WHAT HAPPENS TO US IN REGENERATION
We have seen what regeneration is and what we obtain by regeneration. Now we may see what happens to us in regeneration.
Being Renewed in Our Heart
According to Ezekiel 36:26, in regeneration our heart and our spirit are renewed. Before regeneration, our heart was a stony heart. It was not dead; the Bible never tells us that our heart is dead. Rather, it tells us that our heart is hardened, so it becomes rotten and stony.
Within the tripartite man are two kind of hearts, the physical heart and the psychological heart. Medical doctors deal with the physical heart, whereas a little “doctor” like me deals with the psychological heart. The physical heart is in the body, but according to the Scriptures where is the psychological heart? The first word of the New Testament gospel is repent. This is because the mind of man was turned away from God. To repent is to turn our mind back, to have a change of mind. Then after we repent, we have to confess. This is to exercise the conscience. Before this time the conscience was seared, without feeling; it was evil and careless. Now through our repenting the conscience starts to work, giving us the sense that we are sinful, so spontaneously we confess all our sinfulness. In addition, in our emotion we loved the world and hated God, but by repentance and confession spontaneously our emotion starts to delight in God and love Him. Before this time also, our will was hardened and stiff-necked, like the will of Pharaoh at the time of Moses.
If we add all these four items together—a mind turned away from God; a conscience seared, insensitive, without any feeling, and careless; an emotion hating God; and a hardened will—what we have is a stony heart. Our heart was hardened, like a piece of stone, but at the time of our regeneration, God the Spirit did something miraculous and divine to soften and renew our heart. He did this by causing us to turn our mind to God, causing us to have an exercised conscience sprinkled with the cleansing blood, causing our emotion to delight in God and love God, and causing our will to be not only softened but also pliable and very submissive. By all this, our stony heart became a renewed heart. This is the first thing that happened to us at the time of regeneration.
Being Renewed in Our Spirit
Ezekiel 36:26b says, “A new spirit I will put within you.” Before regeneration our heart was hardened, like a piece of stone, and our human spirit was deadened. This means that all the functions of the spirit were lost; the spirit was without function. At the time of regeneration, however, our heart was softened, and our spirit was made alive. Our spirit was “lifed,” made alive, by the Holy Spirit coming into our spirit to be life to us. Since life came into our spirit, it was lifed. All of the above are the meaning of regeneration. In order to define what regeneration is, we have to tell people the definition and meaning of regeneration, what we obtain by regeneration, and what happened to us at the time of regeneration.
WHAT WE BECOME BY REGENERATION
Children of God
We must also consider what we become by regeneration. First, we become children of God, because by regeneration we are born of God (John 1:12-13.)
A New Creation
By regeneration we also become a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). As children of God, we have God within us as life, but as the new creation, we have God within us as our essence, element, and substance. What is the difference between the old creation and the new creation? The old creation does not have God as the essence, element, and substance, but in the new creation the essence, element, and substance of God are mingled with the creatures. Praise the Lord, today we are regenerated! We have God within us as our life, so we are God’s children, and we have God within us as our very substance and element, so we are the new creation.
If we can adequately tell people what the meaning of regeneration is, what we obtain by regeneration, what happened to us at the time of regeneration, and what we become through regeneration, then we are clear about regeneration, and this will help us very much to go on in life. These are the ABCs of the inner life.
(Dealing with Our Inward Parts for the Growth in Life, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)