Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.
I. LET US FORM SOME PRECISE IDEA OF THE WIND; which is just the atmosphere in motion. The atmosphere is an envelopment of air that enwraps our globe and rises to the height of from forty to fifty miles. It gets lighter and thinner as we ascend, till it gradually disappears. The air consists chiefly of two gases in the proportion of about one-fourth of the one to three-fourths of the other. It is the element in which alone it is possible for us to live. It is just this air in motion that constitutes wind. As still water stagnates, so would still air. A benevolent Creator, therefore, has seen to it that it shall never be long still. And this motion is produced mainly by changes of temperature.
II. Let us now pass to THE REALITY ILLUSTRATED — the influences of the Divine Spirit in regeneration. These influences, like the wind, are —
1. Vital — absolutely essential to spiritual life (Genesis 1:2; Genesis 2:7; Psalm 104.29, 30; Ezekiel 38:8-10). But will the Spirit come to me? Do you ever ask, Will the vital air come?
2. Sovereign. For aught that we can do it bloweth where it listeth. Come on us where it may, when, whence, and with what result. It is absolutely beyond our control. We may indeed turn it to account, and ought; and this very sovereignty of it is the strongest reason why we should. Equally sovereign is the Spirit: "He divideth to every man severally as He will." Nevertheless, He is benignly here for us all. Though absolutely sovereign He is Love; and it sovereignly pleases Him to be here, striving at every heart. When sovereign love has done its best, vain will be our cries and tears.
3. Mysterious (Ecclesiastes 11:4-6). "Wind," "Spirit," "Birth," all are here. These strongly set forth that so far from discouraging action, they are strongest incentives to it. For the wind is not "mysterious" in any such sense as to mean causeless or capricious. It is not independent of law. Mathematicians can go far in describing the properties of curves; but fire a rifle, twirl a half-crown, or toss a ball into the air, which are the simplest and most familiar of acts, and though every convolution exactly obeys mathematical and physical laws, yet where is the Newton or the Leibnitz that could trace these in detail, and sum up for us so complex and intervolved a computation? So the Spirit's influences are inscrutable, in great part, from the nature of the case. They deal with the most involved and interwarped of all problems. They have to do with free agency, duty, destiny, and diversities of individual temperament and circumstances. How stumbling oftentimes to see some highly privileged one resisting to tim last the influences of the Spirit; while another, much less privileged, or a third, even openly profligate, is seen to surrender himself to the overpowering influence of gospel truth and love. But this is the time for such mysteries now that the mystery of iniquity doth work. Only the antagonistic mystery of godliness can counterwork it.
4. Discernible. With all its mystery there is no mystery about its presence. A regenerated man will not be able to veil off his character. Sound is itself a sort of wind, in its vibration on the auditory nerve: therefore genuine Christians will tell personally on others with the self-same influence in varying degrees that told on themselves.
5. Benignant (Psalm 135:7). The breeze is —
(1) Healthful and reviving.
6. Universal — "where it listeth;" yes, but then it listeth to blow everywhere; not in short detached breaths, but in broad, boundless, interblending currents that benignly embrace, belt, and begirdle the globe. So is it with the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 3:7; Acts 2:17; Acts 7:51; Revelation 22:17).
(T. Guthrie, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.