All people are sinners; therefore all are spiritually dead and unable to give themselves spiritual life. They are cut off from God, with no hope of salvation through anything they might plan or do. God, however, can save them from this hopeless condition by forgiving their sins, giving them new life and restoring them to a right relationship with himself. This experience is called the new birth, or regeneration, and is the work of the Spirit of God within the individual. It takes place when people humbly submit to Jesus Christ and trust him for forgiveness, salvation and life (John 1:12-13; 3:3-6; Eph 2:1,5; Titus 3:5).

To be regenerated means, in other words, to be born anew, to be spiritually re-created. This is not something people themselves can do. It is entirely the work of the merciful and sovereign God (John 1:13; 3:5; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; cf. Ps 51:10; Ezek 11:19). Without it sinners remain in their hopeless state and are incapable of experiencing spiritual life (John 3:5-6). Through it they become children of God and enter his kingdom (John 1:12-13; 3:3,5; see also ADOPTION). Regenerated people are new people (2 Cor 5:17; 1 Peter 2:2; cf. Gal 6:15). They have new life inwardly, characterized by renewed minds that govern all his thinking and attitudes (Rom 12:2; Eph 4:23- 24; cf. Ezek 36:26-27; Jer 31:33). They also have new life outwardly, characterized by loving behaviour towards others, hatred of sin and victory over the world’s temptations (Col 3:10,12-13; 1 John 2:29; 4:7; 5:4,18; cf. 1 Cor 5:7-8).

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