Q&A: The Spirit's Work of Regeneration

The Spirit's Work of Regeneration

Is regeneration solely an act of the Holy Spirit?

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Answer

Regeneration is solely the work of the Holy Spirit. We as unbelievers regenerated by the Spirit, we add nothing to the Spirit's work. Jesus emphasizes the importance of being born again, of being regenerated in John 3:3 when he says to Nicodemus you must be born from above, or born again. The presupposition, the background for Jesus' statement is that Nicodemus, like all of us, is lost in sin, is incapable of doing anything to desire God, to make the first move toward salvation, to change our basic orientation. And so, it's the Holy Spirit who works alone to remove that heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh, to remove that old nature, the old identity and put in its place a new nature, a new identity. We can't possibly cooperate with the Spirit in that miraculous work. We can't help the Spirit or aid the Spirit to change our basic status or disposition with God. So, the Spirit works alone, works powerfully, miraculously without our help to cause us to be regenerated or born again.

Answer by Dr. Gregg R. Allison

Dr. Gregg R. Allison is professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.