“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. I would consider the agent, or who it is that effects this great work.
If we consider the state that mankind are by nature, as has been described above, we need not stand long to know who to attribute this work to. It is a work too great to attribute to men or angels to accomplish.
None but He who, by one word’s speaking, spoke all nature into existence, can triumph over the opposition of the heart. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is represented in Scripture as emanating from the Father and the Son, yet co-equal with them both.
It is God alone that slays the native enmity of the heart– that takes away those evil dispositions that govern man– takes away the heart of stone and gives a soft heart– and makes him that was a hater of God, an enemy to God, to become friendly to His divine character.
This was not wrought by any efficiency of man, or by any external motives, or by any light let into the understanding, but of God. Hence we read that those that receive Christ are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13).
And that is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Also it is God which worketh in us (Phil. 2:13).”
–Lemuel Haynes, “A Sermon on John 3:3,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 34.