Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California
Copyright © 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved
Regeneration is a theological term that refers to God the Holy Spirits creation of a human spirit within every believer at the point of salvation. This action occurs immediately following salvation faith belief in the substitutionary spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Because we now have a human spirit, God the Father is then able to impute or transfer His very own eternal life to that newly formed human spirit. The result is the second birth or to be "born again" as stated in John 3:3 and John 3:7.
Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' (John 3:7)
A barrier exists between God and man at physical birth because we are all born spiritually dead according to Ephesians 2:5-6 and Colossians 2:13. Spiritual death is total separation from God due to our state of total depravity and complete helplessness to do anything about it on our own. Spiritual death is the result of our physical birth.
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:5-6)
And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, (Colossians 2:13)
Physical Life Follows Physical Birth - the First Birth
The first birth is our physical birth into this world as we emerge from our mothers womb. God the Father imputes soul life to the baby at the moment of physical birth. The baby would not live without this action by God. This is the difference between biological life and human life. Gods imputation of life to the baby demonstrates He has a purpose for each member of the human race.
At the moment of birth, God simultaneously imputes Adam's original sin to the genetically-formed old sin nature producing a physically living, but spiritually dead human being. The old sin nature is the source of human sin, good, and evil. It is the flawed character possessed by every human being which tempts us to sin. The sin nature is an integral part of every human being residing within the structure (nucleus) of every cell of the human body.
Human life begins with the impartation of soul life at physical birth. Our souls are immortal. However, the souls immortality does not mean a person is qualified to live with God forever. Without salvation, the soul will live forever in hell. The requirement to live with God forever is to receive His very own eternal life. This is done following God the Holy Spirits creation of a human spirit within every believer at the point of salvation. The result is regeneration or the second birth. We are said to be born again.
The best illustration of the mechanics of a human being transformed from a biologically living form to a living human being is the creation of Adam in Genesis 2:7.
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
The phrase "formed man of the dust of the ground" refers to biological life. The word "breathed into his nostrils" refers to God the Fathers act of imputing soul life. This breath that generates human life is presented in Isaiah 42:5, John 1:3, and Colossians 1:16. The result is soul life or NESHAMAH HAYYAH in the Hebrew. The phrase "became a living being" refers to Adam having been converted from a biologically living form into a living human being with a living immortal soul. We call this human life (body and soul) in contrast to biological life (body only) or spiritual life (body, soul, and spirit).
There is a great contrast between the unbreathing physical body (biological life) and the breathing body with soul life (human life). Until God exhaled His breath into the first human body, which was "formed" biologically alive, man could not be "a living soul." This is true for every human being born throughout history.
Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk in it, (Isaiah 42:5)
All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:3)
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)
Spiritual Life Follows Spiritual Birth - the Second Birth
All believers begin their spiritual lives the same way - belief in the salvation work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. This is the second birth. We are "regenerated" or "born again" through the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit creates a human spirit for the new believer (regeneration) so that the new believer is "born again" as stated in John 3:1-12, Titus 3:5, Romans 8:16, and 1 Corinthians 2:14
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 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.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." "How can this be?" Nicodemus asked. "You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? (John 3:1-12)
He 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, (Titus 3:5)
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. (Romans 8:16)
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
How is a person born again? Jesus answered this question in John 3:16 and again in John 3:18.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
Eternal life begins at regeneration, which is believing in the salvation work of Jesus Christ. Just as mankind does no deed or work for physical life, so mankind does no deed or work for eternal life. The first birth is the origin of human life. The second birth is the origin of eternal life where we become a new creature as in 2 Corinthians 5:17. In both births, the work and grace of God is the issue. The issue for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior is what will you do about it. We are commanded to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as stated in 2 Peter 3:18. As we grow spiritually, we begin to walk as He did according to Colossians 2:6-7.
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. (Colossians 2:6-7)