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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 1 - Verse 13

Verse 13.

Which were born. This doubtless refers to the new birth, or to the great change in the sinner's mind called regeneration or conversion. It means that they did not become the children of God in virtue of their natural birth, or because they were the children of Jews, or because they were descended from pious parents. The term "to be born" is often used to denote this change. Comp. Joh 3:3-8

1 Jo 2:29. It illustrates clearly and beautifully this great change. The natural birth introduces us to life. The new birth is the beginning of spiritual life. Before, the sinner is dead in sins (Eph 2:1); now he begins truly to live. And as the natural birth is the beginning of life, so to be born of God is to be introduced to real life, to light, to happiness, and to the favour of God. The term expresses at once the

greatness and the nature

of the change.

 

Not of blood. The Greek word is plural; not of bloods—that is, not of man. Comp. Mt 27:4.

The Jews prided themselves on being the descendants of Abraham, Mt 3:9. They supposed that it was proof of the favour of God to be descended from such an illustrious ancestry. In this passage this notion is corrected. It is not because men are descended from an illustrious or pious parentage that they are entitled to the favour of God; or perhaps the meaning may be, not because there is a

union of illustrious lines of ancestry or bloods in them. The law of Christ's kingdom is different from what the Jews supposed. Comp. 1 Pe 1:23.

It was necessary to be

born of God by regeneration. Possibly, however, it may mean that they did not become children of God by the bloody rite of circumcision, as many of the Jews supposed they did. This is agreeable to the declaration of Paul in Ro 2:28,29.

 

 

Nor of the will of the flesh

. Not by natural generation.

 

Nor of the will of man. This may refer, perhaps, to the will of man in adopting a child, as the former phrases do to the natural birth; and the design of using these three phrases may have been to say that they became the children of God neither in virtue of their descent from illustrious parents like Abraham, nor by their natural birth, nor by being adopted by a pious man. None of the ways by which we become entitled to the privileges of children

among men can give us a title to be called the sons of God. It is not by human power or agency that men become children of the Most High.

 

But of God. That is, God produces the change, and confers the privilege of being called his children. The heart is changed by his power. No unaided effort of man, no works of ours, can produce this change. At the same time, it is true that no man is renewed who does not himself desire and will to be a believer; for the effect of the change is on his will (Ps 110:3) , and no one is changed who does not strive to enter in at the strait gate, Php 2:12. This important verse, therefore, teaches us,

1st. That if men are saved they must be born again.

2nd. That their salvation is not the result of their birth, or of any honourable or pious parentage.

3rd. That the children of the rich and the noble, as well as of the poor, must be born of God if they will be saved.

4th. That the children of pious parents must be born again, or they cannot be saved. None will go to heaven simply because their

parents

are Christians.

5th. That this work is the work of God, and no man can do it for us.

6th. That we should forsake all human dependence, cast off all confidence in the flesh, and go at once to the throne of-grace, and beseech of God to adopt us into his family and save our souls from death.

{r} "born, not of blood" Jas 1:18

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