1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
The significance of maintaining the “common salvation” by “earnestly contending for the faith” is taught in Jude 3, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” “Contending” is necessary to preserve that “commonly” believed or the common Christian Faith. What follows is a central element of the “common salvation,” the work of Regeneration, or being born again, and the unified role of the Spirit and Word.
The word of God is the objective instrument in bringing to consummation that spiritual change produced by the Holy Spirit. The Word addresses us consciously while the Spirit’s work in regeneration is a subconscious work. Regeneration is comprised of both aspects of the Word and Spirit’s power, working both consciously and subconsciously. We learn that reading the Bible without the Spirit’s teaching is unprofitable, 1 Cor. 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Furthermore, the Spirit without the Word will convict of sin but will not save. John 16:8, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” 2 Cor. 2:15-16, “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” Faith only comes through hearing the Word, Rom. 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Repentance is likewise a gift of God, 2 Tim. 2:25, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Finally, regeneration is entirely the work of God, John 3:5, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
In regeneration, Word and Spirit are brought together to create a new creature in Christ, 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Regeneration is the outreach of the gospel as a direct creative act of the Holy Spirit that involves the transformation of the whole man. Internal illumination of the Word by the Spirit for the mind and will of the elect is inextricably tied together with the regenerating work of the Spirit. The new birth takes place in the womb of the teaching of God’s Word. Thus, to read the Word is to hear the message of Jesus mediated by the Holy Spirit. The Bible alone does not regenerate. The Bible is the truth, John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” This truth is utilized by the Spirit to produce faith. Faith is the gift of the Spirit derived through the cognitive (mundane-phenomenal) understanding of Scripture. Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Spiritual discernment of the Bible is necessary to be born again and the Spirit gives this discernment.