Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
[Such people] were born of God, not of blood ties [i.e., from physical descendants], nor of the will of the flesh [i.e., merely from a sexual desire], nor of the will of man [i.e., from a husband's desire for offspring].
Jesus said to him, "Truly, truly, I tell you, a person cannot see the kingdom of God [i.e., enter it. See verse 5], unless he is born from above [Note: The words "from above" are also used in verse 31, but in this place they could also mean "again," or "anew" and refer to the source of a person's second birth].
just as it is written [Gen. 17:5], "I [i.e., God] have made you [i.e., Abraham] forefather of many nations." He received this promise in the presence of God, in whom he believed, and who gives life [back] to dead people and who refers to things [promised] as though they were [already] fulfilled.
For [that class of] persons whom God knew beforehand He also predetermined to become conformed to the [spiritual] likeness of His Son, so that He could be the firstborn One among [His] many brothers [i.e., so He could be the preeminent example to all His followers. See Heb. 2:11].
For He said to Moses [Ex. 33:19], "I will show pity to whomever I want, and I will show mercy to whomever I want."
But God, who has great love for us and abundant mercy [toward us],
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven. He made peace [with mankind] through the [sacrificial] blood of Christ's [death on the] cross.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we ought to thank God for you always, brothers [who are] dearly loved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning [Note: Some manuscripts use the Greek word for "firstfruits" instead of "beginning" here, but it is difficult to know in what sense the Thessalonian Christians were "first"], in order to be saved through being set apart by the Holy Spirit and through belief of the truth [of the Gospel].
1 Peter 1:3
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to be praised for being so merciful as to have given us a new birth, which provides for us a hope of never ending life through the means of Jesus Christ's return from the dead.
Therefore, you should put away [from you] all moral filth and overflowing wickedness and humbly receive the word [of God], planted within you [by the Holy Spirit. See John 16:8], which is capable of saving your souls.
1 Corinthians 4:15
For although you have ten thousand guardians [Note: This word means someone who transported a child to his teacher] in [the fellowship of] Christ, you do not have many [spiritual] fathers. For I [spiritually] conceived you people through [preaching to you] the good news [about Christ]. [Note: Paul here refers to his work in establishing the church at Corinth].
The end [i.e., of being so predetermined] was that we [Jewish Christians], who had previously placed our hope in Christ, should bring about the praise of God's splendor.
1 Peter 1:23
You have experienced new birth, not from seed that can decay, but from seed that cannot decay, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 John 3:9
No one who has been [spiritually] conceived [and eventually born] by God continues to live a sinful life, because God's seed [i.e., His word, See Luke 8:11] continues to live in his heart, so he cannot [continue a life of] sin, because he has been conceived by God.
These people are the ones who did not practice sexual immorality with women, for they were virgins [Note: This probably has reference to people who avoided idolatry]. These are people who followed the Lamb wherever He went. They were purchased from among mankind to be the firstfruits [devoted] to God and to the Lamb.
So then, it does not depend on what a person wants or does, but on God, who shows pity [i.e., to whomever He wants].