1 John 5:1-2 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.”
I’ve been reading a book lately called “When Faith is Forbidden” by Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs. Todd shares his chronicles of traveling to meet people who were persecuted for their faith. Many of the people who were previously muslims had come to a radical change in thinking. The testimony of former muslims sharing their faith in Christ was often attributed to Jesus appearing in their dreams or giving them visions, the stories of drug addicts and thieves becoming radical evangelists in countries where proselytizing is forbidden is inspiring and miraculous.
Regardless of how a person comes to faith in Christ one commonality is certain—that person is born of God.
What does it mean to be “born of God”?
The question leads to a connection with Jesus that might help explain to those who struggle with the concept of Jesus as God’s Son.
Blood and Water
1 John 5:6-8 “This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.”
The miracle of redemption is the fact that we as people can in our broken and corrupt flesh receive God’s Spirit within us. Our being is not complete in the form by which God intended it to be until this transformation occurs. Some people who want to be “spiritual”, will strive to connect in a meaningful way to a variety of spiritual practices, either by chanting omens, performing religious rites, or meditating in a certain manner. All of these techniques are incorporated in certain belief systems that promise enlightenment, godhood, or some other form of nirvana that is meant to replicate the miracle of salvation.
Each attempt that false religion conveys is an attempt at circumventing the only Way to eternal life.
When Jesus came into our reality He came by both the Spirit and the Flesh. Born of the Spirit, Jesus had no earthly father who contributed to His DNA, He was born of a virgin and that virgin was a simple girl whom God had chosen. Mary had no special ability nor did she partake in the work of Christ, she was only a part of the miracle and was blessed by God to fill that part.
John 4:13 “Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.”
The Water of God is representative of God’s Spirit. The same Spirit that inhabits God’s people today is the same Spirit that was manifest in the life of Christ.
People in John’s day started to question whether Jesus had actually come in the flesh but thought He appeared more as an apparition of God’s Son, so John reminded them of the Truth.
2 John 1:7 “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, refusing to confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
Why would people doubt Jesus had come in the flesh unless they doubted the miracles that followed? Jesus had healed the sick, cast out demons from those possessed, raised people from the dead, and He himself arose from the grave. Then, after appearing to hundreds of people and explaining to them why He did what He did, He completed His work by ascending into Heaven to prepare a place for any who would be born in Him.
The Water of the Spirit was evident in Christ and his humanity was evident in His blood which was on full display at His death. There was no doubt any longer that God had indeed come into our reality, walked among us, and did so for a very specific purpose.
Being Born Again
1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.“
When a person comes to Christ they come by way of invitation. No one may come to God unless God calls them first.(John 6:44) Jesus came because the Father sent Him to come, no one may come to the Father unless they first come to the Son.
The same manner by which Jesus came into our existence is the same manner we enter into relationship with Him.
John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
There is a reason Jesus began to speak about the wind when describing to Nicodemus about the concept of being born again. The Greek word for “wind” is pneuma, the same word used for “spirit.” When wind blows, we cannot see it, but we see where it has been. Tree leaves move, plants bend, and we feel the wind touch our faces. Yet no one can catch it or restrain it. When wind blows, it changes everything it touches. So it is with the Spirit.
John 3:5-6 “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, 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.”
Spiritual birth is an act of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ birth was also an act of the Holy Spirit, brought forth by a human connection Jesus bridged the gap between Heaven and Earth. He took our form that He might become the propitiation(appeasement of God) for our sin.
This miraculous revelation of God incarnate(in the flesh), was Jesus’ testimony to the world that He is the Creator of all and He takes vested interest in restoring His Creation to its intended order.
When believers follow Jesus, they act in faith by trusting Him with their lives. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He sent forth His Spirit into the hearts of all who believe. Nobody remains the same after the first encounter with the Holy Spirit, no muslim remains a muslim, all false representations of God are rendered useless, and all of life narrows down to a single point of focus bringing everything else into a correct view of Jesus as God.
1 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
The term used for Jesus as Son of God is a title that denotes the nature Jesus shares with the Father. Prior to Jesus completing His earthly ministry He always referred to Himself as the Son of man. After Jesus died and was resurrected in glory, the fulfillment as God’s Son was completed. The difference of terms have many connotations, what is important to know is that we share the same Spirit with Him as believers.
Matthew 16:27 “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”
In like manner, we who are born with a human nature are given opportunity to become “sons of God” and share in God’s blessings to all who will believe.
For Jesus, He came from one position to fulfill another—the nature of God taking on the nature of man. We start in the natural and are then given the nature of God via the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:14 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
If you want to know God’s love, if you want to partake of His nature and enjoy eternity with Him, Jesus is the only way. The hope in Christ is apart from any church or religious observance, it is in a personal devotion that forsakes oneself, turns from breaking God’s laws, and receives new life.
To be born of God is to be born again, being made in Christ’s likeness, partaking of His Spirit, and learning to follow Him.
If this is for you then I encourage you to call out to God, He will hear your cry and call you out of darkness into His light.