“unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” is a description, not a command

There are some which say we are commanded to be born again. This implies that people do something to be saved. But what does scripture actually say?

John 3:3

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

We are told the pre-requisite for seeing the kingdom of God – “unless one is born again.” We see this again in John 3:7

 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

This is not a command – it is a description.

God causes people to be born again.

1 Peter 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

We were dead in our trespasses and sins when God made us alive. What dead man brings himself back to life?

Ephesians 2:1-9

 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and wereby nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Our salvation is not a result of our deeds or choices, but because of what God has done in us.

God grants repentance leading to life.

Acts 11:18
When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

God gives us faith, and God saves us.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

In fact, Jesus is both the author and perfecter of our faith.

Hebrews 12:2 

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus is also the author of our salvation.
Hebrews 2:10
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
Many times, we want to believe we are responsible for our salvation (because we recall making a choice). But it was not by man’s will that anyone is saved, but by the will of God.
John 1:12-13
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
God chose the elect.
Mark 13:20
Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
The only ones who can come to Christ are those who God draws to Christ, and those who are drawn by God to Christ WILL be lifted up on the last day. the implication is that not everyone will be drawn to Christ, or have permission granted to come to Christ, otherwise Christ would raise up others.
John 6:44
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
Some want to claim that EVERYONE is drawn to Christ, but John cleared that up by saying that Jesus know that not everyone would believe, and only those who have been granted permission from the Father can come to Christ.
John 6:64-65
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
 In fact, Jesus said that some had seen him and did not believe. ALL that the Father gives to Christ WILL come to Him.
John 6:36-40

36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Some want to claim that Jesus said he would draw all men to himself. This is correct, but this does not mean it is for salvation that Jesus will draw all men to himself.

God the Father draws people to Christ for salvation, but Christ draws people for judgment.

John 6:44
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 12:31-33

31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

We see Jesus TELLING us that there will be two resurrections – one for judgment and one for eternal life.

John 5:25-30

25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

So, the term ‘draw’ is used for different purposes – one to be saved, the other at the end times to be judged.

In fact, Jesus said that some could not believe, even though He had done many signs in front of them. This was to fulfill prophecy – Their eyes were blinded and their hearts were hardened so they would not be converted.

John 12:37-40

37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.”

Scripture is clear that not everyone will be saved – even if they believe they ARE saved.
Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

People are not born (physically or spiritually) of their own will. They were DEAD in their sins when God made them alive. So regardless of what we may believe, it is GOD who chooses us. God who gives us faith. God who grants us repentance. It is not our work, our desire, our choice, but God’s.  So the phrase “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” is a description of those who see the kingdom, not a command to be born again.


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