Regeneration and ConversionBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, November 15, 2009.
REGENERATION & CONVERSION I. It is commonly assumed that regeneration and conversion are referring to the one and the same thing: the change of man's inward nature which brings him out of death in trespasses and sins into a state of grace and spiritual life. II. Definitions. A. Regenerate: “In religious use; to cause to be born again in a spiritual sense; to invest with a new and higher spiritual nature.” B. Convert: “To turn in position or direction. To turn (a thing or oneself) about, to give a different (or specific) direction to.” III. Regeneration refers to the inward change of God's elect. A. The soul and spirit are within. JOB 14:22; 1CO 2:11. B. God's design in salvation is to first change only the inward parts. JER 31:33-34; EZE 11:19-20; ROM 7:22; 1JO 3:2. C. This regeneration is based upon sheer mercy and is exclusive of our works. 1PE 1:3; TIT 3:5; HEB 8:10-12. 1. Mercy: “Forbearance and compassion shown by one person to another who is in his power and who has no claim to receive kindness; kind and compassionate treatment in a case where severity is merited or expected.” 2. Work: “Something that is or was done; what a person does or did...” 3. Nothing that the sinner does gives him a claim to this kindness. D. Noting the exclusion of human works, regeneration is also called: 1. a new birth or being born again. JOH 3:3, 5-8 c/w JOH 1:13. 2. a begetting. 1JO 5:1. 3. a quickening. EPH 2:1; JOH 5:21; 6:63; COL 2:13. 4. a creation. EPH 4:24; 2CO 5:17; 2CO 4:6. 5. a calling. 1PE 5:10; 2TI 1:9. E. This inward change (regeneration) is effectually wrought by the VOICE of the Son of God calling the dead to life. JOH 5:25; 10:27-28; ROM 8:30. 1. It is HIS voice, not that of the gospel preacher. 2. It is the same power that resurrected the Savior's dead body. EPH 1:19-20. 3. No preacher had a hand in that. IV. Conversion involves hearing, understanding, believing and obeying the published word of God (Scripture). PSA 19:7; 51:13; MAT 13:15. A. Understanding, believing and obeying the gospel is outside of the abilities of a natural, unregenerate man. JOH 8:43-47; 1CO 2:14; ROM 8:7-8 c/w 1JO 3:22-23. B. Conversion demands repentance. ACT 3:19. 1. Repentance is a work. ACT 26:20; MAT 12:41 c/w JON 3:10. 2. Remember, regeneration is not based upon works. TIT 3:5. 3. Therefore, conversion cannot be the very same thing as regeneration. V. A person may be a regenerated child of God, yet not converted. A. Peter was in need of conversion. LUK 22:32. 1. Peter had previously confessed Jesus as Christ. MAT 16:16. Regeneration and Conversion 11-15-09 Page 1 of 3 2. One who does such IS born of God. 1JO 5:1. B. Brethren in Christ may need converting. JAM 5:19-20. C. John the Baptist was invested with the Holy Ghost before he was even born. LUK 1:15, 41, 44. 1. The indwelling of the Spirit of God IS regeneration and proof of sonship! GAL 4:6; ROM 8:9, 14. 2. It is the earnest of full salvation. ROM 8:11. D. Cornelius was a regenerate man before hearing the gospel, which is the instrument of conversion. ACT 10. 1. He genuinely feared God, which a dead sinner (a natural man only) will not do. ACT 10:2 c/w ROM 3:18. 2. He earnestly prayed and his prayers were accepted of God, which cannot be said of the wicked. ACT 10:2-4 c/w PSA 10:4; 1PE 3:12. 3. Before Peter got to him, Cornelius had been working righteousness. ACT 10:35. a. As such, he was already righteous before God. 1JO 3:7. b. As such, he was already born of God. 1JO 2:29. E. Paul had received the gracious inward call before he ever heard the gospel. GAL 1:15-16. 1. God did not appear to offer His Son to Paul, nor to place His Son in Paul, but to REVEAL His Son in Paul and convert him into His minister. ACT 26:16. 2. Like Jacob, Paul had been unwittingly resisting his own Lord. GEN 32:24-32. F. Paul spoke of certain unconverted Gentiles who were keeping the law of God from a lively inward nature. ROM 2:13-15. 1. They had “not the law.” The law under consideration was the written revelation which, by contrast, the Jews had (but mostly disobeyed). ROM 2:23-24; 3:1-2. 2. The law of God is the instrument of conversion. PSA 19:7. 3. By their noble actions they manifested the fact that God had written His laws in their heart! v.15. 4. Therefore, they were beneficiaries of the new covenant of cancelled sins and so were regenerate. HEB 8:10-12 c/w COL 2:13. VI. Clearly, regeneration and conversion are not the very same thing. A. Conversion requires the gospel. B. The unregenerate cannot receive the gospel. C. Regeneration PRECEDES conversion by the gospel. D. Regeneration occurs in spite of conversion by the gospel. E. Regeneration imparts life and immortality. F. Conversion reveals that a person has life and immortality. 2TI 1:9-10. G. Conversion gives men assurance that they are God's elect in possession of eternal life. 1TH 1:4-6; 1JO 5:13. H. Conversion brings a supplemental salvation to God's elect, cleaning up their defiled record and moving them from the darkness of error unto walking in Christ's light. 2TI 2:10; ACT 3:19; 1JO 1:3-9.