Meaning of Regeneration in the Bible
God has made provision for us to be born again and regenerated through the new birth - in order to give us His life living within. But why would we - the greatest and highest and most wonderful of all earth's creatures - why would we need regeneration? Because a disaster that has stricken each of us has rendered us uninhabitable by God.
You and I are by nature from birth uninhabitable to God. We were born with a heart that was emitting a deadly radiant far worse than the gamma rays of that exploded reactor; we were producers of the element most hated by God in the Universe, which is called sin.
The presence of sin within each of us made us completely uninhabitable to God. He could never live within us because He is holy, and we are sinful.
Regeneration is when God comes down to the site of the worst disaster in the universe - us sinners - and completely removes the deadly, toxic elements at the core of our being.
From Easton's Bible Dictionary, Regeneration is only found in Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5. This word literally means "new birth." The Greek word so rendered (palingenesia) is used by classical writers with reference to the changes produced by the return of spring. In Matthew 19:28 the word is equivalent to the "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). In Titus 3:5 it denotes that change of heart elsewhere spoken of as a passing from death to life (1 John 3:14); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17); being born again (John 3:5); a renewal of the mind (Romans 12:2); a resurrection from the dead (Ephesians 2:6); a being quickened (Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5).
Significance of Regeneration
According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Regeneration implies not merely an addition of certain gifts or graces, a strengthening of certain innate good qualities, but a radical change, which revolutionizes our whole being, contradicts and overcomes our old fallen nature, and places our spiritual center of gravity wholly outside of our own powers in the realm of God's causation.
It is the will of God that all men be made partakers of this new life (1 Timothy 2:4) and, as it is clearly stated that some fall short of it (John 5:40), it is plain that the fault thereof lies with mankind. God requires all men to repent and turn unto Him (Acts 17:30) before He will or can affect regeneration. Conversion, consisting of repentance and faith in Christ, is, therefore, the human response to the offer of salvation which God makes. This response gives occasion to and is synchronous with the divine act of renewal (regeneration). The Spirit of God enters into union with the believing, accepting the spirit of man. This is fellowship with Christ (Romans 8:10; 1 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:3).
Regeneration is a "supernatural work of the Holy Spirit" by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5). Regeneration occurs when God sovereignly acknowledges a person's belief in the gospel. Regeneration is the most dramatic change in a new believer; when we are "born again" we enter the family of God.
The gift of salvation is about Jesus who died to take us who are dead in our sins, bring us to life; and welcome us as family members, full of endless life and brand new - that's regeneration!
Taken from "The Miracle of Salvation: Uninhabitable to Inhabited by God" by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).