What the Bible Says About Regeneration
How the Holy Spirit Works
Regeneration is the work of God through the Holy Spirit within a person who has “saving faith,” in which a new nature is given that makes the person capable of doing the will of God.
Whereas conversion looks at the salvation experience from a human perspective, regeneration describes the same experience from a divine perspective. While the term regeneration occurs in only one verse to describe this experience (Tit. 3:5), it is also described as being “born again” (John 3:3,7).
Regeneration is an Act of God
The Bible teaches several things about being born again. First, this is an act of God. Only God can forgive sin and save a soul (Mark 2:7). Second, regeneration produces spiritual life in the believer.
Paul described the Ephesian Christians as “dead in trespasses and sins” prior to their being made alive in Christ (Eph. 2:1).
This new life given Christians when they believe in Christ as Saviour has been described as The Life of God in the Soul of Man. When a person is born again, both the Father and Son (John 14:23) and the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11) take up residence in the believer. The new life in the Christian is Christ living in and through him or her (Gal. 2:20).
Because the new life in regeneration is tied to the indwelling presence of God in the believer, regeneration understandably produces noticeable changes. Perhaps the first of these noticeable changes is a new nature. This new nature is inclined to serve God and enables the believer to control the old sinful nature and live a victorious Christian life.
Becoming a New Creation
Second, the Christian is transformed into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). This change was extremely dramatic in the experience of many Corinthian believers. Those who had been unfaithful, idol worshipers, homosexuals, thieves, alcoholics, terrorists, and extortioners were transformed into Christian believers by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11). For others, the change may be less dramatic but just as real.
The basis of both conversion and regeneration is the Scriptures which are the instrument of salvation and the Holy Spirit who is the agent of salvation.
The Bible convicts of sin (John 16:9-11), gives us a new nature (2 Peter 1:4), and is the basis of our spiritual power to overcome sin (Ps. 119:9-11). It effects a new birth in our life (1 Peter 1:23). The Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation – the Person who convicts of sin, draws people to Christ, and gives new life to those who repent. When we come to saving faith in Christ, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:15).