Summary: A message designed to cut to the heart of the nature of salvation.

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The Doctrine of Regeneration

John 3: 1-21

Quote: “As to its nature and source it is a supernatural, creative act of the Holy Spirit, not reforming our old nature, but giving us a new one alongside of the old.”

James M. Gray

Intro: Last week we looked at the truth of the matter about man’s depravity, so tonight we look at the means the enable man to come to Christ, “The New Birth” spiritual regeneration from above.

I. The Necessity of Regeneration

1. Man’s spiritual bondage to sin

2. Man’s inability to change on his own

3. Man’s desperateness requires it

1 Corinthians 2:14

14 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.

A. Jesus speaks to Nicodemus concerning this matter

Verse 7, “Ye must be born again” i.e.… from above

II. The source of Regeneration

James 1:18

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

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

1. The Source is centered around the “Will of God”

2. The source is an outworking of the Holy Spirit

John 16:8

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Comparison of physical birth with spiritual

1. Both physical and spiritual birth require three components

A. Seed giver

a. Physical birth requires the male to offer his seed

b. Spiritual birth requires God seed of truth

B. Recipient

a. Physical birth requires the woman to receive

b. Spiritual birth requires the soul of man to receive “The engrafted Word of God”

James 1:21

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

C. Fertilization

Note: The only source of Regeneration is in the hands of God.

III. The Characteristics of Regeneration

1. A new nature

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

A. The Holy Spirit imparts a “New Nature”

Only on this prompting of the Holy Spirit is one able to understand the scripture in a spiritual fashion that would lead one to “Choose Christ.”


It is a new birth of the individual himself, and not of something in him. The nature is never changed, but the person is—relatively, not absolutely.

A. W. Pink

B. Two natures battle in the soul

The sinful nature of man has not been removed from him or her and will not be until the time of the resurrection, therefore Paul concludes that the:

Galatians 5:17

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

2. A Godly Nature

2 Peter 1:4

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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Raymond Isbell

commented on Oct 21, 2006

Readers of this article should beware that this is typical of the Reformed position on Total Depravity. This is one of the more careless presentations on the subject. It's based mostly on flawed logic linking verses out of context. Conclusions are equally flawed, e.g., "An inward desire to please God." This does not come from regeneration, but from Christian growth. Any reader serious about getting to the bottom of this topic should carefully read both sides of this debate. An excellent article taking the "Free Grace" position should read the paper "Regeneration: A Crux Interpretum" at

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