This is part 18 of the ongoing blog-series on the New Birth.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
As God performs the work of the new birth in the soul of a man, that sinner never remains the same. In fact, that sinner, from that moment on, is eternally changed. When God works in a man he transforms that man. When God grants the new birth he changes the way of life. He is a newly transformed man — entirely. Or, to use Paul’s words: “he is a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17).
In speaking of the results of the new birth, I want to show how regeneration transforms a person. In a sense, this discussion on the transformation speaks of the sanctification process rather than the monergistic regeneration act of God. Nevertheless, the two always go together. When God regenerates a person, that inevitably leads to transformation, or, what we may call sanctification.
1) An INTERNAL transformation. Just as a surgery takes place on the inside of a person so the work of regeneration occurs on the inside of a person. Regeneration transforms the whole person. God’s life that He gives to dead souls happens on the inside of a man. It will, over time, inevitably affect his conduct [=sanctification] but it is an invisible, internal, soul-work.
2) A COMPLETE transformation. The new birth that comes from God transforms the soul entirely. God removes the entire old heart and replaces it with a radically new and spiritually alive heart. Salvation is not a partial work of God. Nor is it a potential offer. Regeneration completely transforms the person because God’s imparting of life is a complete, instantaneous, miraculous, supernatural, and effective act of sovereign grace.
3) An ETERNAL transformation. God gives life and never revokes that life. There has never been a person who has received the new birth who has lost that salvation. Regeneration always is one-sided. It takes a man from death to life. But never can a man, at a later point, go from life back to death. The transformation work of God to the soul is an eternal work. God has caused His people to be born again to a living hope (1 Pet 1:3) in order to “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet 1:4). Peter affirms that this life that comes from God is as eternal as God Himself is. It is as protected as God is Himself trustworthy. None who truly have been born again can lose, forfeit, revoke, or fall from this regeneration state. It is an eternal and transforming work in the soul.
4) An EVIDENT transformation. Regeneration is divine heart-surgery. He removes the old heart and replaces it with a new heart. It’s internal, invisible, supernatural and instantaneous. It will manifest itself as the believer carefully observes (obeys) God’s ordinances (Ezek 36:27).
5) A PROGRESSIVE transformation. The true work of God in salvation (regeneration/the new birth) will certainly and gloriously transform the person’s life. He will progressively grow in holiness, walk in Christlikeness. He is positionally in Christ and he’ll progressively mature in his practice of Christlikeness. The work of God on the soul of a man changes his life. Regeneration always produces sanctification. Sanctification is always the fruit of the new birth.