Spiritual rebirth is a work of God and not man. It is the Holy Spirit that regenerates the spirit of man and gives him the faith to believe in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. No one is saved spiritually by the power of persuasion by an eloquent preacher or witness. Every unbeliever is a spiritually dead person before the Holy Spirit regenerates him. He cannot understand spiritual things for they are foolishness to him in accordance with the following Scripture:
(1 Cor 2:14 KJV) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The spiritually dead person cannot possibly understand the Bible or the testimony of a Christian about the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. He must first be born from above or spiritually regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Once this happens, then he will believe in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Until a person is quickened or made alive spiritually by the Holy Spirit, the words of testimony of a Christian might as well be spoken to a cadaver. No amount of persuasive ability is enough to convince a person to “get born-again”. Telling a person that he just has to “get born-again” is about as useless as going to a morgue and telling a dead person to just come alive and walk.
The Holy Spirit must first quicken a person, and then this person will believe in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. This is confirmed in the following Scriptures:
(Eph 2:1 KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:
(Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
(Col 2:13 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
The new spiritual birth is the work of God and not of man in accordance with the following Scriptures:
(John 3:3 KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(John 3:6 KJV) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(John 3:7 KJV) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
(John 3:8 KJV) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit that quickens an unbeliever and makes him a believer. It is not by the power of the flesh, the power of the will, or the power of persuasion. The new birth experience is from God above and in accordance with his will and his choosing. This is confirmed in the following Scriptures:
(Eph 1:4 KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
(Eph 1:5 KJV) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
(Eph 1:9 KJV) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
(Eph 1:11 KJV) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Two things should be very clear in the above verses of Scripture. The first is that God chose us for salvation before the foundation of the world. The second is that He chose us according to the good pleasure of His will—NOT OURS. It is stated three times in this brief passage that God chose us on account of His will and good pleasure and not ours. In addition, the following verses expressly state that we are not saved by our own will or choice:
(John 15:16 KJV) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
(John 1:12 KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
(John 1:13 KJV) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The new birth experience is a work of the Lord and not man. God chooses the ones He will save and he works out all the details for their spiritual birth. People are not born again by the power of persuasion, but by the power of the Spirit of God. No amount of persuasive eloquence can quicken a man spiritually. No amount of friendship or social interaction can bring about the spiritual quickening of a person. It is only by the power of God that a person is born again from above.
The person born again spiritually has just as much to do with his spiritual birth as he did with his physical birth. It is God that opens and closes the womb, and it is God that quickens the spirit of a person. Just as a person can assist with the natural birth of a baby, he can assist with the spiritual birth of a Christian, but the work is of God and not man. The believer cannot tell another person how to get born again. All the believer can do is tell him about the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. IF THE HOLY SPIRIT QUICKENS THAT PERSON, then he will believe and be born again. It is the Holy Spirit that leads us to witness to a person, and it is the Holy Spirit that quickens the person to believe in Jesus Christ. Christians do not save people. They are merely used as vessels of God to present the gospel of grace to people whom God has already chosen for spiritual salvation. These people hear the gospel of grace and believe it, because they have been made alive by the Holy Spirit and given the faith to believe. This is why no one can take credit for the spiritual salvation of a person—neither the person doing the witnessing, nor the person being witnessed to. This is confirmed in the following passage of Scriptures:
(Eph 2:8 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
(Eph 2:9 KJV) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
God has mightily used Billy Graham as a vessel to bring about the spiritual rebirth of millions of God’s elect. Dr. Graham fully understands that it is not in accordance with his powers of persuasion, but by the power of God that all of these people have been made alive spiritually.
(Rom 8:30 KJV) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
(Rom 9:15 KJV) For he (i.e., God) saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
(Rom 9:16 KJV) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.