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.
I’ve spent some time meditating on the above verses over the last few weeks. I don’t think I’ve ever realized just how powerful the thought is concerning the new birth. Jesus told Nicodemus in Jn 3:3-5 that a man must be born again if he is to see or enter the kingdom of God. The above text is not only clear as to the source of this birth, but it’s also clear as to where this new birth does NOT begin, explicitly naming three things. Over the next few weeks, I’d like to consider these three, beginning with:
1) Not of blood
These three little words undermine a lot of religious teaching today. It makes it very clear that you do not become a son of God based on your bloodline. No one gets a free pass into heaven because of their nationality, not even a national Jew! I have to bold that statement because, again and again, I hear religious leaders set the national Jews above the rest of humanity, which I think is a misunderstanding of who the true Israel of God is. For anyone that thinks the phrase “true Israel of God” to be strange, they must also find Rom 9:6 to be equally peculiar:
“For they are not all Israel who are of Israel…”
I wonder how many people today read right over this verse! A distinction is made here that reveals there are two Israels. Rom 2:28-29 sheds further light on the matter by explaing the difference between the two.
“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”
So we have natural, outward Jews and inward, spiritual Jews, and if you jump up and read a few verses above this text, it’s clear that the uncircumcised Gentiles that obey God through faith are included in the category of spiritual Jews (Rom 2:25-27). There are numerous times in the New Testament where we read plainly that God has torn down any wall that separated Jew and Gentile. Just consider the following (I’ve added the underlines for emphasis):
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
1 Cor 12:12-13
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
If God’s made all believers one, assembling believing Jews and Gentiles into one body, why are so many making divisions between the two? The fact is, both are born with the same problem in Rom 3:9: “both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.” We’re all sinners, and thus we all need a Savior! If we get into the kingdom of God, it happens to all the same way–through faith in Jesus Christ!
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference…
If God says there’s no difference, then let’s make sure we don’t make one! We need to declare to Jew and Gentile alike that Christ is their only hope of salvation. Lord willing, we’ll consider the second way in which a man is NOT born into the kingdom of God next week–the will of the flesh.