Born Again or From Above in JohnVolume 3, Number 78
Created Date: February 14, 2014
Posted Date: February 14, 2014
Believe in the Gospel of John; Part 4:
The Greek word translated believe is found 99 times in the Gospel of John, more often than in any other New Testament (NT) book. Two studies ago we came to its second appearance where John writes “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 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.”. We observed this passage teaches “belief” in Jesus Christ consists of two elements; “receiving” and being “born of God.”
Then last study we went on a “side track” observing the Apostle John is the only NT writer who uses the Greek word “genna’o,” translated “born” to convey the concept of being born again, from above, of God or of the Spirit of God; only in John 1:11 - 13 and 3:3 - 8, as well as in 1 John. We examined the two passages in the Gospel of John and today proceed to 1 John. First we note Istates “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,” which is consistent with the text where we began, John 1:11 - 13, indicating that an element of belief in Jesus Christ is to be born of God. Attributes of those born of God are emphasized in bold:
•“If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”;
•“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 3:9;
•“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 4:7;
• “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” 5:1;
•“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 5:4;
•“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” 5:18.
Indeed some powerful statements about which a great deal can be learned. However, for the purpose of this study I’ll focus on “he cannot sin” inand “sinneth not” in 5:18 because I’ve never encountered anyone who can honestly say they never sin. By way of comparison, let’s juxtapose what John states and what the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans: “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” .
The reality of Paul’s revelation in this Romans passage rings true if we honestly examine ourselves and anyone claiming faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, i.e., even believers sin in some way or the other at some time or the other. Consequently, some may claim Paul contradicts John but if we understand to whom John and Paul, respectively, were addressing there is no contradiction. So we ask, just who are those referenced in 1 John that “doth not commit sin”? The self-willed, self-motivated, confident man or woman cannot claim this attribute simply because the will of men/women is tainted with sin; they do what they think best and go on to do what they want to do.
Jesus taught His Jewish followers and 1 John reiterates that two things are peculiar to the person who doth not commit sin; they being the attitude of the person along with the power to accomplish. Simply put, the attitude of the person Jesus and John said was mandatory was not that of self-willed adults, but that of children; that is, childlike faith. During His earthly ministry Jesus pointed out what it took to enter His Kingdom: “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”(see also )
John ties in the attitude of a child and power of the Holy Spirit that makes it possible to be sinless: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”. The “little children” John addresses had and will have an “unction” from the Holy One, i.e., the Holy Spirit. The word unction is translated from the Greek word “chris’ma,” which means an endowment or anointing and is only found 3 times in the New Testament, all three right here in 1 John. Further down in this chapter its translated “anointing:” “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” . And so it is that John explains the only way they can commit no sin is with child like faith and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There was one group of such believing Jews living about 2000 years ago who manifested the attributes listed in 1 John and there will be another group living someday in the future who will do so. Those Jews who believed Christ was their Messiah 2000 years ago were gathered at Pentecost after Christ ascended into heaven; they manifested the attributes. This was prophesized by John the Baptist: “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”(See also ) John the Baptist thus states that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost. Then Jesus Himself told His followers before He was taken up to heaven: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” . Jesus fulfilled this promise: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” .
Those were a part of a great number of Jews, the others being non-believers in Jesus Christ. Some lived in Jerusalem but most had come from all over the known world to attend to the Jewish Feast Pentecost; Pentecost being the Greek name for the “Feast of Weeks,” a prominent feast in the Jewish calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, or the feast of the harvest of wheat, see& . That particular feast day was 50 days after Christ arose from the dead. The believers were baptized with the Holy Ghost at that time and thus filled with the Spirit and so fulfilled Joel’s prophesy, as referenced in , which refers to: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” .
The Jewish assembly/church that began on such a high note witnessed many miracles in addition to the fact they could understand all the different languages spoken there. But they didn’t last long; suffering severe persecution by Israel’s leaders who did not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. They, along with the supernatural gifts/ signs of power from the Holy Ghost faded and died away. But, although John wrote many truths that any believer in any age can claim, he primarily addressed his people, the Children of Israel. And the promises about a person not committing sin, etc., as recorded in 1 John and the prophesy in Joel 2:28 - 32 will some day find total and lasting fulfillment when it is experienced by the believing Jews living during that terrible tribulation that is yet to come, and then after, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom Headquarters in Jerusalem. John was one of Jesus’ 12 Apostles to whom He promised 12 seats judging the 12 Tribes of Israel.& . The Old Testament is replete with God’s promises that the Nation of Israel will someday be a blessing to this world. In his book of Revelation John reveals the new Jerusalem from which the earth will be ruled during Christ’s 1000 year reign. John, Peter and the rest of the Apostles will sit on 12 thrones at that time with Israel administering the Kingdom of God and the attributes listed in 1 John will be fully manifest.