Understanding regeneration is necessary to distinguish between true and false teachings. The Bible teaches plainly that there is no other way of becoming a Christian except through regeneration (the new birth).
As Nicodemus came to Jesus under the cover of darkness, our Lord Jesus Christ told him that “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John 3:3. This means that if a man is not born again, he cannot enter heaven. Nicodemus was a good, moral man and a ruler of the Jews. He was highly respected by everyone, but Jesus investigated the depths of his heart and saw his real need. He said to Nicodemus, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, you must be born again,” John 3:7.
Nicodemus was also a strict Pharisee. The Pharisees stood for the ‘right’ observance of the law. However, Jesus said: “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven,” Matthew 5:20. Being moral and living a good life is not enough to make a person fit for heaven. Regeneration is the door by which we enter the Christian life. If we do not enter that door, we do not enter at all.
The definition for regeneration is the direct act of God by which we are admitted into His family. Generation means “to produce offspring” or “cause to be born”; re- in Latin means “again.” We now have this word ‘re-generation,’ meaning “to be born again” or “that which is born again.”
People from every walk of life substitute other things for God’s appointed means of entering into the kingdom of heaven. Being nice, taking care of family, attending church, being respectful, and loving one another. That’s not regeneration. Regeneration is one’s new life in Christ. Romans 6:4 reads: “Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ is raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Regeneration is the impartation (free gift) of a new and divine life, a new creation—the production of a new thing. It is not a change in your old nature. It is the free gift of a new nature. This nature is given to you by God the moment you repent of your sins and turn to God for salvation. Any can receive the new birth who will admit to God his or her condition and receive Jesus Christ as Savior. Regeneration is not an evolutionary process, but a gradual climb towards God. It’s a miraculous work done by God. We are created anew in Christ Jesus the moment we believe. “Even when we were dead in sin, God has quickened us together with Christ, by Grace are you saved,” Ephesians 2:1-5. Through regeneration we pass from death into life. “He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life,” John 5:24.
In regeneration, we are made partakers of the divine nature. “Whereby you are given exceeding great and precious promises that by this you might be partakers of the divine presence of God,” 2 Peter 1:4. This divine nature is called the new man. “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Ephesians 4:24. When your life is made anew, it is because you have been regenerated to fulfill the will of God in the earth—not to please man but to please God. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, He is a new creature; old things are past away; behold, all things are become new,” 2 Corinthians 5:17.