As you will see from the announcements in this week’s Update, a new child was born on Sunday; and last Sabbath, a new child was spiritually begotten into the Family of God, through baptism. Those who understand the truth may want to contemplate again on the marvelous parallel between the begettal and birth of a human child, and the spiritual begettal of a child of God and his or her future birth into God’s Kingdom. Those who do not understand this amazing analogy and falsely believe that we are already born again when we receive God’s Holy Spirit, miss out on one of the most important truths in the Word of God.
As we know, the Greek word, which is variably translated as “begotten” or “conceived” or “born” or “brought forth,” is “gennao,” and it can indeed mean all of those terms—it is just a matter of context. However, when addressing the spiritual begettal and birth process, the Bible clearly says that a born-again person IS spirit and invisible (John 3:6, 8); and nobody, who is still human, is therefore born again. Christ also said that we must be born again to be able to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). This is true as the Kingdom of God is the Family of GOD, composed of Spirit, and human eyes cannot see God or the Kingdom of God (1 Timothy 6:16). We even read that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). In order to be able to enter God’s Kingdom, we must be spirit, as God is Spirit (John 4:24), and we must be God, as God is God (1 Corinthians 15:49; Hebrews 1:1-3).
Still, the amazing truth is that when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at the time of our baptism (after repentance and faith in the Sacrifice of Christ and belief in the gospel of the Kingdom of God), we are begotten by the Spirit, and we have thereby already become children of God; or, we might say, we have become part of the Kingdom of God “in embryo.” As begotten children, we must grow in the knowledge and understanding of the truth (2 Peter 3:18).
We are desirous of the pure milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2), being nurtured by our “mother” (Galatians 4:26)– the church of God — as a new-born human child is being fed and cared for by his or her human mother (compare Ephesians 4:11-16, telling us that we are to be edified by the ministry to be able to grow up in all things into Christ). Notice the interesting analogy, which Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8: “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you have become dear to us.”
And in that sense, Paul could also say that “in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore, I urge you, imitate me (1 Corinthians 4:15-16; compare Philemon 10). Of course, the One who REALLY begets us is God the Father (as a human father begets a child).
1 Peter 1:3-5 tells us:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be REVEALED in the last time.”
When our salvation is revealed, at the time of Jesus Christ’s return, then the following breath-taking prophecy will become reality: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has NOT YET been REVEALED what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Then we will be able to see the Kingdom of God. But not only that, we even read in Romans 8:19 that “the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the REVEALING of the sons of God.”
As Spirit-begotten children of God, we ought to have the desire to become perfect, as the Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48); to become pure as Jesus Christ is pure (1 John 3:3); to overcome the world, Satan and self, as Christ overcame (Revelation 3:21; John 16:33; Matthew 4:1-11; Romans 8:3) . John reminds us of the following plain facts, as they apply (or should apply) to, and define Spirit-begotten children of God:
“If you consider that he [Jesus] is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him” (1 John 2:29; New American Bible).
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God” (1 John 4:7; New American Bible)
“For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world” (1 John 5:3-4; New American Bible).
Christ draws this marvelous analogy between the birth of a humanly begotten child and the birth of a Spirit-begotten child, when He says in John 16:21-22:
“A woman, when she is in labor has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”
Zion—our mother, the church of God—will give birth to the holy nation of God in one day (Isaiah 66:8; compare 1 Peter 2:9-10)—the day of Christ’s return. When that day arrives, we—who have made ourselves ready (Revelation 19:7)–will be truly born again and enter into the joy of our God (Matthew 25:21)—and trouble and pain and tears and death will not exist for us any longer (Revelation 21:4).