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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Regeneration

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(παλιγγενεσία , Titus 3:5, a being born again), that work of the Holy Spirit by. which we experience a change of heart. It is expressed in Scripture by being born anew (John 3:7, "from above"); being quickened (Ephesians 2:1); by Christ being found in the heart (Galatians 4:19); a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2); the washing, i.e. the purifing of regeneration (Titus 3:5); a resurrection from the dead (Ephesians 2:6); a putting off the old man, and a putting on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24). And the subjects of this change are represented as begotten of God (John 1:13; 1 Peter 1:3); begotten of the Spirit (John 3:8); begotten of water, even of the Spirit (John 3:5); new creatures (Galatians 6:15); and partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The efficient cause of regeneration is the divine spirit. Man is not the author of the regeneration (John 1:12-13; John 3:4; Ephesians 2:8; Ephesians 2:10); the instrumental cause is the word of God (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Corinthians 4:15).

The change in regeneration consists in the recovery of the moral image of God upon the heart; that is, so as to love him supremely and serve him ultimately as our highest end. Regeneration consists in the implantation of the .principle of love to God, which obtains the ascendency and habitually prevails over its opposite. Although the inspired writers use various terms and modes of speech to describe this change of mind, styling it conversion, regeneration, a new creation, etc., yet it is all effected by the word of truth or the Gospel of salvation gaining an entrance into the mind through divine teaching, so as to possess the understanding, subdue the will, and reign in the affections. In a word, it is faith working by love that constitutes the new creature or regenerate man (Galatians 5:6; 1 John 5:1-5). Regeneration, then, is the recovery of the moral image of God, and consequently of spiritual life, to a soul previously dead in trespasses and sins. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, opening the eyes of the mind, and enabling the sincere penitent to believe the Gospel and receive Christ as his only Saviour. This gracious work is in accordance both with the character of the Holy Spirit and with the constitution of man; hence, by it no violence is done to any physical, intellectual, or moral law or mode of action in human nature. The change is produced in the will, or heart, that is, in the moral, and not the natural, faculties of the soul. As depravity is wholly in the will and heart, the source and seat of all moral action, the divine operation consists in renewing the heart, and communicating a change of views, with a relish for the things of the Spirit. As justification places us in a new relation to God, so regeneration produces in us a new state of mind. In the case of children dying in infancy, they, of course, need regeneration to fit them for the eternal world. And there can be no difficulty in conceiving that they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit, in virtue of Christ's death, in the same sense in which they are depraved, in consequence of Adam's transgression; the disposition to sin is removed, the disposition to holiness is implanted, and thus their salvation is secured. The evidences of regeneration 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 receptive work, and herein it differs from conversion. In regeneration we receive from God; in conversion we are active and turn to him.

2. It is a powerful 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 36:26-27).

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

8. Delightful (1 Peter 1:8).

9. Necessary (John 3:3). (See CONVERSION); (See NEW BIRTH). Our Lord in one instance (Matthew 19:28) uses the term regeneration for the resurrection state. Accordingly, Dr. Campbell translates it "the renovation," and remarks that the relation is here to the general state of things in the future world, where all things will become new. (See NEW CREATION); (See RESTITUTION).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Regeneration'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/r/regeneration.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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