The heart you were born with loved the wrong things. By nature, we were lovers of self rather than lovers of God. But God has given us a new heart, and this is why we love Him, trust Him, and want to serve Him. That’s regeneration.
If you search the Bible for the word “regeneration,” you won’t come up with much.
In the English Standard Version, it occurs just once.
When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.
If you run your search on the New American Standard Bible, you will find “regeneration” in Titus 3, and also in the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 19.
Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Other translations say, “in the new world” (ESV) or “at the renewal of all things” (NIV).
Jesus is speaking about the new heaven and the new earth, and the word He uses to describe this transformation is “the regeneration.”
Regeneration involves taking something (in this case the planet that has been devastated by sin) and making it new, so that it reflects the glory of God.
And this is the word that the Bible uses to describe God’s work in you. If you are in Christ, then what God will one day do for this planet, He has already done in you!
Regeneration is an often overlooked doctrine. But despite the fact that the word occurs rarely in the Bible, the transformation that God is able to bring through Jesus Christ is one of the Bible’s major themes.
Scripture speaks about regeneration in at least four ways.
No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
You must be born again.
To be born again is to receive an infusion of new life that comes from God.
This new birth is a work of the Holy Spirit:
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
And the Holy Spirit brings new life through the Word.