7. Sure. But isn't conversion a work of the Holy Spirit?

In John 3 the Lord Jesus says the following to Nicodemus the Pharisee: 

  • Verily verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).

In this verse, the Lord Jesus clarifies that a person can only be reborn (converted) by the Holy Spirit. Man's salvation is initiated by God (see also John 6:44).

Why can a person only be reborn by the Holy Spirit?
The Bible also clearly tells us why a person can only be reborn by the Holy Spirit. Before his or her rebirth, a person is spiritually dead. It is impossible for a dead person to act. This is the reason why people by nature (the way they are born) don't want to seek and serve God; they are spiritually lifeless. When you seek God then the Lord God has worked this in your heart trough the Holy Spirit. When a person comes to faith and repentance, it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

How does the Holy Spirit do this?
No one knows exactly how the Holy Spirit operates. God is sovereign and works in different ways in people. Paul's conversion was very different from Timothy's. And the jailer in Philippi was saved in yet another way. They all came to faith in different ways, but all by the same Spirit. The Lord Jesus compares the work of the Holy Spirit to the wind. You can tell the wind is there, because leaves are rustling and clouds are drifting by, but you don't know where it's coming from or where it's going. The work of the Holy Spirit is similar. He is at work in people, which causes them to move and change. But the actual mechanics of this process are hidden from us.

Then what do I have to do?
If a person can only be reborn by the Holy Spirit, does this mean one can simply sit down, fold their arms and wait for the Holy Spirit to start something? Or does it mean one can say, “If the Holy Spirit has to convert me, it will happen sooner or later!” Absolutely not! In His conversation with Nicodemus, the Lord Jesus shows that He wants us to believe in Him. Because if you don't, you will be lost for eternity. But whoever believes in the Lord Jesus and trusts in Him, will have eternal life.

A thought to ponder on your own
Read John 3:14-18 and replace the word “whosoever” with your own name...


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