The New Birth

The greatest message on new life ever delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ was addressed to a deeply religious man (John 3:1-15). The new birth that Jesus spoke of is, at its core, about the work of God in the soul of man. Theologians call it regeneration. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes the new birth as “the great, climactic event in the history of the saved soul.”[1] The new birth is the most radical and amazing description of how God could take a life that is conscious of failure, emptiness, dissatisfaction, and sin, and transform it to make it full, strong, clean, and victorious.

The word “regeneration” means “to beget again,” “to quicken,” or “to give birth” (John 1:13; 3:3-8; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1; James 1:18; 2 Cor.5:17; Gal.6:15; Eph.2:5; 4:24; Col.2:13). It is the creating of life in the heart. It is the implanting of new spiritual life in the soul. It is the making alive of the sinner who is dead (Eph.2:5; Col.2:13).

The new birth is the supernatural work of the Spirit that makes the call of God effectual in the believer. It is not something we do; it is something done to us by God. It is that divine work of God enabling the sinner to believe the truth, with the result that the governing disposition of the soul is radically changed.

We can see the difference between regeneration and conversion or sanctification in the difference between conception and the giving of birth. Conception is the generation of life. It is not gradual, it is instantaneous. Either there is life or there is not. Birth, on the other hand, is the bringing forth of that life.

What conception is to a woman, regeneration is to a Christian. What birth is to a woman, conversion is to a Christian.


  • Regeneration does not mean that a change takes place in the substance of human nature.
  • Regeneration does not mean that a complete change of the whole man occurs.
  • Regeneration does not mean that we become like Christ with two natures, one divine and the other human.
  • Regeneration does not mean that God adds or subtracts from the facilities of the soul.
  • Regeneration is not moral reformation or some psychological conversion.


The supplier of new life is the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Will you turn to Him?


[1] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible, p.75

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