|Sin and its consequences.||God’s provision in Christ.|
|Being under the judgement of God.||Justification and forgiveness.|
|Being separated from God.||Reconciliation.|
|Being spiritually dead.||Regeneration.|
We have seen in our previous studies that man is dead. That is not physically dead, at least not yet! But the words of God in the garden come back to us now – “dying you will die”.
Spiritual death occurred instantly that the original couple disobeyed the word of God. That death resulted in corruption so that ultimately, they died physically too, albeit about nine hundred years later.
They died initially as far as their relationship with God was concerned.
Paul says “you were dead in trespasses and sins”. Ephesians 2:1.
So, the provision that God made in His mercy and love was to give life again, for mankind to have a new beginning, a new birth. Receiving a new life from God is called regeneration.
The rest of Ephesians 2:1 reads, “And you He made alive, who were dead!”
One early reference to the word regeneration occurs in Matthew 19:28. Peter is anxious to know what will be his reward in the hereafter as a result of what he had given up to follow Jesus on earth.
“So, Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel””.
In other words, the regeneration is going to be the final chapter of God’s great plan to restore everything. All will be new. That is not to say new in the sense that it has never been there before. Rather, that it is new in the sense that everything has been renewed. All that had been lost will be regained. Man’s restoration will be complete. “There will be no more death”. Revelation 21:4.
All that was so beautiful in the original garden will now be seen in its fullest expression in the city of God, new Jerusalem. What a prospect! What glory awaits the believing soul!
When we are born again, we enter into that great process of continual transformation, into God’s great and eternal renewal and restoration of all things.
Paul uses the word regeneration once in his writings in Titus 3:4-7. “But when the kindness and the love of God our saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which he have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life”.
This is Paul’s sole use of the word regeneration or similarly connected word. Yet remarkably it links all the main aspects of our salvation; God’s love and grace, justification by His grace, washing and cleansing of new birth and the important reference to the work of the Holy Spirit.
He also says as well, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”, or more accurately expressed perhaps, “in Christ, new creation”! 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Another writer of the New Testament is Peter and he has two references to new birth in the first chapter of his first letter to the scattered pilgrims.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”. 1 Peter 1:3-5.
We have been born again through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus to be kept now for the fulness of our inheritance in Christ later.
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever?” ! Peter 1:22,23.
We must note here the work of God is dependent on the word of God being received as a seed into a believer’s heart. This is able to keep him for ever. We also note the link with purity of heart which is a theme we will return to.