Happy Easter! (The Christian’s Benefit from His Resurrection)
Fellow Christians, we celebrate Easter again!
In our commemorations during Holy Week we are reminded that when Jesus Christ was crucified He took our sins upon Himself and paid the penalty for them. But, let us not forget that in addition to the great blessing received from His death there is a great benefit in His Resurrection. The benefit that can be explained by considering the word “begotten,” as in the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
When was our Lord begotten?
According to Saint Peter, when he spoke shortly after the Resurrection, Jesus Christ was begotten at His resurrection:
And we declare unto you glad tidings,
how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that
He has raised up Jesus again;
as it is also written in the second psalm,
You are my Son, this day have I begotten you.
He was begotten at the Resurrection as a new kind of man, a man with a new immortal flesh, which is indwelt by His Spirit, that is, since He is God, indwelt by the Spirit of God. He is the last Adam, the head of a new family. He had been fully a man with mortal flesh, which He had inherited from Adam through Mary, though without sin, and fully God, but He was crucified in the mortal flesh, He died, He was buried, and He was resurrected on our behalf.
What is begotten and why is it important to us?
Being eternal God, the second person of the Trinity, our Lord Jesus Christ was uniquely begotten, also translated “only begotten,” so that we, mortal man, may also become begotten by God.
John wrote in his gospel:
Jesus answered and said unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born again, 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?
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man is born 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 born of the Spirit is spirit.
“Born again,” that is, “begotten” is when God in actual fact places His Holy Spirit within the soul. The soul is now under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The human nature that had dominated the soul since we were born, called the flesh or the sin nature in the Bible, is overthrown. As Jesus said, one must be begotten to enter the coming kingdom of God.
How does one become begotten with the Spirit of God?
It is not through one’s genealogical line, or through one’s own choice, or through someone else’s choice.
But as many as received him,
to them gave He power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.
It is the work of God the Holy Spirit upon the soul that brings about an inner turning from the desire to follow the ways of sin toward a desire to trust Jesus Christ and pursue Him. As He said to many, “Follow Me.”.
We cannot think, say, or even do anything to become “born again/begotten,” but we may ask for this. As Jesus said:
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:
how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?
And elsewhere He said:
Previously have you asked nothing in my name:
ask, and you shall receive,
that your joy may be full.
How does one know if he/she has been begotten with the Spirit of God?
This was a common question of those in the early church. The writers of the Epistles in the New Testament addressed this question from many aspects, one of the most direct presentations is in the First Epistle of John.
But generally speaking, a born again person will experience an obvious change in his/her heart. There are new affections for Jesus Christ and His Word. Unfortunately, the old human nature does not relinquish the throne easily and this results in a battle between the new spirit and the human nature until we die when the old nature is shed with the physical body. The Apostle Paul writes of this battle in Romans 7:14-25. Prayer, diligent study of the Bible, and living according to the teachings of our Lord feeds the new spirit: whereas focusing on and pursuing things of this world feeds the old human nature.
But still sometimes the old human nature gets the best of us and we wonder, “Am I born again?” If we ARE unsure, we can keep asking in prayer for deliverance from the influence sin and for receipt of His new life, until we are. And then, may all the glory be to our God and Savior.
This invitation is open to all people of all languages, all nations, all lands.
May today be the day of salvation!
Let us ask!
Have a Happy Easter!