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John 1:13

who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13, ESV)
These Children of God were born.

New birth is an amazing and intriguing concept.  We should reserve our main consideration of the New Birth until Chapter Three, but there is one aspect of this New Birth that must be discussed now, because of the teaching in this verse.

Notice first that "born" is a verb, but it is a passive verb.  It is something that happens, but it is passive, which means that it is something that happens to you.  Just like regular birth, nobody makes the decision to be born.  Nobody starts the process.  It isn't by a choice of the will. And so it is with this spiritual birth.  It isn't according to the will of the flesh or the will of man. The implication is then that it is by God's will that someone is born.

This reality with the New Birth stirs up several questions, but instead of dealing with those questions, first consider what it actually answers:  You see, as fallen humans we have this problem.  We are sinners. To our very core we are sinners.  And one of the biggest issues in our salvation isn't just the working of that salvation, through Christ's substitutionary death on the cross, it is also this troubling reality that there is not a one of us who would choose to believe in this Jesus.

Consider Paul's collection of Old Testament teachings on our "free" will:
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(Romans 3:10-18, ESV)
Not one righteous.  No one seeks for God. There is not a one of us that is really a "seeker" apart from what God does in us. Paul's description of us in Ephesians 2 is that we are literally dead in our sins.  Nobody takes God up on the offer of this free gift of salvation.

This is where John answers the dilemma.  It is not according to will that one is born again. It is according to God's will.

Like I said, this stirs up additional questions, but it answers one of our biggest dilemmas.


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