An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 42 of 270
tradition by man.  The sins that hid us from the face of God are likened to
clouds, which are dispelled and vanish away leaving 'not a wrack behind'.
Born Again.  Attention has been drawn in the Dispensational section of
this analysis to the distinction which the Scriptures make between 'children
and sons' (see article, Children v. Sons1).  John, in his Gospel and
Epistles, never uses the Greek word huios, 'son' to designate the believer's
relationship with God by grace, but the broader term, teknon, 'child'.  The
A.V. has confused these two words, and care must be exercised before building
a doctrine on any one passage.  This usage is in complete harmony with the
distinctive character of these two ministries.  John is concerned mainly with
life, and that the believer shall become one of the family of faith.  Such is
a child and nothing further is added.  Paul freely uses teknon, 'child' but
goes on to speak of 'sonship' and 'adoption'; which convey the idea of
dignity, priority, inheritance and the like.  (See the article entitled
Adoption1).  Entry into the family of faith is by birth and with this aspect
of truth John is concerned.  Paul uses the Greek word gennao, 'to be born' or
'begotten' in 1 Corinthians 4:15 and Philemon 10 where he uses it
figuratively, saying, 'I have begotten' you through the Gospel, or in my
bonds.  Gennao when used actively is translated 'beget', but where it is
passive it is translated 'born'.  The word used in John 3:4 is passive and
refers not to the act of begetting but of birth. Nicodemus's immediate
reference to the mother confirms this (John 3:4).  This fact settles the
question as to the translation of anothen.  This adverb can be, and is,
translated 'from above' in verse 31, but this is because it is associated
with the active verb 'to come'.
Peter supplies us with the two usages of the word in his first epistle.
The act of begetting, 'Blessed be the God and Father which ... hath begotten
us' (1 Pet. 1:3).  Here the verb is anagennesas, active; and the act of
birth, 'being born again not of corruptible seed' (1 Pet. 1:23).  Here the
verb is anagegennemenoi, passive.  Those thus 'begotten' or thus 'born' are
called 'new born babes' (1 Pet. 2:2).  James uses the Greek word apokueo in
1:15 and 18, 'Sin... bringeth forth death', 'Of His own will begat He us with
the word of truth'.  The instrumental causes of this new birth are severally
recorded as 'His own will', 'with the word of truth', 'not of corruptible
seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for
ever', 'by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead', 'of water and of
the Spirit'.  The only passage that is controversial is this quotation from
John 3:5.  How are we to interpret 'water and spirit'?  Standard
commentaries, like those of Alford and Bloomfield say that there can be no
doubt, on any honest interpretation of the words that they refer to the token
or outward sign of baptism and to the inward grace of the Holy Spirit.  The
Companion Bible says of the words, 'water and spirit' that it is the figure
of hendiadys; that not two things but one are intended, 'of water -- yea,
spiritual water'.
The intrusion of water baptism into the Epistles of the Mystery is to
be deplored, but so also is the attempt to interpret John 3:5 as though it
were on all fours with Ephesians 4:5 or Colossians 2:12.  The Saviour's words
as recorded by John were spoken to Nicodemus, a Ruler of the Jews, about
entry into the kingdom of God, and that aspect of the kingdom of God, which
he, a Jew even though unregenerate, should have known (John 3:10).  John the
Baptist had baptized in water, and spoke of One who should baptize with the
Holy Ghost (Mark 1:8) and John 3:5 can be left where it belongs, and accepted
at its face value.