Regeneration – Regeneration means, “born again” and comes from the Greek word paliggenesia (pal-ing-ghen-es-ee’-ah; NT:3825; Strong’s number definition), and is used twice in the New Testament. Titus 3:5 states: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” (NASB) Matthew 19:28 states: “And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (NASB)
To be “born again” as spoken of in John 3:3 and explained in the following passages is a product of the work of the Holy Spirit, and carries the concept of receiving a new spiritual nature. It is clear from Jesus’ words that without this event of being “born again” in one’s life or following him after regeneration, we cannot have any part of His Kingdom or of Him.
To have a new spiritual nature is to have the ability to formulate a proper attitude toward God and produce what the Scriptures call the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:21-24 states: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (NASB) The Scripture implies that only those that have been regenerated have the capacity to demonstrate such capacity with consistency. This is demonstrated through the Scriptures contrasting the difference between our new and old nature as seen in Romans 3:10-18: “as it is written, There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving, The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (NASB) and Ephesians 5:8-12: “(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” (NASB) (Also see: Galatians 5:22-24, Matthew 3:8-12, Matthew 7:17-18.)
Regeneration takes place when we confess our sinfulness to God and place our trust and faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as the savior of our soul and the provider of the payment to God for our sin. As our physical birth is a one-time event in history so is our regeneration a one-time event in history.