A common term within Christianity today is the phrase, “Born Again”. Others, referring to the same event, use the term “New birth”. But what does it mean to be born again or to receive this new birth? Since Jesus Christ took time to speak with Nicodemus about being born again is this something every Christian should experience?
Although the term born again is used in the bible, it did not become commonly used term until the early 1900’s. William Seymour, a preacher in Los Angeles, brought awareness to this term by his preaching in 1906. Some consider his teachings on the subject as the beginning of the Pentecostal Church. However, the real popularity of this term did not take place until the Jesus Movement of the 1960’s. Yet, by 1980 the term was so well known that it was the punch line of many jokes.
Are Christians today supposed to be born again? If so, just how does one go about getting born again? What is a Christian today supposed to be if the term born again does not apply to our lives?
The New Covenant
For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Matthew tells us of the twofold significance of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
1.The cutting of the New Covenant 2.The remission of sins
The first thing we need to realize about the New Covenant is that Jesus is speaking to Israel. He is not speaking to the world as a whole or to the Gentiles specifically. Jesus came as a minister to Israel to confirm the promises made unto their fathers (Romans 15:8). One promise made unto their fathers is in Jeremiah.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their god, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter ties a prophecy of Joel into the coming of this New Covenant.
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 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.
When the day of Pentecost had fully come (Acts 2), god poured out spirit upon the nation of Israel. To “fully come” means to fill completely. When God first instituted the day of Pentecost, shortly after Israel left Egypt in the Exodus, the coming of the New Covenant with the out pouring of spirit, is what God had intended for this feast of Pentecost, it is the purpose He saw in His foreknowledge. The purpose of Pentecost was exactly what took place in Acts chapter 2. This is what God meant when He declared the day of Pentecost had “fully come”. All of the Pentecost celebrations since Israel left Egypt had been leading up to this particular point in time.
Jesus Christ declared to the religious leaders of Israel that they had made the Word of God of none effect because of their traditions (Matthew 15:1-6). Today, Christian leadership has clouded the spiritual clarity of the day of Pentecost fully coming by their traditions. Traditions like Pentecost being the birth of the modern day Church, and the receiving of spirit taking place in an upper room, and Pentecost being the first time people were born again. All three of these traditions are contrary to the scriptures.
Theophilos of Antioch, a church leader who lived around 170 A.D., is claimed as a biblical scholar by both the Protestants and the Roman Catholics. Theophilos wrote, “But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection.” Theophilos is saying that no one is born again until the resurrection.
Another misconception is that many foolishly act as though Pentecost was the complete fullness of the New Covenant; that all of the New Covenant came to pass on Pentecost. However the prophecy of Joel, only part of which has come to pass, shows us that it was only the beginning of the New Covenant. This is a concept that should be easily understood.
God’s covenant with Noah is still applicable today. While the second heaven and earth remain the earth will not be destroyed by water. That is God’s covenant with Noah and all of mankind. God’s covenant with Abraham still has aspects waiting to be fulfilled in the future. Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker is God and this city does not show up until the start of the third heaven and earth. God’s covenant with David is still waiting to be fulfilled in part for Christ is not sitting on the throne of David at this point in time. God’s covenant with Israel, the Mosaic Covenant has been fulfilled up to the coming and sufferings of the Messiah; the time of glory is still in the future. So to, the New Covenant is not a onetime event but an ongoing covenant that will be fulfilled in God’s time.
It must be understood that the New Covenant was promised to and then cut with Israel. Under the Law of Moses, Pentecost was a Jewish Feast Day that applied to Israel alone. Unless you are from one of the twelve tribes or a proselyte, the New Covenant is not addressed to you. Even if you are from one of the tribes or a proselyte, today it wouldn’t profit you because God has held His walk with Israel in abeyance until the Age, or Administration, of Grace has ended.
Born Again by Seed
1 Peter 1:23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
What exactly is incorruptible seed?
Peter wrote two epistles. To whom were they addressed?
1 Peter 1:1
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
They are addressed to the diaspora, the scattered abroad of Israel. The diapora are those Israelis that through persecution and war have been forced out of the nation. It happened in the days when Babylon conquered Judea, and again when Saul, a member of the Sanhedrin, persecuted the followers of Jesus after the day of Pentecost (Acts 8), and again in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.
So Peter is writing to Jewish believers about the new birth which is by incorruptible seed. But what is the seed?
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James is addressed to the twelve tribes (James 1:1) that are scattered abroad or to the dispersia of Israel. Then verse 18 tells us that they were born or begotten by the Word of God. Consider the parable of the sower and the seed; a parable that is spoken to the nation of Israel.
A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
After speaking this parable the disciples of Jesus asked for an explanation.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
The seed is the Word of God!
Is the Word of God incorruptible?
In 1 Peter 1:23 Israel is born again of incorruptible seed. What is the seed? It is the Word of God. The spirit is not the seed that was given to Israel, the seed is the Word of God.
2 Peter 1:4
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Israel becomes partakers of God’s divine nature by the promises, or the Word of God, that was spoken to them and they then believe. In the Administration of Grace, believers are partakers of God’s divine nature because God created spirit within (Colossians 3:10 and Ephesians 4:24). Mixing up what God has done with Israel and what God has accomplished for and in the Church today has led to complete confusion among believers.
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
As a Jewish believer puts God’s Word in his mind and acts accordingly he is by virtue acting with the nature of God for God is His Word.
When is the New Birth Received
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 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 saith 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?
Jesus declares to Nicodemus that he must be born again or he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. The Greek word used here is anothen, and should be translated “again or anew”. Some want to translate anothen as “above” but this Nicodemus would have understood. Being born from above or being born by God would have been logical to Nicodemus but being born again would have confused him. Jesus Christ did not speak Greek, he would have spoken to Nicodemus in Hebrew or Aramaic. The word Jesus literally used must have carried the sense of “again” not above.
A distinction must be made here concerning the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God. The Gospel of Matthew is the only gospel that speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven. The purpose of Matthew’s gospel is to show Jesus as the King of Israel, from the line of David (Davidic Covenant). This Kingdom of Heaven will come to pass as the final administration of the second heaven and earth; whereas the Kingdom of God is eternal, without beginning or end.
Some flesh and blood believers from the Revealing Administration will walk into the Kingdom of Heaven Administration so this cannot be the kingdom Jesus is speaking of to Nicodemus. But everyone entering the Kingdom of God must be born again or born anew. Therefore, this is what Jesus is trying to teach Nicodemus.
Jesus taught us that the Kingdom of God is not currently upon earth (Matthew 6:10, Luke 11:2, Luke 17:30) for Adam turned the earth over to God’s adversary (Luke 4:6). But God’s Kingdom will one day return to earth and man will not enter His Kingdom unless they are born again.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be 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. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
In verse 7 we need to understand the “thee” and “ye”. Nicodemus is the “thee” as it is singular and Israel is the “ye” for it is plural. Israel must be born again or anew before they can enter the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus and Israel must have a new birth, a spiritual birth. Being born of the flesh gives a person a natural nature, while being born of the spirit gives a person a spiritual nature. When Israel has been born again with a spiritual nature, a divine nature, another aspect of the prophecy of Jeremiah will come to pass, that being, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them”. Until that time, Israel is only a partaker of the divine nature by adhering to the words of God.
What does the accuracy of God’s Word declare concerning a Jewish believer being born again?
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
God, speaking of Jesus Christ, says, “this day have I begotten thee”. What day is that? Most automatically think God is speaking of the time when Jesus was baptized by John. However, when Jesus is baptized by John God declares, “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17).
Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
Jesus is declared to be God’s son by the resurrection from the dead. When God raised Jesus from the dead he was born anew, born again. But what about the spirit Jesus received at his baptism?
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Immediately after his baptism Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness to face the adversary of God. The spirit was given to help guide and direct, just as God’s Word has been given to guide and direct. Just as the spirit and the Word of God directed the walk of Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry, the spirit that was poured out on the day of Pentecost and the Word of God was to guide and direct the Jewish believer as he walked with God.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
God will cleanse Israel and give them a new heart and a new spirit, something that is completely new. When will God do this for Israel?
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
The word “breath” in verse 5 should be translated spirit. God is going to put a new spirit in Israel. In their first birth the life of the flesh was in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) but in this new birth their life shall be spirit. This is the resurrection of the Just.
1 Corinthians 15:45
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Jesus Christ was made a quickening spirit when he was raised from the dead, so too will Israel be made a quickening spirit when they are raised, It is at this time, the resurrection of the Just, that Israel will be born again with God’s holy spirit.
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Israel will be raised from the dead just as God has raised Jesus from the dead. This new birth is what Jesus tried to teach Nicodemus. This is the new birth that Nicodemus should have seen in the Old Testament.
Another term used for this new birth is regeneration. The word regeneration is the Greek word paliggenesia. Paliggenesia is defined in Lexicons as, “new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation”.
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
While speaking to the twelve apostles Jesus teaches them that they too will follow him in the regeneration when they sit upon twelve thrones. The apostles will sit upon twelve thrones when Christ reigns as King of kings in the Kingdom of Heaven Administration.
The spirit that is poured out upon Israel (Acts 2) is conditional, similar to the spirit upon of the Old Testament. However, there is a major difference between the spirit that was upon David and the spirit that was upon Peter. The life and ministry of Jesus pulled back the curtains and revealed the adversary for whom and what he is to anyone who wants to see the spiritual world clearly (Colossians 2:15).
With this conditional spirit upon Israel, all that believe are like little children whom their Father God must raise up with His Word and by way of the spirit He has placed upon them.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Just as the spirit upon Jesus lead him and directed his walk, in light of what was written in God’s Word, so too Israel must be led by the spirit God has placed upon them in light of God’s written Word that is addressed to them in the New Testament.
1 Peter 1:13
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
The Orientialism here is that when going on a long trip or preparing to work, those in the Orient would take their long, loose flowing robes or garments and wrap them tightly about their bodies and then secure the robes with a belt. Peter is telling the Jewish believer to be sharp, exercising wisdom and self-control until they received the grace that has been promised to them when Jesus Christ is revealed or comes again.
1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Humble yourself by obeying God’s Word and being led by His spirit and when it is time God will “exalt” you.
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
The words “lifted up” are the same Greek word translated “exalt” in 1 Peter. Jesus is speaking of his resurrection.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
“Exalted” in verse 33 again is speaking of the resurrection of Jesus; if the Jewish believer will humble himself, then God will “exalt” him, raise him, in due time, as spoken of in Ezekiel.
God must bring the Jewish believer to a point of completeness, katartizo.
1 Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
The word perfect is the Greek word katartizo and means to be fit, sound or complete. Before the Jewish believer can enter the Kingdom of God he must be brought to a point of completeness. However, in the Administration of Grace believers are not brought to completeness for they are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) that is already complete (Colossians 2:10) in Christ.
1 John 2:3-6
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Jewish believers in the Revealing Administration (Acts 2) will only have one nature and it is a sin nature. If the Jewish believer is following God’s Word then he should be walking as Jesus walked being led by the written words of God and the spirit that God has given.
1 John 2:29
If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
The Jewish believer that practices (doeth) righteousness, obeying God’s Word, is born of God; born again by the incorruptible Word of God which “liveth and abideth forever”.
The Jewish Wedding
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
In order to fully understand what God’s Word is declaring in these verses we need to have some understanding of the Jewish wedding ceremony.
First there was a betrothal, whereby the father would select a bride for his son. Then there would be a marriage contract (New Covenant). This is followed by the bridal payment or what the groom must pay to set the bride free from her current household. After these things the betrothal would become public as the two families made their intentions known. After this public ceremony the groom would give his bride a pledge of his love before he returned to his father’s house to prepare for the actual marriage. Generally, the groom’s preparation would be to add a room, or rooms, onto his father’s house. The bride also had preparations to tend to in that she was to cut and sew her wedding gown. Then, at a time of the father’s choosing, he would send his son back to collect his bride and carry her away to her new home. This time of betrothal was to be a time of great excitement and anticipation as the bride awaited the return of her future husband.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Paul, while addressing how a husband should love his wife, uses Christ as the example. The example appears in the Pauline Epistles but refers to Christ and his bride, which is Israel. God selected Israel to be His son’s bride and the New Covenant is their marriage contract. The payment to free the bride was the shed blood of Jesus Christ, who has since gone to his Father to prepare for his wife’s arrival as she prepares her gown, which revelation 19 has shown us is the fine linen of righteousness. Jesus’ pledge of love was that he gave himself for his bride.
If these verses are about Christ and Israel then why are they being used in the Pauline Epistles? Paul is teaching husbands to love their wives, what better example than how Christ loved his bride, the nation of Israel? The example continues in the next verses.
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Jesus gave himself as his pledge of love for his bride and as payment to set his bride free. So that he could cleanse it and sanctify it by way of the Word of God. As Israel believes the Word of God, acting on it and humbling themselves before God and His Word, they will be practicing righteousness (1 John 2:29), thus preparing the wedding gown of righteousness.
1 Peter 2:24
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Revelation 19 tells us the bride has made herself ready, this is works! In the Administration of Grace we require no works that is why it is called grace!
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
The Church today, the Church of the Body of Christ, is already holy and without blame. God accomplished this for us in His son. But Israel, during the Revealing Administration, is in the process of being perfected, completed.
1 John 3:9
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.
In the parable of the sower and the seed the first group of people do not believe the words of God before the adversary comes along and steals the Truth away. The next two groups believe God’s Word but when pressure comes (2 Peter 3:1-14) or they are captivated by the pleasures of the world (1 John 2:15-17) they no longer hold to God’s Word and thus bring forth no fruit. The final group is those believers that receive God’s Word and hold it steadfast. They grow and bring forth fruit. In that this last group holds to the Word of God, they cannot sin for it is God they are following and obeying, just as Jesus did not sin when he followed God’s Word and the spirit God had given to him.
The Jewish believer of 1 John 3:9 does not sin because that seed, which is God’s Word, remains in him. That Jewish believer is in the Light as God is Light and his fellowship and walk will be with God and His son Jesus Christ. When a Jewish believer denies God’s Word or refuses to walk according to His Word then he will most definitely be sinning.
A verse that has added some confusion to the difference between the Bride of Israel and the Body of Christ in the Age of Grace is in 2 Corinthians 11.
2 Corinthians 11:2
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
The word “jealous” is the figure of speech polytoton which expresses the magnitude of his feeling while the entire verse is the figure of speech allegory which is an extended hypocatastasis or comparison by implication. The comparison places Paul as a husband and the believers in Corinth as the wife.
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Notice in verse 3 we are dealing with Eve who lost her focus on what her husband Adam has taught her and because of that was deceived. The comparison concerns fear, or anxiety, that as Eve was led away to another gospel then that which Adam has taught her, the believers in Corinth were being led away from the gospel Paul had taught them.
The word “espoused” is verse 2 is the Greek word harmozo and means to fit together or to join together. In this verse it is in the middle voice and the middle voice always brings the result of an action back to the one who has taken the action. In other words, Paul has espoused the believers to himself by the doctrine he had taught.
So Paul is saying I have espoused you to myself by the doctrine I have taught and I am concerned that like Eve, you believers in Corinth are being deceived into following another gospel. Therefore, this section of scripture isn’t dealing with Christ and his Bride but rather it deals with Paul and believers he had taught the doctrine of grace.
Israel, My Son
It has been taught that Jewish believers couldn’t be called sons of God, as in 1 John 3:1, unless they had been given spirit by seed.
1 John 3:1-3
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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Again, notice that the Jewish believer grows into an aspect of who he is supposed to be as he holds to God’s Word. He purifies himself as he holds to these words concerning the return of Christ. While believers in the Administration of Grace are already pure, the Body of Christ does not become pure as it holds to God’s Word, the Body of Christ is simply manifesting who it already has been made to be in Christ.
And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
No one has spirit by seed in the time of the Exodus. Yet God calls Israel His son.
They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
Israel worshipped false gods. They turned away from the words of God and were no longer mindful of God who has begotten them. God Fathered Israel, His son, by planting the incorruptible seed of His Word.
And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?
Moses points out to God that He was the one who begat this nation. He was their Father who cared for their needs and was their protection. So when 1 John refers to the Jewish believer as a son of God it is a simple continuation of how God has always spoken of and to Israel since they became a nation as they left Egypt.
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
This is what God desired for Israel, a Kingdom of priests, a Holy nation, a peculiar treasure.
1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
Israel is preparing the wedding gown of righteousness by obeying the incorruptible Word of God, their seed. In the fullness of time, when the Father of the groom tells His son to return for his bride, Israel shall be regenerated, born anew with spirit as they are raised in the resurrection of the Just.
The Administration of Grace
If believers in the Administration of Grace, the Church of the Body, are not born again, then what are we?
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
We are created in Christ Jesus, we are a new creation and old things are passed away.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The word “reckon” means to reason. Believers today are to reckon or reason that their old man is dead, that he died when Christ died on the cross. This is the “old things” of 2 Corinthians 5:17 that are passed away. You can only reckon your old nature dead if you have a new nature to walk within. If a person has no nature to walk in then he is like a computer without software.
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
The image of Him who created this new man is spirit (John 4:24). God, who is Spirit, created within the believer of the Church of the Body of Christ, spirit. He created this spirit within by the accomplished works of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:10). Now the believer in the Church of the Body of Christ is to put on the words (Colossians 3:10) given to the apostle Paul (Romans through Philemon) so that he understands this new man God has created within.
As believers in the Church of the Body of Christ put on the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24) that was revealed to the Apostle Paul we will not be deceived as Eve (2 Corinthians 11:2-3).
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
The church of the Body of Christ isn’t about the Jews or the Gentiles. It isn’t about the circumcision (Jews) or the uncircumcision (Gentiles). It is about the new man created in Christ Jesus, a new creation.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Today we can serve in newness of spirit. Israel was under the Law, the Old Covenant. A covenant is like a contract, it has agreements that each party in the covenant is responsible to keep. A covenant is an agreement that is based upon merit. Israel is under a covenant, a walk based upon merit. While we are under grace and grace is unmerited. The Church of the Body of Christ has no covenant with God but we have been enabled because of the New Covenant that God cut with Israel by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:3-6
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
This section of scripture does not say we are under the New Covenant but that God has made us able ministers because of the New Covenant. Due to the accomplished works of Christ God was able to cut a new covenant with Israel and because of the accomplished works of Christ God could enable us as ministers.
Israel is the Church of the Bride and Christ is her groom. They are being born again by the incorruptible seed of God’s Word and ultimately will receive their new birth, spirit within, when they are raised from the dead. Until that time, the resurrection of the Just, God and Jesus Christ will continue to work with Israel, to perfect them, to complete them, to cleanse them, so that they can put on the gown of righteousness. This is their agreement with God under the New Covenant.
The Church of the Body of Christ is a new creation whereby God has created within each believer holy spirit. A believer today is already complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10) and right now is as righteous as God (2 Corinthians 5:21). A believer today reckons his old man dead and walks forth in newness of life (Romans 6:3) and serves in newness of spirit (Romans 7:6). The Church of the Body of Christ is already seated in the heavenlies (Ephesians (2:6) and stands in the presence of God, holy and without blame in love (Ephesians 1:4).
When Christ returns to earth for his bride, Israel will receive the grace God has promised them (1 Peter 1:10-11) but the Church of the Body of Christ has received God’s grace today.
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.