Begotten from above
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: Eph 3:8-11
As simple as the truth of the nature of the Son of God is, so it is profound; it was hidden in so that it was a mystery, as it were a secret, throughout the ages until Christ came to reveal it and bear witness to this truth.
In the previous chapter we have seen that the glory which we beheld, when the Word was made flesh (when the Son of God came into this world), is the glory of what it means to be the only begotten Son of the Father. Verily, in that nature of sinful flesh, we beheld the glory of what it means to be the only begotten Son of God.
Now, Jesus said in his prayer to his Father: Joh 17:22 The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one… Here Christ testifies that this glory that is spoken of; the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, establishes the oneness of fellowship between him and the Father. Christ says that this glory, which he received from the Father, which makes them one, he gave to us, that we also may enter into that fellowship of begotten oneness which he has with the Father. Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And again: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Joh 17:23
This oneness of which Christ is speaking of is not just an oneness amongst men. It is an oneness of us with the Father and his Son, and it is the same oneness which he has with the Father (that they also may be one in us … I in them, and thou in me). To this oneness with him and the Father we are called. It is very evident that this oneness is not based in a unique divine substance (as the trinity doctrine teaches it to be) of which men have no part; but is the oneness which is the result of being begotten of the Father’s spirit. He gave us his glory which he received from the Father in order that we could be one with them even as he is one with the Father. This glory is revealed in his begotten-ness. The apostle John also testifies the same, saying: But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were begotten, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Joh 1:12, 13.
Christ also testified: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be begotten from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto him: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be begotten of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is begotten of the spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be begotten from above. … Nicodemus answered and said unto him: How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Joh 3:3-10
The question has echoed throughout the ages:
How can these things be?
What does it take to be begotten of the holy spirit of God? What does it take to be begotten of God? That this is vital to salvation is evident, for Christ testified that a man cannot enter into the kingdom of God except he is begotten of the spirit of God. It is not an option; it is an utter necessity. To be begotten of the spirit of God is to be begotten of God.
While we have seen something of what it means to be begotten of God, we have not yet looked closely at what it takes to be begotten of God. What is this glory, this power or authority that Christ gives to those that receive him, which enables them to be begotten of God? But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God…John 1:12
Jesus said: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself… If the Son can do nothing of (from) himself! What kind of power or authority is it then that he gives to those that receive him, which enables them to be begotten of God? …In speaking of his death he said again: When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of (from) myself; The Cross of Christ (his death) is the certification of both; his identity of Son of God and that he does nothing of (from) himself!
So…what does this mean to us?
Why are these two truths hinged on the cross?
Paul said: For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1Co 1:18) In the cross (the place where one does nothing of (from) himself) is the power (authority) of God, and the identity of his Son.
What is this glory, this power?
This glory, this power or authority, deals with the source of one’s life and actions. It changes the source of one’s life and actions away from oneself (away from one’s substance) to delight in the will of God. Do we begin to see something of the faith of the Son of God? Though he slays me, yet I will trust in him! The just (righteous) shall live by faith!
He that speaks of (from) himself seeks his own glory: but he that seeks his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Joh 7:18
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. Joh 5:30
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. Joh 6:38
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. Joh 6:57
And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. Joh 12:50
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Mat 4:4
Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Heb 10:7
We may begin to see how on the Cross Christ certified that he does nothing from himself (from his substance and its workings), and how this establishes the glory and the identity of the Son; the Son begotten of the Father’s spirit through faith. Do we see then how the Cross of Christ overthrew the power of Satan’s kingdom which is based on a life which is living by one’s substance and its workings?
The faith of Jesus; the covenant faith of the Son of God; turns the source of one’s life away from the substance (from the nature of the substance and its powers): from one’s own abilities; from one’s own qualities; from one’s own will; and places faith (trust) in the Father, so the Father can be the source. Thus the carnal mind (mind according to the substance and its powers) is crucified, and sin has no dominion.
A carnal mind does not mean only a mind after this earthly sinful flesh. It means a mind according to the substance, whatever that substance is. We see that Lucifer had a carnal mind (mind according to his substance) when he turned his faith to his own judgment, in accord with his substance, its powers and abilities, and made it his source, as it is written: Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness… Eze 28:17
Whether on earth or in heaven, for anyone to live by the substance and its powers brings forth sin. To live by the spirit of God is life eternal. For this cause also the Son of God took on sinful human flesh to reveal the eternal life which is bound up in the spirit; the relationship-fellowship-oneness between the Father and the Son; the covenant faith of the Son.
In direct contradiction to that revelation which the Son of God brought is the teaching of the trinity doctrine; that it is the substance/essence that is the oneness and unity of God and is in itself God. Its purpose is to invalidate the faith the Son of God lives by and his testimony of the eternal life. Satan has thus masterfully removed the spirit of the Father from being the oneness, and by making it a third “person” he made it the difference in relationship instead of the oneness of the relationship (see footnote 3 in chapter one).
Created with a purpose
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was unto the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1Jn 1:1-3
The apostle is witnessing to us of this relationship-fellowship-oneness between the Father and the Son; the faith of the Son; the begotten-ness of the Son of the Father’s spirit. He calls it the eternal life which was from the beginning and was manifested unto us.
How was it manifested unto us?
Because that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh! (1Jn 4:2) Thus revealing to us, that this eternal life is not based on the nature of the substance, but the begotten-ness of the spirit; the fellowship-relationship of the begotten-ness of the Son through faith. This revelation is brought to us for the purpose that we too would enter into that same fellowship and eternal life by receiving the spirit of the Son; the faith of the Son of God.
It is no wonder then that the enemy, who has rejected that faith, basing his kingdom on substance, is professing that the Son is of a unique divine substance (so that he lives by it) in order to obliterate that revelation of the faith of the Son of God. …Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; 1Jn 4:3
The Apostles bear witness to us of that true life of the Son of God, so that we too would have that fellowship-relationship in which they have also entered; so that we too may enter into that fellowship and that eternal life.
How does one receive this life?
The way to enter it is the way of faith. The faith which changes the source of one’s life away from self, from living by the nature of the substance; the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of life, so as to live by the Father’s will. This is what the covenant faith of the Son of God is all about; is what being begotten of God is all about. Thus one dies to sin. One cannot serve two masters. Heb 10:9 then He said, "Lo, I come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first in order that He may set up the second;
Know ye not, that so many of us as were immersed into Jesus Christ were immersed into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by immersion into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom 6:3,4
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20
The faith of Jesus; the covenant faith of the Son of God, is genuine faith. It defines his life; his Sonship; and the nature of his being. He relied not on his own judgment, but the judgment of his Father. He did not cast out demons by his own power, but with his Father’s finger. He did not heal the sick or raise the dead by his own power; it was his Father dwelling in him that did the work. He lived by the Father who was dwelling in him. Christ would have done nothing for us if it were not his Father’s will. He loved us with his Father’s love. The reference point of his love was not us, it was not himself; it was his Father..
When he died, his Father raised him up. He trusted nothing to his substance-body. His substance-body while on earth was no different than yours or mine. But likewise, it made no difference when he was in heaven in the form of God; he did not trust in his being (substance) there either. He still lived and lives the faith of the Son; hence he was and is the begotten Son; begotten of his Father’s spirit; the brightness of his Father’s glory; the express image of the Father’s person; upholding all things by the word of his Father’s power. He was not and is not the express image of his own person. That would only be if he lived by his own substance doing his own will. And it is not possible to live according to any substance and do God’s will. To do God’s will one must live by the spirit of God through faith.
Yes, that which had not been perceived, but was from the beginning, and is the foundation of the kingdom of God, is that the Son having received the natural life from the Father, had willingly laid it down, and counted the life in his being-substance nature (desires, feelings, ambitions) not worth living by, and trusted it not; but willingly placed his faith in his Father. He trusted his Father in so that he set his heart to live by every word that proceeds from the Father. Thus the Son had died to himself through faith, and was begotten of the Father’s spirit; the begotten Son of God; and at that time the only-begotten Son of God. He was dead to himself (his substance life nature), and he was living by the Father through faith; living to do his Father’s will, delighting in the Father’s will. The faith of the Son of God brings us into that same fellowship. Christ was not to remain the only-begotten Son, but God’s purpose was and is that he be the first-begotten among many brethren.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-begotten among many brethren. Rom 8:29
Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-begotten of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: Col 1:15-18
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Heb 4:10
… to shed light on (make all see) what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the eons hath been hidden in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ: To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God be made known unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the church, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: Eph 3:9-11
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2Pe 1:4
That which defines divine nature is the covenant faith of the Son of God rather than the nature of the being (substance). The faith of the son of God is the divine nature that God is offering to us, and to the heavenly host. That is why great and precious promises are given to us (because promises can only be received in faith) that by faith we may take hold of his word and receive him into our hearts. The faith of the Son of God denies place to the substance to be the source. The substance, body is to be the servant to the spirit. This is why Satan is so anxious to obliterate the faith of Jesus.
We need to address one more concept which also has its roots in the divine substance based doctrine. This concept is found in the idea of adoption which has found its way into the scriptures and many or most teach as doctrine. It is found in the following scriptures: Rom_8:15; Rom_8:23; Rom_9:4; Gal_4:5; Eph_1:5;. In every instance sonship is the proper meaning, and not adoption. How can we know this? Jesus said: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be begotten of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. To be adopted carries a very different meaning than to be begotten. An adopted son is not begotten by him who has adopted him.
To think that any can enter heaven and not be begotten of God is a delusion. For such is saying that instead of him being conceived of the Father’s spirit, the Father will adopt another spirit into heaven. That is to say; that God the Father would adopt one who is begotten of another in whom is the seed of rebellion. Then Christ died in vain. This idea is directly promoted by Satan, and is part of that third spirit in the trinity. Every man that shall enter God’s kingdom is a son who has received the Father’s seed; conceived of the Father’s spirit, his begotten son. That which it takes to be begotten is the faith of the Son of God. This is his glory. God will not adopt any into his kingdom.
The apostle says: … Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Rom 8:9.