In many ways, this is a continuation of two previous posts, but I think it will be the last on this topic (at least for a while). As part of the adoption process that makes us younger brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, we must go be “born again” (most translations put it).
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Pet. 1:22-23)
In James, it is said that the Father “brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” (1:18, NKJV). This verse, along with many verses talking about the change wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, give us an idea of what being “born again”involves.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14).
Becoming God’s Family
Once we receive the Holy Spirit and God and Christ start working in our lives, we begin the process of becoming part of Their family. Because we have been adopted and redeemed, we are called children of God.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:1-2)
Though we are considered part of God’s family now, as long as we continue in faith, there is much more promised to us in the future.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3, 5-8, NKJV)
Being born “of the Spirit” involves a change of heart and character that will allow us to enter the kingdom of God. It is a process that begins with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice making us fit to be adopted into Their family, and continues until our death or Christ’s return.
The word used to describe us as “born” of God is gennao (G1080). It is a general word for producing offspring, used of both begetting and bearing children. Zodhiates says it is also “spoken of God begetting in a spiritual sense which consists in regenerating, sanctifying, quickening anew, and ennobling the powers of the natural man by imparting to him a new life and a new spirit in Christ (1 John 5:1). Hence, Christians are said to be the sons of God (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 3:26; 4:6).”
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:7)
This new life and new spirit that we partake of when God and Christ begin the process of making us their children transforms our lives. As we become part of God’s family, the characteristics of God will become more and more evident in our lives until we receive “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pet 1:4-5).