“In this, the love of God was made manifest in us, because God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9).
When He walked the earth, Jesus was the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). He was “begotten” (Greek Gennao) as a Spirit, which is what His Father was. But He was a One-off.
For Him to change in form and “become flesh” (John 1:14), while avoiding the contamination of sin that is in the flesh of all men born of the seed of man, He was incarnated into the flesh of a human man, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, who “came down upon Mary, and the power of the Most High rested upon her” (Luke 1: 35). Thus, Mary conceived, and subsequently “brought forth” (Greek tikto) a Son, who was called Jesus, thereby fulfilling the prophetic scriptures concerning the Messiah being born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14).
In such a way was Jesus born in the flesh but, because He was not born of the seed of man, but of the power of God, He did not inherit that fatal encumbrance of sin, which, since Adam, has been the inheritance of all people born of the seed of man. Instead, He inherited the Divine Nature of His Father and, had not the Divine purpose been otherwise, and had it not otherwise been set forth in the prophetic scriptures, He would have lived in His human flesh forever, for He had no sin in Him that He should die. In this way, “begotten” of God, but “brought forth” from the body of a woman, God became man.
As for all other men and women born since Adam, we were begotten, not by God, but by our earthly fathers, by the blood, by the purpose of man and by the desire of the flesh (See John 1:13). Thus, the “self”, the natural person, was born in each one of us. We were not born with the spirit of life, but with the spirit of death that rests upon each person born of the seed of man. We were not born of light, but of the spirit of darkness, and destined to “walk according to the material universe of this world, according to the prince of the authority of the atmosphere of this world that is inhabited by spiritual beings, according to the spirit that works in the sons of disobedience” (See Ephesians 2:2).
Now within each child, there is a tendency to believe in an unseen heavenly overseer. “Where did we come from?” is a question that every child asks; and “Where do you go when you die?” But, as we grow older in years, the “unclean spirit” (Matthew 12:43) within each one of us, the lying spirit, turns us away from these thoughts, and we live our lives, unknowingly afflicted and oppressed by that unclean spirit with which we are born.
Then, to a few, a miraculous and amazing thing “becomes”; our dead spirits are quickened into life. We are not born again – birth is the fruit of being begotten -but begotten again – gennao – (John 1:13). What actually takes place in this transaction is the very same thing that happened to Mary; the Holy Spirit comes upon us, as it did to Mary, and the power of the Most High rests upon us, as it did Mary, and we are begotten again, only this time, by God; and not physically, but spiritually.
The seed planted in us by God is the same seed that was planted in Mary. In the case of Jesus, it was planted into the flesh of a woman so that it would bring forth the Divine nature in fleshly form, allowing Jesus to say;
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
When Mary was implanted with the Holy Seed, it was to enable God’s only begotten Son, a Spirit, to become a human person. When I was “begotten again”, the Holy Seed that was implanted in me was to enable me, a human creature, to become a living spirit.
In the case of all believers, this same Holy Seed is planted into the quickened spirits of men and women when they are converted to Christ, but it is the very same seed of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) that was planted in Jesus; it is the seed of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And all those begotten again of God have within them this seed of a “Holy Begotten” (Luke 1:35), as did Mary. For that reason, those that “take hold” of this spiritual truth are given “authority to become children of God” (John 1:12). Thus, Jesus is no longer the “only begotten” but the “first born of many brethren” (Romans 8:29). It is in this context that Jesus’s remark to the Jews in John 10:34, must be seen when He was quoting Psalm 82:6:
“You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High”.
This holy seed that God planted within us is the seed of Christlikeness; righteousness, faithfulness and holiness. That is what it is meant to produce in each one of us. But it will not produce such fruit without nurture; it needs diligent, constant and tender care. That means a wholehearted devotion to the Holy Scriptures, “For you have been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
“Through the living and abiding Word of God”; that is what makes the seed of righteousness grow.
All of these beautiful and deep things of God are clearly set forth in His Word, but the enemy has robbed us of the power to believe; moreover, they are not sitting on the surface where the ungodly can just pick them up. Even the Pharisee Nicodemus, “the teacher of Israel”, did not know these things (John 3:10). They are buried deep in the recesses of God’s heart, and when the Holy Spirit gives you understanding of them, it is not only a joy, but a challenge.
Remember what Jesus taught about the unclean spirit that inhabits each one of us at birth; when the holy seed of truth was planted by God in the spirit of man, the unclean spirit departed. The spirit of truth drives out the spirit of the lie. But later, that lying spirit comes back and, finding the house swept clean, brings seven spirits more wicked than himself, to take up occupancy (Matthew 12:43-45). These spirits have to do with fleshly desires and worldliness; in the parable of the sower, Jesus described them as thorns, amongst which the Word is sown, and which comes up to choke the Word, preventing it from bearing fruit.
Some of these thorns He describes as “the deceitfulness of riches” i.e. materialism; “the cares of this world” i.e. worldliness; “the pleasures of this life” i.e. hedonism; and “the desire for other things” (See Matthew 13:22, Mark 4:19 and Luke 8:14). This last thorn is the desire for things that remain of the old life, or former things. It is a bit like Lot’s wife looking over her shoulder to see what was left behind. She’s still there. This is a warning to God’s people; don’t long for the things that are behind, but go forward!
For all of those upon the earth there is now hope. Until Jesus rose from the dead, we had no hope; but now because He died and rose again, we can be “begotten again” into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). There is now hope where once, there was despair. Yet, while we may be begotten again, there is still much work to do.
Firstly, if the seed of that new man begotten in us by God is to grow and flourish and to bring forth its fruit of righteousness, faithfulness and holiness, it must be diligently nourished with the Word, the presence of God and worship. It cannot grow and overcome the thorns and weeds without the most careful attention and care. Concurrently, the old man, the seed of our natural father, must be stifled and his growth stunted, so that he withers up and dies. This can only be done by starving him of nourishment, denying him his appetite for fleshliness and worldliness, the tools of unrighteousness.
Starve him of the things upon which he feeds; that is the only way to put him down and keep him down. This will include television, movies, books, magazines and all the paraphernalia that the spirit of the world uses to draw us away from holiness and into unrighteousness. We have to keep the garden of our mind, our soul and our heart weeded, so that the Holy Seed can grow to fullness.
Secondly, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not” (1 Corinthians 15:34).
If we sincerely seek Him on the matter, the Lord will awaken our hearts to righteousness by revealing that we were “begotten again” by God. The old man, who must be put off (Ephesians 4:22), was a living soul, a natural man, of the earth, earthly. The man awakened to righteousness, whom we must put on, (Ephesians 4:24), is a quickened spirit, a spiritual man, of the Lord, heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:45-47). As we have borne, in ourselves, the image of the earthly, so we are to bear, in ourselves, the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15: 49).