John. 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but OF GOD
This emphasizes God’s role in our spiritual rebirth and it does not say that God unconditionally makes a person born again without this person’s consent and neither does it show man’s inability to seek and find God. We can only speculate what those things mean that we are NOT born of. “Blood” could mean human ancestry (such as being jews) or it could refer to the blood atonement of animals that became history due to the advent of Christ. “The will of the flesh and the will of man” could mean that it’s not in human physical power, nor by enough works effort, nor by man’s desirous intent, nor by wishful thinking that we are able to be born of God and end up as his children – and eventually inherit his kingdom. If we remove what man is not “born of” according to this verse, what is left? We remove “blood”, “the will of the flesh” and “the will of man”, and then we have “which were born OF GOD”. The Bible says elsewhere that we must be born again (which can only happen thanks to God) in order to have life:
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God
MAN cannot make his past sins go away and be cleansed and born again by himself, but GOD can accomplish this – but under certain conditions. How do we get born again? Example in short:
- We seek God and come to him to get life
- We acknowledge that we deserve death due to our sins, and that we are completely lost without Jesus
- We confess our known sins
- We repent from our old sinful life style
- We make a decision to from now on walk in obedience with Christ, with the AIM to be faithful
- THEN we are cleansed from our old sins by the mercy of God!
- We are now righteous, justified and born again and completely new persons!
- We acknowledge that God does not promise us “once cleansed always cleansed”
So WE cannot make ourselves become born again and new persons – no matter our will – because we simply don’t have the power to cleanse ourselves and be free from our old sin debt. Only GOD can help us with this, so we must come to him to make this happen. Even if we would live the rest of our lives without sin, we could still not arrange so that our past sins were removed. Thanks to the blood of Jesus that he shed for us the cross, we can be made righteous! Peter says that in obeying the truth we have purified our souls and, as previously mentioned, we can only do this by coming to God to be cleansed. This is how we get eternal life!
1 Peter 1:22 Seeing YE have purified your souls in OBEYING the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
In the immediate context prior to John 1:13, we can read that those who had the right to become the children of God were selected on the basis of who “received” and “believed” Christ. Is God forcing man or is man accepting in this verse?
John. 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name
We can also read about Jesus 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Everyone has been given enough light to be able to believe in Jesus
Finally, we can read in another place in the NT where it’s actually possible to be born “after the flesh”, and this concerns the bondmaid Hagar who got a planned child together with Abraham (Ishmael). The birth of Isaac (Abraham’s and Sara’s child) is in contrast to the previous birth and is stated to be “by promise“.
Gal. 4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.