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The Means Of Regeneration

The brilliant thoughts in this article are from Lectures in Systematic Theology by Thiessen. If you have an opportunity to acquire and read the book, I would certainly recommend it.

Scripture represents regeneration as the work of God. But there are a number of means and agencies involved in the experience.

1. The will of God. 2. The death and resurrection of Christ. 3. The Word of God. 4. The ministers of the Word. 5. The Holy Spirit.

1. The will of God.

We are born of the will of God.

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: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

James 1:18: Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

2. The death and resurrection of Christ.

The new birth is conditioned on faith in the crucified Christ,

John 3:14-16: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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.

and the resurrection of Christ is equally involved in our regeneration.

1 Peter 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

3. The Word of God.

James teaches that we were brought forth by the word of truth.

James 1:18: Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

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.

Paul speaks of the washing of water by the word.

Ephesians 5:26-27: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Titus 3:5: 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;

Some see baptism as a necessary prerequisite to regeneration, but this makes salvation dependent upon works. Clearly, Cornelius was born again before he received baptism.

Acts 10:47: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Acts 2:38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:38 must be understood in the sense of being baptized because of the forgiveness of sins, rather than in order that they would be forgiven; just as John baptized because of repentance, rather than in order that those who were being baptized would repent.

Matthew 3:11: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

4. The ministers of the Word.

God uses people in the redemptive process. Their contribution, however, consists simply in the proclamation of the truth and the appeal to decision for Christ.

Romans 10:14-15: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

1 Corinthians 1:21: For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1 Corinthians 4:15: For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

Philemon 10: I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

Galatians 4:19: My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

5. The Holy Spirit.

The real efficient agent in regeneration is the Holy Spirit.

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. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

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; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Acts 16:14: And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Romans 9:16: So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Philippians 2:13: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Truth does not in itself constrain the will; besides, the unregenerate heart hates the truth until it is worked upon by the Holy Spirit.

Care to discuss Means Of Regeneration, The with Ron?

He'd also like to hear your prayer requests