How Does It Happen?

11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
—John 1:11-13

Sometimes a person comes into a church or sits in a coffee shop or lounges in your living room, hears the Gospel and says, If God is offering me salvation, I want it!

But most of us have had somebody tell us at some point, I don’t want that!

So how does it happen when a person responds, I’m ready. I want what God has for me! How does that happen?

It’s right here in John 1:12-13. Verse twelve talks about the receiving and believing, and verse 13 spells out how it happens: “.  .  . who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” You can’t be alive physically, of course, without physical parents—and you can’t be alive spiritually without a spiritual parent. God is the spiritual parent. Believers are born of God.

 How do you get to be called a child of God?

You see, “the right to become children of God” implies a family. Every family has a father. You may ask, How do you get God as your Father?

You have to be born again. You have to be born spiritually. To make the point really clear, John says, spiritual birth is “not of blood.” Your human parents can’t cause you to be born spiritually. And you can’t pull yourself up and save yourself. You can’t make it happen from “the will of man,” meaning yours or anyone else’s effort.And then the last thing: “but (born) of God.”

So my mom can’t do it for me. I can’t do it for myself. And you can’t do it for me, either.

It’s just you responding and receiving what God the Father offers. He does the birthing. “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Jonah 2:9), because He does all the work to make it happen. It’s just good to be reminded of that great truth. God wanted us to remember His essential role in bringing us into His family, so here it is in John 1:13:“but (born) of God.” Salvation belongs to the Lord. And He richly offers it to us through His Son, in whom we believe and who we receive. —James MacDonald


  • How have I settled in my heart and mind that my salvation rests entirely on what God the Father has done through His Son on my behalf?
  • What causes uncertainty for me and how should I resolve it?

Prayer -

Father, thank You that I can call You Father, for that is who You are! Thank You for bringing about my spiritual birth though I was as helpless in that process as I was when my human parents had me. Thank You for graciously allowing me to see the truth of the Gospel in a way I could believe and receive what You had already done for me. Thank You for the joy of spending my life and eternity expressing my undying gratitude to You for all You have done.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.