Anglican Morning Devotion for 14 April 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 4John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
(Revelation 1:3-6; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
I have written on several occasions on the subject of the Only Begotten Son of God with emphasis on the precise distinction the word ’begotten’ imposes on the equation. The word distinguishes Christ from those of us who are sons and daughters by way of adoption and the One who is of the actual same substance and nature of God which the Son represents. When God refers to His only Begotten Son in John 3:16, the Greek word used for begotten is ‘monogenes.’ That means the actual child of a father who came froth from His same substance and nature while we are sons and daughters by way of adoption That is a vitally important distinction that the new versions based on inferior manuscript and textual evidence try to conceal.
But on this Maundy Thursday occasion, I would like to discuss another facet of the term as it applies to the risen Lord. What is meant in our leading text by this phrase: “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead.” The term, first begotten, implies that there are others not begotten perhaps in the same way as our Lord but begotten spiritually instead. This, I believe, refers to those of us who are, in fact, adopted into the family of Christ by way of the new birth. We are begotten ‘in Christ’ and there fore are one in Christ as our Lord prays in John 17. We are One in Him and therefore part of Him and entitled to the same inheritance owed all who are the sons and daughters of God.
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3) We are now the begotten of the Lord in Christ, but only because He is the only Begotten of the Father. We are part of the Body of Christ if we are faithful in our lives and faith. We are made alive by the agency of the Holy Ghost through grace by faith alone. “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. 34And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption.” (Acts 13:32-34)
Are these not wonderful promises and mysteries? Having learned the lessons of our primitive teacher the Law, we now confess our inadequacy to be righteous under that law. There is only one resort left to us if we are to be saved – the imputed righteousness of the One who paid our penalty on the cross at Calvary. It is not, by any means, our own righteousness that will get us into Heaven, for we have NONE – it is the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer that will gain the victory.
This new birth is a spiritual birth unto eternal life as we are begotten in Christ and bear the emblems of His nature and character as outward evidence of our salvation.
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39) Being dead in trespasses and sins, as all born of woman truly are, we could lift not a finger to earn our salvation because we were DEAD! (See Ephesians 2)
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 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? 5 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. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3-8)
It is true that salvation is a mystery that exceeds our understanding for who would send His only Begotten Son to die for those who were bitter enemies? God did, that is who!