There are various conceptions, by different teachers, of what the new birth is. Several of such conceptions are enshrouded in error. For this reason, a lot of professed Christians hold on to wrong views of the new birth. Through this lesson, God wants us to correct those errors and give a sound view of what the new birth is to whosoever will love to accept the truth. Today, we are focusing on what the new birth is not.
- The new birth is not an eradication of the old nature
The new birth may be called a change of heart in the sense in the sense of the change of a ruling disposition (including the mind and affections as well as the will), but the new heart does not displace the old. The old or carnal nature remains (Rom. 7: 14-25; Gal. 5: 17). The new heart is placed alongside the old, and the saint has two natures, as indicated in the foregoing passages.
- The new birth is not a mere getting of religion
Man is naturally religious. Note the heathen Athenians in Acts 17. Recall also the various religions and forms of worship in heathen lands today. No matter how religious a man may become, without the new birth he remains essentially sinful (Is. 64: 6).
- The new birth is not human reformation
Human reformation is superficial, leaving the whole nature essentially the same. For that reason, human reformation is not likely to be lasting. The new birth will be followed by reformation, but it is reformation that issues from a fundamental change in the ruling disposition, and not that which is founded on a mere resolution of mind. Human reformation can never purge sin from the soul and implant a new disposition (Heb. 10:1-4).
- The new birth is not an adoption
Adoption is a legal term. It is the immediate result of justification. It is not the same as regeneration. Adoption makes us children of God legally, while regeneration makes us children of God experientially. Adoption brings a mere change of legal relationship. Regeneration changes our moral nature.
- The new birth is not an alteration of the substance or essence of the soul, nor an infusion of a new substance into the soul, nor the creation in the soul of new faculties.
In the fall man suffered no loss of, or alteration in, the substance or essence of the soul. Neither was he deprived of any natural endowment or faculty. After the fall, man was still able to know, to feel, and to will. He still had a conscience. (Gen. 6:1; Rom. 8:7; 1 Cor. 2:14; 11 Cor. 4:3,4).