Jn.1:12,13 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.
John’s gospel is quite different from the other three gospels. John begins his book with a revelation of the eternal Son of God and quickly gets to the main point, we must be born again. He clearly points out our greatest need, we must become children of God. This was the message to Jews and gentiles both. Your beliefs and heritage still leave you in the natural, fallen state you were born in. No amount of charitable deeds or religious observances will be able to make us God’s children. John says in today’s verse how it happens, he said that right of sonship was given to those who believe in the name of Jesus. This is why He came into the world, to offer this incredible privilege of sonship to our fallen race. Once we were children of darkness but we have become children of light. Here is how Luther describes this passage.
“These words are the Evangelist’s confutation, as it were, to all those who lay claim to anything within themselves of which they may boast. However good or rich it may be, or however much of it there may be, it contributes nothing toward becoming a child of God. Conversely, the Evangelist shows clearly and distinctly with these words who really are the children and heirs of God, privileged to call God their Father. Here you must disregard all that is of high esteem and repute in the world; you must look away from all creatures. Although all this may originate and spring from God, yet it cannot contribute anything toward becoming a child of God. For everything that we are and have properly belongs in hell and is damned and destined to perish. Here nothing at all will avail except the rebirth from God through faith in the Son of God, who became man.”
Being changed into better people, overcoming our shortcomings and sin does not come from human will. We can never will ourselves into becoming part of a different race who behave in a more desirable manner. There must be a change, a total change of our nature. We must become sons and daughters. This privelege is given to those who believe in His name.