The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
March 25, 1990


1) More on the Term "Begotten" (Tom Edwards)
Self-Centeredness (Tom Edwards)


More On The Term "Begotten"
by Tom Edwards

It's interesting to consider the Bible's figurative usage of the term "begotten." In Hebrews 11:17, for example, we read: "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON" (emphasis mine).

Actually, Isaac was not Abraham's "only begotten son" in the literal sense; for Ishmael had been his firstborn by his wife's handmaid, Hagar -- but Ishmael was not the child of the promise. After the death of Sarah, Abraham remarried and had other children by his new wife Keturah; but only Isaac was ever referred to as his "only begotten son." This, then, indicates something very special about Isaac.

God had told Abraham that it was in Isaac that his descendants would be called (Hebrews 11:18). He was the child of the "promise," the one specially chosen to play an important role in God's scheme of redemption. Though the Lord had blessed Ishmael, it was not to be through him that Jesus' lineage would descend; but rather through Isaac -- the one with whom God established His covenant (Gen. 17:20,21).

Jesus, too, came into this world as one "specially chosen" to bring about God's plan of salvation. By the accomplishments of His obedient life, His propitiatory death, and His glorious resurrection, the Lord made this way of redemption possible.

Acts 13:33,34 reads: "...God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, `Thou art My Son; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE' (emphasis mine). And as for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no more to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: `I will give You the holy and sure blessings of David."' According to this passage, when did Jesus become the "begotten" of God? The reference is not made to His birth, but rather to His resurrection.

Forty days after Christ arose from the dead, He ascended back to the right hand of God to reign as both "Lord" and "Christ" (Acts 2:36) -- the "Anointed Ruler." What a very special and highly exalted role Christ was "begotten" for.

Being one of God's begotten connotes a special relationship with the Father. This implication is also made by the Hebrew writer when he rhetorically asks in Hebrews 1:5, "For to which of the angels did He ever say: `You are My Son, today I have begotten You'?...." In the context, Christ is seen as being superior to the angels; and the reference to His being a "begotten Son" indicates that.

Through Jesus Christ, the lowly penitent sinner can gain access by his faith and obedience to a special position of favor with God; thus becoming one of God's "begotten." By so doing, he is "born again" into a new relationship that will provide him entrance into the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3-5) and is "begotten" by God "to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet 1:3). What relationship could be more meaningful or more special than man's relationship to God Himself? Have you been "born again" so that you, too, might enjoy this fellowship with the Father as His "begotten?"     


by Tom Edwards

The story has been told about a novelist who after talking about herself for two hours to a friend, concluded by saying, "Now we've talked about me long enough -- let's talk about you. What did you think of my last novel?"

Though it sounds to the contrary, being self-centered is not being well balanced. In the very beginning, God said that it was not good for the man to be alone and made for him a helpmeet with whom he could communicate and share.   

What better way could there be in rounding out an individual than with a warm circle of friends? Solomon expressed a similar thought in Prov. 27:17, by saying, as "iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

The Bible gives instructions for the best possible relationships.  How much better this world would be if we each learned to incorporate these precepts in our lives.

Writing to the Philippians, Paul exhorted the brethren to "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3,4).

And to the Romans, Paul wrote: "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification" (Rom. 15:1,2).

By sacrificially giving His own life, Jesus exemplified the greatest love that one can show to his fellow man. Through the abounding taunts, cruel mockeries, and merciless persecutions, the Lord still remained more concerned for others than for Himself. His last words on earth were not characterized by malediction or abuse, but with mercy and compassion for even the very ones who had nailed Him to the cross.

Jesus teaches the need for a man to deny self in order to follow after Him; by so doing, one's life becomes centered around Christ rather than merely around one's self. As the apostle Paul states in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."     

Through an understanding of God's word, one can learn how to deny self and live for Christ. May we each continue in our study of it.

 The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland, Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards