Many professing Christians seem to think that one is born-again simply by making a decision to believe in Christ and to invite Him into their hearts. But what do the Scriptures say? From John 1:12, 13 we learn: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
To believe in Christ is to receive Him, but believing in Christ is not a mere decision one makes as he makes scores of other decisions in life. Those who receive Jesus Christ as their Savior by believing on His name do so because of a prior new birth. Such as believe were born—note the past tense and passive voice—not of blood [physical generation], nor of the will of the flesh [a decision made by one who is by nature flesh (John 3:6)], nor of the will of man [some kind of decision made by other men], but of God. As no one made a decision to be born naturally, no one can make a decision to be born again spiritually. The new birth is by God's will, not the sinner's.
With the statements in John 1:12, 13 agree the words of Paul in Romans 9:16 who concluded: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Salvation is of the Lord from start to finish. His will, not ours, is the determining cause of our salvation. We would not have chosen Him if He had not chosen us (1 Thess. 2:13). We would not have come to Him if He had not drawn us (John 6:44). We would not have believed in Jesus if we had not first been born of God (1 Jno. 5:1).
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