It is always surprising to me how so many “scholars” will do all kinds of mental, spiritual and religious gymnastics in order to try to prove something that is inherently improvable.

The attempt to make 1John 5:1 state that regeneration precedes faith is just such an exercise in futility. There is nothing in the Greek that requires a specific ORDER of the two factors mentioned by John. The ORDER must be determined by the NATURAL understanding of the passage, AND on what the rest of Scripture teaches on that order.

1 JOHN 5:1

Verse 1a
Statement of salvation status

  1. Whoever believes: This is a present active participle of the verb, pisteuo with the
    adjective, PAS (all, every).
    A. The present tense with the participle expresses a CURRENT status or disposition or attitude. It is DESCRIBING the status of the person’s attitude toward Christ. In this case, it is the CONDITION of having believed in Christ at a previous point in the person’s life.
    B. It is basically saying, “every one who IS a believer.”
        The focus is NOT on the act of believing, but on the CONDITION of having
        believed already.

C. The claim that this person who “believes” has PREVIOUSLY (before faith) been born again is grasping at a straw that stands alone contrary to what the rest of Scripture proclaims.


D. Attempt to prove that this order is the correct order is found at two other occurrences of the present active participle of a verb in the book of first John.
1. 1 John 4:7, “and everyone who loves has been born out from God.”
Here, the present participle of LOVE obviously comes after the person has been born out from God. This is because of the NATURAL order of character reflection (love) and salvation. Salvation must occur before the believer can grow and radiate Christ’s character.
But the intent here is not to establish that order, but to simply indicate the character reflection that should come from the person who has been born again.

2. 1 John 2:29, “you know that everyone who practices righteousness has been born
out from Him.”
Again, there is no intent to establish any ORDER here. It simply shows us that one of
the characteristics of the believer (the one who has been born from God) is to practice

E. To restate, if one claims that the order is regeneration and then faith, then that POTENTIAL understanding must be compared with the rest of Scripture. And what will be demonstrated in the following pages is that Scripture in its entirety proclaims faith as the RESPONSE to God’s gospel message (calling, drawing, wooing, invitation), and that regeneration is God’s ACT in response to man’s faith.

  1. That Jesus: The emphasis is on the humanity of Jesus. It is the humanity of Jesus that had to die on the cross and bear the sins of the world.
    He rendered HIS SOUL as a guild offering. Isaiah 53:10.
  1. Is the Christ: the verb, eimi as a present indicative states the OFFICIAL STATUS of Jesus as the anointed one sent from God to accomplish the plan of redemption.
    1. Christ is CHRISTOS, and focuses on the divine commission as the MESSIAH of God. The focus is on His divinity. By definition it involves all the information summarized at Luke 24:44.
      ”All things which are written about Me in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms.”
    1. At 1John 4:15, the issue of identification revolves around Jesus as “the Son of God.”
    1. This of course is the required response upon hearing the message of the gospel.
      Acts 10:43, “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name every one who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
      Acts 16:31, in answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved,” Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

4. Has been born: This is the verb, gennao, as  a perfect passive indicative.
    It states the RESULT of faith; the condition that comes about AFTER the person
    believes in Christ as Savior.
   A. It is the condition of relationship through having been born into the family of
        God, and as a result of this “new birth,” having been given new spiritual life
        which is designated as EVERLASTING LIFE.
    B. John 3:16, “Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
        The pattern is, to believe and then receive everlasting life.


5. out from God: The preposition, EK, indicates the source and the mechanics.
    At John 1:12-13, John contrasts three impotent attempts by man to acquire relationship with God with the only potent mechanics, which is God Himself.

JOHN 1:12
A. But as many as received Him: This is the volitional expression of ACCEPTING
    the person and work of Christ as God’s provision for salvation. The genuineness of
    acceptance is then indicated by personal TRUST or FAITH in Christ.
    “That is, even to those who believe in His name.”
B. Receiving/believing results in being GIVEN something. “To them He gave the authority to become children of God.” This is the status of relationship with God that comes about through the new birth, or what is called, REGENERATION.

C. It is the same order that is seen everywhere in Scripture. Faith comes first and then comes regeneration. Yes the ACT of giving spiritual life is BY God, but that act is in response to the choice that man makes to believe in Christ.

D. Nicodemus asked, “HOW (by what means) can these things OCCUR?”
In other words, this is the same question asked by the Philippian jailer, “What must I do to be saved?”
The answer is the same in both cases. Paul told the jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
Jesus told Nicodemus, “The Son of Man must be lifted up so that whoever believes in Him may have everlasting life.” Everlasting life IS the new spiritual life that results from being born again. And that life is provide by God to those who will believe.
In other words, Nic asked, how can these things you are talking about (“you must be born again”) come about.
Jesus answered, “Whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus equates the concept of being born again with the possession of everlasting life.
And the promise and the order is repeated at John 3:16.

E. Accordingly, all statements to the effect that those who believe have everlasting life (or “eternal” life, if that term is preferred) must be understood as faith being the basis for the possession of the life. John 3:36; 5:24; 6:40, 47 (54); 21:31; 1 Timothy 1:16.

F. Continuing at John 1:13, John writes that relationship with God, that is, BECOMING a child of God, is NOT accomplished by the work of man.
Who were born:  This is the same verb that we have at 1John 5:1. Here it is an aorist passive indicative plus the negative. The aorist tense indicates a specific POINT of time that the new birth occurs. The passive voice indicates that the person RECEIVES the impartation of new life from a source outside of himself. The fact that a SOURCE outside of himself is required is indicated by the preposition EK, just as we saw at 1John 5:1, “out from God.”
The NEGATIVE (ouk) indicates that the first 3 sources do NOT accomplish the new birth.
1. Not out from blood: This refers to heredity. The idea that blood relationship makes one acceptable to God. The Jews believed that because they were Abraham’s children they were automatically accepted by God and possessed relationship with God.
The new SPIRITUAL birth is not realized based on human genetics.
2. Not out from the will of the flesh: This refers to man’s PERSONAL and INDIVIDUAL attempts to acquire relationship with God through the human strength and religious feelings of the SIN NATURE (the flesh). This includes ideas that one can be GOOD or keep THE or “a” law in order to be right with God.
Romans 8:3, “for what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh.”

      3. Nor out from the will of man:  This refers to what man devises COLLECTIVELY
      as some system of salvation or attempt to realize relationship with God.
      This refers to organized religion, philosophies and “isms.”
      4. But OUT FROM God: God is the only one who can accomplish the new birth.
      But God can only accomplish it if man will do what God ASKS OF HIM – and that is
      to believe in Christ FIRST.

           F. Regeneration is accomplished by God after man FIRST  -

               1. HEARS the gospel: Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes out from HEARING,
                   and hearing through the word of Christ.”
                   1Peter 1:23, “since you have been born again, not through seed which is
                    perishable (some HUMAN system of salvation), but imperishable – through the
                   living and abiding Word of God . . . and this is the word which was
                   “evangelized” to you (the verb is euangelidzo, proclaimed, announced).
                2. And THEN believes: John 6:47, “He who believes has everlasting life.”
                    John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life.”



1. Definition: Regeneration is the spiritual birth (born again) that gives you spiritual life and a new relationship with God as His child.

2. The need for regeneration:

A. Ephesians 2:1, dead in sin = spiritual death and requires new life.
B. John 8:44, child of the devil (This requires a change in relationship)
C. Therefore, it is necessary: John 3:3, 5, "you must be born again."

3. The origin of the New birth is from God. Regeneration (the new birth) is actually our entrance into God's family and plan of salvation and is based on God's character.

A. Sovereignty: James 1:18 and 2 Pet. 3:9
B. Love and mercy: Eph. 2:4-5, "He made us alive."

4. Provision: Made available through the redemption work of Christ on the cross. Col. 2:13-14; John 3:14-15.

5. Message: The word of God provides the good news concerning the new birth and is the agent of regeneration. Ie, the Word of God is the "seed" which sprouts in the soul and grows when watered by the FAITH response of man. 1 Pet. 1:23; James 1:18; Jn. 3:5; 4:14 (water = gospel).

6. Response: We enter the new birth through faith in Christ. John 1:12; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 2:19 and John 3:3-16.

7. Mechanics: The new birth is accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit who imparts spiritual life to the one who trusts in Christ. Jn. 3:5, 8; Titus 3:5.

8. Regeneration is accomplished totally apart from human merit or works.

A. Man is helpless: Rom. 5:6
B. Ephesians 2:1-9, Grace through faith, not of works.
C. Titus 3:5, not by works of righteousness which we have done.
D. John 1:12-13

9. Because we are children of God we have many spiritual privileges.

A. From the standpoint of our positional "status" in the family:

1. New life: Jn. 3:36; Jn. 10:10; Gal. 2:20
2. Deliverance from Satan's kingdom. Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13; 1 Jn. 5:4-13
3. Sonship: Gal. 3:26; 4:4-5 (adoption) Eph. 1:3-6
4. Heirship: Gal. 4:6-7; Rom. 8:12-17

B. From the perspective of function we have access to the "family provisions."
See Topic: Family provisions.

10. Greek words for regeneration:

A. palingenesia: noun, rebirth; Titus 3:5; Mat. 19:28 (2 times)
B. anagennaō: To give birth again, be born again (2 times) 1 Pet. 1:3, 23
C. gennaō: Plus anōthen (again) = to be born again, Jn. 3:3, 5, 7 (3 times).
D. apolueō: to give birth to, James 1:18 (1 time)

11. Detailed study of John 3:1-18



Questions and comments are always welcome

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