This is the next part in the ongoing blog-series on the New Birth.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
The new birth comes from God -- and God alone. No one can pick, choose, determine, plan, or resist the working of God as He accomplishes this act in the soul of a sinner. In a word, the new birth is a sovereign work of God. That means that it is a supernatural act, a royal act, a kingly act, an exclusively-divine act. None can resist when God brings the new birth. None can reject it. None can refuse it. And none can resist His power. This is the glory of the sovereignty of God’s power as He puts it on display through the regeneration -- new birth -- of a soul.
James speaks of the sovereignty of this new birth when he writes: “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18a). The Greek reads: βουληθεὶς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς λόγῳ ἀληθείας. This means that God caused us to be born [ἀπεκύησεν] all by the determined decree of God’s sovereign will [βουληθεὶς]. And the means by which God brought this about what through the Word of Truth [λόγῳ ἀληθείας] -- that is, the Scriptures.
In this text, the absolute and unrivaled sovereignty of the new birth comes to light. Not only is it working from God alone (Ezek 36:25-27) but it also, from the James text, consists of an outworking of God’s eternally, foreordained, unchanging and unfailing decree. James says that by God’s will, He brought us forth. A few important concepts arise at this point.
1) The WILL of God. This will speaks of the decreed, unchanging, eternal, foreordained, uninfluenced purposes of God. This is not the desirous will but it speaks more of the decreed and supreme will of the sovereign over heaven and earth. The new birth happens, ultimately, because of the sovereign decree and eternal purpose of God. No one approaches the King and tells Him what to do, forces Him to act, or sways Him, or influences Him, to act in a particular way. He is unchanging, uninfluenced, perfect, eternal, and glorious. And yet, it is by this perfect decree that He imparts the new birth -- by grace, by His plan, through His purposes, for His glory.
2) The WORKING of God. The verb is singular in the original Greek. The Bible does not say that we birthed ourselves with God’s help. It does not suggest that God brings about the new birth as we cooperate with Him. Rather, the verb is singular which underscores the monergistic work (=‘working-of-one’) of God in the act of the new birth. He brought us forth. God causes people to be born again. It is God who starts the birthing process, who imparts the new life, and who sustains the new life -- all by His power and for His renown.
3) The WORSHIP to God. This sovereign act of the new birth must result in the praise of His glory. He elected His people and He predestined them to adoption as sons. And the bringing about of this in their lives is the wondrous act of regeneration. The newly converted sinner, then, worships His God. He has a new nature and cannot not praise His Savior. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above -- from the Father of Lights (James 1:19). The working of God in bringing about the new birth, by His doing and by His decree is brought to light and it propels the regenerated person to honor, worship, obey, and savor this Sovereign God!