Are there any steps to be Born Again?
Jesus said to Nicodemus “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3). This is a very popular concept in the evangelical world – ‘being born again’. Evangelists call on people to be born again. They tell people you must be born again. And they tell them how to be born again – to raise their hand, walk down the aisle, say the prayer… There are books in Christian book stores, titled ‘Steps to be born again”.
This is really an absurd notion; that you could take steps yourself to be born again. The irony in this theology is based on human volition. What contribution did you make to the first time you were born? What role did you play in your first birth? Nothing! There is no way that you contribute to your first birth, and there is no way you contribute to your second birth.
Salvation is purely a monergistic, divine, sovereign act of God apart from any human involvement. Birth happens ‘to us’ and, birth does not happen ‘by us’. We receive life and existence from God from above. God must speak Spiritual life into existence. God must create life spiritually just as He created life physically. ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5)’. Jesus is recalling the Old Testament Passage, Ezekiel 36:25-29 – “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” The creative miracle must happen from above.
So, what must I do? “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8). We don’t have any control over it. Regeneration is by divine sovereign choice, divine sovereign will, divine sovereign power. It is not produced by anything that a person does. There are absolutely no steps you can follow to achieve your new birth. It is a sovereign act of God. It is irresistible, it is efficacious, it is efficient and it is effective.
Unless God draws you, you won’t choose God. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws (helkuo, which means “to drag”) him” (John 6:44). This drawing is a one-sided affair. Those whom He predestined He also called (Romans 8:30). Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 3:7). Repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1;15). Whoever believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:15). He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified (Romans 8:30).
So, what can a sinner do to be born again? Where is the hope? Cry out to God to be merciful, to be gracious, to be forgiven, to grant life, to grant faith, to grant salvation. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37)
Ref: John MacArthur