REGENERATION AND ETERNAL LIFE
The third point that we need to consider is the salvation that God has given us. What has God done for us, and what has He given us? We all know that God has given us His life. He has regenerated us. All those who believe in Him and who receive Him are given the authority to become children of God (John 1:12). We are begotten of God, and we have the authority to become His children (vv. 12-13). John 3 says that we are to be born anew; it is the Holy Spirit who has regenerated us (v. 6). The first Epistle of John tells us how man can be regenerated. First John 5:1 says that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten of God. How are we regenerated? We are regenerated through believing in Jesus as the Christ whom God appointed. After reading the above three verses, we can realize who we, as Christians, are. We are the children of God. When a sinner believes in the Lord Jesus and is saved, God gives him a new life. This is regeneration. The Bible shows us in at least three or four places that being regenerated is to receive eternal life. The Bible repeatedly shows us that those who receive eternal life are the ones who have believed, and those who believe have eternal life. This is shown to us repeatedly by the Gospel of John.
Here we have a problem. God has given to us eternal life, but what should we do? We must realize that this is both the beginning and the end. If I do not desire to have a relationship with someone, I have to approach it in one of two ways. Since human relationships are bilateral, they always have two sides. Therefore, not having a relationship also involves two sides. First, there must not be a beginning. If there is not a beginning, there will not even be a relationship. Second, the relationship can terminate and die, in which case there will no longer be a relationship. For example, suppose I am a very bad son, a prodigal. There are two ways for my father not to have a relationship with me. First, he should not have begotten me. If there had not been a beginning, he would not have to be related to me. But if there has been a beginning, he cannot use the first way anymore. In this case, he can only wait day by day for me to die. When I die, my relationship with him will be over. If I am not born of him, I will have nothing to do with him. If I have died, I will also have nothing to do with him anymore.
What happened between God and us? God has begotten us. At the time that we believed in Jesus, God begat us with His Spirit and with His own life. We have become the children of God. Can this relationship be severed? If you have a son today who is bad, undisciplined, and lawless, you can disown him in court. But the fact that you have begotten him still remains. He is still your son in reality. Today God has begotten us. Can He say that He has not begotten us? Even if we become worse than we are, we are still begotten of Him. Even if our father denies us, we are still begotten of him. No one can deny the fact of begetting. A good son is begotten of his father. A bad son is also begotten of his father. No one can nullify this relationship. Hence, when God justified us, He did not do it in the way that a person sends people away on the street with two pennies. He said that He has begotten us. God is in Spirit, and we are also in spirit. God and we have a father-son relationship. This is what God Himself has said. He has given us authority to become children of God. He has given to us eternal life. We are children of God by authority. That is the beginning.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 15, by Watchman Nee)