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Christmas Day, December 25, 2023

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Christmas Day, December 25, 2023

You cannot will yourself to be a child of God (cf. vs. 13).  Only the will of God makes you a child of God.  A child of God does not come into being in the usual way, for being born of the flesh yields only flesh (Jn. 3:6).  A child of God is born of water and the Spirit (Jn. 3:6)—that is, born of baptism where the water is used together with God’s Word, an instrument of the Holy Spirit.

Because we are sinners, there is great controversy over the claim, “You cannot will yourself to be a child of God.”  Even though the Word tells us here in verse 13, “born… not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man…,” some still insist there’s a role for the human will.  Verse 13 concludes by reserving this birth to God alone, “born… [of the will] of God.”  God, and God alone, determines who will be his sons and daughters… who will be the brothers and sisters to his Son, Jesus Christ.

Theologically this reservation to God alone is known as God’s election— “…even as he chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world…” (Eph. 1:4).  God’s choosing precedes our having faith.  When the apostles had finished preaching in Antioch, this is the consequence, “…as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

Because we are sinners, the truth of God’s election provides for our faith.  Without the truth of God choosing us… without the assurance that, in such choosing, God does not lie… without complete confidence in the faithfulness of God even as we are unfaithful (2 Tim. 2:13) … without these, faith would not be a gift of the Holy Spirit but merely another work of sinful and broken human beings.  As the Apostle Paul declares, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” (Eph. 2:8).  You’ve been elected… You’ve been chosen… by a God who does not lie, all so you can enjoy the gift of faith.

Table Talk:  Discuss the importance of God choosing you rather than vice versa.  \

Pray:  Heavenly Father speak to me again and again that the news of my election will ever fill my ears.  Amen

John 1:1-14 (15-18)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which enlightens 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.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.