Terms Describing the New Birth
Meaning: Zwopoiew is the combination of zwo meaning alive and poiew meaning make, do, or work. Thus, it is to make alive. The KJV is “quicken”. (A related term is ζωογονέω ,meaning to keep or preserve alive - 1Tim 6:13, Luk 17:33, Acts 7:19)
Key Uses (Soteriologic only)
All three persons of the Godhead are responsible for making men spiritually alive.
John 5:21 "For just as the Father raises the dead and agives them life, even so bthe Son also gives life to whom He wishes.
Note the “to whom He wishes”. No doubt about who decides these matters. Unfortunately, the translation “gives them life” softens the preferred “makes them alive” used with both the Father and the Son.
The Son’s making alive is modelled after the Father’s (“just as…even so…also”. They are co-life makers.
John 6:63 "aIt is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; bthe words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
The Spirit is now added as a life maker.
An obvious assumption of being made alive is that the objects of this action are spiritually dead.
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, "aA FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, bwho gives life to the dead and 1ccalls into being dthat which does not exist.
All doubts about whether we contribute to this transformation are erased.
Reference is to Gen 17:5 - God making childless Abraham the father of nations when he had no legitimate heirs. God is described as “the-making-the-dead-alive-and-calling-the-non-existent into-existence God”.
The question of keeping the law is non-germane to the question of being made ale spiritually.
Galatians 3:21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? aMay it never be! For bif a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness 1would indeed have been 2based on law.
Because the law has no power to make lie, it is impotent to impart righteousness! How foolish to depend on works righteousness (keeping the law or doing good things) to please the righteous God!
Summary: God makes alive spiritually those who are spiritually dead. John 5:21
Spiritual new birth parallels a physical resurrection from the dead. By divine power we pass from spiritual death to spiritual life eternally. By nature of the case (we are dead), we do not contribute to being made alive.
Meaning: The word for born again, anagennaw, means simply to beget, bring forth, to be born (gennaw) coupled with ana, up, anew, or back; thus, to be born anew or from above.
Anagennaw, only used twice in NT…
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Being born again moves us “into” the domain of hope! And the intermediate agency of the new birth is the resurrection.
1 Peter 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
Here the intermediate agency of the new birth is the Word. And the new birth is something done to us – perfect passive participle
But gennaw used numerous times with salvific meaning…
Most the following uses are with ek out of; demonstrates that source is always outside of us
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of (ἐκ) blood nor of (ἐκ) the will of the flesh nor of (ἐκ) the will of man, but (alla) of (ἐκ) God.
V 13 changes the way we look at salvation – the mystery of the new birth is always traced back to God, never man.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
“Born” gennaw is used 8x in these verses.
“Born again” in vs 3,7 is gennaw meaning born plus anwqen which means from above or from beginning.
Both the Spirit (5,8) and the Word ( v 5 where water = Word) are identified as sources of the new birth
1 Corinthians 4:15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
“Became your father” = gennaw; shows the role of the gospel and the the gospel messenger (Paul).
1 John 2:29; 3:9;4:7; 5:1,4,18 show that the new birth results in tangible godly traits and acts while living here on earth.
Summary: The consequence or outward manifestation of being spiritually made alive is being born again. 1 Peter 1:3
So, being born again refers to the impartation of new life rather than to the initial act of being made alive.
Meaning: The synonym, ne,oj, denotes the new primarily in reference to time, the young, recent; whereas this term, kaino,j, denotes the new primarily in reference to quality, the fresh, unworn. This concept is paired with the term creation (ktisij).
Uses: The two terms, new and creation only appear together in two passages:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
This is a statement of fact, not a possibility. Speaks to the Lordship salvation controversy.
Galatians 6:15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
In context, the concept of becoming a new creation overrides any ethical, cultural, or national differences and being a new creation is traced back to the cross!
Two other helpful passages employing “creation” to describe believers are:
Ephesians 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Contrast between “old self” in v 22 and “new self’ in v 24 (in both vs “self” is man anqrwpoj). Note that in vs 24 the “new man” is identified literally as “the one created ktizw according to God in righteousness…” The admonition to put off the old man and put on the new man is driven by the purpose of God’s creating us as new men (compare Col 3:8-10). In other words, we are to be who we are!
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
“New” does not appear here. But, we are God’s made thing poi,hma) and God created ( ktizw) us with the idea that our lives would be different (walking in good works).
Summary: Christians become new creatures as result of being born again. 2 Corinthians 5:17
As far as God is concerned, he has destroyed the old nature and made us into a completely new man. The idea is a totally new creation in contrast to the previous. We become something that we were not; something that did not previously exist.
Meaning: Paliggenesia carries the basic meaning of to create again or restore to original form. It is built from the word again (pallin) and birth (genesij noun form of gennaw see previous) – Friberg 20359. Thus, the concept if to be restored to a previous status.
Use (2x in NT)
An eschatological use:
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when athe Son of Man will sit on 1His glorious throne, byou also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
This refers to the future restoration of the material creation to perfection at the time of the millennial kingdom (spoken of in Rom 8:22 and Rev 21), probably to the approximate condition of the time of Adam.
A soteriological use:
aHe saved us, bnot on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but caccording to His mercy, by the dwashing of regeneration and erenewing by the Holy Spirit,
Three key prepositions: he saved: not out of (ek) our righteous works; but (avlla) according to (kata) mercy; through (dia) washing of regeneration and renewing of Holy Spirit.
So, washing of regeneration nearly = renewal of HS. Thus, this suggests a moral and spiritual restoration to the the pre-fall state or something similar. This begins with the indwelling of the HS (renewal of which the HS is the subject (subjective genitive) and is completed in glory.
Summary: Regeneration recalls believers new birth and anticipates their future glorification. Titus 3:5
Regeneration is an eschatological term that refers to the restoration to the pre-fall status that takes place at Glorification.
However, the term is also salvific.
However, regeneration has been co-opted as theological language to roughly describe the radical concept of the new birth. From a theological standpoint, being made alive or being born again and regeneration may occur simultaneously, but they are not identical. Perhaps it is best to view regeneration as the term that incorporates the entirely of the mystery of the new birth under one umbrella.
Conclusion to New Birth: The new birth is the sovereign act of God whereby He transforms spiritually dead enemies into spiritually living family members and guarantees their future home in heaven.