Regeneration And Salvation
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 2 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Salvation is More than Being Saved)
John 3:7, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 1:11, 12, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." I Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, Which liveth and abideth for ever." James 1: 18, "Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." Titus 3:1-5, "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
The word "regeneration" means "to be gened again." We were born the first time of physical genes; we were born the second time of spiritual genes. We were born the first time of earthly parental genes; we were born the second time of divine genes. This is exactly what is meant in John 3:5, 7, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." In verse 7 when It Says, "Ye must be born again," the Greek word is the same word used for genes. It means, "You must be gened again." It matters not how good the natural man becomes; he has not been gened right. He may Improve himself, get baptized, take communion, join the church, and reform himself, but he remains a natural man because that which was born was born of natural genes. This is why he cannot understand the things of God. I Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
These new genes must be born from God. John 1:11, 12, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." Mom and Dad's genes won't do; we must be gened from God. The word "born" in this passage comes from the root word which means "gened." The first time we are born of temporal genes. If we live forever, we must be born of eternal genes. John 3:7, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." God is saying here that the Eternal must gene you if you have eternal life. The Beginning must gene you. That which always was must gene you. The same root word is found in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Revelation 22:13, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." The old nature cannot live forever because it is born of natural genes. It comes from its earthly parents. For one to be born again he must be gened from above by eternal genes.
What are these genes? They are the Word of God. James 1: 18, "Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." The word "begat" comes from the same word, gened. We are gened by the Word of God. I Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, Which liveth and abideth for ever." Once again we have the same word. We must be gened by something that is eternal. That means something that was and always will be. This is the Word of God. The Word of God was not written when it was penned by holy men of old. It always was! Psalm 119:89, "For ever, 0 Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven." Someone has said that the Word of God was not penned by man; it was already penned in Heaven before there ever was a man, but we must go far beyond that. There never was a time when there was no Word of God! The Word of God always was and always will be! To this extent, if my genes always were and always will be, then my salvation always was and always will be. My genes are eternal; so my life that they brought to me is eternal. My genes then are the Word of God, Which is the precious seed of Psalm 126:5-6, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Now this incorruptible seed gives incorruptible life. I John 3:9, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." The seed was never born, so it cannot die. The life it brings was never born, so it cannot die. According to the duration of the seed is the duration of the life. How foolish it is for one to think that he can have an eternal life by improving a temporal life! Just as the first birth, which is a natural one brought by natural genes, brings forth a life that is natural and not eternal, even so the second birth, which is brought by eternal genes, brings forth a life that is eternal, but in order for it to be eternal, it must be incorruptible! It is folly for one to think that a life brought by corruptible seed can bring an incorruptible eternal life. That life that is in me that was born of my mother and father on September 25, 1926, can sin because it was brought forth by corruptible seed; that is, corruptible genes. Hence, it can die. That life which was born in me in August of 1937 cannot sin because it came from incorruptible seed; that is, incorruptible genes. Hence, it cannot die.
Eternal life cannot spring from corruptible seed, and nothing that one can do to the life born of corruptible seed can make it incorruptible and thereby eternal, nor can that which is done by corruptible seed nullify that which was wrought by incorruptible seed, and a life that sprang from incorruptible seed cannot be nullified by a life that springs from corruptible seed, which means the deeds of the natural man cannot stop the life of the spiritual man. In other words, just as man can do nothing to be saved, he can do nothing to be unsaved. Just as the deeds of the flesh cannot bring about the new life, neither can the deeds of the flesh nullify the new life. It can fight against the new nature, as Paul mentions in Romans 7, but it cannot destroy the new nature, for the new nature comes from incorruptible seed which is eternal and brings forth an incorruptible life, which is eternal, that cannot perish. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
This is why salvation cannot be of works. Physical genes can turn over a new leaf. Physical genes can join a church. Physical genes can reform, but physical genes cannot cause a new birth that brings a life that is eternal. Eternal life must come from eternal genes. Spiritual life must come from spiritual genes. This life is wrought when these spiritual genes, which we call the Word of God, make contact with faith. At that moment we are re-gened or regenerated, A new nature has been born in us that can never sin and thereby can never die. This new nature wrought by the genes of God, that is, the Word of God, enters into a conflict with the old nature wrought by the genes of our parents. This war continues, but will of necessity end in victory for the eternal when the old nature reveals finally the weakness of its genes and succumbs to death. However, since that which is in us is greater than that which is in the world, the new nature may have supremacy over the old nature in any given instance or conflict with the old.
This should compel the child of God who wants to win others to Christ to use the Word of God. It is not our arguing or our reasoning, nor our personality, brilliance or cleverness that gets people born again. It is the Word of God (that is, the genes of God) which begets sinners. This is the reason that the Bible reminds us that people would not believe just because one rose from the dead. Sad stories are fine. Good testimonies are splendid, but people are not re-gened by good testimonies; they are re-gened by the Word of God. Because of this it must be used, it must be preached, it must be taught, it must be teamed, it must be memorized, it must be spread, it must be known. Yes, we must go. Matthew 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Yes, we must weep.
Psalm 126:5, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Yes, we must preach. Mark 16:15, "And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." Yes, we must teach. Matthew 28:20, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." However, all of this is in vain unless we use seed, which is the Word of God. Psalm 126:6, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." When we use that seed, that is the genes of God, we are using that which can give life and in response to faith, will give life, a life that cannot die, that must live forever, that is incorruptible, that is eternal because it is born and conceived of incorruptible seed and has been re-gened or regenerated!
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