Bible says, "The key to that identification is the position accorded to the disciples of 'judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' Therefore, the prophecy must be millennial" (note on Matt. 19:28)

In Titus 3:5 palingenesia refers to personal regeneration. When people put their faith in Christ, they are born again. This new birth is the result of the mercy of God and the activity of the Holy Spirit. Works of righteousness play no part in it. The Holy Spirit "renews" them and makes them new creations.

Thayer defines palingenesia as a "moral renovation," "the production of a new life consecrated to God, a radical change of mind for the better." It is a passing from spiritual death unto eternal life (1John 3:14). Without it one "cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

Reformation of the old person is inadequate to save. The old person must be destroyed and a new one created. Human beings may make things, but only God can create. It is He who reforms the believers and makes them anew in the image of Christ (Col. 3:10). Faith, repentance, conversion, and regeneration would not be possible without the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of persons. On the other hand, when individuals have received Christ and the Spirit of God has re-created them, it is just as impossible that the effects of that change never issue forth in good works. (Cowen, G: Salvation: Word Studies From the Greek New Testament)

Warren Wiersbe -  The word regeneration simply means new birth, renewal, or restoration.....Personal regeneration, or rebirth, is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the person who trusts Christ as his Savior.....The word regeneration simply means the act of God by which new life is imparted to the person who trusts Christ as his Savior. Justification gives me a righteous standing before God and adoption gives me an adult standing before God, but regeneration, or rebirth, gives me the life of God, the nature of God, in my very being. Regeneration does not simply put us back to where we would have been had Adam never sinned. Regeneration is birth into a brand-new life; it is sharing the very life of God. It is not just a reformation. If regeneration were only reformation, you would lose it the next time you sinned. No, regeneration is that act of God whereby the very life of God is communicated to those who trust Christ as their Savior. The classic text on regeneration is John 3....The word born is used six times in John 3:1-9. Jesus was talking about a real experience—the reality of the new birth. There are those who tell us that this experience of regeneration is psychological, that people can even have this kind of experience apart from faith in Jesus Christ. There are false religions and psychological approaches to religion that tell us that the new birth happens because of some psychological experience. But the new birth is a reality; it is as real as physical birth.....When our Lord was ministering here on earth, everybody had some answers to the problems of life. The Romans said the way to solve life's problems is through law, and you back up that law with the military. The Greeks said the way to solve problems is with wisdom. People need schools, understanding, and philosophy. Of course the Jewish people said the answer is religion. You need sacrifices, a priesthood, the temple. Jesus said the answer is in the heart. Law will never change the heart; wisdom will never change the heart; religion will never change the heart. But regeneration will. The reality of the new birth, the good news of the gospel, is this: You can start all over again! You do not have to stay the way you are. Because there is such a thing as regeneration, you can be born again.....And when you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, a miracle takes place in your heart—regeneration; you are born again. - Key Words in the Christian Life

Jerry Bridges - REGENERATION

Sanctification actually begins at the time of our conversion, when by an act called regeneration, or the new birth, the principle of spiritual life is planted within us. This work of regeneration is promised in such Old Testament prophecies as Jeremiah 31:33 where God says, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” And in Ezekiel 36:26–27 He says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” In the New Testament, Paul also described regeneration in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” And again in Titus 3:5: “He saved us through the washing of rebirth [or regeneration, as it is translated in many versions of the Bible] and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Notice the radical change that is described in each of these Scripture passages. God will put His law in our minds and write it on our hearts. He will give us a new disposition that, instead of being hostile to God’s law, actually delights in it. The law that was merely external is now written in our hearts by the Spirit of God, so that we are moved to obedience.
The heart of stone is transformed into a heart of flesh. “Heart of stone” is a figurative expression for a hard heart, one that is insensible to the things of God and unable to receive any impressions of divine truth. The heart of flesh represents a soft and tender heart, one that is able and willing to receive and act upon the truths of God’s Word.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that when a person is united to Christ, there is a new creation. A Christian is a radically changed person the moment he or she trusts Christ. This doesn’t mean we become “saints” in practice overnight. But, it does mean a new creation—a new principle of life—has been planted within us by the Holy Spirit, and we can never be the same again.
The expression “born again” from John 3:3–8 is usually taken to mean no more than being saved from the penalty of sin. According to Jesus, it means to be born of the Spirit (John 3:6, 8), that is, to be given new life. Paul said the same thing in Titus 3:5 when he spoke of renewal by the Holy Spirit. This act of regeneration or new birth by which a person enters the kingdom of God (John 3:5) is a monergistic work of the Holy Spirit. Thus it is entirely a work of grace, just as justification is. - Growing Your Faith: How to Mature in Christ

Aretha Franklin
(another version)

O happy day that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.

Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray,
And live rejoicing every day;
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!

’Tis done—the great transaction’s done;
I am my Lord’s, and He is mine;
He drew me and I followed on,
Rejoiced to own the call divine.

Now rest, my long-divided heart,
Fixed on this blissful center, rest;
Here have I found a nobler part,
Here heav’nly pleasures fill my breast.

High heav’n that hears the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear!
Till in life’s latest hour I bow,
And bless, in death, a bond so dear.



  • To fashion a world has less difficulty in it than to create a new life in an ungodly man; for, in the creation of the world, there was nothing in the way of God; but, in the creation of the new heart, there is the old nature opposing the Spirit. - An All Around Ministry,
  • The grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Morning And Evening, 
  • Those who are saved by God the Holy Spirit are created anew according to Scripture; but who ever dreamed of creation creating itself? God spoke the world out of nothing, but nothing did not aid in the creation of the universe. Divine energy can do everything, but what can nothing do? Now if we have a new creation, there must have been a creator, and it is clear that being then spiritually created, we could not have assisted in our own new creation, unless, indeed, death can assist life, and non-existence aid in creation. - Salvation Altogether By Grace, Volume 12, Sermon #703 - 2 Timothy 1:9
  • No strength but that which made me can new-make me. - The Sitting Of The Refiner, Volume 27, Sermon #1575 - Malachi 3:3
  • As I have warned you before, abhor the doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God, for it is a lie, and a deep deception. It stabs at the heart, first, of the doctrine of the adoption, which is taught in Scripture, for how can God adopt men if they are all his children already? In the second place, it stabs at the heart of the doctrine of regeneration, which is certainly taught in the Word of God. Note it is by regeneration and faith that we become the children of God, but how can that be if we are the children of God already?
  • After we are regenerated, he continues to renew us; our thoughts, feelings, desires, and acts are constantly renewed. Regeneration as the commencement of the new creation can never come twice to any man, but renewal of the Holy Ghost is constantly and perpetually repeated. The Maintenance Of Good Works, Volume 34, Sermon #2042 - Titus 3:3-8
  • To fashion a world has less difficulty in it than to create a new life in an ungodly man; for, in the creation of the world, there was nothing in the way of God; but, in the creation of the new heart, there is the old nature opposing the Spirit.

  • The grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. 
  • Those who are saved by God the Holy Spirit are created anew according to Scripture; but who ever dreamed of creation creating itself? God spake the world out of nothing, but nothing did not aid in the creation of the universe. Divine energy can do everything, but what can nothing do? Now if we have a new creation, there must have been a creator, and it is clear that being then spiritually created, we could not have assisted in our own new creation, unless, indeed, death can assist life, and non-existence aid in creation. 

  • After we are regenerated, he continues to renew us; our thoughts, feelings, desires, and acts are constantly renewed. Regeneration as the commencement of the new creation can never come twice to any man, but renewal of the Holy Ghost is constantly and perpetually repeated. 
  • No strength but that which made me can new-make me.
  • When a man is converted to God, it is done in a moment. Regeneration is an instantaneous work. Conversion to God, the fruit of regeneration, occupies all our life, but regeneration itself is effected in an instant.
  • A man hates God-- the Holy Spirit makes him love God. A man is opposed to Christ, he hates his gospel, does not understand it and will not receive it-- the Holy Spirit comes, puts light into his darkened understanding, takes the chain from his bondaged will, gives liberty to his conscience, gives life to his dead soul, so that the voice of conscience is heard, and the man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.
  • And all this is done, mark you, by the instantaneous supernatural influence of God the Holy Spirit working as he wills among the sons of men.
  • Adoption gives us the rights of children. Regeneration gives us the nature of children: we are partakers of both of these, for we are sons.
  • In all true conversions there are points of essential agreement. There must be in all a penitent confession of sin and a looking to Jesus for the forgiveness of it. And there must also be a real change of heart such as shall affect the entire life. And where these essential points are not to be found, there is no genuine conversion
  • Mr. Rowland Hill was met one evening by a drunken man, who staggered up to him and said, "Hello, Mr. Hill, I am one of your converts!" "Ah," said Mr. Rowland Hill, "very likely, but you are none of God's converts, or else you would not be drunk." Now, our converts, if they be our converts, will be very poor productions. If one man can convert you, another man can unconvert you.
  • We are not what we ought to be, we are not what we want to be, we are not what we shall be. But we are something very different from what we used to be.
  • Every regeneration is really instantaneous. Its evidences, its outward manifestations may be gradual, but there must be a time when the man begins to live. There must be a period when thefirst ray of light darts on the opened eye. There must be a time when the man is condemned, and a period when he is not con­demned. And there must be an instant when the change takes place
  • Adoption gives us the rights of children, but regeneration alone gives us the nature of children

Spurgeon on Regeneration, False and True - THE sprinkling of an infant makes no change in that child whatever; it is, as I believe, a vain ceremony, not commanded of God, nor warranted in Scripture; and as the Church of England practises it, it is altogether pernicious and superstitious, and if there be any effect following it, it must be an evil effect upon those who wickedly lie unto Almighty God, by promising and vowing that the unconscious shall keep God’s commandments, and walk in the same all the days of his life; which they cannot do for the child, inasmuch as they cannot even so do for themselves. Ye must have another regeneration than this, the work not of priestly fingers, with their hocus-pocus and superstitious genuflexions, but the work of the Eternal Spirit, who alone can regenerate the soul, whose office alone it is that can give light to the spiritually blinded eye, and sensation to the spiritually dead heart. Be not misled by the priests of this age. Ye profess to have cast off Rome, cast off her Anglican children. Wear not the rags of her superstition, nor bear her mark in your foreheads. Ye must be born again in another sense than formality can work in you. It must be an inward work, a spiritual work, and only this can save your souls. If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature, that is, he has experienced a radical change.


Coming to Christ is the very first effect of regeneration. No sooner is the soul quickened than it at once discovers its lost estate, looks out for a refuge, and, believing Christ to be the only one, flies to Him and reposes in Him. Where there is not this coming to Christ, it is certain that there is as yet no quickening. Where there is no quickening, the soul is dead in trespasses and sins; being dead, it cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Sinner, unconverted sinner, you have often tried to save yourself, but you have often failed. You have, by your own power and might, sought to curb your evil passions and sins. With you, I lament that all your efforts have been unsuccessful. And I warn you, it will be unsuccessful, for you can never by your own might save yourself. With all the strength you have, you can never regenerate your own soul; you can never cause yourself to be born again. And though the new birth is absolutely necessary, it is absolutely impossible to you unless God the Spirit will do it.

Christ appears as a shepherd to His own sheep, not to others. As soon as He appears, His own sheep perceive Him. They trust Him, and they are prepared to follow Him. He knows them, and they know Him. There is a mutual knowledge and a constant connection between them. Thus the one mark, the sure mark, the infallible mark of regeneration and adoption is a hearty faith in the appointed Redeemer. Reader, are you in doubt, are you uncertain whether you bear the secret mark of God’s children? Then let not an hour pass over your head until you have said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Ps. 139:23). (Daily Help)

Spurgeon in his devotional Morning and Evening (March 6 AM) wrote that…

Regeneration is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation, and we should be very diligent to take heed that we really are “born again,” for there are many who fancy they are, who are not. Be assured that the name of a Christian is not the nature of a Christian; and that being born in a Christian land, and being recognized as professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever, unless there be something more added to it—the being “born again,” is a matter so mysterious, that human words cannot describe it.

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Nevertheless, it is a change which is known and felt: known by works of holiness, and felt by a gracious experience. This great work is supernatural. It is not an operation which a man performs for himself: a new principle is infused, which works in the heart, renews the soul, and affects the entire man. It is not a change of my name, but a renewal of my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus. To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other. If you have then, been “born again,” your acknowledgment will be,

“O Lord Jesus, the everlasting Father, thou art my spiritual Parent; unless thy Spirit had breathed into me the breath of a new, holy, and spiritual life, I had been to this day ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’ My heavenly life is wholly derived from thee, to thee I ascribe it. ‘My life is hid with Christ in God.’ It is no longer I who live, but Christ who liveth in me.”

May the Lord enable us to be well assured on this vital point, for to be unregenerate is to be unsaved, unpardoned, without God, and without hope.

Spurgeon - “We are sure that the Gospel we have preached is not after men because men do not take to it. It is opposed, even to this day. If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out Gospel of the Grace of God, especially if that hateful word, Sovereignty is mentioned with it! Dare to say, “He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion,” and furious critics will revile you without stint! The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of Sovereign Grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it! He would sooner hear you blaspheme than preach Election by the Father, Atonement by the Son, or Regeneration by the Spirit! If you want to see a man worked up till the Satanic is clearly uppermost, let some of the new divines hear you preach a Free-Grace sermon! A Gospel which is after men will be welcomed by men—but it needs a Divine operation upon the heart and mind to make a man willing to receive into his utmost soul this distasteful Gospel of the Grace of God!.

Spurgeon - If your conversion is an instance of the preacher’s power, you need to be converted again! If your salvation is the result of your own power, it is a miserable deception from which may you be delivered! Every man who is saved must be operated upon by the might of God the Holy Spirit every jot and tittle of true regeneration is the Spirit’s work!”

Spurgeon - Every regeneration is really instantaneous. Its evidences, its outward manifestations may be gradual, but there must be a time when the man begins to live. There must be a period when the first ray of light darts on the opened eye. There must be a time when the man is condemned, and a period when he is not condemned. And there must be an instant when the change takes place.

Spurgeon - Do I address one here who imagines that an orthodox creed will save him? I suppose that no one is more orthodox than the devil, yet no one is more surely lost than he is. You may get a clear head, but if you have not a clean heart, it will not avail you at the last. You may know the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism by heart, but unless you are born again, it will not benefit you. Did you say that you believed the thirty-nine articles? There is one article that is essential—“Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). And woe to that man who has not passed through that all-important change.

Spurgeon - We believe, that the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification and faith, is not an act of man’s free will and power, but of the mighty, efficacious and irresistible grace of God.

Spurgeon Regeneration is an absolute necessity before any soul can enter Heaven—and you must not be satisfied with anything short of that! Yet you may be grateful if, like Timothy, from a child you have known the Scriptures, or if, like Samuel, you have been brought up in the house of the Lord from your very early years.”

Spurgeon - “Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman, sets His foot upon the monster, Sin, and breaks its head. And if you believe in Jesus, that pierced foot of His shall crush the life out of your sin and you shall be delivered from its power. Oh, that you might have Grace to trust in Jesus for instantaneous pardon, instantaneous regeneration, instantaneous deliverance from nature’s darkness into God’s most marvelous light! If you are as prostrate as Peter’s wife’s mother was, you ought not to lie still any longer when Christ is ready to give you such a lift as that!”

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook - STRANGERS, sojourners, and servants upon hire were not to eat of holy things. It is so in spiritual matters still. But two classes were free at the sacred table, those who were bought with the priest’s money, and those who were born into the priest’s house. Bought and born, these were the two indisputable proofs of a right to holy things. Bought. Our great High Priest has bought with a price all those who put their trust in him. They are his absolute property—altogether the Lord’s. Not for what they are in themselves, but for their owner’s sake, they are admitted into the same privileges which he himself enjoys, and “they shall eat of his meat.” He has meat to eat which worldlings know not of. “Because ye belong to Christ,” therefore shall ye share with your Lord. Born. This is an equally sure way to privilege; if born in the priest’s house we take our place with the rest of the family. Regeneration makes us fellow-heirs, and of the same body; and, therefore, the peace, the joy, the glory, which the Father has given to Christ, Christ has given to us. Redemption and regeneration have given us a double claim to the divine permit of this promise.

Spurgeon Morning and Evening - But now is Christ risen from the dead.” —1 Corinthians 15:20

The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that “Christ is risen from the dead;” for, “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain: ye are yet in your sins.” The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in his resurrection, since he was “Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” It would not be unreasonable to doubt his Deity if he had not risen. Moreover, Christ’s sovereignty depends upon his resurrection, “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ’s triumphant victory over death and the grave; for “He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Nay, more, our very regeneration is connected with his resurrection, for we are “Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here, for, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” If Christ be not risen, then shall we not rise; but if he be risen then they who are asleep in Christ have not perished, but in their flesh shall surely behold their God. Thus, the silver thread of resurrection runs through all the believer’s blessings, from his regeneration onwards to his eternal glory, and binds them together. How important then will this glorious fact be in his estimation, and how will he rejoice that beyond a doubt it is established, that “now is Christ risen from the dead.”

         “The promise is fulfill’d,
         Redemption’s work is done,
         Justice with mercy’s reconciled,
         For God has raised his Son.”


  • Regeneration is not a removal of the old substance or faculties of the soul. Some thought that the substance of Adam’s soul was corrupted when he sinned, therefore suppose the substance of  his soul to be altered when he is renewed. Sin took not the substance, but the rectitude; the new creation therefore gives not a new faculty but a new quality. The cure of the leprosy is not a destroying of the fabric of the body, but the disease; yet in regard of the greatness of man’s corruption, the soul is so much changed by these new habits, that it is as it were a new soul, a new understanding, a new will. - Stephen Charnock
  • In regeneration nature is not ruined, but rectified.. The convert is the same man, but new made. The faculties of his soul are not destroyed, but they are refined, the same viol, but new tuned. Christ gave not the blind man new eyes, but a new sight to the old ones. Christ did not give Lazarus a new body, but enlivened his old body, So God in conversion does not bestow a new understanding, but a new light to the old; not a new soul, but a new life to the old one. - George Swinnock
  • There may be several things which may help to make the life fair in the eyes of men; but nothing will make it amiable in the eyes of God, unless the heart be changed and renewed. All the medicines which can be applied, without the sanctifying work of the Spirit, though they may cover, they can never cure the corruption and diseases of the soul. - George Swinnock
  • Nor is regeneration an addition to nature. Christ was not an addition to Adam, but a new Head by Himself . . . Grace grows not upon the old stock. It is not a piece of cloth sewn to an old garment, but the one is cast aside the other wholly taken on. . . . It is not a new varnish, nor do old things remain under a new paint, nor new plaster laid upon old; a new creature, not a mended creature. - Stephen Charnock
  • Repentance is a change of the mind, and regeneration is a change of the man.  - Thomas Adams
  •  Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons. - Stephen Charnock
  • Regeneration is a universal change of the whole man. . . . it is as large in renewing as sin was in defacing.  - Stephen Charnock
  • The creation of the world is a shadow of the regeneration of a Christian. First, there was an earth without form, void, and a darkness upon the face of the deep. Predestination is this great deep, which cannot be discovered or discerned. There the light was separated from the darkness; here knowledge is separated from ignorance of the soul; there is calling. Then was the sun created; so here the bright beams of grace are diffused into our hearts which fill us with spiritual joy; there is sanctification. Lastly, Adam was created after the image of God, and placed in Paradise; so the new man is confirmed to the image of Christ, and shall be reposed in the paradise of everlasting glory. - Thomas Adams
  • In the first creation, God made man after His own image. So in the second creation or regeneration, God does create men after His own image, in knowledge, righteousness, true holiness, and love. - Vavasor Powell
  • Reader, make sure of this inward change; otherwise, though thy conversation may be specious, it can never be gracious, nor thy profession durable. . . . I wonder not that many professors disown the Lord Jesus when they are ignorant why they at any time owned Him. He that takes up religion on trust, will lay it down when it brings him into trouble. He that follows Christ, he knoweth not why, will forsake Him, he knoweth not how. - George Swinnock
  • Thou must be righteous and holy, before thou canst live righteously and holily. - William Gurnall
  • Importance of early regeneration: As an early regeneration makes for God’s honor, so it makes for your own interest. Your new birth will be the gentler. The work of conscience will be more kindly, without the horrors they have who have lain many years soaking in the old nature. More of hell must be flashed in an old sinner’s face, to awaken him from his dead sleep. Paul who had sinned some years with an high hand, was struck to the earth. Christ, as it were took him by the throat, and shook him: Acts 9:6. He trembling and astonished said, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” There will be more amazing aggravations of sin to reach the conscience and consequently more anguish. Putrefied wounds require more lancing; and therefore are more painful in the cure than those which are but newly made. The more we are alienated from the life of God, the harder it will be to return to live that life again. - Stephen Charnock
  • Repentance is a change of the mind, and regeneration is a change of the man. The Creation of the world is a shadow of the regeneration of a Christian… Adam was created after the image of God, and placed in Paradise; so the new man is confirmed to the image of Christ, and shall be reposed in the paradise of everlasting glory.. (Thomas Adams)

  • Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons. (Stephen Charnock)

  • In regeneration nature is not ruined, but rectified.. The convert is the same man, but new made. The faculties of his soul are not destroyed, but they are refined, the same viol, but new tuned. Christ gave not the blind man new eyes, but a new sight to the old ones. Christ did not give Lazarus a new body, but enlivened his old body, So God in conversion does not bestow a new understanding, but a new light to the old; not a new soul, but a new life to the old one. (George Swinnock)

  • The church hath more professing than regenerate members, and will have to the end of the world, and none must expect that they be commensurate. (Richard Baxter)

Most of the above are from I D E Thomas - The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations


Source - "Arrows and Anecdotes" page 119-127 

“If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature.”

Regeneration the Foundation of Christian Experience

It is the A B C of God’s salvation. If a man is unsound on regeneration, he is unsound on everything. It is really the foundation-stone of Christian character; and we must get the foundation right. If we don’t, what is the good of trying to build a house? Now, Christ says plainly, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” But although regeneration, or the new birth, is taught so plainly in the third chapter of John, I don’t believe there is any truth in the whole Bible that there is such great darkness about as this great truth. There are a great many like the man who saw men as trees walking. Many Christians do not seem to be clear about this new birth.

Regeneration a Mystery

A great many men try to investigate and find out God. Suppose you spend a little of your time in asking God to reveal himself to you. I heard some time ago of some commercial travellers who went to hear a man preach. They came back to the hotel, and were sitting in the smoking-room talking, and they said the minister did not appeal to their reason, and they would not believe anything they could not reason out. There was an old man sitting there listening, and he said to them: “You say you wont believe anything you can’t reason out?” “No, we wont.” The old man then said, “As I was coming in the train yesterday, I noticed some sheep and cattle and swine and geese, all eating grass. Now, can you tell me by what process that same grass is turned into feathers, hair, bristles, and wool?” “Well, no, we can’t just tell you that.” “Do you believe it is a fact?” “Oh yes, it is a fact.” “I thought you said you would not believe anything you could not reason out?” “Well, we can’t help believing that; that is a fact we see before our eyes.” “Truly, on the same ground,” said the old man, “I can’t help but believe in regeneration, and a man being converted, although I cannot explain how God converted him.”

Effects of Regeneration

It may be that I am talking now to some poor drunkard. When he comes into his house his children listen, and hear by the footfall that their father is coming home drunk, and the little things run away and hide from him as if he were some horrid demon. His wife begins to tremble. Many a time has that great, strong arm been brought down on her weak, defenseless body. Many a day has she carried about marks from that man’s violence. He ought to be her protector, support, and stay; but he has become her tormentor. His home is like hell upon earth; there is no joy there. There may be one such here tonight who hears the good news that he can be born again, and receive a nature from heaven, and receive the Spirit of God. God will give him power to hurl the infernal cup from him. God will give him grace to trample Satan under his feet, and the drunkard will then become a sober man. Go to that house three months hence, and you will find it neat and clean. As you draw near that home you will hear singing; not the noise of the drunkard, that is gone; all things have become new; for he has been born of God, and is singing one of the songs of Zion—
    “Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
 Let me hide myself in thee.”
Or perhaps he is singing that good old hymn that his mother taught him when he was a little boy—
    “There is a fountain filled with blood
 Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
 Lose all their guilty stains.”
He has become a child of God and an heir of heaven. His children are climbing upon his knees, and he has his arms around their neck. That dark home is now changed into a little Bethel on earth. God dwells there now. Yes, God has done all that, and that is regeneration. 

Free! Free!

You know that in the British Colonies, before the time of Wilberforce, there used to be a great many slaves; but that good man began to agitate the question of setting them free; and all the slaves in the Colonies, when they heard of it, were very anxious to know how he was getting along. They knew the bill was before Parliament; and with them it was a question next to that of life itself. But in those days there were no telegraphs and no steamships. The mails went by the slow sailing-vessels. They would be from six to eight months in making a voyage to some of the more distant of the Colonies. The slaves used to watch for the white sails of British ships, hoping to hear good news, but fearing they might hear bad news. There was a ship which had sailed immediately after the Emancipation Act had been passed and signed by the king, and when she came within hailing distance of the boats which had put off from the shore at the port where she was bound, the captain could not wait to deliver the message officially, and have it duly promulgated by the Government; but, seeing the poor, anxious men standing up in their boats, eager for the news, he placed his trumpet to his mouth, and shouted with all his might: “Free! Free!” Just so the angels shout when the poor bondman of Satan, almost in the jaws of the pit, is taken in hand by the Saviour himself and delivered from the bondage of darkness, into the liberty of God’s dear Son. Free—free from sin—free from the curse of the law—free now, and in a little while free from the bonds of the flesh as well.

I am Married unto You 

In the Old Testament the Lord uses this expression: “I am married unto you.” Jeremiah 3:14. Paul uses the same figure in his epistles, as in Romans 7:4, in setting forth the union between Christ and his church. Now, it is an illustration you can all understand. When a man offers himself the woman must do either of two things—either receive or reject him. So every soul must do one of these two things—“receive” or “reject” Christ. Well, if you receive him, that is all you have to do, he has promised the rest. There was a shop-girl in Chicago a few years ago; one day she could not have bought a pound’s worth of anything; the next day she could go and buy a thousand pounds’ worth of whatever she wanted. What made the difference? Why, she had married a rich husband; that was all. She had accepted him, and, of course, all he had became hers. And so you can have everything, if you only receive Christ. Remember, you can have no power without him; you will fail, constantly, until you receive him into your heart; and I have Scripture authority to say that Christ will receive every soul that will only come to him. 

The Slaves and the North Star

In our country before the war, when we had slavery, the slaves escaping used to keep their eye on the north star. If a slave fled to the Northern states the slave-master could come and take him back in slavery. But there was another flag on American soil, and if they could only get under that flag they were for ever free. It is called the Union Jack. If they could only get to Canada they were safe, and therefore their eye was always looking towards the north star. They knew if they got into the Northern states there would be some men ready to take them back. So it is with every poor sinner who wants to come to Christ. Many men do all they can to hinder him; others cheer him on. Let us help every man towards the north star. Well, to give you a picture of what used to occur, the moment a man has escaped, perhaps he swims across the Mississippi, or crosses the Ohio river in a little canoe. The master hears of it, and he takes his hounds and sends them on the track, and begins to hunt him down. The slave hears the hounds; they have their nose upon his scent, and his master is coming to take him back. What does he do? He escapes as fast as he can. He makes his way for the frontier, over hedges, bridges, and rivers; away he goes for Canada, day and night. He works hard, and he does not eat much. He is in the greatest haste to get liberty. By-and-by he comes in sight of Canada. He can see that flag floating in front of him, and he knows that if he can only cross the line before his master and the hounds overtake him, he will be free. The poor black man runs on with all his might, and at last with one bound he goes over the line. He is a free man now. One minute he is a slave; the next minute he is a free man under the flag of Queen Victoria—the British flag; and your Parliament says that no man under that flag shall be a bondman. One minute he is liable for the old master to drag him back; the next minute he shouts: “Free!” If Christ tells us that we are free, we are free.

Born a Christian

In the inquiry-room, a person came in, and I said, “Are you a Christian?” “Why,” says she, “of course I am.” “Well,” I said, “how long have you been one?” “O sir, I was born one!” “Oh, indeed! then I am very glad to take you by the hand; I congratulate you; you are the first woman I ever met who was born a Christian; you are more fortunate than others; they are born children of Adam.” She hesitated a little, and then tried to make out that, because she was born in England, she was a Christian. There are a great many have the idea, that because they are born in a Christian country, they have been born of the Spirit. Now, in the third chapter of John, the new birth is brought out so plainly, that if any one will read it carefully and prayerfully, I think his eyes will soon be opened. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; it remains flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and remains spirit. So, when a man is born of God, he has God’s nature. When a man is born of his parents, he receives their nature, and they receive the nature of their parents, and you can trace it back to Adam. But when a man is born of God, or born from above, or born of the Spirit, he receives God’s nature, and then it is he leaves the lire of the flesh for the life of the spirit.

Cut the Cord

I once heard of two men who, under the influence of liquor, came down one night to where their boat was tied; they wanted to return home, so they got in and began to row. When the gray dawn of morning broke, behold, they had never loosed the mooring line or raised the anchor! 
And that’s just the way with many who are striving to enter the kingdom of heaven. They cannot believe, because they are tied to this world. Cut the cord! cut the cord! Set yourselves free from the clogging weight of earthly things, and you will soon go on towards heaven.
  Have You Got the Token?
The first thing is to know you are sprinkled with the atoning blood. You go to a railway station, and you buy a ticket, and get into a carriage; and the guard comes round and cries, “Tickets,” and you put your hand in your pocket and pull out the ticket, and present that to the man; but the guard does not look to see if you are a white man or a black, learned or unlearned, great or small. He does not know, perhaps, who you are, or what you are; but he looks for the token. Oh, my friends, God says, “If you have got the token I will pass over you.” Have you got the token? That is the question—the solemn question. Exodus 12:13.

The Telegram

A lady friend of mine was starting from England, with others, for America, and when she got to Liverpool all her friends wanted to go to the same hotel, but it was full, and they had to go away; but she had been thoughtful enough to take precautions, and had sent a telegram and engaged her room before. Let the news go up on high that you want a mansion there, and write down your name in the book. Drop everything else till you are sure that your names are written in the Book of Life; make up your minds that you will neither eat nor sleep till this great question for time and eternity is settled. 


  • In the Bible the offer of pardon on the part of God is conditioned upon intention to reform on the part of man. There can be no spiritual regeneration till there has been a moral reformation.
  • The converted man is both reformed and regenerated. And unless the sinner is willing to reform his way of living he will never know the inward experience of regeneration.
  • Man’s hopeless condition cannot be perfected by some slow process of social regeneration—it must be brought about through the miraculous process of individual regeneration.
  • Contrary to much that is being said and practiced in churches, true worship is not something that we “do” in the hope of appearing to be religious! True worship must be a constant and consistent attitude or state of mind within the believer, a sustained and blessed acknowledgment of love and admiration. If we have this awareness in our own lives and experience, then it is evident that we are not just waiting for Sunday to come to church and worship. Having been made in His image, we have within us the capacity to know God and the instinct that we should worship Him. The very moment that the Spirit of God has quickened us to His life in regeneration, our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition! That response within our beings—a response to the forgiveness and pardon and regeneration—signals the miracle of the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the kingdom of God. Thus the primary work of the Holy Spirit is to restore the lost soul to intimate fellowship with God through the washing of regeneration.
  • The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to restore the lost soul to intimate fellowship with God through the washing of regeneration. To accomplish this He first reveals Christ to the penitent heart (1 Corinthians 12:3). He then goes on to illumine the newborn soul with brighter rays from the face of Christ (John 14:26; 16:13-15) and leads the willing heart into depths and heights of divine knowledge and communion. Remember, we know Christ only as the Spirit enables us and we have only as much of Him as the Holy Spirit imparts. 
  • God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship. It is inconceivable that a sovereign and holy God should be so hard up for workers that He would press into service anyone who had been empowered regardless of his moral qualifications. The very stones would praise Him if the need arose and a thousand legions of angels would leap to do His will. 
  • Gifts and power for service the Spirit surely desires to impart; but holiness and spiritual worship come first.
  • A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to “accept” Christ without forsaking the world. But what saith the Holy Ghost? “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4), and “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). This requires no comment, only obedience. It is an error to assume that we can experience justification without transformation. Justification and regeneration are not the same; they may be thought apart in theology but they can never be experienced apart in fact! When God declares a man righteous He instantly sets about to make him righteous. The error today is that we do not expect a converted man to be a transformed man, and as a result of this error our churches are full of substandard Christians. Many of these go on day after day assuming that salvation is possible without repentance and that they can find some value in religion without righteousness. A revival is, among other things, a return to the belief that real faith invariably produces holiness of heart and righteousness of life!
  • A popular belief among Christians divides the work of God between the three Persons, giving a specific part to each: creation to the Father, redemption to the Son, and regeneration to the Holy Spirit. This is partly true but not wholly so, for God cannot so divide himself that one Person works while another is inactive. In the Scriptures the three Persons are shown to act in harmonious unity in all the mighty works that are wrought throughout the universe. - A W Tozer


  • WARNING: Do not attend a church which prefers science to Scripture, reason to revelation, theories to Truth, culture to conversion, benevolence to Blood, goodness to grace, sociability to spirituality, play to praise, programs to power, reformation to regeneration, speculation to salvation, jubilation to justification, feelings to faith, politics to precepts. - Unknown
  • To be highborn is nice, but to be newborn is necessary! - Unknown
  • Repentance is a change of the mind and regeneration is a change of the man. Thomas Adams
  • One of the great verses of the New Testament is the soul-rending revelation that, in regeneration, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). With this mind we are to live and act. - Donald Barnhouse
  • The “new” creation which takes place in the sinner at the moment of regeneration is by pure grace.  - Donald Barnhouse
  • In regeneration, the believer received new life in Christ. Formerly he was dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), and his salvation in no wise depended upon his will (John 1:13, Rom. 9:16). Indeed, the unregenerate man is captive to Satan’s will (2 Tim. 2:26), and all the unsaved lie in the embrace of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). But when we are quickened in Christ, God restores the image of Himself that was lost in the fall and we are now able to make choices. This is the secret of the life of holiness. The power of the risen Lord can now dominate us by that power which is given to Him (Matt. 28:18) and which is communicated to us by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).  - Donald Barnhouse
  • Regeneration is the fountain; sanctification is the river. J. Sidlow Baxter
  • Seeing we are born God’s enemies we must be new-born his sons. Richard Baxter
  • I should as soon attempt to raise flowers if there were no atmosphere, or produce fruits if there were neither light nor heat, as to regenerate men if I did not believe there was a Holy Ghost. - Henry Ward Beecher
  • Becoming a Christian is not making a new start in life; it is receiving a new life to start with. John Blanchard
  • Take away the mystery from the new birth and you have taken away its majesty. John Blanchard
  • Man’s basic need is not a grasp of logic but the gift of life. John Blanchard
  • Regeneration is God’s mysterious prerogative. John Blanchard
  • The new birth is infinite in its beginning because its beginning lies in infinity. John Blanchard
  • The new birth is not only a mystery that no man can understand, it is a miracle that no man can undertake. John Blanchard
  • Apart from [the doctrine of the Trinity], doctrines such as the Deity of Christ, the incarnation, the personality of the Holy Spirit, regeneration, justification, sanctification, the meaning of the crucifixion, and the resurrection cannot be understood. -Loraine Boettner
  • Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration. John Calvin
  • When God designs to forgive us he changes our hearts and turns us to obedience by his Spirit. John Calvin
  • By regeneration the Son of God is formed in us, and in our physical life He has the same setting that He had on earth. - Oswald Chambers
  • Regeneration does not resolve a human being into imbecility, it lifts him powerfully into oneness with God in Christ Jesus.- Oswald Chambers
  • What takes place is an explosion on the inside (a literal explosion, not a theoretical one) that opens all the doors that have been closed and life becomes larger; there is the incoming of a totally new point of view. - Oswald Chambers
  • The New Testament teaching about regeneration is that when a man is struck by a sense of need, God will put the Holy Spirit into his spirit, and his personal spirit will be energized by the Spirit of the Son of God—“until Christ be formed in you.” The moral miracle of Redemption is that God can put into me a new disposition whereby I can live a totally new life.  - Oswald Chambers
  • Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons. Stephen Charnock
  • Regeneration is a spiritual change; conversion is a spiritual motion. Stephen Charnock
  • Regeneration is a universal change of the whole man … it is as large in renewing as sin was in defacing. - Stephen Charnock
  • If the second birth hath no place in you, the second death shall have power over you. William Dyer
  • The saints' love to God is the fruit of God's love to them; it is the gift of that love. God gives them a spirit of love for Him because He loved them from eternity. His love is the foundation of their regeneration and the whole of their redemption. —Jonathan Edwards 
  • Regeneration, however it is described, is a divine activity in us, in which we are not the actors but the recipients. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Regeneration is the communication of the divine nature to man by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the Word. A. J. Gordon
  • The least degree of sincere sanctification, being an effect of regeneration, is a certain sign of adoption, and may minister a sure argument to him that has it, that he is the adopted child of God. - Thomas Gataker
  • Without regeneration, all human efforts to improve the quality of life (mental or physical) are limited. —Archibald Hart
  • Whatever man may do after regeneration, the first quickening of the dead must originate with God. - Archibald Alexander Hodge
  • Regeneration is a single act, complete in itself, and never repeated; conversion, as the beginning of holy living, is the commencement of a series, constant, endless, and progressive. - Archibald Alexander Hodge
  • Spiritual life is the consequence of spiritual quickening. The baby cries because it is born; it is not born because it cries. Erroll Hulse
  • God’s work of regeneration is never directly perceived by the soul: it takes place in man within the region of what has now come to be called the subconscious. Ernest F. Kevan
  • To expect Christian conduct from a person who is not born again is rank heresy. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • When God works in us, the will, being changed and sweetly breathed upon by the Spirit of God, desires and acts, not from compulsion, but responsively. Martin Luther
  • We are not advocating reformation but regeneration, not a new suit on the man but a new man in the suit. - William MacDonald
  • We cannot be changed by altering a few of our bad habits. Reformation will not do, for the disease of sin has captured our very life system. We need regeneration, a new heart. Will Metzer
  • The genesis of Christianity as an experience is that of being born again of the Spirit. G. Campbell Morgan
  • Just as in the beginning ‘God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light’ so, at the moment he appointed for our new birth, he said, ‘Let there be life’ and there was life. J. A. Motyer
  • We are helpless to co-operate in our regeneration as we are to co-operate in the work of Calvary. lain H. Murray
  • Regeneration is inseparable from its effects and one of its effects is faith. John Murray
  • The embrace of Christ in faith is the first evidence of regeneration and only thus may we know that we have been regenerated. John Murray
  • We are not born again by repentance or faith or conversion: we repent and believe because we have been born again. John Murray
  • Let them pretend what they please, the true reason why any despise the new birth is because they hate a new life. He that cannot endure to live to God will as little endure to hear of being born of God. - John Owen
  • I have seen, beneath the microscope, a seed, three thousand years old, start into instant germination, when touched with a drop of warm water. So, a human soul, long apparently lifeless, begins to grow when touched by the water of life. - A T Pierson
  • Regeneration has made our hearts a battle field. J. I. Packer
  • Sinners cannot obey the gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart. J. I. Packer
  • There is no regeneration without spiritual activities. J. I. Packer
  • Regeneration is the transforming not only of an unlovely object, but of one that resists with all its might the gracious designs of the heavenly Potter. A. W. Pink
  • The regenerate have a spiritual nature within that fits them for holy action, otherwise there would be no difference between them and the unregenerate. A. W. Pink
  •  “Regeneration is an act of God’s Spirit. Sanctification is a work of God’s Spirit, consequent upon that act.… In regeneration we become ‘new-born babes;’ in sanctification we attain the stature of full-grown men in Christ Jesus. - William Plumer
  • One of the most admirable effects of divine grace in regeneration is the victory gained over the strongest evil inclinations. Many a time the bitterest foes to the gospel, have by the power of the new birth become the warmest friends of truth and righteousness.- William Plumer
  • The act of God in our regeneration is so momentous that no single category of thought is sufficient to describe the changes it brings about in and for us. Maurice Roberts
  • Grace does not run in families. It needs something more than good examples and good advice to make us children of God. J. C. Ryle
  • If you are never born again, you will wish you had never been born at all. J. C. Ryle
  • No sermon is of any value, or likely to be useful, which has not the three Rs in it: ruin by the fall, redemption by Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit. - John C Ryland (1723-1792)
  • Regeneration is a change wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the understanding, will and affections of a sinner; which is the commencement of a new kind of life, and which gives another direction to his judgment, desires, pursuits, and conduct. - Thomas Scott (actually quoting an unknown source)
  • There are no still-born children in the family of grace. William Secker
  • Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,
    If he’s not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn. Johannes Scheffler
  • A dead man cannot assist in his own resurrection. W. G. T. Shedd
  • The very first and indispensable sign of regeneration is self-loathing and abhorrence. Charles Simeon
  • A person is never partially born. He is either regenerate or he is not regenerate. R. C. Sproul
  • Every generation needs regeneration. C. H. Spurgeon
  • Regeneration is a change which is known and felt: known by works of holiness and felt by a gracious experience. C. H. Spurgeon
  • The new creation is as much and entirely the work of God as the old creation. C. H. Spurgeon
  • God regenerates the soul by uniting it to Jesus Christ. Augustus H. Strong
  • Regeneration is essentially a changing of the fundamental taste of the soul. By taste we mean the direction of man’s love, the bent of his affection, the trend of his will. - Augustus Hopkins Strong
  • Regeneration is a restoration of the original tendencies towards God which were lost by the Fall.  Augustus H. Strong
  • This regenerating grace of God works not upon men as if they were stocks and stones, nor does it abolish the will and properties of their will, or violently constrain it; but does spiritually revive it, heal it, rectify it, and powerfully yet gently bend it: so that where formerly the rebellion of the flesh, and stubbornness did domineer without control, now a willing and sincere obedience to the Spirit begins to reign; in which change the true and spiritual rescue and freedom of our will does consist. And surely, unless the wonderful Worker of all goodness should deal with us in this sort, there were no hope left for man to arise from his lapse by his free-will, through which, when standing, he threw himself headlong into destruction. - Synod of Dort
  • What makes our regeneration permanent is not our perseverance, but God’s preservation. Ultimately it is not how diligently we persevere, and persevere we must, but how well God preserves us in faith. -  Tabletalk
  • Regeneration gives our birth a value and our death a glory. David Thomas
  • Mere outward reformation differs as much from regeneration as white-washing an old rotten house differs from pulling it down and building a new one in its place.  Augustus M. Toplady
  • Some years ago it was prophesied that there would come a day when we would hear the preaching of "religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration and heaven without hell." We have arrived! - Vance Havner
  • "God is pleased in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call his people by his word and Spirit out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace. - Westminster Assembly
  • Man’s need can only be met by a new creation. Geoffrey B. Wilson
  • A new birth implies an universal change. It must be of the whole man, not in some particular, but in all without exception. - Witherspoon
  • Many of above from John Blanchard's excellent resource "Complete Gathered Gold."


General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, defined it when he said: “I consider that the chief dangers which will confront the twentieth century will be:

  • Religion without the Holy Spirit
  • Christianity without Christ,
  • Forgiveness without regeneration
  • Morality without God and
  • Heaven without hell.”

Augustine's miraculous regeneration is emphasized by the following story - Some time after the conversion of Augustine, he came face to face with the woman who had been his evil genius for many months, having dragged him deeper and deeper into the slavishness of sin until he had been freed from its bonds by the regenerating power of the cross. When he would have passed her with only a formal nod, she stopped him and said, “Augustine, do you not know me any more? See, it is I.” Looking at her a moment, and knowing that she no longer held him in her evil spell, Augustine replied, “But it is not I.

Ray Pritchard - We believe the Scriptures teach that regeneration, or the new birth, is that act of God by which the Holy Spirit imparts a new nature and a new spiritual life, not before possessed, and the person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus. The mind is given a holy disposition and a new desire to serve God, the dominion of sin broken, and the heart transformed from a love of sin and self to a love of holiness and God.

Ray Pritchard - First, this teaches the absolute necessity for regeneration by the Spirit of God. “You must be born again.” Education is good but it has its limits. You can’t educate a fish into an ostrich. You can educate a pig but you can’t educate him into a horse. You can improve yourself in many ways—and make your life better in the process—but that’s like cleaning a pig. Take a pig from the slop, clean him up, put a pink ribbon around his neck and let him go. He’ll run right back to the slop. Why? He’s still a pig! Don’t insult him for going back to the slop. What else would you expect a pig to do? The same is true in the spiritual realm. Only a radical transformation of the heart by the Holy Spirit can change a man from the inside out. (The Great Divide)

Ray Stedman  on regeneration 

"Regeneration" means to be born again, to have your heart cleansed, washed, regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit. Not only is regeneration a change in our moral and spiritual character, but it brings a whole new life because of the "renewing of the Holy Spirit." The Spirit was first given at Pentecost to all the new believers, and now he is given to each one of us in each generation so that we can cope with reality, to constantly renew our minds so that we will be able to make righteous choices. (The Need For Reminding Elders )

I recently read the story of a boy who loved to get into fights and scraps to show how tough he was. When he went to a church meeting at 16, however, the Spirit of God touched him and he came to Christ. Almost immediately he knew he was forever changed. He no longer wanted to fight, but to help people. That fundamental change in his disposition was a sign of his regeneration, by means of the invasion of the Holy Spirit. (Stand Firm)

The Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations has the following example of regeneration - At the age of sixteen George Muller of Bristol, England, was imprisoned for theft; and later at the university he lived a drinking, profligate life, acting dishonestly even toward his friends. At twenty years of age he came under the influence of the Bible, and the miracle of regeneration was wrought. He who had been a thief was now so utterly a new creature that in the course of the years he gave away, of the money sent to him for his personal use, no less a sum than $135,000, and when he died his personal possessions were valued at less than $1,000. —Christian Digest

The respected Puritan author John Bunyan wrote

The happy man was born in the city of Regeneration, in the parish of Repentance unto Life. He was educated in the School of Obedience; he works at the trade of Diligence and does many jobs of self-denial. He owns a large estate in the country of Christian Contentment and wears the plain garments of humility. He breakfasts every morning on spiritual prayer and sups every evening on the same. He also has “meat to eat that the world knows not of.” He has gospel submission in his conduct, due order in his affection, sound peace in his conscience, sanctifying love in his soul, real divinity in his breast, true humility in his heart, the Redeemer’s yoke on his neck, the world under his feet, and a crown of glory over his head. In order to obtain this, he prays fervently, works abundantly, redeems his time, guards his sense, loves Christ, and longs for glory.

Andrew Murray - “Regeneration is a birth: the center and root of the personality, the spirit, has been renewed and taken possession of by the Spirit of God. But time is needed for its power from that center to extend through all the circumference of his being. The kingdom of God is like unto a seed; the life in Christ is a growth, and it would be against the laws of nature and grace alike if we expected from the babe in Christ the strength that can only be found in the young men, or the rich experience of the fathers.”

George Mueller's Regeneration - At the age of sixteen George Mueller of Bristol, Eng., was imprisoned for theft; and later at the university he lived a drinking, profligate life, acting dishonestly even toward his friends. At twenty years of age he came under the influence of the Bible, and the miracle of regeneration was wrought. He who had been a thief was now so utterly a new creature that in the course of the years he gave away, of the money sent to him for his personal use, no less a sum than $135,000, and when he died his personal possessions were valued at less than $1,000. - Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations

Death-bed Regeneration - A lost person should not presume on being saved in a last-minute, death-bed regeneration. But at the same time, no matter what one’s sins may be, a person should not give up hope. Jesus is ever ready to save those who turn to Him in repentance and faith—even as the moment of death looms near.

The Preacher’s Three R’s -  The Rev. Rowland Hill used to like Dr. Ryland’s advice to his young academicians: “Mind, no sermon is of any alue, or likely to be useful, which has not the three R’s in it—Ruin by the Fall; Redemption by Christ; Regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Of himself he (the Rev. R. Hill) remarked: “My aim in every sermon is, a stout and lusty call to sinners, to quicken the saints, and to be made a universal blessing to all.”

“Preach the Word …” says Paul in this charge to Timothy. Hugh Thomsen Kerr put the emphasis correctly: “We are not to preach sociology, but salvation; not economics, but evangelism; not reform, but redemption; not culture, but conversion; not progress, but pardon; not a new social order, but a new birth; not revolution, but regeneration; not renovation, but revival; not resuscitation, but resurrection; not a new organization, but a new creation; not democracy, but the Gospel; not civilization, but Christ; we are ambassadors, not diplomats.

By God Alone - Rebirth or regeneration is monergistic, not synergistic. It is done by God and by God alone. A dead man cannot cooperate with his resurrection. Lazarus did not cooperate in his resurrection. Regeneration is a sovereign act of God in which man plays no role. After God brings us to life, of course, we certainly are involved in “cooperating” with Him. We are to believe, trust, obey, and work for him. But unless God acts first, we will never be reborn in the first place. We must also realize it is not as if dead people have faith, and because of their faith God agrees to regenerate them. Rather, it is because God has regenerated us and given us new life that we have faith.  R. C. Sproul

His temptation and ours - For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15.

Until we are born again, the only kind of temptation we understand is that mentioned by St. James—“Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” But by regeneration we are lifted into another realm where there are other temptations to face, viz., the kind of temptations Our Lord faced. The temptations of Jesus do not appeal to us, they have no home at all in our human nature. Our Lord’s temptations and ours move in different spheres until we are born again and become His brethren. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a man, but the temptations of God as Man. By regeneration the Son of God is formed in us, and in our physical life He has the same setting that He had on earth. Satan does not tempt us to do wrong things; he tempts us in order to make us lose what God has put into us by regeneration, viz., the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come on the line of tempting us to sin, but on the line of shifting the point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil. Temptation means the test by an alien power of the possessions held by a personality. This makes the temptation of Our Lord explainable. After Jesus in His baptism had accepted the vocation of bearing away the sin of the world, He was immediately put by God’s Spirit into the testing machine of the devil; but He did not tire. He went through the temptation “without sin,” and retained the possessions of His personality intact. - Oswald Chambers - My Utmost for His Highest

The bent of regeneration - When it pleased God, … to reveal His son in me. Gal. 1:15, 16.

If Jesus Christ is to regenerate me, what is the problem He is up against? I have a heredity I had no say in; I am not holy, nor likely to be; and if all Jesus Christ can do is to tell me I must be holy, His teaching plants despair. But if Jesus Christ is a Regenerator, One Who can put into me His own heredity of holiness, then I begin to see what He is driving at when He says that I have to be holy. Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the hereditary disposition that was in Himself, and all the standards He gives are based on that disposition: His teaching is for the life He puts in. The moral transaction on my part is agreement with God’s verdict on sin in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament teaching about regeneration is that when a man is struck by a sense of need, God will put the Holy Spirit into his spirit, and his personal spirit will be energized by the Spirit of the Son of God—“until Christ be formed in you.” The moral miracle of Redemption is that God can put into me a new disposition whereby I can live a totally new life. When I reach the frontier of need and know my limitations, Jesus says—‘Blessed are you.’ But I have to get there. God cannot put into me, a responsible moral being, the disposition that was in Jesus Christ unless I am conscious I need it.
Just as the disposition of sin entered into the human race by one man, so the Holy Spirit entered the human race by another Man; and Redemption means that I can be delivered from the heredity of sin and through Jesus Christ can receive an unsullied heredity, viz., the Holy Spirit. - Oswald Chambers - My Utmost for His Highest

An Inner Recreating - The new birth or regeneration is an inner recreating of fallen human nature by the Holy Spirit. It changes the disposition from lawless, godless self-seeking 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 and liberates and energizes the enslaved will for free obedience to God. The use of the figure of new birth to describe this change emphasizes two facts about it. The first is its decisiveness. The regenerate man has forever ceased to be the man he was; his old life is over and a new life has begun; he is a new creature in Christ, buried with him out of reach of condemnation and raised with him into a new life of righteousness. The second fact emphasized is that regeneration is due to the free, and to us, mysterious, exercise of divine power. Infants do not induce or cooperate in their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are dead in trespasses and sins prompt the quickening operation of God’s Spirit within them. -  Your Father Loves You by James Packer,

Baptismal Regeneration - (Not much will be said about this teaching which I consider to be totally non-Scriptural and diametrically opposed to salvation by grace through personal faith) - In the second century one of the most devastating of all non-Biblical doctrines appeared. This was the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, or in other words the belief that merely because a person was baptized (mode irrelevant) he was regenerated, irrespective of his age or moral condition. This concept was held by most of the leading early church fathers, with few exceptions, after the second century … By the fourth century the doctrine of baptismal regeneration was nearly universal in professing Christendom. - William Bevier, “Part II: Modes of Baptism in the Ancient Church,” Bibliotheca Sacra 153 (1996), 230. (See also Gotquestions)

James Smith (1858) - The excellent — but eccentric John Ryland, whenever he was called upon by any young minister of the Gospel, always urged upon him one thing, to make the three great Rs prominent in his preaching. On one occasion when a young minister called, he said, "And so you are going to preach at ___. Now, if I were in your place, when I got into the pulpit, I would look at them very earnestly, and tell them that they were all lost and Ruined. Then I would inform them that there was no Redemption — but by our Lord Jesus Christ. Then I would insist upon it, that they must be Regenerated by the Holy Spirit — or be lost forever. And then, if I saw they did not like it, I would preach Hell and damnation to them — and solemnly tell them there was no other way to escape it."

Ruin by sin,
Redemption by Christ, and
Regeneration by the Holy Spirit…

Yes, we must be born again. As dead in trespasses and sins — he must quicken us. As corrupt, depraved, and polluted — he must new create us. As blind, dark, and afar off from God — he must give sight, enlighten, and bring us near. We did not more need the mercy of the Father, in providing a Savior, nor the grace of the Savior in coming into the world to save us — than we need the power of the Holy Spirit to make us new creatures in Christ! For though the work of the Holy Spirit totally differs from the work of the Son — it is none the less necessary for us. In vain had Jesus died for us, in vain had He paid the price of our redemption — if the Holy Spirit did not come to emancipate us by His power. It is His work … to open the prison doors, to knock off the iron fetters, to pour light on the blind eyes, to impart vigor to the paralyzed faculties, and to infuse life into the dead soul!

The Holy Spirit … teaches us our need of Christ, unveils before us the beauty, glory, and adaptation of Christ, applies to us His precious blood, and introduces us into liberty, peace, and joy.

Blessed Spirit, author of our regeneration, giver of spiritual life and light — but for you, we would have never sighed for salvation, sought the Savior, or enjoyed the blessing of redemption!

These, then, are the three great R's. Reader, are you acquainted with them? Do you know what it is to be totally ruined by sin, and unable to do anything toward your own deliverance? Have you found redemption in the blood of Jesus, even a deliverance from the law in its condemnation, from sin in its guilt and power, and from the present evil world in its terrors and fascinations? Have you experienced the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit? Are you a new creature? Are you born of the Spirit, taught of the Spirit, and led by the Spirit? If so, blessed are you. To know the three great R's experimentally is to be truly wise, really holy, and eternally safe.

But they must all be known. To know our ruin and not our redemption, will only make us wretched and miserable; and to know that there is redemption in Christ Jesus, and not enjoy it, will leave us exposed to all the terrors of the law of God; and this redemption can only be enjoyed as the result of the regenerating power and work of the Holy Spirit. The Father's love in providing a Redeemer for us when ruined; the Son's love in becoming the Redeemer of lost and ruined sinners; and the Spirit's love in revealing the Redeemer and applying the blessings of his redemption constitute our salvation! (The Three Great R's)

Wayne Detzer on Regeneration/Born Again- In the mid-’70s the term “born again” received an unexpected boost. Charles Colson had been a close adviser of President Richard Nixon and, like Nixon, Colson fell from power through the Watergate affair. As a result of this crisis Colson came to personal faith in Jesus Christ, and he wrote a book titled Born Again.

At the same time an evangelical renaissance was sweeping the United States. The national magazines reported it. Both Time and Newsweek carried cover stories concerning “born-again” Christians. Some estimated that the born-again minority comprised one-third of America’s population.

Though no one would claim that a third of all Americans were biblical Christians, there is certainly a large and vocal minority of people who have experienced the new birth. Ironically the advocates of Communism have revived Karl Marx’s teaching about “the new man,” who is a product of socialistic indoctrination.

Literature has many excellent examples to illuminate the concept of the new birth. In describing his conversion, Richard Knill wrote: “Clang! Clang! went every bell in heaven, for Richard Knill was born again.”

The great evangelical awakening in England in the 18th century had an impact on the American colonies. One of the major preachers was George Whitefield, a sometime colleague of John Wesley. As Whitefield attempted to win people to Christ, one of his evangelistic letters was directed to the American patriot Benjamin Franklin. To Franklin, Whitefield wrote these powerful lines: “As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now honestly recommend to your diligent unprejudiced pursuit and study the mysteries of the new birth.”

Another approach to the same subject emerged in the preaching of Bob Pierce, founder and first president of World Vision. In speaking of salvation he said: “There are too many grandchildren of Christ in the world, those whose parents were Christians but they aren’t. Nowhere in the Bible does God claim grandchildren—just children, born again by faith in Christ.”

Though the Puritans were much more restrained in their discussion of conversion, they sometimes put it quite plainly. One of the most notable Puritan authors was Thomas Adams, a refugee during the Civil War in England. In writing concerning conversion Adams said: “Repentance is a change of the mind, and regeneration is a change of the man.” Then he added concerning the new birth: “The Creation of the world is a shadow of the regeneration of a Christian.… Adam was created after the image of God, and placed in Paradise; so the new man is confirmed to the image of Christ, and shall be reposed in the paradise of everlasting glory.”

Even Horace Bushnell, who was negatively quoted earlier, sometimes wrote quite acceptable theology. Especially did he say some straight things concerning the new birth. “There could be no growth if there were not something planted.… Until the new man is born, or begotten, the soul abideth in death, and therefore cannot grow.”

An anonymous writer summarized the truth concerning this new birth, or regeneration. He wrote: “To be highborn is nice, but to be newborn is necessary!” - New Testament Words in Today's Language

Illustration of our Need for Regeneration - We may sweep the world clean of militarism, we may scrub the world white of autocracy, we may carpet it with democracy and drape it with the flag of republicanism. We may hang on the walls the thrilling pictures of freedom: here, the signing of America’s Independence; there, the thrilling portrait of Joan of Arc; yonder, the Magna Carta; and on this side the inspiring picture of Garibaldi. We may spend energy and effort to make the world a paradise itself where the lion of capitalism can lie down with the proletarian lamb. But if we turn into that splendid room mankind with the same old heart, deceitful and desperately wicked, we may expect to clean house again not many days hence. What we need is a peace conference with the Prince of Peace. (Arthur Brisbane, cited in Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, p. 300)

Martin Manser - Dictionary of Bible Themes - Regeneration

The radical renewal of a person's inner being by the work of God's Spirit.

  • The need for regeneration John 3:3 See also Ephesians 2:1,5; Colossians 2:13

Regeneration is a work of God

  • It originates in God the Father John 1:12-13 

Regeneration cannot be controlled by human actions or rituals; it is an act of God's sovereign will.

  • It is made possible by the resurrection of Jesus Christ 1 Peter 1:3 See also Ephesians 2:4-5

It occurs through the hearing of the Christian gospel James 1:18 See also 1 Peter 1:23-25 The “word of God” is the good news about Jesus Christ.

  • It is effected by God's Spirit John 3:5-8 See also John 6:63; Titus 3:5
  • Regeneration is given to those who believe in Jesus Christ 1 John 5:1

The results of regeneration

  • Entry into God's kingdom John 3:5
  • A new holiness of life 1 John 3:9 See also 1 John 5:18; 1 Peter 2:1-2
  • Love for other people 1 John 4:7 See also 1 John 5:2
  • Victory over the world's sinful pattern of life 1 John 5:4

M R De Haan gives the following illustration explaining that it is impossible to get regeneration from reformation

The message of salvation is regenerationnot reformation. Paul says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation” (2Cor. 5:17). The new birth is not an overhaul of the “old wreck,” or a new paint job. The old Adamic nature is so incorrigibly corrupt that even God will not attempt to fix it up. He insists on completely rejecting the old hulk and making a new man. Jesus said to Nicodemus,

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again (John 3:6, 7).

The old nature received at birth is hopeless, and dressing it up with education and culture only makes it more dangerous than before. The more we work on the “old man,” the more deceptive it becomes. Do you know why the sinner must be born anew? Because he was born all wrong the first time. He doesn't have to be taught to go his own way—it comes naturally to him. But by the new birth he is turned around and headed in the right direction!

Spurgeon told of a missionary who visited a primitive hut and became nauseated by the filthy floor on which he had to sit. He suggested to his host that they scrub the dirty surface with soap and water, but the man replied,

the floor is just clay—packed down and dry. Add water and it turns to mud. The more you try to wash it, the worse the mess becomes!

Yes, the hut needed something besides an earthen floor. So it is with the human heart: it is hard and dirty, and nothing will help it. Man needs a new heart. He must be born again from above! (M. R. De Haan, Our Daily Bread) (Bolding added) (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A W Pink notes in his discussion of Regeneration or The New Birth that…

There are seven new things, which all believers now possess:

  1. Repentance—A new mind about God. Acts 20:21
  2. Justification—A new state before God. Ro 4:25-note
  3. Regeneration—A new life from God. Titus 3:5
  4. Conversion—A new attitude toward God. Mt. 18:3
  5. Sonship—A new relationship with God. 1Jn. 3:1
  6. Sanctification—A new position before God. Jude 1
  7. Glorification—A new place with God. Romans 8:30-note

Soul Remodeling - A sentence in one of the books [I was reading on osteoporosis prevention] struck me most: "Like all living tissue, bone is constantly being broken down and reformed." The words seemed to apply not only to our bodies but to the perpetual Christian emphasis on brokenness. Repent! Confess! Acknowledge your sinfulness! I grow tired of this continual retracing of steps, impatient for the beckoning road ahead. But it was the word living that leaped out at me. It's living tissue that is continually torn down and rebuilt. As long as my relationship to God is alive, this biological fact seems to suggest the tearing-down process will be part of it. The confession of sin, the admission of guilt, will go hand in hand with renewal... There can be no growth without pruning, no rebirth without death. —Elizabeth Sherrill

Our pastor has been frequently frustrated by the owner of an automobile shop next to our church. After the latest run-in, the pastor asked for prayer for the cantankerous man. "Why don't we just buy his body shop?" I asked. "Then we can truthfully advertise that our church can transform a person's body and soul." —Anna Zogg

NOT AN EARTHLY CHANGE.—A sculptor may take a piece of rough marble, and work it into the marvelous figure of a man; yet it remains but lifeless marble. A jeweler may take a watch, the mainspring of which is broken; he may clean every wheel, cog, pin and hand, the face and the cases, but, unless the mainspring is rectified, it will all be useless for time-telling. A painter may decorate the outside of a pest-house with the most beautiful colors, but, if he produce no change within, it remains a pest-house still. A pauper might clothe himself with the garments of a millionaire, but a beggar he would still remain. A leper might cover all the spots of his disease with his garments, but, he would be a leper still. So the sinner may turn over a new leaf, and reform in all the externals of his life, but unless he is born again, born of the Spirit, a sinner he still remains.

PROFESSOR AND BOATMAN.—A learned professor, who was being ferried across a stream, asked the boatman: "Do you understand philosophy?" "No, never heard of it." "Then one-quarter of your life is gone. Do you understand geology?" "No." "Then one-half of your life is gone. Do you understand astronomy?" "No." "Then three-quarters of your life is gone." Presently the boat tipped over, and both men fell into the water. "Can yon swim?" asked the boatman. "No," replied the professor. "Then the whole of your life is gone," responded the boatman.

DOCTOR AND PATIENT.—A doctor visiting a patient, said to the sick one: "I want you to tell me what it is, this believing, faith in Jesus, and getting happiness?" The patient replied: "Doctor, I have felt that I could do nothing, and I have put my case into your hands—I am trusting in you. This is what every poor sinner must do in the Lord Jesus Christ."

INDIAN ON BAPTISM.—Concerning the error of baptismal regeneration, an Indian once said: "The Great Spirit wants clean here (pointing to his heart), never mind face. Jim Beech-tree mad as ever with strong water (or whiskey). Baptize on face do him no good; he old Jim still."
SUMMERFIELD'S ANSWER.—When the celebrated Summerfield was a young minister, he once met a distinguished doctor of divinity, who said to him: "Mr. Summerfield, where were you born?" "I was born," said he, "in Dublin and in Liverpool." "Ah, how can that be?" asked the great doctor. The boy preacher paused a moment, and then answered: "Art thou a master in Israel and understandest not these things?"
NEVER LIVED WITH HIM.—"Is such a man a Christian?" was once asked of Whitefield. "How should I know?" was the reply, "I never lived with him."

WORKING AT EIGHTY.—Lyndhurst was nearly eighty years of age before he became converted. Desiring to be loyal for Christ, he used to hobble about the lobbies of the House of Lords, watching for an opportunity of bearing testimony for the Master. He would stop and plead with his friends there, while tears bathed his cheeks, and, in a voice tremulous with emotion, plead the Redeemer's cause. He would say: "My soul is saved, but my life is lost."

LITTLE GIRL'S DEFINITION.—A little girl, on being asked to tell what it was to live a Christian life, answered: "To live as Jesus would live, and to behave as He would, if He were a little girl and lived at our house." - George Noble - 625 New Bible Stories and Illustrations

‘There is no doubt that those men were right who, a hundred years ago or less, declared to a self-satisfied world that the true cure for all moral evil was, not sound moral advice, too good to be followed, not earnest moral effort which the sinful soul was unable to make, or at least to sustain, but the reception of a cleansing power from without, that the soul must be supernaturally, miraculously, divinely, undeservedly delivered from its evil past, if it were ever to start on a new and better life, if it were ever to be made natural to it to do good or possible for it to deserve well. Nothing short of a miracle can put a sinner in the way of repentance.’ - Nisbet - Church Pulpit Commentary

Jeremiah 17:9  Total Depravity Many object to the doctrine of total depravity on the ground that all men are capable of some good even if unsaved. All of us recognize the value of decency in behavior, of a kindly spirit, of generosity in caring for the needy, and similar virtues, which are frequently seen in unconverted and even positively godless men and women. How, then, it is asked, can they be said to be totally depraved? Dr. Joseph Cook, the great Boston lecturer of the latter half of the nineteenth century, answers this question with the following illustration:
He said he had in his home a very beautiful and valuable clock. It had an exceedingly handsome case, a very fine set of works, a nice appearing dial and elegantly finished hands. It was altogether a good clock to look upon but it had one fault. It simply would not, or could not, keep time. It had been gone over by many different clock-makers, but no one had been able to correct this fault. As a timepiece it was totally depraved!
Is not this like man, even at his best, if he has not been born again? There may be much about him that others can admire, but he is positively unable to do the will of the Lord, because his heart is utterly estranged from God, and therefore so far as holiness is concerned, he is totally depraved. Only the new birth—regeneration by the Word and Spirit of God—can enable him to keep in line with the divine will as laid down in the Holy Scriptures. However righteous he may appear in the eyes of his fellows, because of this fatal defect all his righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God - H A Ironside - Illustrations of Bible Truth

"From Mire and Slime of Sin" 
The beloved American poet Longfellow could take an ordinary sheet of paper, write some lines on it and make it worth several thousand dollars and we call that genius. A mechanic takes material worth six dollars and makes an article worth sixty and we term that skill. The artist selects a piece of canvas, paints a scene on it and increases its value a thousand times and we say this is art. Jesus Christ reaches down into the mire of sin and picks up the remains of a blasted life and "by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost" He produces "a new creature: old things pass away and behold all things become new" and we call this Salvation.

"Cut It Up By the Roots" - A young minister addressing a rather fashionable audience, attacked their pride and extravagance, as seen in their dresses, ribbons, chains, and jewels. In the evening an old minister preached powerfully on the corruption of human nature, the enmity of the soul against God and the necessity of a change of heart by the regeneration of the Spirit. Late that night as they sat together in private, the young minister said, "Doctor D., why don't you preach against the pride and vanity of people for dressing so extravagantly?" "Ah, son Timothy," replied the venerable man: "while you are trimming off the top branches of the tree, I am endeavoring to cut it up by the roots, and then the whole top will die out."

When translator Des Oatridge, working in Papua New Guinea, came to the words "born again" in John's Gospel, he asked his native co-translator to think of a good way to express it. The man explained this custom: "Sometimes a person goes wrong and will not listen to anybody. We all get together in the village and place that person in the midst of us. The elders talk to him for a long time. 'You have gone wrong!' they say. 'All your thoughts, intentions, and values are wrong. Now you have to become a baby again and start to relearn everything right.' " It was the answer Des was looking for. Today the words of John 3:3 in Binumarien reads "No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he becomes like a baby again and relearns everything from God's Word." —From In Other Words (Mar/Apr 1993). Christian Reader

William Booth was asked in 1901 what he regarded as the chief dangers ahead for the 20th Century. He replied, “Religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.”

The Rag Tag and Bobtail of Humanity - In a 3rd-century debate on Christianity, Celsus said to Origen, "When most teachers go forth to teach, they cry, 'Come to me, you who are clean and worthy,' and they are followed by the highest caliber of people available. But your silly master cries, 'Come to me, you who are down and beaten by life,' and so he accumulates around him the rag tag and bobtail of humanity." And Origen replied: "Yes, they are the rag tag and bobtail of humanity. But Jesus does not leave them that way. Out of material you would have thrown away as useless, he fashions men, giving them back their self-respect, enabling them to stand on their feet and look God in the eyes. They were cowed, cringing, broken things. But the Son has set them free."

Charles Finney rejected the teaching that regeneration is a supernatural changing of heart affected by the Holy Spirit.36 He realized that this teaching is based on the doctrine of "constitutional moral depravity,” which he has rejected.37 Finney claims we can make new hearts for our selves and that: "Regeneration is ascribed to man in the gospel, which it could not be, if the term were designed to express only the agency of the Holy Spirit.”38 For Finney, regeneration is a choice of the will of man: "Regeneration, to have the characteristics ascribed to it in the Bible, must consist in a change in the attitude of the will, or a change in its ultimate choice, intention, or preference; a change from selfishness to benevolence; from choosing self-gratification as the supreme and ultimate end of life, to the supreme and ultimate choice of the highest well-being of God and of the universe. . .”.39 - (Ed comment - this note is included because many evangelicals do not understand the teachings of Charles Finney. See Bob DeWaay's article "Exposing Charles Finney's Heretical Teachings.")

Regeneration - Kent Hughes on a New Heart - Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the first surgeon ever to do a heart transplant, impulsively asked one of his patients, Dr. Philip Blaiberg, “Would you like to see your old heart?” At 8 p.m. on a subsequent evening, the men stood in a room of the Groote Schuur Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dr. Barnard went up to a cupboard, took down a glass container and handed it to Dr. Blaiberg. Inside that container was Blaiberg’s old heart. For a moment he stood there stunned into silence—the first man in history ever to hold his own heart in his hands. Finally he spoke and for ten minutes plied Dr. Barnard with technical questions. Then he turned to take a final look at the contents of the glass container, and said, “So this is my old heart that caused me so much trouble.”   He handed it back, turned away and left it forever. This is a window into what Christ does. We remain the same people, but our hearts become radically new. God has written his laws within us. He has made us to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). True, we still battle with our fleshly nature, but as members of Christ’s Body, our spiritual inclinations are matched to God’s laws (cf. John 14:15–17; 16:12, 13). They are no longer external and foreign to us but internal. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Blind Bartimaeus - Theodore Monod, while telling his little brother about blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), asked him, "What would you have asked for if you had been in his place?" The boy answered, "Oh, I would have asked for a nice big dog with a collar and a chain to lead me about." Bartimaeus knew better what he needed. He did not want reformation, but regeneration. Though this is the need of the world today, how many choose the blind man's dog to the seeing man's eyes (Mark 10:46)! 

Barney Can't Compete - In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (1/17/98) Judy Zmerold writes:
Three-year-old Katie was taken to her pediatrician during a recent bout with the flu. As the doctor examined her ears, he asked, "Will I find Big Bird in here?"
Apprehensively, Katie replied, "No."
Then, before examining her throat, he asked, "Will I find the Cookie Monster in here?"
Again, "No."
Finally, listening to her heart, he asked, "Will I find Barney in here?"
With innocent conviction, she looked him directly in the eye and said, "No, Jesus is in my heart. Barney is on my underwear." 

Regeneration - Many unregenerate men consider themselves to be God’s children, or “sons of God.” But being a product of God’s handiwork does not qualify one for a sonship relationship.
A cabinetmaker constructs a cabinet. But this does not make the cabinet a “child” of the cabinetmaker. A birth process would be necessary for this. The unregenerate man who claims sonship with God “because he made me” is basing his claim merely on the fact that he is a product of God’s handiwork. Like the cabinet, he lacks the new birth necessary for a sonship relationship.

Regeneration -  We may sweep the world clean of militarism, we may scrub the world white of autocracy, we may carpet it with democracy and drape it with the flag of republicanism. We may hang on the walls the thrilling pictures of freedom: here, the signing of America’s Independence; there, the thrilling portrait of Joan of Arc; yonder, the Magna Carta; and on this side, the inspiring picture of Garibaldi. We may spend energy and effort to make the world a paradise itself where the lion of capitalism can lie down with the proletarian lamb. But if we turn into that splendid room mankind with the same old heart, deceitful and desperately wicked, we may expect to clean house again not many days hence. What we need is a peace conference with the Prince of Peace. -  Arthur Brisbane

Mike Tyson - Heavy-weight boxing champion Mike Tyson said yesterday he does "not really" want to get back together with his estranged wife, Robin Givens. "Both of us, you know, we made big mistakes and I said things that I really shouldn't have said. I meant them, but I shouldn't have made them publicized," Tyson told interviewer David Frost. Asked if he wants a reconciliation with Givens, whom he has sued for divorce, Tyson said "Well, not really." He also told Frost, "I'm kind of frustrated at this particular time, but as far as being happy, I'm content with what's going on." His most prized possessions are "two dogs that I like." These are strange remarks in light of Tyson's recent publicized conversion to Christ. I thought people were supposed to change when they came to the Savior

June 9, 1999 Changed READ: Titus 3:1-8

He saved us through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. --Titus 3:5

When we put our trust in Jesus as our Savior, we are not only forgiven but also transformed from the inside through the renewing activity of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

Author Michael Green tells about a man who said that before God dramatically changed his life he was "an embryo gangster, already with a list of crimes which society could level against me, and sins which accuse me of their own accord." Today that man is a military chaplain.

Here is his testimony: "The living Christ has given me what no court, no psychiatrist, no probation officer could give me--the consciousness of sins forgiven… The joy of a loving wife, two children, and a happy and secure home have shown me that through the living Christ even one who, like myself, was once described by a magistrate as a 'social menace' can be more than just tolerable. That is something of the difference that Jesus Christ has made and continues to make in me."

When we see our need of God's forgiveness and believe in Jesus, our sins are washed away and the Holy Spirit makes us new people (Titus 3:5). Then, as we walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:25-note), He continues to work in us to make us more like Christ.

Have you been changed? Are you still changing? —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Father, thank You for Your Spirit,
Fill us with His love and power;
Change us into Christ's own image
Day by day and hour by hour. --Anon.

When Jesus comes into a life, He changes everything.

Watershed Line - As we crested a gradual rise we saw a sign that read: Watershed line. All waters falling south of here flow to the Atlantic Ocean. All waters falling north of here flow to the Arctic Ocean. We were right at the dividing line. The point at which a drop of rain fell made all the difference as to its final destination.

Accepting or rejecting Christ can be a kind of "watershed line." The moment we receive Him, we begin to enjoy a new life (Jn 3:7-16). As new creations of Christ, we are on the path that leads to heaven. If we continue to reject Him, however, we are bound for hell.

If you've asked Jesus to forgive your sins, you can look back to the most important watershed line of all. You are a permanent part of God's family, indwelt by the Spirit, and guided by His Word. Praise God for the difference His Son Jesus Christ makes! --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The great dividing line in life
Is what we do with Christ, God's Son;
Rejecting Him will lead to hell--
Receiving Him is heaven begun. --Hess

What you decide about Christ
determines your destiny.

Octavius Winslow

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." Titus 3:5, 6

The conversion of a sinner to God is a convincing and precious evidence that Jesus is alive. In the regeneration wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit, the life of Jesus is imparted. He breathes into the soul morally dead the breath of life, and it becomes a living soul. Until, in the exercise of His distinct office, this Divine Person of the adorable Trinity convinces of sin, quickens and brings the soul to Christ for acceptance, risen with Christ though that soul mystically is, it yet remains totally dead to, and insensible of, its great privilege—an utter stranger to that new life which springs from oneness with the "second Adam." The new nature which the Eternal Spirit now imparts is nothing less than the creation of the life of Christ in the soul; yes, even more than this, it is the bringing of Christ Himself into the soul to dwell there the "hope of glory" through time, and glory itself, through eternity.

Here, then, is an evidence that Jesus is alive, to a renewed mind the most convincing and precious. Thus quickened by the Eternal Spirit, believers become temples of Christ. Jesus lives in them. "I in them." "Know you not that Christ is in you?" "Christ lives in me." "Christ in you the hope of glory." Thus every believer is a living witness that Jesus is alive, because he bears about with him the very life of Jesus. By the indwelling of the Spirit, and realized by faith, Christ abides in the believer, and the believer abides in Christ. "I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; that they also may be one in us."

We have already stated that this glorious entrance of Christ within the soul transpires at the period of the new birth. What, then, is every new conversion, every fresh trophy of redeeming grace, but a new manifestation to the universe of the life of Jesus? I see the sinner pursuing his mad career of folly, rebellion, and guilt. Suddenly he is arrested, I see him bowed to the earth, his heart broken with sorrow, his spirit crushed beneath the burden of sin. He smites upon his breast; acknowledges his transgression, confesses his iniquity, deplores it in the dust. Presently I see him lift his eye, and rest it upon a bleeding Savior; he gazes, wonders, believes, adores—is saved! By whom is this miracle of grace wrought?—The Spirit has descended to testify that Jesus is alive. That newly-converted soul, so lately dead in sins, but now quickened with Christ—that sinner but recently dwelling among the tombs, whom no human power could tame, now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind—demonstrates that Christ is in heaven, and is alive, for evermore. Oh, it is the heaven-descending life of Jesus. Show me, then, a soul just passed from death unto life, and I will show you an evidence that Jesus is alive at the right hand of God.