“Rights” are being claimed, asserted, denied, protected, and debated continually in our culture. Most of the rights asserted these days seem to surround a desire to escape any subjection to holy God. So, we erase our ties to our Creator, and we become our own creators (Romans 1:21-23). When we look to recreate ourselves, only two possible paths are available. Either we believe we can do all of that re-creating ourselves, or we can look to God, who promises us the grace and power to be recreated into the image of His Son. If we rely upon ourselves, we are subject to no one. If we yield to God, then we are subject to His plan and desires for us.
Who was the first to suggest escape from God? “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1, English Standard). Just as Adam and Eve’s “rights” under God were being understood and explored, a crafty serpent, the Devil, challenges the rules. Imagine how the dialogue developed. “God is a kill-joy, a restrictor, a denier of rights! Are you going to let Him decide for you?” And here we are today, championing our rights, rights that challenge any intrusion into our personal autonomy. “I will be what I want (see myself) to be!” Really? If I say I want to be a goldfish, I can be a goldfish? Pretty early in the process of recreating myself, I will stumble over my inability to fundamentally change, and bump into the Almighty. Wanting change, recognizing the need to change, can be a great thing, but let us recognize that only God can make us into the best version we can be.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who 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 reveals the great theology of Divine recreation. Let’s walk through the two verses. 12a- If we receive him, and believe in him…Who? Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God that came and is the light of all mankind (John 1:1-5). If we receive and believe, meaning if we by faith recognize Him as our Savior from sin, as our way to a new life, then…12b- we are given the right to become children of God. The word there in the Greek for “right” is pronounced “ex-oo-see’-ah.” It means “the liberty to choose.” You see, we are bound and blind in our sin, unable to recreate ourselves. But, through Messiah Jesus, I can by faith choose to receive the new life God has for me.
To become? Yes, we can be “becomers.” One of the greatest aspects of the good news is not just my eternity secured with God, but my insides being cured by God. We can change! What a relief that must be to my wife, my children, and anyone who has ever spent more than 30 minutes with me. The word in v. 12 for “become” means to “begin to be, to come into existence.” If we amplify the verse, it is saying: “To those who receive and believe Messiah Jesus, God gives them the liberty to begin to be children of God.” We get a fresh start. You say, what were we before? Jesus made it plain in John 8:39, and John repeated him in 1 John 3:10- children of the Devil. Yes, the one who inspires sin, we are his kids until we meet Jesus.
Verse 13 describes the change- rebirth, not of the will of the flesh nor of human will, but by God. It is an “only God” work (Ephesians 2:8-10). Yes, it is an invisible work, and according to God’s design for us-which is to be holy like Him. The world tries to recreate our outsides. God is recreating our insides. The refashioning of our bodies comes later, (1 Corinthians 15:54), but we can be assured this inner work has truly happened in us. How? By the Spirit’s circumcision. 1 John 4:13- “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” What a great faith feeling to know I belong to God.
Hey, the next time you see someone marching, screaming, protesting, “I want my rights,” stop right there and say a prayer. Pray that person recognizes Messiah Jesus and receives the right to become a child of God
Prayer- “Creator and Re-Creator, thank you for giving me a second chance, a new life. I receive the grace you offer me to be new and like You. I will not attempt life change alone, but I will yield to You, and I invite Your Spirit to fill me and work on me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”