In my two previous posts, we learned something very important about the power of Jesus and the power of sin. We learned that Jesus is the source of all life for creation and mankind in particular. However, we also learned that sin has such a detrimental effect on man that he cannot even recognize God when He is walking among them. If God were to leave us in this state, we would be eternally miserable. But, thankfully He does not leave us powerless. We will see in these final verses of the opening of John’s gospel that it is by the power of Jesus Christ giving the children of God spiritual life that we are made able to comprehend and enjoy our Savior!
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
There are two main points to be noticed in these verses.
First of all, John is referring to a group of people that have already been born again. They were not born again by their natural relationship to another child of God. They were not born again by some obedience to the law or even obedience in faith. Nor were they even born again by a simple act of will or decision. They were born again by the irresistible power of God.
The phrase “he gave them power to become the sons of God” does not mean that Jesus gave them tools to be able to save themselves into new birth. John is saying that the effective power in the new birth is Jesus. Just as He breathed natural life into man, Jesus breathes spiritual life into God’s children causing them to be born again! Since they have been born again, they now have power to manifest themselves as children of God.
The second thing we need to understand is that the phrase “as many as received him” is not a condition we must meet in order to become a son of God. This phrase is forensic, meaning that all those that received him “were” born again already. Their ability to receive him was evidence of the new spiritual nature already in them. Remember, the natural man is incapable of doing this.
Just like Adam was created and then given the breath of life. We have natural life but must also have spiritual life given to us by the power of Christ.