Some maintain that not being born of the flesh or the will of man means that we are not born again by ‘making a decision.’ Well yes, true, it is not a ‘decision’ that has any power, but believing from the heart the word of the truth of the gospel.

What is clear here is that the receiving is what precedes becoming a child, and thus being born of God.

But what of ‘who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man’? Being born of God is put in distinction to Jewish natural birth and becoming a Jew through proselytisation. Allow me to quote from John Lightfoot:

"Of the will of man, in that sense wherein they coveted so many proselytes, to admit them into the religion of the Jews, and so into covenant and sonship with God." A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica John Lightfoot.
Well, thanks for the effort to exegete the text (Jh 1:12, 13). But let's not throw out Greek/English grammar nor common sense when doing exegesis. Let's take a closer look at this passage with these things included. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

"who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." In both English and Greek grammar, "who" (English)/"hos" (Greek) is a relative pronoun; it refers back to something that preceded it and qualifies that item. In this passage, the "who" refers back to "But as many as received him" and "even to them that believe on his name". Thus, grammatically, the sentence must read, "Those who were born of God received Him or believed on His name to whom was given the right/power to become children of God. Again, it is clear that the "born of God" was antecedent and the proximate cause of the receiving/believing. This is the "new birth" which the Lord Christ spoke to Nicodemus about (Jh 3:3, 5) and without which a person cannot even see the kingdom of God. It is also that "birth" which is produced by the sovereign and secret work of the Holy Spirit (Jh 3:7, 8) which man has no part nor does a man experience.

If it would help, I can illustrate this fact into another situation for you? "All who came to the gate and sought entrance into the stadium were allowed through, who had not begged, tried to bribe the security guard or threatened force, but had been issued free passes." Those who were allowed through had previously received free passes before their requesting entry.

However, logic alone should be sufficient to correctly understand the truth that this text teaches, i.e., one is regenerated antecedently to faith. If one makes faith antecedent to regeneration, then the text would have to read, "All who received Him did not become born by inheritance, one's own choosing or by a pronouncement of another, but of God." This is nothing more than "non-sense". <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Lightfoot's comments are irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Moving on to Eph 2:1-10:

You said:
This quickening is through faith, as seen in Colossians:
Hmmmm, that isn't much of an exegesis of the Ephesians passage is it? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" /> What should be noted first is that the subject and predicate of this long sentence actually doesn't appear until verse 5. Evidently for the sake of the reader, the translators in near every version include them in the first verse, but most always with a notation and/or in italic. The plain reading of the text, verse 5, says: "even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive". Paul didn't write, "when we were critically ill, we took the medicine which God gave us and therefore we got well." He wrote, while we were dead, God recreated us. He didn't write, "when we were drowning and going down for the 3rd time, we grabbed the life-ring God tossed us, and thus we saved ourselves with God's help". And this is why, no doubt, Paul kept the subject and predicate of the sentence until last. For in the first four verses he compounds the deplorable and helpless condition of the human soul and the hopelessness which it is found by nature. It is the Triune God who looked upon helpless sinners and saved them on a three-fold basis; love, mercy and grace. I won't pontificate on this incredible statement here, however. But what is to be seen is that Paul reflects back on the believer's condition, including Paul himself here, (cf. "we" hemas), which was totally alien to God and all that was good; especially the Lord Christ. It was while they were hating God, being spiritually dead (cf. Eph 4:17-19; Rom 3:10-18; et al) that God "made us alive together with" Christ,(Gk: suzoopoieo).

The word in the Greek for "made alive" is suzoopoieo; i.e., to bring to life conjointly with. The reference is unmistakable. As Christ was raised from the dead in which He suffered for punishment of sins, vicariously and substitutionally, likewise did God raise us up from the dead, through our own trespasses and sins. This is regeneration. In verse 6, Paul uses a similar analogy when he says that we are "raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus", referring to the life lived after that resurrection both actually and positionally.

"by grace have ye been saved" needs little comment, IMHO. It is by God's grace that the sinner is delivered from the power, presence and penalty of sin, i.e., judgment, condemnation which Paul already mentioned in v. 3. And, additionally, grace bestows immeasurable blessings, both presently and for the eternal age to come. This salvation is by grace; the proximate cause and through faith; the instrumental cause. The "making alive" was antecedent to the salvation. Regeneration has no power to save; it is through/by faith that salvation is secured. One is justified by faith not regenerated by faith. Regeneration is that new spiritual life out of which faith comes. Dead men don't believe. Lazarus didn't first ask Christ to make him alive before He said, "Lazarus! come forth!". He was dead 4 days before the Lord arrived and surely his body had already begun decomposing. It is the life-giving call of God that brings dead sinners to life and who then, having the ability to do so, repent and believe.

Thus the ordo solutis is: predestination, election, calling, regeneration, faith, justification, sanctification and final glorification. [color:"purple"]Sola Gratia[/color]

In His Grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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