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“How often have the clear words of Jesus been misunderstood! People universally re-write “You must be born again” so that the phrase reads instead, “You must born yourself again!” Not only does this mis-interpretation make no sense grammatically (an intransitive verb has no object); it makes nonsense of a profound spiritual truth. Just as you did nothing to cause yourself to be born into this fallen world, so you can do absolutely nothing to bring yourself into the divinely renewed world of redemption. You must be born “of the Spirit” (John 3:5, 8). You cannot even coerce the Spirit of God to effect your regeneration. The wind blows where it will — and it is the Spirit’s will, not yours, that causes a person to be born from above (John 3:3). Indeed, if your will is renewed by the regeneration of the Spirit, you will choose to cry out to God for salvation, just as the newborn baby cries out once born. But give the divine Spirit the glory He deserves! Your cry for salvation comes as a consequence of your new birth, and never could be the cause of regeneration. The Spirit Himself sovereignly does this great work of total renewal.

The Wind Blows Where it Wills: The Wondrous Work of the Holy Spirit Within the Believer by  O. Palmer Robertson,

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