Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…
To have the right, simply means that believers have the permission to become sons of God. Do you do everything that you have permission to do? Of course not.
The next verse goes on to tell exactly how this change takes place.
…children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The term natural descent is talking about our flesh. This born again process is not a work that our flesh can do. Neither is it accomplished by human decision or the will of man. It’s not a process of my mind. I could decide to receive Christ and be saved – I cannot just decide to be born again and have it automatically take place.
God is Spirit. Being born again is a work of the spirit. Yes, we have permission to let it take place in us. But in order to go through with it we must yield to the Spirit. This is a work that can only take place in the spiritual realm.
That brings us full circle to the passage we looked at in the first post of this series.
…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Paul continues on to say that we have been justified by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s our salvation. It’s the free gift to all who believe in His name. But there’s more. Having entered His saving grace there’s the hope that we might become heirs.
As I said before, Scripture is clear that not all believers will inherit anything. Some will make it to Heaven with no rewards. Their works will be burned up. In order to receive your inheritance you must put on the new man. They’re the ones who overcome the world and receive their reward.
We must come to the understanding that it’s those believers who are born again that can walk in the authority of Christ. It’s not enough to give lip service to the Word of God. It must be a part of your spiritual DNA.
John had a deep understanding of this truth, but so did Peter.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:22-23
Peter is talking to a church that had purified themselves. They allowed the life changing work of the Word to take root in them by immersing themselves in Christ. To these people Peter says, “You have been born again.” He shows us that it’s through the Word of God – the imperishable seed – the work of the rebirth is accomplished in us.
This is an important concept because it shows us what it takes to yield to the Holy Spirit. In my next post we’ll see how Jesus described it in detail to a Pharisee.
Question: How would the church of our generation look if we were all immersed in Christ?
© Nick Zaccardi 2016