God's Kingdom Ministries
Serious Bible Study



Part 1: Salvation: Chapter 7: What is a Son of God?

John 1:11-13 says,

11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children [technon, “sons, offspring, children”] of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born [gennao, “begotten”], not of blood [“bloodline”], nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

To become a son of God, one must “receive” Christ rather than reject Him. Jesus Christ is the One who gives His children the right (or authority) to be His offspring. This is not a matter of biology or genealogy, because Jesus had no physical children. His children are not begotten by “the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

In the Hebrew way of thinking, a “son” could be either a biological son or a spiritual son. A spiritual son was someone who had the characteristics of his father. Those who have faith are said to be the children of Abraham (Gal. 3:29), and these people of faith are also said to be “sons of God” (Gal. 3:26).

So also, those who are wise are wisdom’s children (Matt. 11:19). James and John were “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17), not because they were begotten by thunder but because they were loud and boisterous, having a thunderous personality.

Those who murder the prophets and the Messiah are the children of their “father,” the devil. John 8:44 says,

44 You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Jesus also said in Matt. 12:49, 50,

29 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers! 30 For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.

This manner of speaking was readily understood by those who heard Him speak, for this was built into the Hebrew language and culture.

Begotten and Born

The Greek word gennao has a double meaning. When applied to a man, it means “to beget, to engender.” When applied to a woman, it means “to give birth, to bring forth in the world.” So we read in Matt. 1:2, KJV, “Abraham begat Isaac,” but when speaking of Mary, we read in Matt. 1:18, “Now the birth [genesis, from gennao] of Jesus Christ was as follows.” God begat Jesus; Mary gave birth to Him.

Hence, John 1:13 is better translated, “who were begotten… not of the will of the flesh.” In other words, the sons of God are not conceived by natural sexual urges that might influence the will of the flesh or the will of man. As with Jesus Himself, who was born of the virgin, we are begotten by the will of God alone.

Jesus the Pattern Son

Jesus is called both the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is the Son of God because God begat Him in Mary through the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20). The word (seed) was spoken to her, and she believed and received it. He is the Son of Man, because He was born of Mary, who was, in turn, descended from Adam, the first “son of God” (Luke 3:38).

Adam had been given dominion over the earth in Gen. 1:26 and 28. However, because of his sin, the Messiah was to replace Adam as the King of creation. This included the responsibility of judging as the Supreme Court Justice in the earth. So the term “Son of Man” was a prophetic term used in Dan. 7:13, 14 and was “given dominion, glory, and a kingdom.” Jesus’ right to judge the world comes from the fact that “He is the Son of Man” (John 5:27).

Adam (Heb. awdawm) means “man,” as it appears in Gen. 1:26. It refers to mankind in general. Later, when we read of Adam specifically in Gen. 2:7, the Hebrew text reads eth h’awdawm, which, according to Dr. Bullinger, means “this same man, Adam.” The particle (eth) “is very emphatic, and means self, very, this same, this very” (Appendix 14, The Companion Bible).

Adam literally means “from the earth, earthy” (1 Cor. 15:47), as the name is derived from adama, “earth.” So we read in Gen. 2:7,

7 Then the Lord God formed man [eth h’awdawm] of dust from the ground [adama]…

He was named Adam in order to identify him with the ground (adama) from whence he came. Later, this found its expression in the term, “Son of Man.” Mary herself, descended from Adam, was a flesh-and-blood woman and a type of Eve, who had been taken out of Adam. For this reason, Jesus, though He was begotten by God, was born of Mary as the Son of Man.

When Jesus was adjured to tell the Sanhedrin whether or not He was the Christ, Jesus quoted from this passage in Matt. 26:64, affirming that He was indeed this same “Son of Man.” For this reason, Paul was able to write in 1 Cor. 15:45,

45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam [Christ, the “Son of Man”] became a life-giving spirit.

Adam himself was “formed” in Gen. 2:7; Christ was “conceived in her” by the Holy Spirit in Matt. 1:18. The Greek word translated “conceived” is gennao, “begotten.”

The New Man (Self)

Jesus established the pattern for all of His sons (children). Through the faith of Abraham, we are begotten by the Spirit, who begets in us a child that is a son of God. This child is called “a new creature” in 2 Cor. 5:17, that is, a new creation and a “new man” (Eph. 4:24 KJV). The NASB renders this a “new self.”

This new self, conceived but not yet born, is our new identity, the seat of our self-awareness. This new man (unborn child) is located within the “old man” of flesh, which was begotten by our fathers and brought to birth by our mothers. The “old man” is descended from Adam; the “new man” is descended from God. By faith in Christ, we have the right to change our identity from the original man of sin (Adam) to the Righteous One—a son of God.

Hence, we are no longer of this world, even though our flesh makes it appear to others that nothing has changed. In a way, we are both a son of God and a son of man, but in the end, we can have just one seat of consciousness. In the Divine Court, when God asks us to identify ourselves, He will treat us according to how we answer.

If we claim to be of the flesh, such as an Adamite or a fleshly Israelite or any other earthly identity, the court will take our word for it and will treat us accordingly as a descendant of sinners. If we claim to be a son of God—and have the right to do so, according to John 1:12—then we will be treated as perfect and sinless, because our heavenly Father too is perfect and sinless.

Begotten by Incorruptible Seed

1 Peter 1:23-25, properly translated, reads,

23 for you have been begotten [gennao] not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.

Most translators do not seem to understand the sonship teachings in Scripture, so they often mistranslate gennao. Both the KJV and the NASB read “born again” instead of “begotten.” But it is clear that Peter was speaking of “seed,” which is how children are begotten. No one is born through seed; seed begets children, and the quality of the seed determines the quality of that which is begotten.

Perishable seed—that is, mortal seed—begets mortal children, who are “like grass.” They have a certain level of glory and beauty, but it is not long before “the grass withers and the flower falls off.” Such is the nature of mortal flesh. By contrast, the seed of the word “endures forever.” That which is begotten by this “imperishable” (i.e., immortal) seed through the Holy Spirit is immortal and incorruptible.

Hence, even though our fleshly bodies, derived from Adam, are mortal and corruptible, the “new self” is immortal and incorruptible, having the nature of its heavenly Father.

John understood this as well, for he wrote in 1 John 3:9 (translated correctly),

9 That which has been begotten of God does not sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been begotten by God.

John was not talking about believers in their fleshly capacity. He was speaking of the new man (new identity) that was begotten by God through the Holy Spirit but which still resides in human flesh until the day that he is “born.”

Paul too understood this idea of sonship, for he wrote about the struggle between the old man and the new man. His flesh man’s desire to sin was pitted against his spiritual man’s desire to follow the law of God. Rom. 7:22, 23 says,

22 For I [Paul’s new man, or “inner man”] joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my [spiritual] mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

Paul’s “inner man” follows the laws of God, because it cannot sin; but his outer man, the man of flesh, issues a different set of laws which contradict the law of God, commanding him to sin. So he concludes in Rom. 7:25, “on the one hand I myself with my [spiritual] mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”

He also states in Rom. 7:17 that all sin comes from the old man, not the new man, saying,

17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

When we understand these two “men” and how they both function at the same time, we can then come to the same conclusion as Paul. We can find comfort in the fact that sin comes from the old man of flesh, who is not the real YOU. This should not be used as an excuse to continue in sin, but to motivate us to take dominion over the old man.

This old man should be treated as a reluctant and often disobedient slave of the new creation man. It can be reformed to some extent, but its core nature is Adamic and fleshly and will never be perfected. Understand that this slave, like Adam himself, has been sentenced to death. It is not that which is being saved. Our salvation is not based upon our ability to reform the old man. Only that which has been begotten by God will be saved—and, indeed, has already been saved.