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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A new birth; that work of the Holy Spirit by which we experience a change of heart. It is to be distinguished from baptism which is an external rite, though some have confounded them together. Nor does it signify a mere reformation of the outward conduct. Nor is it a conversion from one sect or creed to another; or even from atheism. Nor are new faculties given in this change. Nor does it consist in new revelations, succession of terrors or consolations; or any whisper as it were from God to the heart, concerning his secret love, choice, or purpose to save us. It is expressed in Scripture by being born again, John 3:7 . born from above, so it may be rendered, John 3:2; John 3:7; John 3:27 . being quickened, Ephesians 2:1 . Christ formed in the heart, Galatians 4:12 . a partaking of the Divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4 . The efficient cause of regeneration is the Divine Spirit. That man is not the author of it is evident, if we consider,

1. The case in which men are before it takes place; a state of ignorance and inability, John 3:4 .

2. The nature of the work shows plainly that it is not in the power of men to do it: it is called a creation, a production of a new principle which was not before, and which man could not himself produce, Ephesians 2:8; Ephesians 2:10 .

3. It is expressly denied to be of men, but declared to be of God, John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:9 . The instrumental cause of it may be so called, is the word of God, James 1:18 . 1 Corinthians 4:15 . The evidence of it are, conviction of sin, holy sorrow, deep humility, knowledge, faith, repentance, love, and devotedness to God's glory. The properties of it are these:

1. It is a passive work, and herein it differs from conversion. In regeneration we are passive, and receive from God; in conversion we are active, and turn to him.

2. It is an irresistible, or rather an invincible work of God's grace, Ephesians 3:8 .

3. It is an instantaneous act, for there can be no medium between life and death; and here it differs from sanctification, which is progressive.

4. It is a complete act, and perfect in its kind; a change of the whole man, 2 Corinthians 5:17 .

5. It is a great and important act, both as to its author and effects, Ephesians 2:4-5 .

6. It is an internal act, not consisting in bare outward forms, Ezekiel 36:26; Ezekiel 27:1-36 :

7. Visible as to its effects, 1 John 3:14 .

8. Delightful, 1 Peter 1:8 .

9. Necessary, John 3:3 .

10. It is an act, the blessings of which we can never finally lose, John 13:1 .

See CALLING, CONVERSION; and Charnock's Works, vol. 2: p. 1. to 230; Cole and Wright, but especially Witherspoon on Regeneration; Doddridge's Ten Sermons on the Subject; Dr. Gill's Body of Divinity, article Regeneration; Dr. Owen on the Spirit; Lime Street Lectures, ser. 8.

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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Regeneration'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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