God's Word For You is a free Bible Study site committed to bringing you studies firmly grounded in the Bible – the Word of God. Holding a reformed, conservative, evangelical perspective this site affirms that God has provided in Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of salvation in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace.




Individual people become Christians by being born again. This is called regeneration, and is the saving action of God.

By this action God brings us out of the spiritual death of separation from himself into the spiritual life of reunion with himself. The three persons of the Godhead are involved in this, but it is specifically the action of the Spirit of God.

The foundational teaching on regeneration is John 3:1-8 where Jesus confronted Nicodemus with the absolute necessity of being born ‘again’ – where the Greek anothen means ‘from above’, or, as Jesus explained, being born ‘of the Spirit’. Without this regeneration Nicodemus, and we ourselves, are nothing more than ‘flesh’ and can be nothing more than ‘flesh’ [John 3:6] – ‘flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit’. It is thus essential to be ‘born of the Spirit’ [3:8] – to be regenerated by the unseen, but nevertheless effective, work of the Spirit of God. Without this regeneration we are spiritually ‘dead’ (Ephesians 2:1, 5). Without this regeneration, this work of the Spirit of God on and in our unbelieving hearts and minds, Jesus said:

It is impossible for us to see the kingdom of God – we cannot even see/understand that there is such a reality – John 3:3. As Paul teaches, the message of the gospel is foolishness to us (1Corinthians 1:18), and without the Spirit we simply cannot accept it or understand it (1Corinthians 2:14).

We are totally unable to enter the kingdom of God – we remain outside of his kingdom, forever lost, forever unsaved – John 3:5.

The New Testament teaches us:

That being ‘born of God’ is not something accomplished by our racial heritage, or our human decision, or our human will. It is, in its entirety, the action of God – John 1:13.

That it is this regenerating work of God that enables a person to receive Jesus Christ, to believe in his name, and thus have the right to be called ‘children of God’, even though everyone else does not recognize him – John 1:10 – 12.

That this life-giving work of the Spirit is done in tandem with the life-giving words of Jesus Christ; it is something that we ourselves could never accomplish – John 6:63.

That by this regenerating work of the Spirit the saving work of Christ in the cross is applied to us, freeing us from the law’s condemnation, wiping off the record of our legal guilt, giving us eternal life – Romans 8:1, 2; Titus 3:4 – 7.

That this regeneration, this new birth, involves the will of God the Father, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son, and the action of the Holy Spirit by which he sets us apart as God’s possession. The result of this work of Father, Son and Spirit, is that we have a relationship with God that is absolutely permanent and secure – 1Peter 1:2 – 5.

That this regeneration, this new birth, this saving work of the Father, Son and Spirit, is accomplished not in isolation from or independently of God revealed truth, but ‘through the living and enduring word of God’ – 1Peter 1:23.

To appreciate the deep significance of this regenerating work of the Spirit, it is necessary to understand the magnitude of the Genesis 3 event. There in that original rebellious rejection of God and his word Adam and Eve severed themselves from their Creator. Unless we understand what happened here, and how, according to the Bible, this original sin has impacted all of Adam’s descendants, our understanding and appreciation of the salvation God gives us in his Son, Jesus Christ, will be minimal.

AA Hoekema states:

‘One’s doctrine of man is determinative for his or her doctrine of salvation. Nowhere is this more true than in the consideration of regeneration. For our understanding of regeneration hinges on our conception of human depravity. If human beings today are not depraved at all, regeneration or new spiritual life is not really necessary. If human depravity is thought of as being partial – that is, if fallen man is conceived of as still having the ability to turn to God in faith apart from a special working of the Holy Spirit – regeneration will be understood in a way quite different than if “natural” (or unregenerate) human nature be thought of as totally depraved. If, however, human beings are seen as being totally or pervasively depraved – that is, as totally unable to turn to God in faith apart from a special working of the Spirit – one’s understanding of the nature of regeneration will be different still.’ (p94 Saved by Grace).

May we all, in deep humility and gratitude, give thanks to God for this gracious work of his Spirit.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2024