THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN REGENERATION

Pastor Floyd Koenig

INTRODUCTION

The words "born again" have been cheapened today by many in religion. Satan is a master at redefining Bible terms; therefore, it behooves us to have a clear understanding of the Scriptural meaning of these words.

Letís consider what the Bible teaches about being "regenerated" or "born again."

I. THE NECESSITY OF THE NEW BIRTH A. OUR LORD CLEARLY REVEALED THAT REGENERATION WAS NECESSARY TO SALVATION (Jn. 3:3, 5).

1. Before a man can fellowship with God, he not only needs forgiveness, but his whole nature must be renewed.

- Fallen man is:

a. Natural (I Cor. 2:14).

b. Sensual (Jude 19).

c. Carnal (Rom. 8:5-8).

d. This is opposed to being spiritual (I Cor. 2:15).

2. Christ revealed that there is an unchangeable distinction between that which is born of the flesh and that which is born of the Spirit (Jn. 3:6). a. To be born of the flesh is to be carnal, corrupt, ignorant of spiritual things, and under the condemnation of God.

b. The flesh and the spirit are diametrically opposed to each other (Gal. 5:17).

c. By the physical birth, fleshly children come form fleshly parents, and by the spiritual birth, spiritual children come from the Holy Spirit.

d. The flesh may become religious, refined and outwardly moral, but it is still flesh.

e. A person will have neither the desire nor the ability to serve God until he has been born again of the Spirit.

B. EVERY PART OF THE NATURAL MAN IS DEFILED BY SIN.

1. His mind is darkened to the things of God (I Cor. 1:18; 2:14; Eph. 4:18).

2. His heart is in a state of enmity toward God (Rom 8:7; Jer. 17:9)

3. His will is only free to carry out the desires of his depraved nature (Jn. 1:13; Rom. 9:16; Philp. 2:13).

4. The flesh has become totally unprofitable in the things of God (Jn. 6:63).

II. THE NATURE OF THE NEW BIRTH A. THE DEFINITION OF REGENERATION.

1.The change required in manís soul to enable him to enter Godís kingdom is called "regeneration" (Tit. 3:5).

a. It is being "born again"(Jn. 3:3,7),

b. Or being "born of the Spirit"(Jn. 3:6-8).

2. Regeneration is an instantaneous work of Godís Spirit whereby a holy disposition is given to the soul.

3. The affections are renewed in love to God, and the mind is enlightened and made capable of understanding in the spiritual realm.

4. Just as the change that takes place in the earth at the millennium is called regeneration, so the new birth is a renewal of manís soul (Mt. 19:28).

B. SOME ILLUSTRATIONS OF REDEMPTION.

The wonderful change that takes place in regeneration is illustrated in many ways.

Letís examine some of the terminology applied to the New Birth to better illustrate its nature.

1. The terms "Regeneration" or "Born Again" are merely human comparisons to what takes place in the miracle of grace upon the soul of man.

a. In physical generation new life is imparted and a family likeness produced.

b. These truths make birth a wonderful picture of the work of Godís grace in man.

2. Regeneration is a resurrection (Eph. 2:1,5).

3. Regeneration is a renewal (Col. 3:10).

4. Regeneration is a translation (Col. 1:13).

5. Regeneration is a new heart (Ezek. 36:26).

6. Regeneration is the writing of the Law in Oneís Heart (Heb. 8:10).

7. Regeneration is a new creature (II Cor. 5:17).

8. Regeneration is the giving of light (II Cor. 4:6).

9. Regeneration is a good tree (Mt. 7:17).

10. Regeneration is a creation (Eph. 2:10).

C. THE EXPERIENCE OF REGENERATION.

1. Regeneration takes place on a level above the human consciousness.

2. The work of regeneration itself is not something felt, but is recognized by its fruit in oneís life.

3. Conversion is a result of the new birth and this we do experience.

4. Regeneration is an act of God, but conversion is an act of man produced by the new birth.

III. THE AGENT IN REGENERATION A. REGENERATION IS A DIRECT WORK OF GOD UPON THE SOUL (Jn. 1:12-13).

1. Regeneration is not produced by baptism, the human will, or any work of man.

2. The work of regeneration, which is often attributed to the Holy Spirit, is an instantaneous and complete act of God upon the soul.

- Like the wind (powerful, uncontrollable and invisible) this work is in no way brought about, controlled or understood by man (Jn. 3:8).

3. While God uses means in the salvation of the elect, yet it must be understood that regeneration itself is solely a work of God.

B. GOD NEVER REGENERATES A PERSON APART FROM HIS HAVING RECEIVED THE GOSPEL.

1. Godís Word is often mentioned in connection with the new birth.

a. In speaking to the believers in the Church at Corinth, Paul said, "For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel"(I Cor. 4:15).

b. James tells us that God used the Word of Truth to bring about our regeneration (Jas. 1:18).

c. Peter tells us that we were born again by the incorruptible seed of the Word of God (I Pet. 1:23).

d. The Psalmest declared that he was quickened by the Word of God (Ps. 119:93).

2. Godís work of regeneration upon a personís soul is always wrought in conjunction with the Gospel. a. Regeneration produces faith, and there can be no faith without the Gospel (Rom. 10:17).

b. A person cannot believe in a Savior of whom he has never heard(Rom. 10:14).

c. In regeneration, God gives us a heart to know God, and we canít know God apart from having a knowledge of the Scriptures (Jer. 24:7).

d. In regeneration, God empowers the Gospel by opening the heart to receive it (Acts 16:14).

3. Regeneration is a sovereign and direct work of God on the soul, but no one can experience it apart from the Gospel.
IV. THE FRUIT OF REGENERATION

We can determine whether or not we have been born again by the spiritual fruit, or lack of it, in our lives.

Letís look at some of the graces produced in the soul by regeneration.

A. FAITH IS INSTANTLY PRODUCED BY THE REGENERATING POWER OF GOD.

1. It is through faith that we are victorious over the world (I Jn. 5:4-5).

2. Jesus Christ is the author or efficient cause of faith (Heb. 12:2).

B. REPENTANCE IS A GIFT OF GODíS GRACE (II Tim. 2:25).

C. LOVE TO GOD IS A GIFT OF GODíS GRACE (I Jn. 4:19).

D. LOVE TO OTHER SAINTS IS A GIFT OF GODíS GRACE (I Jn. 4:7; 3:14).

E. PERSEVERANCE IS A GIFT OF GODíS GRACE (Phil. 1:6; I Jn. 5:4-5).

CONCLUSION

A true understanding of the new birth is necessary for us to make our own calling and election sure, and for us to be effective witnesses to others.
 
 

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