This is the next blog in the ongoing series on the New Birth.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
The words of Jesus spoken to Nicodemus revealed that the only way to see the kingdom of God is unless “one is born again” (John 3:3; ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν). But the question must be asked and then biblically answered: who produces this new birth? How does it come about? Who works this process and accomplishes the task? In this brief essay, the Scriptures will be examined and brought to bear in showing who produces the new birth. This write-up will show that the Spirit of God is the producer of the rebirth. He works by His power, by His sovereignty, by His initiative, and by His working. Each will be briefly looked at in turn.
1) The Spirit of God. Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus in the conversation that unless one is born [ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ] of the water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). The verbal form that is used here in John 3:5 (and earlier in John 3:3) when speaking of being born again [γεννηθῇ] is a passive verbal. That means that the subject is not doing the action but the action is being done to him; that is to say, he is receiving the action. Another is performing the work upon him. This means that Nicodemus — and all people — must be the recipients of the saving work of the Spirit of God. He must do the work. He, the Spirit, must produce this new life in people in order for them to be saved.
2) The power of God. In order to produce new life, spiritual resurrection from the dead must occur. None can do this in his own strength. No man is powerful enough to raise the dead (physically, much less spiritually). Only God can raise the dead and the Spirit of God is called the Spirit of Life (Rom 8:2) and He is able to give life to whomever He wills.
3) The sovereignty of God. None can force God to act and move. By God’s sovereign prerogative and by His perfect decrees, he works. He does according to His plan with no one who can ever thwart His plan. He produces the new birth in the souls of dead sinners with none who can resist, stay his hand, or refuse this all-sovereign, all-powerful working of God.
4) The initiative of God. The Spirit does not produce life in the best of people. He does not impart spiritual life to the most beautiful and lovely of people. Nor does He choose to save those who are the most moral and religious. No! Rather, it is by the sole, supreme, exclusive and sovereign initiative of God that the sinner receives the re-birth. God initiates it all. God awakens and God draws (John 6:44, ἑλκύσῃ). No sinner, who is dead in his own sin, can initiate the salvation-process. No one picks or chooses or reaches for God. God initiates and produces the new birth in its entirety.
5)The working of God. The salvation event that God imparts in the souls of sinners is not a temporary working but a full, complete, entire, holistic re-birth. The producer of the birth from above is the Spirit of God who initiates the process, He gives life to the sinner, He saves Him to the uttermost, indwells in Him till glorification, and never comes up short and loses a soul. God the Spirit produces the new birth and He does so by His own working from first to last and completes the entire process by Himself, for the magnification of Christ, to the Father’s glory.