What is spiritual…

also known as: new birth, born-again, reborn, new creature in Christ, a new creation, a new life or converted from death to life

This word literally means a “new birth.” The original Greek word is παλινγενεσίᾳ (—transliteration: palingenesia), a word used by classical writers with reference to the changes produced by the return of Spring.

In the Bible, this word is found in Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5.

“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…” —Titus 3:5 NASB

This refers to that change of heart elsewhere spoken of as a passing from death to life (1 John 3:14)—becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus.

“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things passed away;
behold, new things have come.” —2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB

“…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” —Romans 12:2 NASB

“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’” —John 3:5 NASB

Spiritually dead versus spiritually alive

The un-regenerate are spiritually dead and live in spiritual darkness. All humans are born spiritually dead due to the original sin of Adam. The regenerate are made alive spiritually; they live in spiritual light. Only people who are spiritually alive can truly understand God’s Word in its truth and richness. For the unregenerate, this is impossible.

Resurrection from the dead (eternal death)…

“…you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” —Ephesians 2:4-7 NASB

This change is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God (John 1:12-13; 1 John 2:29; 5:1, 4).

What is the nature of the change?

It consists of the implanting of a new principle or disposition in the soul—the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature “dead in trespasses and sins.”

The necessity of such a change is emphatically affirmed in Scripture (John 3:3; Romans 7:18; 8:7-9; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1; 4:21-24).

In Matthew 19:28 the word regeneration is equivalent to the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).

“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.” —Matthew 19:28 NASB

“…whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” —Acts 3:21 NASB (the Millennium and ultimately the New Heavens and New Earth)

Streaming video— 
“What does it mean to be born again?”
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Length: 3 minutes
Streaming video— 
“The Blueprint for Being Born Again”
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Streaming video— 
“You Must Be Born Again”
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More information

Article Version: March 26, 2021