Regeneration in the Bible
“Regenerate” and “regenerated” are not found in the KJV Bible. Not in the NIV either for that matter. Neither is “regeneration” found in the NIV but it’s found twice in the KJV.
“Regeneration” is a translation from the Greek noun παλινγενεσίᾳ (palingenesia Strong’s 3824) and can also mean new birth, renewal, restoration, etc. When we are forgiven and cleansed from our sins we are washed, born again and a child of God. Regenerated! God wants us all to repent from our sins and come to him so that we can be regenerated and born again. Here is the first verse:
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The second instance is this one below (in the genitive form), and some reformed believers build a whole new doctrine on this verse alone:
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
This verse does not say that a person must be “regenerated” in order to seek and find God, but it’s clear that we cannot cleanse our own sins by suddenly doing good things. Our PAST sins must be dealt with first. We can only be cleansed and declared righteous thanks to the blood of Jesus , and this happens when we ask for forgiveness for our sins, repent and start living in the light. If we break the Law even once, we are in need of a Savior and we are saved thanks to God’s MERCY.
When we are born again we have been moved from death to life and we are washed, regenerated and renewed of the Holy Ghost. We are all asked to come to God in order to be born again, and we learn that regeneration comes AFTER that a person has repented for his sins and been cleansed from them. Only THEN is he a new regenerated person and the old things have passed away. Let’s also remember that the prodigal son was spiritually DEAD and yet he took a personal decision to return to his Father and ask for forgiveness. No one else persuaded him or forced him.
If conversion occurs at some point after regeneration, then we have a person who is regenerated but not yet converted, and therefore a person who is regenerated but not yet saved. A person is not saved when he receives the ability to repent and believe, but when he is actually cleansed/regenerated. The very moment that a sinner is regenerated he is saved because regeneration is not distinct or difference from conversion.
Verses that show that faith comes before regeneration/rebirth
Heb. 11 he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK him.
John 1:12 But as many as RECEIVED him, to THEM gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name
Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;—26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord
Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee
2 Cr 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death
1 John 1:9 IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
Rev. 2:21 And I gave her SPACE TO REPENT of her fornication and she repented not. 22 Behold I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation except they repent of their DEEDS
2 Tim 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.21 IF a man thereforepurges himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
2 Chron. 15:2 The LORD is with you when you are with him. IF you seek him, he will be found by you, but IF you forsake him, he will FORSAKE you.
Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded
Jeremiah 4:14 Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved
Ezekiel 18:31 Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die…
Mat 6:14,15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The whole point of seeking God is to find him and become regenerated/cleansed
Until we find God we are not forgiven nor regenerated. Reformed type of thinking reverses the sequence by which God works and shuts up the Kingdom of Heaven against men, claiming specialness for themselves and barring for the vast bulk of humanity. God instructs men to seek God, and in fact, we are told that nobody can come to God UNLESS they seek him. Acts 17 states clearly that God created all men in the hope that they would SEEK HIM AND FIND HIM,and that he is not far from any one as in him we all live and move and have our being. Then he determines the way to find him – he commands all men everywhere to repent. Being born of God comes as a result of, or at the same time as, finding God.
Man cannot find God before God reveals himself to man, and he has! This is the good news! He has enlightened all men born into this world – Jn 1:9 and Romans 1 – and he has shown all men within themselves his eternal power and godhood – this is quite comprehensive revelation. So that they know the truth about God and they have no excuse…(Romans 1:19-21).
Regeneration means redemption in the blood of Jesus, which is forgiveness of sins at the new birth. Regeneration is a result of repentance and consequently does not occur before repentance.
There is one verse that describes regeneration in Titus:. “according to his mercy he saved us, by the WASHING OF REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5).
Here we see that regeneration = the washing.
Revelation 1:5 tells us what this washing is: “from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our SINS in his own blood“
Colossians 1:14 “In whom we have REDEMPTION through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
This happens consequent upon REPENTANCE: “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31)
So first; we receive, repent, seek, return to, etc and THEREAFTER God cleanses, pardons and makes us the sons of God.
“Depraved” and “depravity” are words not to be found in the KJV Bible, but 6 times in the NIV where the meaning is never that a person is 100% dead and unable to make good moral decisions without the awakening of God. It’s also interesting to see that the words
Reformed believers usually base their whole philosophy on the idea that man is “depraved” and they repeatedly use this word, which they have their own interpretation of. I checked the words DEPRAVE, DEPRAVED and DEPRAVITY in the entire NIV and none of the six places indicate a person is depraved out of his/her own control. It’s always a BAD CHOICE to be depraved:
Ezekiel 16:47 You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they.
Comment: Here we can read about people choosing to FOLLOW bad ways, and these ways are DETESTABLE according to God. We can read that they became MORE depraved than others due to this unfortunate selecting of ways to follow.
Ezekiel 23:11 Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister.
Comment: Here we can read the reason why Oholibah was MORE depraved than her sister. It was due to her lust and prostitution. There is no obligation to live like that.
Romans 1:28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
Comment: Here we can read the REASON why God gave people over to depraved minds. It was due to their choice to not seek it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. We can read that they do what OUGHT NOT to be done which is a good indication of that they had an option to live in another way. This is a good example of something happening against God’s will. It was God who gave them over to a depraved mind, but 1) it was due to their own rejection of him and 2) apparently they did not have a depraved mind to start with. The rest of Romans 1 makes is clear that people have no excuse for not coming to God and for acting wickedly.
2 Timothy 3:8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
Comment: Here again we can read about people who OPPOSE the truth. God naturally did not want them to oppose the truth. IF God wanted them to reject the truth and thus force them to reject the truth, then they shouldn’t be held accountable for it. They wouldn’t have any choice but to act just like God made them act, so they would actually be “obeying God” by rejecting the truth. God wants us all to accept the truth and we can all do this if we so choose.
2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
Comment: Here again we read about people who choose to FOLLOW their depraved conducts, and by doing so they will bring the way of truth into disrepute. Bad choice on their part!
2 Peter 2:7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless
Comment: Lot was a righteous man among loads of depraved people. Naturally God didn’t want those people to be depraved but they ended up in that way against God’s will and according to their own free will. Again, if God wanted them to be depraved then they would be innocent victims for God’s ruling, which they had no choice but to obey. Just the fact that Lot was called righteous and the others depraved shows the distinction between obeying God and not obeying God.
Romans 1:29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.
Comment: These are examples of wicked behavior and since God is not the author of sin, naturally we can’t blame God for filling these people with all kinds of wickedness. Since they have “become” filled with evil, it makes us understand that this was not always the case in their lives. The better option would have been to live in the light.
2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity for people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.
Comment: We can read in KJV Rom. 6:16:“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves tosomeone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey whether you are slaves to sin, which leads todeath, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
WE are the ones doing the choosing to whom we should obey. God is the one to whom we owe our worship and obedience, so if we obey someone else it’s always against his will. Both Peter and Paul are warning us to not obey the wrong master. We are told to be obedient and continue to be righteous.
“Sovereignty” and “sovereign” are words not found in the KJV Bible. “Sovereignty” is found in the NIV in a couple of cases where it does not refer to God (Dan 5:18, Dan 7:27) and “sovereign” is used several times in the NIV. The lack of this word in the KJV is also quite interesting since many calvinists claim that Free willers have changed the meaning of “sovereign” – when we suggest that a sovereign God can create man with Free will – eventhough this word is not even present in the Bible. Naturally God IS sovereign but there is no obligation to understand the nature of God the way calvinists prefer to view him. God is so sovereign that he is able to create us with free will. That is how powerful he is!
Not found in the KJV or NIV.