Aug 17, 2011

Begotten of God To...?


Scriptures speak of being "born again" of the Spirit (John 3: 3-8), or of being "begotten of God." (I John 5: 18) In this "birth" or "conception" something is begotten or produced. All recognize that "life" is the chief product. Also, that a "person" is created or brought into existence. When a person is "born of God," he becomes a child of God, a "new creature," a spiritual being. But, is "life" and "existence" the only things begotten? Or, are there other things that are "begotten" when life is begotten? What saith the scriptures?

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (I John 5: 4)

"Faith" is here identified as being that which is "begotten." Faith overcomes because it is born of God. When a person is spiritually begotten life is begotten, but so also is faith "begotten."

Some will argue that this proves that one is born again "before" faith, but this would be an error. It would be wrong because the birth experience does not comprehend merely the cause, but also the effect. If we say that one is "begotten before life" we do not mean that one can be "begotten" who does not live and exist. We cannot say that "begotten" refers to the cause separate from the effect. A person cannot be said to be born until he is actually born.

This is why I have opposed the idea of placing a strict chronology on the relationship between faith and birth. They are concurrent, or simultaneous, and so intimately connected together that one cannot experience one without the other. When a man is born again, he is born "unto" something. Effects are immediate and automatic. Those effects include life, faith, hope, knowledge, and love for God and his Son Jesus Christ.

Men are begotten to life, but there is no gap in time between being begotten and being alive. Likewise, when men are begotten to life, they are at the same time begotten to faith, and there is no gap in time between the two, for there is only one "begetting" and not two separate ones.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (I Peter 1: 3)

Peter says men are "begotten unto a living hope," which is similar to John saying men are begotten to faith. Hope implies faith. They are joined together by an unbreakable bond.

If a person does not have Christian faith and hope, then he has not been "begotten" of God.

Hope and faith also implies knowledge and understanding, and if men are begotten to hope and faith, then they are likewise begotten to saving knowledge. Those who are begotten, in scriptures, instinctly and naturally recognize their Father in Heaven, and their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, for this too is a part of what it means to have Christian faith and hope begotten in a person.

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Gal. 4: 6)

The immediate result of the Spirit entering a soul, in this divine begetting, is the soul crying out, in recognition, of their Heavenly Father.

Though there is no verse that says that people are "begotten" unto "love," as it is said of faith and hope, yet the same idea is expressed in other passages that describe this multifaceted miracle of spiritual birth.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Gal. 5: 22, 23)

"Fruit" here is from the Greek word "karpos" and may denote, besides the fruit of trees, the fruit of one's loins, of what is begotten or produced. The context will determine the precise usage. It often signifies "that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result."

The Hardshells cite this verse and use it to uphold their view that regeneration precedes conversion, and that the former can exist without the latter. To the Hardshells, "faith" being a "fruit of the Spirit" means "faith is an after-effect of being begotten of God." Then, having proven this, they then take giant leaps in logic and argue that since fruit is what comes after the tree is first in existence, and oftentimes many years later, so also is it with one "begotten" of God. A spiritually born soul may be fruitless (without any effects of being begotten) for many years before he possesses faith, hope, love, peace, etc.

Faith, hope, love, and peace, etc., are "begotten" (produced, as immediate effects) when a person is "begotten." Thus, we have shown what we are begotten "unto." These things define the kind of "life" begotten. To affirm that any unbeliever in Jesus, that any who have not repented and converted to Christ, are "begotten of God," is a severe error, a "heresy."

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