The Holy Spirit And Regeneration
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 2 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)
John 3:1-7, "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto the, Ye must be born again."
Perhaps no term has been used more carelessly and lightly in our generation that the term, "born again." Politicians and statesmen claim to have been born again. They drink alcoholic beverages, participate in sensuous dancing, are interviewed by pornographic magazines and deny the Scripture concerning the woman's place in society. Athletes speak of being born again and in the next breath grant an interview with a pornographic magazine. Entertainers talk about being born again, but with their talents they lure customers into nightclubs where they can drink and live lives that are profane and godless! Singers talk about being born again and then participate in a rock concert which not only defiles God but betrays decency. It is time for the believer to take a sane and Scriptural look at the new birth and the relationship that the Holy Spirit has with being born again!
1. Being born again means being born anew. John 3:7. The word "again" in this verse comes from a Greek word which means, "from the first," or "from the beginning." Actually it means, "the beginning born in you." Revelation 22:13 tells us Who the Beginning is: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Jesus is the beginning! When a person is born again, the "Beginning" is born in him!
2. The new birth is not a change of nature. It is not the old nature changing into a new nature.
3. The new birth is not the beginning of a new nature. It is the One Who is the Beginning entering a person. This is why Paul could say, "Christ in me, the hope of glory." Being born again is not a new nature being begun; it is the nature of Christ Himself entering into us as we are "born from the Beginning" or "have the Beginning born in us."
4. Being born again is the coming of a divine nature. Somebody says, "I am a new man." This does not do an injustice to the Scripture, but it is not exactly accurate. Our actions, to be sure, are different, but what has happened is that the very nature of Christ has entered into us. We have been born from the first!
5. This means eternity is born in the new convert. The Bible speaks of eternal life. John 3:15, "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." The Bible also speaks of everlasting life in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." This eternal life is actually the Eternal One, Who was without beginning and ending, coming into our lives. Eternal means, "without beginning or ending." the "I Am" has joined the "I become"; the Eternal has joined the temporal. This is not that nature which was born at physical birth joining up with a new nature that is born at conversion. It is that nature that was born at physical birth joining up with the eternal nature of Christ! Now, to be sure, that new life is NEW TO US, and Paul said in II Corinthians 5:17, we are new creatures, or better still, a new creation, but that which has entered us is really that Person Who is the beginning and the ending.
Someone may say, "I have a new car." That doesn't mean the new car was made the minute he got in it or paid for it; it already existed, but it was new to him. A family moves into a house and they say, ""We have a new house." The truth is the house didn't come into existence when they moved in; it was simply new to them. Hence, the new nature is news to us, but in reality, it is the eternal nature of Christ Himself living in us. This miracle of His coming into us and regenerating us is performed by the Holy Spirit. John 3:5, 6, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
Light is given to this truth in Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." The key word inn this verse is "let." In other words, we are to "allow" the mind of Christ to come into us. Though this occasion changes us, it is not the beginning of the mind of Christ. The only thing new is that His mind has entered into us. That little word "let" is one of the most important words in the Bible. God has so much for us if we will "let" Him do what He wills. Romans 12:1 explains this, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." The word "present" or "yield" carries the same connotation as the word `let.'" God will do His work in us if we will LET HIM.
6. The warfare then is really the old nature against Jesus. Certainly one does not do an injustice to the Scripture when he talks about the old nature fighting with the new nature, but in reality, since that new nature is Jesus in us, we are really fighting the Son of God Himself when we "do our own thing," go our own way and go contrary to the will of God. When the Christian observes a lustful television program, it is Jesus Whom he fights. When he listens to rock music, it is Jesus Whom he fights. When he attends the movie or theater, it is Jesus Whom he fights.
When one puts his faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit, in response to that faith, brings Him Who was from the beginning into the believer's life, he is not must a new creature, nor is he simply enjoying the creating of a new nature; rather, he is having the Beginning born in him. That Beginning is Jesus. Eternity is joining time. The "I Am" is joining the "I become." The Everlasting is joining the temporal. What a motivation this is for the believer to yield himself to that Christ Who lives in him, as the Holy Spirit has wrought the amazing work of regeneration! This is amplified in Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Notice the words, "I am crucified with Christ." In a mysterious sense, since the Eternal dwells in me, I was IN HIM at Calvary. It would not be improper then to say, "I created with Him, I was tried with Him, I was condemned with Him, I was crucified with Him, I arose with Him.' What a truth! What a salvation! What a Saviour!
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