This book is from the larger book on the doctrines of grace. This is just one chapter from that book. I cannot even begin to say how precious these truths are to my soul. I did not find the Lord He found me. God's electing love is the reason any of us have a home in heaven. Praise be to God for the great things He has done.
Is The New Birth Controlled By Man Or By God?
In John Chapter three we have the thrilling story of a Pharisee named Nicodemus who came at night to see Jesus. The text says,
“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." 3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Why this man came at night is not told us, but we have a pretty good idea what might have influenced him to do so. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and and the Pharisees were highly respected religious leaders in Israel. Perhaps because of his position, he did not want to b e seen conversing with Jesus. In any case, It is very apparent that something disturbed this man and prompted his curiosity about Jesus. No doubt he saw some of the miracles that Jesus performed or heard about them from the many witnesses who saw them. Perhaps Nicodemus was struggling with the question, “Could this be the promised Messiah?” I think it is safe to conclude that Nicodemus was deeply stirred in his soul by the ministry of Christ. He may have been thinking, “If this man is the Messiah, how can we be right with God?
In the text we see that Nicodemus makes a statement, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” He does not raise any questions. But Jesus, knowing the heart of all men read his mind and cut right to the chase with His response. Jesus answered the unasked question which He knew was disturbing the heart of this religious leader of Israel. Three times in this passage Jesus tells this man that he must be born again. This is puzzling to Nicodemus and he asks for clarification. “Can a man who is grown go back into the womb of his mother to be born again?” It is clear by his question that he is clueless as to what Jesus means by the spiritual work of God in the soul that we call the new birth. Jesus even rebukes him by asking, “Are you a spiritual leader in Israel and do not know these things?”
Jesus then proceeds to explain the spiritual work of being born again by comparing it to natural birth. Just as a man is born physically, he must also be born spiritually. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. With solemn and serious words, Jesus warns Nicodemus that he must be born again. We know from reading the Scriptures that no one can go to heaven if they have not been born again. Just as John tells us in Chapter one that those who receive Christ have been born of God, so too in this text, John recounts the words of the Master to Nicodemus that we must be born again.
But in verse eight, John gives us a statement that Jesus made about the new birth that is matchless in its clarity. Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wishes,and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” What could be more clear than this verse? Jesus is telling Nicodemus that just as we cannot control the movements of the wind, or tell it to blow this way or that way, so it is with the new birth. The new birth is under the control of the Holy Spirit. There can and should be no ambiguity on this point. Jesus could not have said this in any other way to make it clearer. The new birth is not something we do; it is something God does through the Holy Spirit for us.
Again, I repeat that if this were the only verse in the Bible that spoke of the nature of our salvation, it would be sufficient to convince us of the Doctrines of Grace. This verse tells us that the new birth, just like the wind, is under the total control of a sovereign God. There can be no debate about what Jesus told Nicodemus in this passage. Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” And He clearly tells Nicodemus that the new birth is something God does for man, not something man does for God.