What Is Regeneration?

I’ve posted before about how we’re catechizing our kids, mainly using The Baptist Catechism edited by John Piper. I’m not sure that we’ll learn all the questions, though. For instance, I’m not certain that the question, “May all men make use of Scripture,” with the answer that all men are not only permitted but required to make use of the Bible, is really relevant to our day. I think this reflects the needed emphasis in the reformation era that everyone can read the Bible—against the Roman Catholic opposition to lay people reading the Bible for themselves. So we’ll probably skip that question and go on to others that I do think are worth learning, devoting ourselves as well to learning Bible verses (and all of those are relevant!).

Some other good topics don’t show up in The Baptist Catechism. I have in mind the lack of a good definition of Regeneration in this particular catechism. There is, however, a good definition of Regeneration in Tom Nettles’ book, Teaching Truth, Training Hearts, and I am trying to drill this one into my son’s brain. I want him to be able to say it now, even though he can’t understand the concepts. Someday he’ll comprehend these things, and I pray he embraces them.

It goes like this:

Q: “What is Regeneration?”

A: “Regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit, by which the heart is renewed, so that it turns from the love of sin to the love of holiness, and from enmity and disobedience to the love and service of God” (Tom Nettles, Teaching Truth, Training Hearts, 24).

I would add some Scripture references to this, such as John 3:3–8; 6:63; Eph 2:1–5; Col 2:11–13; Tit 3:4–7; James 1:18; 1 Pet 1:3; 1:23.

In his new booket, Family Worship, Don Whitney quotes Matthew Henry, who said of family worship: “Here the reformation must begin.”

May the Lord regenerate our children, may he spur us to prayerfully catechize them, and may the reformation begin.

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  1. Although I agree with the definition, what is always overlooked is when does regeneration happen. Many believe it happens at the point of receiving Christ. But the truth if the matter that it happens sometime before that ever happens. The dead cannot act on their own. They must be made alive first in order to respond to God’s call. We were made alive in Christ while we’re still transgressors.

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