What I mean here by "regenerated" is being born of God, i.e. become a child of God. Has this matter been discussed in Christianity? If the question is too broad, then I am firstly after the protestant-tradition answer here.

So, once again: Is it possible to believe in Jesus, pray to Him and be baptized and yet not get regenerated?


3 Answers 3


Acts 19:1-7 has an interesting story that may have bearing on this:

1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

3So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

4Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7There were about twelve men in all.

Of interest here is the fact that John & Jesus preached the exact same same Gospel, so this was really, really close. The question is whether there is something magical about the syllables "G" and "Sus", which, especially bearing in mind that this wasn't originally in English, is unlikely.

What is more interesting is that clearly John's baptism was one of repentance - the very sine qua non of an altar call - and yet, clearly that's not enough.

What I surmise from this text is either: (a) that inflowing of the Holy Spirit is therefore the choice of the Holy Spirit. While repentance was clearly a pre-requisite, it almost seems as though these people needed to accept the grace that the Spirit entails, even above and beyond repentance. or (b) that it is in fact Jesus himself that is the key aspect of regeneration.


Yes, it is. You forgot at least one ingredient - repentance.

More can be found here but for once I'll be brief and state that without repentance there is no true conversion. Whether God calls us to repentance (the Calvinist view) or we are capable of coming to repentance ourselves because we are only partially depraved (non Calvinist view) is irrelevant to this question, but Scripture clearly teaches that repentance is necessary. Jesus Himself preached repentance.

"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:14-15).

It's mentioned here:

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out ..." (Acts 3:19).

and over a hundred times in Scripture.

A person can do all the things you mentioned without repentance, which doesn't save you, but is a prerequisite to saving faith and grace.

Mere belief is not enough. Even demons believe. Faith is much more than mere belief, and from a sola fide perspective the other things you mentioned are "works" and contribute nothing to salvation or regeneration.

  • Having read your answer, I have now two specifying follow-up questions here:1) Is it possible to repent, believe in Jesus, pray to Him, be baptized, and yet not be regenerated?; 2) To what degree should a repentance be made, so that it is counted as valid for salvation (given that other "components" - faith, prayer and baptism - are also present and valid)?
    – brilliant
    Jan 13, 2012 at 4:08
  • There's not enough space on this site to give the answer your question deserves. The new follow-ups delve into territory that really splits doctrinal views, but from mine (Non-Calvinist, eternal security, evangelistic Protestant) 1. Yes, because the prayer must specifically be asking Him to save you but if it is true repentance, and true salvation, then no. Regeneration is part of the package. However, I do believe in false conversion experiences where someone says a prayer without repentance or repents without faith. (not enough room to expand on this). 2. It must be total. Jan 13, 2012 at 5:12
  • If you're really interested in what I believe, I recommend listening first, to "Hell's Best Kept Secret", and then "True and False Conversion" here: wayofthemaster.com/audiolessons.shtml Ray Comfort expands on the subject better than I can. Jan 13, 2012 at 5:17
  • (1) "It must be total" - What do you mean by this? I am quite puzzled by this statement. If I am looking into this matter at the right angle, a "total repentance" would imply an act of confessing absolutely all the sins that you have ever committed. But how is that on earth possible?! I believed in the Lord when I was 20. At that time it was a time full of joy and happiness because of knowing Christ. Honestly, I didn't have much realization of how sinful I was,
    – brilliant
    Jan 13, 2012 at 8:08
  • (2) which means that I didn't have a total repentance, which in its turn means (according to your answer) that I was not saved at that time (was my joy of knowing the Lord at that time in vain?) . The first tangible realization of how sinful I was came only about half a year later, however, even though I did repent then to the Lord over many of sins that I had committed in my 20 years of life that I had lived before coming to Him, I am still not sure if I had recalled all of them.
    – brilliant
    Jan 13, 2012 at 8:09

After believing in Jesus and being baptized, the only way to lose salvation is to blaspheme the holy spirit as it is the only unforgivable sin as read from the NASB:

Matt 12:32

"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come,"

I read that to mean that you could blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, become a believer in Jesus and be baptized, all of your sins will be forgiven except that one. If you believe in a judgement day, you will be judged on that. If you do not then you would not be forgiven. If you don't know what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and are concerned about it, then you haven't done it yet.

  • This passage does not apply to losing your salvation. But simply to the unregenerate mind. The context would not allow you to push in that direction, nor the rest of the Bible. Jan 13, 2012 at 2:18
  • An unforgivable sin would allow you to keep your salvation? I think not.
    – user1054
    Jan 13, 2012 at 4:16
  • “If you don't know what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and are concerned about it, then you haven't done it yet” – Thanks for your input here, but, honestly, I don’t follow the logic in the last statement. If while driving I have felt a bump on the road and am now concerned that I ran over a cat, how would my unawareness of what it exactly was and a mere concern guarantee it was not a cat?
    – brilliant
    Jan 13, 2012 at 8:44
  • @DanAndrews There is many way to look at this text. But prone a doctrine out of one text is highly dangerous. The rest of the Bible goes against the doctrine of losing the salvation. This imply that there is something that we need to to to earn salvation. Jan 13, 2012 at 10:59
  • 1
    @brilliant if you can concerned that you may blaspheme the Holy Spirit then you haven't done it yet is all I'm saying. Because if you are concerned then you have respect for the Holy Spirit and thus have not blasphemed. If you do not care if you have, then you are now showing worshipful fear. I should have been more verbose. There are no hidden landmines here.
    – user1054
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:48

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