Born Not of the Will of Man

Edward Hendrie

            Another passage taken out of context by those who would like to reduce God to a passive participant in the salvation of men is John 1:12. “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:”

            The following was written by “Reverend” D.A. Waite who has the impressive credentials of both a Th.D. and a Ph. D. He cites John 1:12 and alleges that it refutes the biblical doctrine of limited atonement and also by implication the biblical doctrine of total depravity.




"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."


1. The Goal Of John 1:12


The "goal" spoken of in this verse is the "power to become the sons God." This is another way of saying to be "saved" or to have "eternal life." This is the net result if the requirements in the verse are fulfilled by the individual.


2. The Partakers In That Goal In John 1:12


The verse is quite clear that those who partake in this goal of becoming "the sons of God " by being born again and regenerated by the Holy Spirit through faith, are (1) "as many as received Him" [Christ] and/or (2) "to them that BELIEVE on His Name" [Christ's]. These two synonymous expressions of "receiving" and "believing on His Name" are the only qualifications needed for becoming a "son" or "child" of God. Any others who do NOT meet one or the other of these two qualifications (actually they are the same, but spoken in slightly different words), cannot be the "sons of God" and cannot be saved.


3. The Refutation of "LIMITED ATONEMENT" In John 1:12


There is not a hint in this verse that this INVITATION to sinners to become saints is LIMITED only "to the elect" or that we are to restrict the INVITATION artificially by theological words. We are to preach that "as many" sinners who would "receive" Christ as Savior and "to them that BELIEVE" on His name" whoever they might be- would be guaranteed by God to "become" a "son" or "child" of God! We can make this UNIVERSAL offer, because Jesus Christ died for the SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD--barring none! They have to "receive" Him and "believe on His Name" to be saved, and to partake of Christ's benefits on their behalf. Not receiving of Him--No benefits!! Endnote (emphasis in original).

            Dr. Waite is very slyly deceiving the reader by isolating John 1:12 from its context. He has wrongly divided God’s word and tried to construct an argument by ignoring the whole counsel of God. Those, like Dr. Waite, who would elevate the will of man over the will of God argue that John 1:12 means that a person must be willing to receive that free gift of God by believing in Jesus. Dr. Waite expressly rejects the notion that God has chosen his elect, who will then believe in him.

            Dr. Waite argues that Jesus died for the sins of every person in the whole world, and therefore every person in the whole world can be saved, if only they would of their own free will believe in Jesus. Under Dr. Waite’s interpretation of John 1:12, it is man who chooses God and not God who chooses man. According to Waite’s false doctrine, God is passively offering salvation as a gift, but man must receive that gift of his own free will in order to be saved. John 1:12, however, does not say any such thing. John 1:12 simply explains that those who receive Jesus, meaning those who believe in Jesus, will be saved and become adopted sons of God.

            When the John 1:12 is read in context we see that the very next passage (verse 13) explains the source of that saving faith through which one is born again. “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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13 AV) John 1:13 makes it crystal clear that we are saved by the will of God alone, and not by our own will.

            Why didn’t Dr. Waite quote verse 13 or even try to explain it? Because, it completely refutes his Arminian construct that all men of their own free will can believe in Jesus. Dr. Waite portrays himself as an bible expert (Th.D., Ph. D.). In fact, he is head of The Bible For Today, Inc., which has an available resource library of over 2,600 articles. With his expertise in the bible, we can assume that he is not ignorant of verse 13. Obviously, he is purposely trying to mislead the reader as to what God means in John 1:12, by taking it out of its context. That is typical of Arminian theologians.

            Dr. Waite repeats his strategy of quoting passages out of context as a way to conceal the gospel of grace in his treatment of Matthew 11:28.


When [in Matthew 11:28] our Savior extended these gracious words, "come unto Me, ALL YE that labour and are heavy laden," I believe that this was an UNLIMITED invitation to an UNLIMITED group of people. This invitation extended, thus, to the ENTIRE WORLD of mankind who would be born . . . His invitation was backed up by his UNLIMITED PROVISION for "REST" in His "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT" at the Cross for the sins of the entire world! Endnote (emphasis in original).

            When, however, Matthew 11:28 is read in context, it is clear from the preceding verse (verse 27) that it is only those whomsoever the Son will reveal the Father who are heavy laden and will come to Jesus.


All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:27-28 AV)

            Dr. Waite continues with his Arminian strategy of hide the grace by citing Hebrews 2:9 out of context. Dr. Waite states:


The verse [Hebrews 2:9] clearly teaches that Jesus Christ, in His incarnation, at the Cross of Calvary, "should taste death FOR EVERY MAN." . . . this is another clear and plain verse which teaches Christ's "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT" for everyone, barring none! Endnote (emphasis in original)

            Waite’s argument is that Jesus died for everyone in the world and therefore everyone in the world has a chance at salvation if they would only believe in Jesus of their own free will. Waite seems ignorant of the fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews was written by Paul to Jews. Paul was explaining the superiority of Jesus and his New Testament over the Old Testament types, which only foreshadowed the coming of Christ. In writing to the Jews, Paul wanted the Jews to understand that Christ died for both Jews and Gentiles. That is why he said that he “should taste death for every man.” Paul meant every kind of man, not just the Jews, but also the Gentiles. Hebrews 9:15 reveals that it is only those Jews and Gentiles who are called by God who are saved.


And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15 AV)

            The gospel is that no one can come to Jesus without the calling of the Father. John 6:44,65. God’s calling is effectual; all who are called will be saved. John 6:37-39. There is no middle group, as suggested by Waite’s theology, that is made up of those whom God called, but are damned to hell, because they decided of their own free will to reject the calling of God.

            Furthermore, Waite conceals the fact that only four verses later God explains who are among the “every man” that he referenced in verse 9. God states that Jesus’ crucifixion was a way of “bringing many sons unto glory” and those sons are the “children which God hath given me.”


But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. (Hebrews 2:9-13 AV)

            The passage in context proves that Jesus died only for his elect, who were given to him by God the Father. Jesus died on the cross to sanctify his children and Jesus and his children “are all of one.” Hebrews 2:9-13 states that Jesus suffered and died to sanctify his children and make them perfect. If, as claimed by Waite, Jesus’s sanctified children includes everyone in the entire world, that would mean that God sends to hell most of his sanctified children.

            Verse 13 impeaches Waite’s claim, by identifying the “every man” for whom Jesus “tasted death” in verse 9 as being only the “children which God hath given me.” Who are the children that God hath given to Jesus? The whole counsel of God, which Waite eschews, states that Jesus’ children are only those whom the Father draws to the Son, and no others. See John 6:37, 39, 44, 65.

            Before salvation, we are dead in trespasses and sin such that Jesus must supply the faith for our salvation. That’s right, he is not only the object of our faith, but he is also the source of our faith. Everything for our salvation is supplied by and through Christ. Our faith in Christ is the faith of Christ. See e.g., Romans 3:22; Galatians 3:22; Revelation 14:12.


Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16 AV)


And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. (Philippians 3:9 AV)

            Arminianism is a false gospel that was born of Rome. Read one of the many curses the Roman Catholic Church rains down upon those who believe the true gospel: “If anyone saith that the grace of justification is only attained to by those who are predestined unto life; but that all others who are called are called indeed, but bought receive not grace, as being, by the divine power, predestined unto evil; let him be anathema.” Endnote

            The Bible is in direct contradiction to the free will doctrines of the Catholic Church. If God chooses some for salvation, that means that those not chosen for salvation are in turn chosen for damnation. “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” John 6:70.

            Many Arminians use Revelation 3:20 as a proof text that it is up to the sinner to make the choice and decide to follow Christ. Endnote “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. Michael Boling explains the common Arminian interpretation of that passage:


The Holy Spirit is seen in Arminianism as the one who effectually initiates the offer of salvation described by Christ in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Arminianism states that mankind is unencumbered by the weight of sin. Additionally, it is believed that man has not lost their freedom and ability to respond to God’s call and is not in need of total regeneration prior to accepting salvation. Endnote

            Arminians claim that God is helplessly knocking at the door of the believer’s heart in the hope that he will open the door and believe in him. That is not at all what that passage means. If the Lord wills that the person hear his voice, the person will open the door. The opening of the door is according to God’s will, not mans will. Man is impotent against the will of God. Only a few verses earlier, John, the inspired writer of Revelation, states that the Lord is “he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” Revelation 3:7.

            Revelation 3:20 states that “if any man hear my voice, and open the door.” It does not say, as some would suppose: “if any man decides to hear my voice and chooses of his own free will to open the door.” It is clear that any man who hears Christ’s calling and responds to it Christ will come to him. It does not say that it is the free will decision of the person to hear. It is a statement of fact that those who are chosen by God will hear. It is not a statement of condition that the hearer of God’s voice must now decide of his own free will whether to allow Jesus in. Jesus made this point to Pilate when he said: “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:37. Those who hear God’s calling will respond, because they were chosen by God to respond. The calling of Christ is effectual. God is not a helpless and impotent being, who must rely on the free will “decisions” of men.

            Jesus states time and again throughout the Bible: “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:23. What does he mean by that? In Matthew 13:9-17 Jesus explains that he speaks in parables because not all who hear his words will understand. Those who are chosen by him will hear his voice and understand with their hearts and are converted. The parables are spiritual and can only be understood by those whom God has chosen for salvation. Revelation 3:20 is completely explained in Matthew 13:9-17. Those who are chosen by God will hear his voice and open the door, those that are not chosen will not hear his voice, because they cannot hear his voice. In fact, Jesus explained that he used parables not only to reveal the gospel to those chosen for salvation, but also to hide the gospel from those chosen for destruction.


Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:9-17 AV)


And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. (Mark 4:10-12 AV)

            The unsaved will not believe in Christ because they cannot believe in him. Only the chosen sheep, who have been born again from heaven, can believe in the good shepherd. “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.”(John 10:26 AV)

            The Old Testament is an example; it is an allegorical pattern of the spiritual reality that is God’s kingdom. See Galatians 4:22-26; Hebrews 8:5. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart which is an example of how he hardens the hearts of unbelievers. “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Romans 9:17-18.

            Those who do not believe in Jesus cannot believe, because God has blinded their eyes and stopped their ears, just as he hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Only the elect of God are saved. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” (Romans 11:7-8 AV)

            Looking back at Pharaoh, we see that Pharaoh had no choice in the matter. God was in complete control. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let the children of Israel go. God also hardened the heart of Pharaoh’s servants.


And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: (Exodus 9:34-10:1 AV)

            David Cloud, who fashions himself as a fundamentalist Baptist bible scholar, who states that he has spent hours each day over the past 38 years studying the bible and has preached in hundreds of churches throughout the world, Endnote takes up the Arminian banner and tries to explain away God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart.

As for Pharaoh, the Bible says that he rejected God’s Word in Exodus 5:2 before God hardened his heart in Exodus 7:3. “Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go” (Ex. 5:2). Also the Bible twice says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (Ex. 8:15). See also Exodus 9:34. This is not a case of sovereign reprobation. The Scripture teaches that it is always Gods will for men to serve Him, but when they reject Him He rejects them and judges them and makes examples of them. Endnote

            The problem with Cloud’s Arminian analysis is that he overlooked a key passage (Exodus 4:21) that clearly states that it was God who planned ahead of time to harden Pharaoh’s heart. If Cloud is the bible expert that he claims to be, that would mean that his failure to mention Exodus 4:21 was purposeful. It seems he has avoided Exodus 4:21, because it impeaches his Arminian theology.

            God told Moses before he even returned to Egypt that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart against the children of Israel so that Pharaoh would not let them go. “And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.” (Exodus 4:21 AV)

            Cloud puts every bible passage through his Arminian prism. He ignores the meaning of the plain words and instead constructs a meaning that is the very opposite of the passages themselves. For example, Cloud claims that the bible is clear that God did not create Pharaoh for the purpose of hardening his heart.


These sinners [in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12] will be damned but not because they are not sovereignly elected and not because they are sovereignly reprobate but because of their personal decision in regard to the truth. Words could not be plainer. God did make an example of Pharaoh and God did harden his heart for this purpose, but to go beyond what the Bible says and to claim that God chose to create Pharaoh for the purpose of reprobating him is a great error and is to malign the name of the loving God. Endnote

            Cloud asserts that to claim that God created Pharaoh for the purpose of reprobating him is a great error and maligns God. It may malign his Arminian god, but it does not malign the God of the bible. The God of the bible states unequivocally that he raised up Pharaoh for the purpose of hardening his heart, smiting him with pestilence, and then killing him.


For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. Exodus 9:15-16; See also Romans 9:16.

            Cloud does not think much of the God of the bible. The God of the bible did the very thing to which Cloud objects. Cloud seems to think that God is unrighteous to raise up Pharaoh for the purpose of hardening his heart and then destroying him. God has this to say to Cloud:


What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory. (Romans 9:14-23 AV)

            The unsaved cannot believe in Jesus because God has hardened their hearts and blinded their eyes.


Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. (John 12:39-40 AV)

            Jesus rejoiced that the truth of the gospel was revealed to the saved and hidden from the unsaved, according to God’s will.


In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Luke 10:21 AV)

            It is a lie that God loves everybody. The Bible makes clear that most will be cast into an eternal lake of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 22:13. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 AV) “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14 AV) If God loves everybody, then casting most into hell is an perverse way of showing his love.

            God does the choosing; he has already chosen who will be saved and who will be cast into the eternal lake of fire. He made his selection before the world was created. God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion. “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:16. Those who are chosen for eternal destruction are not loved by God; God hates them.


(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Romans 9:11-13 AV)

            God has made all things for a purpose, and one of his purposes in creating some is to reserve them for eternal punishment.


The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (Proverbs 16:4 AV)


The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: (2 Peter 2:9 AV)


That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. (Job 21:30 AV)

For more information on this topic, go to or contact Edward Hendrie at edwardhendrie [at] gmail [dot] com.