The Necessity of Personal Regeneration

Because of Jesus' sacrificial death and glorious resurrection from dead, God's future new creation ("the Regeneration"—Mt. 19:28) has erupted in the midst of this old creation (John 11:25-26; 1 Cor. 15:20-23). Jesus died in our Adamic flesh and rose again as the Second Adam, the firstborn from the dead and the head of God's new humanity (Rom. 5:12ff.; 1 Cor. 15:45-49). In Jesus, Israel has died and been raised from the dead (Ezek. 37; Eph. 2:11-22; Col. 2:11ff.). All who are in Christ by faith are the true Israel of God, which is the Christian Church (Gal. 3:26-4:31, 6:11-16).

Because the world has been born again in Christ, every single person must be born again by the Spirit of God (Jn. 3:3; WCF 10). Since all people apart from Christ are born spiritually dead in sins and trespasses, all must be born again as a part of God's new creation in Christ (Eph. 2:1-10). All who have received generation in Adam must be regenerated in Jesus, the new Adam (Jn. 3:4-6). Those who are still in Adam, under Adam's curse, cannot inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:16-25). Those who are still animated by and under the power of Adam's flesh, must be born again by the Spirit of God to walk in the newness of Christ's resurrection life (Rom. 6:1-6; WCF 13).

Baptism is the sacrament which signifies and confers the Spirit's regenerating work of new birth (Tit. 3:5), but baptism alone cannot accomplish this work apart from saving in faith in Christ as He offers Himself in baptism (Mk. 16:16). It is usually not possible for anyone to know the exact moment or means of the Spirit's regenerating work (Jn. 3:8), but it will eventually become evident whether or not this work has taken place (Jn. 15:1-6; 1 Jn. 3:10-15).

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