10 (The Word) was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were regenerated, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John continues His resumé concerning the Word who became flesh coming into a world that was made through Him and yet did not know Him. Jesus was sent to a people who were described as being His own, given to Him by the Father – the intended children of the Kingdom, i.e. the Jews (Mt8:12). Paul later discloses what Jesus had hinted at in parables- that God’s chosen race were to be supplanted (or rather augmented) by people chosen from every nation. The latter were to be grafted in against their nature to the good olive tree intended for Israel (Rom11:24). If you have been following my writing, Paul’s language in this context should begin to make more sense.
John reaffirms in this passage what Jesus and Paul in particular make clear – that those who are to form the messianic community, being the children of promise (Gal4:28) are chosen by the will of God. Only they are spiritually reborn, saved from the controlling influence of Paul’s “body of this death” (Rom7:24) and so enabled to serve God in spirit and in truth, even whilst in mortal flesh. In John’s language: such are those “who were regenerated, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (v13).
Predestination is a doctrine that those faithful to the Bible should not attempt to water down. It is not simply referring to foresight on God’s part concerning who would respond to the gospel. Jesus and Paul in particular make that clear (future posts), as should our featured passage. Truly, this doctrine cannot be squared with what the Bible describes as God’s equitable and loving nature or His desire for all persons ultimately to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, that is, not within a binary soteriological framework. The matter can be resolved once the providential implications of Paul’s disclosure concerning the unforetold Gentile kingdom inheritance referred to in the opening paragraph are perceived. The elect of God are not to be defined as those the Creator has willed to be saved from Hell. Rather, “Whom He did foreknow, He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom8:29). This little flock are to be Christ’s corporate bride and partner through eternity. All is seen to function seamlessly within the multi-faceted economy of grace outlined in The Little Book of Providence, a free PDF of which is available HERE