|The Raising of Lazarus, Rembrandt|
When [Jesus] had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus come out!" (John 11:43)
By what power did Lazarus come out? How could he hear the voice of the Master when he was four days dead. He had no faculties such as hearing and seeing. He was dead. His body was decomposing. Lazarus came back to life not of his own will but only by the will of Jesus.
And so it is with us. To say we are born again implies we were once dead. We come into this world as cute cuddly babies but infused with the stench of sin that leads to death. (Eph. 2:1) We have no power to revive ourselves from the spiritual death that is in us.
And so it is with Jesus who does not want to see His friends remain in death. He came that we might have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) Our dead souls come alive when we hear His voice. To think we had anything to do with our salvation means the stench of pride still remains in us and we have not fully awoken to the life giving Spirit. Our conversion belongs to God and God alone. (John 6:44) The lost sheep does not find his way back to the sheepfold because he is lost and does not know his way back. If this were not so, he would have journeyed home. The sheep is brought back by the shepherd who cares for his sheep. (John 10:7-18)
Like Lazarus coming out of the grave, our conversion is new life, a new birth. (John 3:3) Flesh cannot give birth to flesh. Only spirit can give birth to spirit.
So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ. (Rom. 10:17)