John, the Gospel of Grace (5)

John has set before the reader the case for who the man Jesus is. He is God, the Creator, the Life and Light of the world. Now we come to an important section of text in chapter 1 verses 9-13.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 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.

Once more John gives a contrast. In the previous verses it was the contrast between light and darkness. Here it is the difference between receiving and not receiving Christ. In verse 11 is the record of the failure of the Jews to see Jesus as he is and to receive him.
“He came to his own” (Jewish people), and his own people did not receive Him” (vs 11)

The Jews “did not receive Him“. They preferred darkness to light. Later in John Jesus will explain this in great detail. They stayed in the darkness of death rather than have the light of life.

They “did not receive Him” but the story doesn’t end there. There are those “who did receive Him”! This group stepped out of darkness into light, out of death into life, and out of the life of being an alien and into the household of God.

Verses 12 and 13 are very, very important. This is how God saved sinners then, and it is how He does it now. It is always this way and no other way. The Jews said no to Jesus but others (including some Jews of course) said yes and they were made children of God.

Notice the progression in verse 12 and following:

who did receive Him”
who believed in His name”
who were born”

In each statement the “who” is the same.

You receive Christ by believing in His name (All that he is, and all He has done). Those who receive Him by believing on Him are born of God (v 13) The text could not be more clear and concise. Verse 13 should be understood as authoritative and final. John here makes clear that it is God who saves and not us. He does not need our help.

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Who were born…of God” This is a positive statement of fact. The very people “who” received, the same ones “who” believed, were born…”of God”!

A positive statement, now the negatives that are just as compelling and just as true.

“not of blood”
“nor of the will of the flesh”
“nor of the will of man”

A child of the Father can claim no personal merit and no part of saving himself. Salvation is God’s work. Again and again John will bring this truth to the reader’s attention. Our security is not in human ingenuity, the plans of men, or personal righteousness but in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Oh what a Savior! Oh what good news!

Royce Ogle

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