Can an unborn baby
ask to be born? Must a natural baby obey his parents before he becomes
their child? How can a spiritually dead sinner ask God to give him
spiritual birth? Can a "dead person" hear, believe, pray and obey? Does
a child of God obey God in order to become a child of God or because he
is a child of God?
The Scriptures make it very clear that God must give spiritual life to a
sinner who is “dead in trespasses and sins” before that sinner can hear
the word of God, pray to God or obey God. For someone to claim
otherwise, they not only deny the natural laws of life and death, but
they deny the clear teachings of Christ and his apostles. Jesus said to
Nicodemus, a leader among the Jews, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The
phrase “born again” means to be “born from above” or “born of God."
Nicodemus misunderstood this saying and applied it to the natural birth
of man and asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter
the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” Using the
misunderstanding of Nicodemus, we ask, “Can an unborn baby ask to be
born”? The answer is of course NO. No natural child has ever had any say
as to whether or not he was conceived and/or born into this world. No
natural child ever had the privilege of choosing his father. From the
response of Jesus to Nicodemus we can conclude that the same principle
applies to those who are “born of God."
Jesus answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born
of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Jesus has made it clear that one MUST be born in a natural sense (the
water birth) AND be “born of God” (the spiritual birth) BEFORE he can
“SEE the kingdom of God” and BEFORE he can “ENTER the kingdom of God."
Jesus clarifies this with these words, “That which is born of the flesh
is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The “kingdom
of God” under consideration is the gospel kingdom in this time world.
When one is “born of God” he is “translated into the kingdom (or family)
of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:12-14). The word SEE means to have “spiritual
perception or understanding." Unless one has been “born of God” he is
only a Natural Man and has NO perception of the spiritual things of
God’s. Paul spoke about this when he said, “But the natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually
discerned” (I Cor. 1:14).
Jesus explained to Nicodemus HOW this “spiritual birth” comes about. He
said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind
bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst
not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is
born of the Spirit” (see John 3:1-8). Jesus made it very clear that
“being born of God” IS the work of the Holy Spirit of God and that man
does not have a say in the matter. Man can know the effect thereof, but
can not tell exactly when or where or how this “spiritual birth” takes
place. The evidence of one being “born of God” by His Spirit can be seen
by the effects of one receiving the Spirit of God – as the Scripture
says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
In order to receive self-glory, many have put the cart before the horse,
or the Cause of being born of God before the Effects of being born of
God. Many claim that IF man will do something – repent, believe,
confess, pray, accept, etc. etc. – Then God will cause him to be “born
again." The Biblical truth is that God “quickens” (makes alive or gives
spiritual life to) those whom he has chosen in Christ, and as a result
of this “spiritual life” one has godly sorrow that leads to repentance,
has the gift of faith with which to believe, and has the spiritual
ability to perceive, confess and pray to God.
Paul expresses it this way, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in
trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the
course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air,
the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom
also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our
flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by
nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in
mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead
in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are
saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in
heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew
the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through
Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should
boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good
works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph.
Have you ever viewed a “dead corpse” in a funeral home? The expression
“dead in trespasses and sins” means “dead” as a “dead corpse." The dead
cannot hear, understand, speak, ask, pray, accept, or any such thing.
There is NO life in them. One who is “dead in trespasses and sins” MUST
be Quickened (made alive) or Born of God before they can react to God’s
word. An unborn child cannot obey his father before he is born, but he
can obey AFTER he is born. Obedience does not make him a child.
Obedience is evidence that he is a son.
Many claim the “preaching of the gospel” is the means by which God
causes one to be “born again." We have at least two other sections to
deal with this subject in great detail. But the foolishness of this can
be seen in these words, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save
the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no
man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the
world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things
that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in
the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor.
2:11-14). IF one does not possess the Spirit of God he cannot understand
the spiritual message contained in the gospel of Christ. Without the
Holy Spirit to compare spiritual things with spiritual things the gospel
message is “foolishness” to the natural hearer. “For the preaching of
the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which ARE
saved (past present tense) it is the power of God” (I Cor. 1:18).
Jesus said, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead (dead in trespasses
and sins) and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will”
(John 5:21) – and again “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and
they are life” (John 6:63). The sinner who is “dead in trespasses and
sins” MUST be quickened by God in order show forth evidence of life.