The relationship between sin and regeneration

paliggenesia (regeneration) is mentioned only twice within the New Testament (NT). In Matthew 19v28 it holds a cosmic emphasis in referring to the new creation, but in Titus 3v5 Paul applies it at the personal level. However, “paliggenesia is a compound noun for palin (again) and genesis (birth, origin).”[1] In terms of its personal sense, this suggests a similar meaning to John and Peter’s usage of anagennaw when speaking of being “born again,”[2] and a possible conceptual link with Paul’s idea of personal re-creation.[3] This essay seeks to examine the relationship between this idea of personal regeneration and human sinfulness, by first outlining the biblical doctrine of sin and then seeking to discuss the bible’s teaching on regeneration with respect to it.

A) Sin

First, the seat of sin is the human heart. It was every inclination of the heart from youth[4] It was the heart that Moses urged the Israelites to circumcise,[5] suggesting that submitting it to the LORD was the key to the law.[6]Israel needed to truly know and serve God.[7] Jesus taught that the heart is the root of all evil,[8] and Paul, that it is the locus of desire for sin.[9] Thus the eating of the fruit was a visible demonstration of sin committed by Eve’s heart in first being inclined to act.[10] Song describes the biblical view of the heart as “the centre of man’s will…the seat of his power of decision…the person, the thinking, feeling, willing ego of man, with particular regard to his responsibility to God.”[11] It is the “governing disposition”[12] of man that is therefore the problem; where this is evil, the person or self is rightly described as evil also.[13] that provoked God’s wrath and led to the flood. It was new hearts engraved with the law and moved to obey it that the prophets declared that

Second, sin has corrupted every person. Adam was to be not just the progenitor, but the “root of human nature;”[14] and so it was man – generically[15] – who came to know good from evil as a sinful disposition was passed[16] from these first parents to all their descendants.[17]flesh to describe “man’s existence apart from God,”[18] and his description of those without Christ as “by nature children of wrath”[19] confirms this concept.[20] Although children are not able to “know good from evil”[21] they are nevertheless sinful from the first spark of human life.[22] There is therefore literally “no-one,” children included, “who is righteous.”[23] Paul’s usage of

Third, sin has corrupted the whole person. Paul’s seems to see the mind as the rational expression of the heart, determining the way one lives.[24] Just as Adam and Eve sinned by doubting God,[25] so human sinfulness manifests itself in the “futile thinking” of “darkened” and “senseless minds,” and particularly false belief in suppressing the truth about God.[26] There is also therefore “no-one who has understanding” or who “seeks God.”[27] In corrupting the mind, the sinful heart subsequently corrupts the whole man,[28] showing Paul’s “flesh” to be an entirely appropriate term.[29] This total depravity stems biologically (according to the flesh) from Adam: We inherit his sinful disposition and so the corruption of the entire person.[30] It is therefore not simply that man has flesh, but that man is flesh,[31] wholly rebellious to and alienated from God by nature. Nevertheless, sinful humanity is able to sin to differing degrees, as a conscience remains intact.[32]

Thus three key terms particularly describe the sinful state: Slavery and blindness[33] and unable to understand his truth.[34] It is however, the term death that best summarises the doctrine of sin, suggesting the total inability of slavery and blindness because it assumes helplessness. It was physical death; the corruption of the body resulting in the cessation of life, that Adam and Eve received by having their access to the tree of life denied.[35][36] However, Paul also highlights the moral death of sin itself, by contrasting following the world, the flesh and the devil, with the life of hearts re-created in the image of God in “true righteousness and holiness.”[37] Both physical and moral death are therefore spiritual, encompassing what it is to be alienated from God: The former is the primary judicial penalty from God to man for the latter rebellion from man to God.[38] Both culminate in the second death of hell; a place of both sustained physical torment and continuing moral evil. metaphorically describe the above conclusions: Because of sin, we are both unable to obey God’s law Aspects to this death are also hinted at in the curse of childbirth and work, as human suffering is enhanced and the wider creation subjected to futility and eventually destroyed.

Human sin therefore impacts four particular relationships: 1)With respect to God, it sustains rebellion, provokes wrath, and so results in alienation.[39] 2)With respect to the self, it invades the entire person.[40] 3)With respect to others, it brings both unity in wickedness, and fractured relationships.[41] 4)It therefore also impacts creation, in these psychological and social senses, but also environmentally and biologically; as humanities stewardship is abused, personal physical and moral corruption are experienced as deviations from humanity’s created state, and the whole creation groans in the light of the end.[42] Thus it can be said that sin is ultimately an act of de-creation.[43]

B) Regeneration

In examining the relationship between regeneration and the above doctrine of sin, apparent uncertainty over the place of regeneration within the ordo-salutis first needs resolution.

In interpreting John 1v12-13, Grudem reflects the common reformed understanding of the receipt of the Spirit[44] by separating adoption (v12) from regeneration (v13), and stating that "the New Testament never connects" the two.[45] Yet such a distinction is not clear in these verses,[46] and the two are certainly connected in the letters of both John[47] and Paul.[48]precedes faith. In his first letter he teaches; 1)that the believer obeys God's commandments because he has been born again,[49] 2)that one of these commandments is to believe in Christ,[50] and 3)all who so believe are "born of God."[51] The most obvious cumulative sense is that one cannot believe without being born again.[52] However, John also states that when the apostles first believed the Spirit had not yet been given,[53] and his theological link between the Spirit and eternal life suggests that he is received on the same basis; that is through faith.[54] Second, Paul is adamant that receipt of the promised Holy Spirit proceeds from faith,[55] and theologically links this to union with Christ. Gaffin notes that the structure of Ephesians 2v1-10 and its parallel statements in verses 5 and 8 teach that the believer is made alive by being raised with Christ “through faith.”[56] A comparison of 2v10 and 4v24 teaches that the believer is only then a new creation (i.e. regenerated) through the instilling of the prophesied new heart. By contrast however, Paul also makes clear that one cannot initially understand the gospel without the work of the Spirit,[57] nor obey its command,[58] nor confess Christ.[59] Salvation is therefore God's work.[60] Third, Peter interestingly links the re-birth terminology of John with Paul's being made alive through Christ's resurrection,[61] whilst displaying the same tension in also stating that one is "obedient to Jesus Christ" and "sprinkled with his blood" only by first being "sanctified by the Spirit."[62] Indeed, closer examination confirms that the NT sees the terms as interconnected. First, John suggests that re-birth

The NT writers therefore seem to use the terminology of regeneration and re-birth in three senses; with respect to the work of the Spirit that precedes faith, that which instantaneously proceeds from faith, and the total work combined. The only suitable conclusion is that they regarded regeneration/re-birth as a single work that brackets and encompasses saving faith.[63] That is, what precedes faith in embryonic form is fully born through the very faith it provokes.[64] As Fee puts it:

"Our trusting, which is the point at which what is external to us becomes internal, is in some mysterious way the work of the Holy Spirit as both cause and effect. That is, the Spirit appears both as the one who initiates our faith and as the one who is received by that same faith."[65]

1. Embryonic regeneration overcomes total inability and makes the gospel call effectual.

Paul states: "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ."[66] However, in being dead in sin; so blinded that we cannot understand this word and so enslaved that we are unable to respond, how can the sinner believe and be saved?[67] The answer lies in Lydia's conversion, where: "The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul."[68] God precedes faith with a work of his Spirit that is sufficient for the sinner to respond. Jesus made this point positively and negatively; teaching that no-one could come to him unless drawn by the Father,[69] and explaining disbelief on the grounds that his Father hadn't enabled it in this way.[70] However this work is not merely sufficient, but effective. In the same context Jesus stated that all whom the Father called would come to him.[71] The ground for this work is the prior choice of God as to who are to belong to his Son,[72] and so regeneration ultimately stems from God's eternal predestination to salvation of those united with Christ.[73]

It is not clear whether the total inability described in section A is due to the immediate impact of sin, or God’s judicial confirming of its consequences through which we are both further handed over to our sinful desires,[74] and hardened to God’s truth.[75] Certain passages may hint that without this divine work it might be possible for unregenerate sinners to respond to the call of the gospel, but that God hardens the reprobate so that they instead receive their due penalty.[76] There is certainly a stress on revelation in the texts that describe such response. It is Jesus' words that are "spirit and life,"[77] and those who believe are those "taught by God."[78] Rather than an embryonic re-creation of the heart per-se, a possible explanation for the faith-preceding work of the Spirit could therefore be an illumination of the "fleshy" hearts of God's elect that is significant enough to ensure subsequent faith.[79] However the theological link between hearts and minds suggests that understanding could not come without a heart that is willing to accept rather than suppress truth.[80] Thus an inner work in which the Spirit grants the sinner's heart a “God-ward disposition” seems to best explain the change;[81] and this is embryonic regeneration. With such a new spiritual nature, on hearing the call of the gospel the individual will then by nature accept the gospel and put their trust in Christ;[82] for "those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit."[83] Resolving the divine sovereignty/human responsibility tension, salvation therefore comes through the exercising of the human will in faith, but this exercising is inevitable because it has been determined by the prior regenerating work of God; which "depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy."[84]

Either way, whether by sinful nature alone, or by God's additional judicial hardening, sinners are dead, blind, enslaved, and so unable to receive salvation without a sufficient and effective work of God in eliciting faith. Thus, salvation is by grace alone and through faith alone.[85] Contrary to this view, Pelagius asserts human ability to obey God's law and respond to the gospel without his help, writing: "God has not willed to command anything impossible..."[86][87] By contrast, Arminius accepts that God's grace is always necessary, but makes salvation depend ultimately on man's foreknown response rather than God. He states that God "decreed to save" on the basis of foreknowing "who would through his preventing grace, believe, and, through his subsequent grace would persevere..."[88][89] All these views are refuted however, once it is established that the Spirit effectually disposes the heart towards faith.[90] Likewise humanism and the modern religions assume this ability to do good. Cassian developed the Semi-Pelagian view that only some have sufficient ability to "come to grace" themselves, whilst others need God's power to begin. Arminius therefore assumes that according to God's middle-knowledge of all possibilities, his grace is not always effective.

2. Completed regeneration re-creates the heart and is the source of renewal.

Whereas the beginning of regeneration stems from the objective union with Christ the elect have from eternity, and elicits faith, its completion stems from being subjectively united and so raised with Christ through that faith.[91] With respect to sin, this is significant for four reasons:

1)This brings discontinuity with our Adamic descent through which sin and its penalty are conferred. By this means we become part of God’s new humanity,[92] benefiting from Christ’s headship rather than Adam’s.[93] This not only leads to justification, but the life that stems from it.[94] United with a “spiritual” rather than “fleshy” head is the basis of our future physical resurrection,[95] and a present moral resurrection by which we live the Christian life.

2)We are therefore brought morally/spiritually from death to life. United with Christ, Paul states that our sinful self has died with him. In this he teaches that knowing the penalty for our sin has been taken on the cross should psychologically motivate us to godliness as we consider ourselves dead to the old self that has been dealt with there, and so alive to God.[96][97] in such a way that we receive the firstfruits of that inheritance; the seal of the Spirit in the manner promised within the OT.[98] At this point Paul describes the believer as having been “made alive.”[99] As already seen, such a change must have been present embryonically before faith, but through faith the promises of new circumcised hearts, indwelt by the Spirit, moved to obedience, and engraved with the law,[100] are received. Theologically this discounts the possibility of Spirit baptism some time after conversion, placing it instead at the moment of faith-union, although logically after it. Yet at a deeper dimension, union with Christ also means that we are somehow truly raised with Christ to the heavenly realms

3)Thus regeneration fundamentally deals with the heart as the seat of sin, and so begins the process of total re-creation. As Song puts it; "because corruption stems from the heart it is there that God begins his work of renewal."[101] The Aorist passive “ktisyenta”[102] suggests a completed work "effected by God himself."[103] Through faith in Christ, the Spirit therefore fully re-creates the heart in the image of God.[104] As the heart is the governing seat for the whole person, the result can be described as the "new self"[105] as opposed to the old self of the flesh. By this means, the believer transfers not merely from death to life, but by consequence from blindness to enlightenment and slavery to freedom, as they are enabled to understand, accept, and live by God’s word as a new person.[106]

4)Subsequently God’s word is also more abundantly internalised, making possible a deeper knowledge of the Lord.[107] In Galatians 3v2-4v7 Paul describes this same promised manifestation of the Spirit through faith as the Spirit of adoption. United with the Son, the believer therefore receives the down-payment of his inheritance in such a way that enables him to enjoy his privileges; not only assuring believers of their sonship, but enabling them to relate to and live for their Father.[108] Partnering the objective work of the cross, this reverses the subjective experience of alienation from God that stems from sin.

3. Regeneration and renewal

What then of renewal? The established link between heart and mind is here significant: The sign of a regenerate heart, is a mind set on the Spirit’s desires.[109] Although the “new self” has been “created”[110] and “put on”[111] (both aorist), it is also needs to be “put on” (aorist),[112] “being renewed (present passive) in knowledge according to the image of its creator:”[113] This latter phrase parallels “be renewed (present passive) in the spirit of your mind.”[114] The sense seems to be that once regenerate - i.e. when our hearts have been re-created in the image of God – God gradually changes the "pattern, motivation and direction of our thinking"[115] in conformity with this new self by his word and Spirit; and we are to submit to this process of renewal in putting on the new self of “righteousness and holiness” by realigning our attitudes and actions appropriately.[116] Thus from the heart and through the mind[117] the whole person is being renewed[118] according to the nature of the new self – the likeness of Christ.[119] This renewal is therefore synomnous with glorification;[120] the purpose of God from the foundation of the world[121] that will be consummated at the return of Christ in the resurrection of our bodies.[122] Raised with Christ, the believer therefore receives the firstfruits of the Spirit in the completed re-creation of the heart and the ongoing renewal of the mind and person, until the body itself is renewed at the Parousa, and the re-creation of the whole individual is completed “according to the image of his Son.” Then, the whole of creation will be regenerated with humanity stewarding it rightly, and Christ reigning supreme.[123] The eschatological perspective is important here. Although the heart has been re-created, sin remains whilst the body of flesh remains,[124] discounting perfectionism. This “flesh” terminology may suggest this is so because of habitual sin, especially perhaps in the mind. But it is certainly because of the continuing influence of the world of flesh and the devil.[125] So the regenerate believer groans with the whole creation for its freedom from decay; with the latter being dependent on the former because of the role of humanity over creation.

[Figure 1 : Regeneration within the Ordo-Salutis]

4. Regeneration and biblical theology

Biblical theology clarifies this overall view of regeneration. The doctrine of sin establishes that Old Covenant believers would not have been able to trust the LORD without embryonic regeneration.[126] However, a fuller experience was always a future hope.[127] The rigidity of the law was therefore required only temporarily as external compulsion to the God-ward disposition of embryonic regeneration.[128] Likewise the gospel call externally compels the sinner to trust Christ. However on conversion an internal law and compulsion to godliness is received, making this role of the law unnecessary and enhancing the impact of God’s word in general. The believers of Jesus’ day demonstrated the significance of the transition from the old dispensation of the Spirit to the new. In being raised and exalted to the Father’s side, Jesus received the promised Holy Spirit and poured him out in fuller measure.[129] Only once Jesus had been raised could believers therefore receive the benefits of being raised with him in the baptism of the Holy Spirit.[130] Just as Jesus’ exaltation foreshadows his return,[131] so the firstfruits of the Spirit in this regeneration foreshadow the restoration of all creation.[132] Furthermore, just as the Eden-like language of Canaan foreshadowed the new creation, so the requirement of obedience to the law to enjoying the blessing of the land foreshadowed the necessity of personal regeneration to enjoy this eternal blessing.

Where sin impacts four particular relationships, regeneration therefore reverses its impact: 1)With respect to God, it re-orientates the sinner towards him, eliciting saving faith and enabling the life of sonship. 2)With respect to the self, it re-creates the heart and ultimately brings renewal to the whole individual. 3)With respect to others, it restores relationships in love. 4)It therefore also impacts creation psychologically and socially, but also environmentally and biologically as following the restoration if its stewards, the whole creation itself is finally restored, and "regeneration is summed up in the glorious proclamation from the heavenly throne, 'See, I am making all things new.'"[133]


1. Arminius, James, The writings of James Arminius: Volume 1, translated by James and W.R. Bagnall, (Grand Rapids, Baker Books House, 1977)

2. Berkhof, Louis. Systematic theology, (Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1958)

3. Blocher, Henri. Original sin, (Leicester, IVP, 1997)

4. Calvin, Institutes of Christian religion: Volume 1, Edited by John T. McNeill, Translated and indexed by Ford Lewis Battles, (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press)

5. Dumbrell, W J. Covenant and creation: A theology of the old testament covenants, (Carlisle, Paternoster Press, 1997)

6. Fee, Gordon D, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus: New International Biblical Commentary, (Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1988)

7. Fee, Gordon D. Paul the Spirit and the people of God, (Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996)

8. Gaffin, Jr.R.B. Resurrection and redemption: A study in Pauline soteriology, Faxmile of Th.D for Westminster Theological Seminary, (Michigan, University Microfilms Inc, 1970)

9. Goldsworthy, G. "Regeneration" in New dictionary of biblical theology, edited by T D Alexander and Brian S Rosner, (Leicester, IVP, 2000)

10. Grudem, Wayne. 1 Peter: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, (Leicester, IVP, 1988)

11. Grudem, Wayne. Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine, (Leicester, IVP, 1994)

12. Guhrt, J. “Regeneration” in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Volume 1 (NIDNTT), edited by Colin Brown, (Exeter, Paternoster Press, 1975)

13. Hammond, T.C. In understanding be men: A handbook of Christian doctrine, (Leicester, IVP, 1968)

14. McGrath, Alister (ed). The Christian theology reader, (Oxford, Blackwell Publishers Inc, 1995)

15. Moo, D. The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The epistle to the Romans, (Cambridge, Eerdmans, 1996)

16. Murray, J. The imputation of Adam’s sin. (Philipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co, 1959)

17. Murray, Redemption, (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1961)

18. O'Brien, Peter T. The letter to the Ephesians: The pillar New Testament Commentary, (Leicester, Apollos, 1999)

19. Ovey, M. CD1.1: Lectures, (London, Oakhill Theological College, 2001)

20. Peterson, D G. Possessed by God: A New Testament theology of sanctification and holiness, (Leicester, Apollos, 1995)

21. Reichenback, The grace of God, the will of man, edited by Clark H Pinnock, (Minneapolis, Bethany House Publishers, 1989)

22. Reymond, Dr Robert L. A new systematic theology of the Christian faith, (Tennessee, Thames Nelson Inc, 1998)

23. Song, T. “Heart” in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Volume 1 (NIDNTT), edited by Colin Brown, (Exeter, Paternoster Press, 1975)

24. Thiselton, A.C. “Flesh” in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Volume 1 (NIDNTT), edited by Colin Brown, (Exeter, Paternoster Press, 1975)

25. Toon, Peter. Born again: A biblical and theological study of regeneration, (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1987)

[1] Guhrt, J. “Regeneration” in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Volume 1 (NIDNTT), edited by Colin Brown, (Exeter, Paternoster Press, 1975), p.185

[2] John 3v3-8, 1 John 3-5, 1 Peter 1

[3] 2 Cor 5v17, Eph 2v10, 23-24, Col 2v11ff, 3v9

[4] Genesis 8v21 and 6v5 link the “thoughts of the heart” with the heart itself.

[5] Deut 10v16

[6] Consider also Deut 6v4-6, Jer 4v4

[7] Ezek 36v24ff, Jer 31v34f.

[8] Mtt 15v18-19

[9] Rom 1v24,

[10] Gen 3v6

[11] Song, T. “Heart” in NIDNTT, Op Cit, 1:182

[12] Berkhof, Louis. Systematic theology, (Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1958), p.468

[13] Consider Eph 2v22-24 and 2v1-10 where the state of the heart determines the nature of the “self;” the two are not synomnous, the sense is more that because of the dominance of the heart, its nature can be said to describe the nature of the actual person .

[14] Calvin, Institutes of Christian religion: Volume 1, Edited by John T. McNeill, Translated and indexed by Ford Lewis Battles, (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press), p.248

[15] At this point “man” at least included Adam and Eve.

[16] For a discussion of the degree of our sinfulness and the manner in which the sinful disposition is passed on, see Blocher, Henri. Original sin, (Leicester, IVP, 1997). In terms of its inheritance, at the least, Eph 2v1-3 suggests nature (flesh) and nurture (the depravity of the world and the influence of Satan) to be factors.

[17] Job seems to make this point in 14v4: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?”

[18] Thiselton, A.C. “Flesh” in NIDNTT, Op Cit, 1:680

[19] Eph 2v3. Blocher notes that in Ephesians 1-3, "nature" refers to "ethnic origin, birth, and lineage" as in Gal 2v15, Blocher, Op Cit, p.25

[20] Ibid, p.26-27. Consider also Jesus’ contrast between those born of flesh who cannot see the kingdom, and those born of the Spirit who can, Jn 3v3-8.

[21] Deut 1v39, picking up the language of Gen 1v17, 3v5 and 22

[22] Ps 51v5, Job 14v4, 15v14, 25v4. Possibly also symbolised by the mother's ritual impurity (Lev 12v2ff. Blocher, Op Cit, p.27) and the rite of circumcision under the old covenant.

[23] Rom 3v9ff, cf. Gen 8v21, Ps 14

[24] Rom 7v14-25, 8v5-8, 12v1-2. He therefore uses the two terms both in parallel Phil 4v7, and causally Rom 1v18ff.

[25] Gen 2v17 and 3v1-6

[26] Rom 1v18ff, Eph 4v17ff.

[27] Rom 3v11

[28] Calvin, Op Cit, p.253

[29] Blocher comments that contemporary understanding of humanity as a "psychosomatic unity" confirms such a link, Blocher, Op Cit, p.20

[30] 1 Cor 15v42ff.

[31] Thiselton, Op Cit, p.673

[32] Rom 2v14-16

[33] Rom 8v7-8, cf. Jer 13v23

[34] 1 Cor 2v14-16, Job 14v4. Reichenback expresses the philosophical objection to such total inability: “How can humans be held accountable if they are not free to do good?” Reichenback, The grace of God, the will of man, edited by Clark H Pinnock, (Minneapolis, Bethany House Publishers, 1989), p.280). In response it might be said: 1)That God deemed it just that humanity be tested in Adam, its head (Rom 5v12ff). Adam’s environment was certainly more favourable to our passing this test “in him,” than in being tested on our own merits in a fallen world. The story of Eli and his sons in 1 Sam 2v11-36 patterns the same forensic representation, confirming the validity of this interpretation of Rom 5 and of such representation being a means by which God’s works out his just purposes. 2)That the differing degrees to which we sin are accounted for in the judgement, and in this sense personal responsibility is upheld (Matt 11v21, Rom 2v6). Another argument might be that we will to sin freely. However, we freely will to sin only because we are first descended from Adam and so disposed to do so. It is therefore point 1 that ultimately answers this objection. We are initially condemned to temporal/eternal death not for the sins “done in the body,” but because we sinned in Adam (point 1), it is the degree of this eternal punishment that then depends on the extent to which we willingly sin during our life (point 2).

[35] Gen 3v22-24, cf. Gen 5 for the evidence that sin continued as their descendants also died.

[36] Gen 3v14-19, Rom 8v18-23, 2 Pet 3v7-10

[37] Consider especially the contrast between Eph 2v1 and 5, combining the sense of 2v10 and 4v24. In this sense, although conscience may remain, because sin means imperfection it means a total loss of the “imago dei,” as not to be like God is not to be in his image.

[38] Reformed theology has generally explained moral death as a penal consequence of Adam’s sin on the basis of Romans 5. However, it is not clear that in Romans 5 Paul has this broader sense in mind cf. Moo, D. The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The epistle to the Romans, (Cambridge, Eerdmans, 1996), p.320. Although as has been seen, scripture does see sin as passed on by descent from Adam, Romans 5 seems to stress the imputation rather than the impartation of sin. For a discussion of this, see Murray, J. The imputation of Adam’s sin. (Philipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co, 1959). Nevertheless, there is a judicial component to humanity being handed over and hardened, and the rule of sin from Adam onwards might be seen as an indirect punishment anyway.

[39] Gen 6v7

[40] Gen 6v5b

[41] Gen 6v13

[42] Gen 6v3, 7, 13, 2 Pet 3v5-10

[43] Ovey, M. CD1.1: Creation - Lecture 8, (London, Oakhill Theological College, 2001)

[44] Murray describes regeneration as “the operative grace whereby the person called is enabled to answer the call” as in fulfilment of the Old Testament promises “God effects a change…which is nothing less than a new creation.” Murray, Redemption, (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1961) p.96. He goes on to describe adoption as the work whereby having trusted Christ “they are able to recognise their sonship and exercise the privileges which go with it.” Ibid, p133

[45] Grudem, Wayne. Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine, (Leicester, IVP, 1994), p.738

[46] v13 naturally seems to explain v12 suggesting re-birth proceeds belief, but stressing that it is spiritual and divinely effected rather than physical. If so, it would seem to require a similar interpretation of 3v3-8 which picks up on the same concepts, suggesting that John's re-birth proceeds faith. Compare Bruce, F F. The gospel of John, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983), p.38-39, and Carson, D A. The gospel according to John, (Leicester, IVP, 1991), p.126

[47] 1 Jn 3-5 where being a child of God and being born again are synomnous. In being connected here they must also be connected in John's gospel. However, for John, being "children of God" may not hold Paul's sense of legal adoption at all.

[48] Rom 8v12-17, where receiving the Spirit of adoption brings moral transformation as well as assurance, and links this with the general receipt of the Spirit by Christians v15.

[49] 1 Jn 3v9

[50] 1 Jn 3v23-24

[51] 1 Jn 5v1f.

[52] To say that because 1 John is dealing with assurance this refers simply to persevering faith is possible. But distinguishing saving and persevering faith this way is not consistent with NT theology cf. Col 1v23. How much more assuring is it to see it rightly as saving faith.

[53] Jn 7v37-39, 14v15-21, 26, 15v26, 16v5-15

[54] Jn 3v16, 34-36, 4v13-14 with 7v37-39, 5v24. Some also argue that by describing being born again with the analogy of wind blowing where it pleases in Jn 3v3-8, Jesus implies divine initiative because any preceding faith would conflict with the idea of not being able to discern where he is at work. However, this interpretation turns on that of 1v12-13 (see above, and footnote 48). Jesus' language certainly echos that of Ezek 36v24-27, which seems to be a particularly new covenant work received through faith, cf. Gal 3v14 and below. Nevertheless, the contrast between flesh giving birth to flesh, and Spirit to Spirit does seem to suggest that in the flesh we are unable to contribute to our re-birth.

[55] Gal 3v2, 14, 18-4v7, Eph 1v13-14, cf. Acts 2v38, Ezek 18v31

[56] Gaffin, Jr. R.B. Resurrection and redemption: A study in Pauline soteriology, Faxsmile of Th.D for Westminster Theological Seminary, (Michigan, University Microfilms Inc, 1970), p.198-201 Consider also Col 2v1-13, making the link more explicit v12, and stating that this was when “he forgave us,” which subjectively comes only through faith.

[57] 1 Cor 1v18-2v16, perhaps also 2 Cor 4v6, cf. Acts 16v4

[58] Rom 8v7-8 and 2 Thess 1v8, 1 Cor 12v8-9 and Gal 5v22 where faith post-conversion is attributed to the Spirit, and Rom 1v5, where "the obedience of faith" can be seen as the obedience of faith, rather than the obedience that stems from faith, Moo, Op Cit, p.52

[59] 1 Cor 12v3

[60] Some argue that faith must be given because otherwise salvation would be by works. However, Paul doesn’t seem to see faith as a work of righteousness; in Rom 4 he explicitly seeks to contrast it with such works (Moo, Op Cit, p.262). In Rom 3v27 there is therefore no boasting, not because grace grants faith, but because it grants "equal access" to God on account of faith. (Ibid, p.244) It is only in Rom 9v11ff and 11v5-6 that it becomes clear that faith itself is a gift according to election. Nevertheless, the whole process of being made alive through faith in Eph 2v1-10 is by grace; this must include faith, not just that which comes from faith. Cf. 1 Cor 1v9, 4v7, 2 Cor 1v21-22, 5v18. Titus 3v5 also suggests a sense in which regeneration must precede faith if being saved means justification which comes by faith. This is consistent with the order of 1 Cor 6v11: washed – sanctified – justified. Fee, Gordon D, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus: New International Biblical Commentary, (Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1988), p.205. However, this could refer to a proceeding reception of the Spirit as a down-payment of eternal life and in this sense the means of salvation.

[61] 1 Pet 1v3 remembering that Paul teaches that we are united with Christ in this way through faith, 1 Cor 6v11

[62] 1 Pet 1v2. The sense of 1v22-23 is unclear: It's structure could suggest that re-birth is a finished act of self-purification through faith, described as "obedience to the truth." However, its similarity to 1v2 suggests that v23 is perhaps causal to v22.

[63] Hammond, T.C. In understanding be men: A handbook of Christian doctrine, (Leicester, IVP, 1968), p.138-139

[64] As seen, the usage of regeneration in Tit 3v5 and re-birth in 1 John does seem to encompass the preceding work, but for both Paul and John, the sense of the terminology - i.e. re-creation and the receipt of the Spirit as promised within the OT – focuses on the proceeding work. Thus, while for systematic purposes one might choose to maintain the language of regeneration for the “moment of enlivening” in the preceding work alone, it cannot continue to contain ideas of the full re-creation of the heart in prophetic fulfilment, that Reformed theology has generally associated with it.

[65] Fee, Gordon D. Paul the Spirit and the people of God, (Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), p.82. Consider also Toon: "...the Spirit first empowers the soul to engage in faith and repentance, and then enters that soul with regenerating grace, his own presence. Toon, Peter. Born again: A biblical and theological study of regeneration, (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1987), p.188. C

[66] Rom 10v17

[67] Paul explicitly says that we must "believe in our heart," the very seat of this sin (Rom 10v10).

[68] Acts 16v14

[69] Jn 6v44

[70] Jn 6v65, Mtt 11v27

[71] Jn 6v37, cf. Rom 8v29-30 where God's call is specific to those he predestined, and these are granted salvation.

[72] Jn 6v37, 39, 17v6

[73] Eph 1v3-14

[74] Rom 1v24-32

[75] Rom 1v7-10, 9v18, Mark 4v10-12 cf. Is 6v9-10, 2 Thess 2v9-12, 2 Cor 4v3-4. Two particular ways in which this hardening is effected, seem to be through the manner in which the gospel is proclaimed, and perhaps through the work of Satan.

[76] Rom 11v32, 2 Cor 4v4, 2 Thess 2v11-12, Mark 4v12b cf. Is 6v10, cf. Mtt 11v21 - Unless this statement is just to make Jesus’ point or refers to temporary repentance only, it seems to require these cities to be able repent without an inner work. Otherwise their theoretical action does not really condemn the Jews of Jesus’ day.

[77] Jn 6v63

[78] Jn 6v45, cf. Mtt 11v27, 1 Cor 1-2, Rom 10v20, Deut 29v4, 2 Cor 4v3-6

[79] The degree of illumination necessary would probably depend on the sinner. Thus, two individuals may receive the same illumination from God, with one trusting whilst the other refuses to do so cf. Mtt 1v21. The key point is that God grants an illumination that will be effective for a specific individual only if the individual is one of his elect. Interestingly, 2 Thess 2v14, 1 Pet 1v23, Jam 1v18, Eph 1v13 pick up the sense of being called through the gospel and so re-born through the word. This seems to locate regeneration after faith if the word is to be effective somehow in bringing re-birth, i.e. we respond to its call and so are re-born. If our re-birth was simply a work that enabled us to respond to the call it wouldn’t be true to say that we had actually been re-born through the word.

[80] Rom 8v5 "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit."

[81] Interestingly, illumination is linked to the heart itself, cf. 2 Cor 4v6, Acts 16v4.

[82] 1 Cor 2v14-16, 1 Thess 1v5-6, esp. Rom 8v5b

[83] Rom 8v5b

[84] Rom 9v16ff.

[85] 2 Cor 1v21-22, 2 Cor 3v5

[86] The Christian theology reader, Edited by Alister E. McGrath, (Oxford, Blackwell Publishers Inc, 1995), p.222

[87] Ovey, Op Cit, CD1.1: Creation - Lecture 10

[88] Arminius, James, The writings of James Arminius: Volume 1, translated by James and W.R. Bagnall, (Grand Rapids, Baker Books House, 1977), p.248

[89] This is later explicitly stated by Arminius in the context of salvation, Ibid, p.253 "...many persons resist the Holy Spirit and reject the grace that is offered."

[90] If the alternative “illumination only” concept is accepted, these views are still refuted on the biblical basis that God ensures that this is sufficient and effective in ensuring subsequent faith under the call of the gospel.

[91] Eph 2v1-10, Col 2v12ff, 1 Pet 1v3, see previous discussion of section A.

[92] Eph 2v15, this follows Paul’s description of individual regeneration in 2v1-10.

[93] Rom 5v12ff.

[94] Rom 5v17

[95] 1 Cor 15v42-49

[96] Rom 6v1ff.

[97] Eph 2v1-10

[98] Eph 1v13-14. Seal here has the sense of sealing the individual in his faith-union with Christ and so confirming the certainty of the promised inheritance.

[99] Eph 2v1-10, Col 2v12-13

[100] Deut 30v1-6, Ezek 36v24-27, Jer 31v33

[101] Song, Op Cit, p.183

[102] Eph 4v24

[103] O'Brien, Peter T. The letter to the Ephesians: The pillar New Testament Commentary, (Leicester, Apollos, 1999), p332

[104] Note the same Greek word in 2v10, linking the two passages.

[105] Eph 4v24. Eph 2v10 and 2 Cor 5v17 pick up this completed sense for the "person."

[106] This is the sense of Eph 1v17-20, cf. Rom 6v20-22,

[107] Compare Col 3v16f. and Eph 5v18f. where the “word dwelling” within is paralleled with being “filled with the Spirit,” cf. Jer 31v34, Eph 1v17-23, 4v13

[108] It is the Spirit of adoption that Paul asserts is the same promised Spirit received through faith (Gal 3v14-4v7) cf. Rom 8v12-27

[109] Rom 8v5

[110] Eph 4v24

[111] Col 3v10

[112] Eph 4v24, Col 3v12

[113] Col 3v10

[114] Eph 4v23

[115] Peterson, D G. Possessed by God: A New Testament theology of sanctification and holiness, (Leicester, Apollos, 1995), p.132

[116] Eph 4v24b “in true righteousness and holiness,” this is then worked out in Eph 4v25ff and Col 3v12-17ff.

[117] 2 Cor 4v16, Eph 4v23, Col 3v10, Rom 12v2

[118] This is most explicit in Rom 12v2 where the exhortation is to “be transformed.” Although Paul refers to the heart as the new self where the heart is already recreated, he can also speak of the new self being renewed because as the heart is the centre of government for the person, it therefore describes the whole person as well.

[119] Rom 8v29

[120] 2 Cor 3v18, Rom 8v29-30

[121] Eph 1v4, Rom 8v29

[122] 1 Cor 15

[123] This restored creation and humanity’s enjoyment of it seems to be implied in Matt 19v27-30, cf. Acts 3v19-21 in the context of healing and its implication of physical resurrection, and Rom 8v18-25.

[124] Rom 7v14ff.

[125] Eph 2v1ff.

[126] This is suggested by the broad sense in which Paul talks of the true spiritual nature of circumcision in Rom 2v29, cf. Ps 37v31, Ps 40v8, Is 51v7 (God's teaching within the heart), Ps 51v10, 17, Ps 73v1, 13, Prov 22v11 (the clean/pure hearts of the righteous), Is 57v15 (God reviving hearts), Jer 3v10, 4v4, 9v25-26, Ez 44v9 (the call to circumcise the heart).

[127] Deut 30v1-6, Jer 31v33, Ez 36v24-27. The new covenant being one of "qualitative" newness: Dumbrell, W J. Covenant and creation: A theology of the old testament covenants, (Carlisle, Paternoster Press, 1997), p.175.

[128] Also serving the purpose of uniting unbelieving Israel until the Messiah came.

[129] Acts 2v33

[130] Consider the link between Acts 1v4-5 and Pentecost. The language of baptism picks up the pouring out sense of the promised Spirit.

[131] Acts 1v11

[132] Acts 3v19-21

[133] Goldsworthy, G. "Regeneration" in New dictionary of biblical theology, edited by T D Alexander and Brian S Rosner, (Leicester, IVP, 2000), p.723. cf. 2 Pet 3v13, Rev 21v5. Goldsworthy also comments that this is the fulfilment of "the original generation, or creation, of the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1-2, which degenerated because of human sin."