Born of God (John 1:12-13)
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
Our Fighter Verses this week are well known to most Christians—and because of that familiarity, we might take only a quick look thinking “Oh yes, I’ve got it,” and swipe the screen. But it is good to pause for more than a glance even when we know a passage well. God always has more for us to see of His power and grace in His Word.
Pray that God will open your mind to understand His Word and make your heart ready to respond to what He is teaching you.
The Gospel according to John is unique among the other gospel accounts from the first chapter. Unlike Matthew, Mark, and Luke, who begin their accounts with genealogy, the birth of Jesus, and Jesus’ baptism, John takes us back before time, before creation, to eternity, showing us that Jesus is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14).
Take a few minutes to read John 1 for the context of this week’s Fighter Verse. There are contrasts or opposites we discover in the first few verses:
Jesus is the Light, and the darkness is not able to overcome the Light. (vv. 3-5)
Jesus came into the world that was created through Him, but the world did not know Him. (v. 10)
Jesus came to His own (His covenant people Israel), but His own did not receive Him. (v. 11)
“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (vs. 12-13)
Receiving Jesus is defined by believing in His name—He is in the believer, and the believer is in Him, a covenant union secured by the infinite authority of the name of Jesus. Philippians 2:10-11 tells us,
God bestowed on Him the name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
He is King and Lord over all creation. He is Savior, crucified, buried, and risen from the dead; alive forever.
All of us were once born in sin and darkness—but now Jesus the Light, our Savior has come to give us new birth and new life in Him. But the believer’s new birth is not a physical birth by flesh and blood, and not by personal attempts to get a “fresh start,” and not by reforming yourself with human willpower. By God’s own will and power we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). And He gives even more! John 1:12 tells us He gives every believer a special right or privilege—the only right that will ever ultimately matter, transcending every human right or freedom you strive for on earth—the right to become a child of God. This glorious gift of being in God’s family identifies us now as in Christ, the “children of Light” (Ephesians 5:8), “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession that we might proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Who receives the right to become children of God?
Ephesians 5 helps us understand what it means to be God’s beloved children, the children of Light. As you read, note the contrast between the light and darkness in this chapter, as well as the unique qualities of those who have new life in Christ.
Can you think of other verses that specifically refer to the authority and power of Jesus’ name? Take time this week to look up those verses and write out your thoughts, prayers, and praise.
Have you received Jesus and believed in His name? If not, you can find help in this video. If you are a Christian, reach out to someone in your neighborhood through a note or phone call and share with them Christ’s excellencies and saving power.