“Regeneration” is a biblical word for conversion, which emphasizes God’s ability to generate new life where human logic says no life is possible. We may think of Abraham and Sarah, ages 100 and 90 respectively, to whom God promised their very own son (Gen. 17:15-17).The fulfillment of that promise was no more difficult than the spiritual regeneration of men and women. Jesus borrowed the metaphor when he told Nicodemus that all people must be “born again” or “born from above” (John 3:3).
This is a necessity in the very nature of things, since all things reproduce after their own kind. What is born from “flesh” is flesh; what is born from the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6-7). Nicodemus was sure that he could handle this “born again” business if only Jesus would tell him how (John 3:4, 9). However, Jesus assured him that this, like the wind, was a mystery Nicodemus could neither manipulate nor understand.
Regeneration involves our trusting, not our trying. Poisoned by sin, we are like the Israelites in the wilderness, bitten by deadly snakes. God provided their only remedy, having Moses lift a brass snake high on a pole. Whoever looked in faith at that snake would live. In the same way, God provided us a Savior. Jesus was lifted up on a cross, and whoever believed on the Son of God has eternal life (John 3:14-16). Regeneration is a God-sized job.