BIBLE VERSES ABOUT REGENERATION
Preaching about the doctrine of regeneration isn’t done anymore. There are many people who call themselves Christians who are not Christians. Many people have all the right words, but their heart is not regenerate. By nature man is evil. His nature leads him to do evil. An evil man cannot change himself and will not choose God. That’s why Jesus said in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.“
What is regeneration?
Regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is a spiritual rebirth where man is radically changed.
Another phrase for regeneration is being “born again.” Man is spiritually dead, but God intervenes and makes that man spiritually alive. Without regeneration there will be no justification or sanctification.
“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.” – Charles Spurgeon
“Regeneration is something that is accomplished by God. A dead man cannot raise himself from the dead.” – R.C. Sproul
“God’s family, which comes into being by regeneration, is more central and more lasting than the human family that comes into being by procreation.” – John Piper
“The true Church preaches REGENERATION; not reformation, not education, not legislation, but regeneration.” – M.R. DeHaan
MAN HAS A HEART OF STONE.
Man is radically depraved. He does not desire God. Man is in darkness. He cannot save himself nor will he desire to save himself. Man is dead in sin. How can a dead man change his heart? He’s dead. He can do nothing without God. Before you can understand regeneration, you have to understand how fallen man truly is. If he is dead how can he be brought to life by himself? If he is in darkness how can he see the light unless someone shines the light on him?
Scripture tells us the unbelieving man is dead in his trespasses and sins. He is blinded by satan. He is in darkness. He does not desire God. The unbelieving man has a heart of stone. His heart is unresponsive. If you use spiritual defibrillator paddles on him nothing will happen. He is depraved to the fullest extent. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The natural man does according to his nature.
Let’s take a look at John 11. Lazarus was sick. It is safe to assume that everyone tried to do everything humanly possible to save him, but it didn’t work. Lazarus died. Take a moment to realize that Lazarus is dead. He can do nothing on his own. He’s dead! He can’t wake himself up. He can’t snap out of it. He can’t see the light. He won’t obey God. The only thing that is going on in his life at the moment is death. The same thing goes for an unbeliever. He is dead in sin.
In verse 4 Jesus says, “…This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”
In John 11 we see a picture of regeneration. It is all for God’s glory. Man is dead, but out of His love and His grace (unmerited favour) He makes man alive. Jesus makes Lazarus come alive and now he is responsive to the voice of Christ. Jesus says, “…Lazarus, come forth.”
Jesus spoke life into Lazarus.
Lazarus who was once dead was made alive. By the power of God alone his dead heart started to beat. The dead man was made alive and could now obey Jesus. Lazarus was blind and could not see, but through Christ he was able to see. That is Biblical regeneration!
1. John 11:43-44 “, And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”
2. Ezekiel 37:3-5, “And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:”
3. Ephesians 2:1, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS.
You will know a true believer from a false believer by their fruit. A bad tree will not bear good fruit. By nature it is a bad tree. It is not good. If you supernaturally change that bad tree into a good tree it will not bear bad fruit. It’s a good tree now and it will bear good fruit now.
4. Matthew 7:17-18, “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.“
TAKE A MOMENT TO LOOK AT EZEKIEL 11:19
We see the regenerative work of God in this chapter. Notice that God is not teaching works. Notice that God is not saying, “you have to obey to be saved.” He’s teaching regeneration. He says, “I will take the stony heart out of their flesh” It’s not something He is trying to do. It’s not something He is working on. They will no longer have a heart of stone because God clearly says, “I will take the stony heart out of their flesh” God is going to give the believer a new heart.
What does God go on to say? He says, “That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them.”
There are two unbiblical views on salvation. One of them is that you have to obey (works salvation) to be saved. You have to keep on working for your salvation. God says, “I am going to put a new spirit within…” them. You don’t have to work for it. God says He is going to give you a new heart to obey.
Another unbiblical stance is that the grace of God found in Christ is so amazing you can sin all you want. Maybe they won’t say it with their mouth, but that is what the lives of many professing Christians say. They live like the world and they think they are Christian. It’s not true. If you are living in sin you are not a Christian. Ezekiel 11 reminds us that God will remove their heart of stone.
God says that, “…they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances,” God has made that man a new creation and now he will follow God. To sum it up. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. We are saved by Christ. We can’t work for our salvation. It is a free gift that you don’t deserve. If you had to work for your salvation it would no longer be a gift, but something done out of debt. We don’t obey because obeying saves us. We obey because through faith in Christ we have been supernaturally changed by God. God has put a new spirit in us to follow Him.
5. Ezekiel 11:19-20, “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?
You become a Christian not when you pray a prayer, but when you are born again. Jesus tells Nicodemus that regeneration is a must. You must be born again! If regeneration does not occur your life will not change. There are no steps to being born again. You will never find a how-to manual in the Scriptures for regeneration. Why is that? Being born again is a work of God. It is all by His grace.
The Bible gives an overwhelming amount of evidence for monergism (regeneration is exclusively the work of the Holy Spirit). God alone saves us. Salvation is not the cooperation between God and man like what synergism teaches. Our new birth is a work of God.
Those who put their trust in Christ alone will have new desires and affections for Christ. There will be a spiritual rebirth in the lives of believers. They will not desire to live in sin because of the indwelling Spirit of God. This is not spoken about anymore because in many pulpits across the world even the pastor is not born again!
6. John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
7. Titus 3:5-6, “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 Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;”
8. 1 John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
9. John 1:12-13, ”
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
10. 1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
THOSE IN CHRIST WILL BE A NEW CREATION.
We have a low view of the power of God. We have a low view of the power of salvation Salvation is a supernatural work of God where God makes a man a new creation. The problem is that most people have not been supernaturally changed. We try to water a seed that has never even been planted. We don’t know what salvation is and we don’t know the gospel. We give unconverted people full assurance of salvation and we damn their souls to Hell.
Leonard Ravenhill said, “the greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world and make him holy, then put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” God really makes people new creatures! For those who have put their trust in Christ it is not something you are trying to be, it is something you have become by the power of God.
I talked to a man the other day that said, “I try to help people so God will help me.” It is a good thing to help people, but I talked to the man and I knew he never put his trust in Christ. He was not a new creation. He was a lost man trying to earn favour with God. You can stop your fornication, your drunkenness, your pornography, and still be unregenerate! Even atheists can overcome their addictions by their own willpower.
The regenerate man has a new relationship with sin. He has new desires. He has been given a new heart for God. He grows in his hatred for sin. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “…old things are passed away;…”
He despises his old ways, but he grows in his love for the things that God loves. You can’t train a wolf to be a sheep. A wolf is going to do what a wolf desires to do unless you change him into a sheep. In many churches today we try to train unconverted people to be godly and it won’t work.
A lost man in religion tries to do the things he hates to be in right standing with God. A lost man in religion tries to stop doing the things he loves. He is involved in a web of rules and legalism. That is not a new creation. A new creation has new desires and affections.
Charles Spurgeon gave an amazing illustration of being regenerate. Imagine if you have two plates of food and a pig. One plate has the best food in the world. The other plate is filled with trash. Guess what plate the pig is going to? He is going to the trash. That is all he knows. He is a pig and nothing else. If with the snap of my fingers I can supernaturally change that pig into a man he will stop eating the trash. He is not a pig anymore. He is disgusted by the things he used to do. He is ashamed. He is a new creature! He is a man now and now he will live the way a man is supposed to live.
Another illustration of the regenerate heart: Imagine an unconverted man being late to work. He is having a terrible day and he is rushing. Before he steps out the door his wife says, “can you take out the trash?” The unconverted man is angry and he goes crazy. He yells at his wife in anger. He says, “what’s wrong with you?” He goes to work and brags about the things he said to his wife. He doesn’t think about it at all. 6 months later he is converted. He is a new creation this time and the same scenario happens. He’s late to work and he’s rushing. Before he steps out the door again his wife says, “can you take out the trash?” In anger he yells at his wife and does exactly the same thing he did before.
Some of you may ask, “so what’s the difference?”
This time as he shuts the door he feels like a knife just stabbed him in the heart. He gets in the car and as he is driving to work he feels miserable. He goes to a meeting and he’s so burdened that he says to his boss “I have to call my wife.” He gets out of the meeting, he calls his wife, and he begs his wife to forgive him.
When you’re a new creation, sin burdens you. Christians can’t tolerate it. David was broken over his sins. Do you have a new relationship with sin?
11. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”
12. Ephesians 4:22-24, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
13. Romans 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
14. Galatians 5:24, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
STOP STRIVING TO ENTER INTO HEAVEN BY YOUR OWN MERIT. FALL UPON CHRIST
Let’s go back to the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again. Nicodemus was a very religious Pharisee. He was striving to earn salvation by his works. He was known as a religious man and he had a high position among the Jews. In his mind he has done everything. Now imagine how he feels when Jesus says, “…ye must be born again.”
We see this all the time today. I go to church, I’m a deacon, I’m a youth pastor, my husband is a pastor, I pray, I give tithe, I’m a nice person, I sing in the choir, etc. I’ve heard it all before. There are many religious people who sit in church and hear the same sermon over and over, but they are not born again. Before God your good works are nothing but filthy rags and Nicodemus knew it.
When you start comparing yourself with others who profess to be Christian then you run into problems just like Nicodemus. He looked just like the other Pharisees who professed to be saved, but we all know the Pharisees were hypocrites. You say, “well I look like everyone else around me.” Who says everyone else around you is saved? When you compare yourself to man you are trapped in the problem. When you start comparing yourself to God you will start searching for the solution. Nicodemus looked at the holiness of Christ and he knew he wasn’t right with the Lord.
He sought desperately to find the answer. He said, “…how can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus was dying to know how he can be saved. He knew his own efforts would not help him. Later on in chapter 3 verse 15 Jesus says, “…whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Just believe! Stop striving to earn salvation by your own merit. You must be born again. Those who repent and put their trust in Christ alone will be regenerate. It is a work of God.
Believe that Christ is who He says He is (God in the flesh.) Believe that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the grave defeating sin and death. Believe that Christ has taken away your sins. All your sins are gone. Through faith Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. Believe in the blood of Christ. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. Evidence that you have truly relied upon the blood of Christ is that you will be regenerate. You will be given a new heart for God. You will come from darkness to light. You will go from death to life.
15. John 3:7, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
16. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
PAUL WAS A VERY UNGODLY MAN.
Before conversion Paul threatened and murdered God’s people. Paul was a wicked man. Let’s fast forward Paul’s life after conversion. Now Paul is the one being persecuted for Christ. Paul is the one being beaten, shipwrecked, and stoned for Christ. How did such a wicked man change? It was the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit!
17. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
JESUS SAYS, “MAN MUST BE BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT.”
Many people teach that Jesus is referring to water baptism, but that is false. Not one time did He mention baptism. On the cross Jesus said, “it is finished.” Romans 4:3-5; Romans 3:28; Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; and Romans 5:1-2 teach that salvation is by faith apart from works.
What was Jesus teaching then?
Jesus was teaching that for those who put their faith in Christ they will be a new creation by the regenerative work of the Spirit of God as we see in Ezekiel 36. God says, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean:…”
18. John 3:5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT EZEKIEL 36.
First, notice that in verse 22, God says, “…but for my holy name’s sake…” God is going to change His children for His name and for His glory. When we allow people to think they’re Christian, but they live like demons that destroys God’s holy name. It gives people a reason to mock and blaspheme the name of God. God says, “…for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned…”
Christians are under a huge microscope. When you get saved in front of your unbelieving friends they look at you more closely. They think to themselves, “is this guy serious?”
When God has supernaturally changed someone the world will always notice. Even if the unbelieving world never worships or acknowledges God, He still gets glory. The world knows that the Almighty God has done something. If there was a dead man on the ground for 20+ years you are going to be stunned when that dead man miraculously becomes alive. The world knows when God has regenerated a man and given him new life. If God doesn’t regenerate a man then the world is going to say, “some God He is. There is no difference between him and me.”
God says, “And I scattered them among the heathen,” Notice in Ezekiel 36 that God says, “I . . .” a lot. God is going to separate a man from the world. God is going to give him a new heart. There is going to be a clear difference with how a converted man lives his life and how an unconverted man lives his life. God is not a liar. If He says He is going to do something then He is going to do it. God will do a mighty work in His people. God will cleanse the regenerate man from all of his filth and all of his idols. Philippians 1:6 says, “…he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
19. Ezekiel 36:22-23, “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.”
20. Ezekiel 36:24-27, “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
GOD WILL PUT HIS LAW IN YOUR HEART.
Why is it that we don’t see God working in the lives of many professing believers? It’s either God is a liar or someone’s profession of faith is a lie. God says, “I will put my law in their inward parts” When God writes His laws on man’s heart that will enable man to keep His laws. God is going to put the fear of Him in His people. Proverbs 8 says, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil:”
Men don’t fear God today. The fear of God stops us from living in rebellion. It is God who gives us the desire and the ability to do His will (Philippians 2:13). Does that mean a believer can’t struggle with sin? No.
In the next paragraph I will talk more about the struggling Christian.
21. Jeremiah 31:31-33, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
22. Hebrews 8:10, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”
23. Jeremiah 32:40, “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”
CHRISTIANS CAN STRUGGLE WITH SIN.
Once you start talking about obedience many people are going to scream, “works” or “legalism.” I’m not talking about works. I am not saying you have to do something to maintain your salvation. I am not saying that you can lose your salvation. I’m talking about evidence of being born again. Christians do indeed struggle with sin. Just because Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead doesn’t mean Lazarus didn’t still stink because of his previously dead flesh. Some Christians still struggle with the flesh.
Still struggle with our thoughts, desires, and habits. We may be burdened by our struggles, but we cling to Christ. Please understand that there is a huge difference between struggling and practicing sin. Christians are dead to sin. We are no longer slaves to sin. We have new desires to follow Christ. We have a new heart that enables us to obey Him. God’s great goal is to conform us into the image of Christ. Remember? In Ezekiel God says He is going to cleanse us from our idols.
A converted man will no longer be for the world. He is going to be for God. God is going to separate that man for Himself, but remember he can struggle and he can wander off from God. What loving parent doesn’t discipline their child?
Throughout the life of the believer God is going to discipline His child because He is a loving father and He will not allow His child to live like the world. Often God disciplines us with a strong conviction from the Holy Spirit. If He has to He will cause things to happen in our lives as well. God will not let His child go astray. If He lets you live in rebellion then you are not His.
The Pharisees were not born again of the Holy Spirit. Notice that God didn’t lay a finger on them. They never went through trials. In the world’s eyes they would be seen as blessed. However, when God leaves you alone and doesn’t work in you that is a curse. David was broken, Peter was broken, Jonah was thrown overboard. God’s people are going to be conformed into His image.
Sometimes genuine believers grow way slower than others, but God is going to do what He said in Ezekiel 36 that He was going to do.
24. Romans 7:22, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
25. Hebrews 12:8-11, “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST.
Examine your life. Are you born again or not? If you are not sure or if you need a better understanding of the gospel that saves I encourage you to click here for a full gospel presentation.