But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
We’ve been looking at the verse above to understand the three ways that the Lord reveals a man is NOT born into the kingdom of God. How needful this concept is for us to effectively evangelize! We’ve already seen we are not born by bloodline into this family nor are we born throught the works of our flesh. We will consider the third and final point today, namely:
3) Nor of the will of man
When I first read this phrase, it seemed very much like the preceeding one. How does “the will of the flesh” differ from “the will of man”? The Lord used the following passage clear things up in my mind. 2 Pet 1:16,20,21 says:
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
This passage reveals clearly that the Bible is not a collection of carefully crafted stories invented by the imagination of men, but the word of God was given by direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Scripture is NOT a series of “cunningly devised fables” created by “the will of man”; thus, the phrase “the will of man” is connected to man’s intellect, reasoning, and decision making–the things that man thinks up in his mind. Comparing this passage to our text in Jn 1:13 shows us that we did not become children of God through human reasoning and thought! We didn’t simply decide one day to be a better person. Salvation is not attained through “the power of positive thinking!”
One of the great heresies of our day has been preachers pressuring men into “making a decision for Jesus” and then assuring them that they are eternally secure! I sat in a funeral one time where the preacher asked everyone to close their eyes, and then he said, “Raise your hand if you know you’d go to hell if you died this instant” Apparently, some hands went up because his next question was, “Now, how many of you want to go to hell?” Well, who in their right mind does? Of course, all the hands went down. “Now,” he continued, “how many of you want Jesus to keep you from going there?” “Look at that!” he exclaimed. “Four people were just saved! It’s that easy!” I couldn’t believe it! Who has the right to tell anyone that he or she is definitely saved simply because they said a prayer or made a decision at that instant in their mind?!!! Only God can do that! Only God looks into the heart of man and sees what no one else can! One thing I know about man, because I am one, is that anything man decides, he can undecide! Yes, it’s true that if a man believes on the Lord Jesus, he will be saved (Ac 16:31), but belief is far more than a simple decision of man’s intellect. It’s a heart, mind, and soul experience (Mk 12:30) that only God can validate. That’s why Paul’s advice to the professing Christians of Corinth was to: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” (2 Co 13:5)
I’m thankful that my eternal security is not based on my reasoning and decision making. I didn’t become a child of God by my will nor the will of any other man. As Lk 10:22 reveals, no matter how smart we are in the eyes of man, we can’t even know God by our own ability: “no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Was it first our work or the Lord’s? It was His! Does it get any clearer than Rom 9:16? “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” God initiated this work! We didn’t decide it. God did!!! We love Him why? Because He first loved us! (1 Jn 4:19) Thank the Lord He has now birthed me into His kingdom and is conforming my will to His. “Now may the God of peace…make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb 13:20,21)