It's Greek To Me! Born Again or Just Gestating?
"Born of God" does not equal being saved.
This is the conclusion of Herbert W. Armstrong, the man who began the cult known as The Worldwide Church Of God.
Carefully read what he said in his booklet entitled, Just what do you mean - BORN AGAIN?
"...being BORN of God is a PROCESS, in which there is a time element. Just as being born of the human flesh is a PROCESS.
"...when the Spirit Father, God, begets a human with the Spirit (the spiritual counterpart of the physical SPERM) - the Holy Spirit - he becomes a SON of God! He is then already a SON of God.
"But he is still human - he is still material flesh and blood. He must now undergo a period (until death, the resurrection) of spiritual development and growth. He is in the GESTATION state in the PROCESS toward being born. He is in the CHURCH of God, but the CHURCH is not the KINGDOM of GOD.
"The Spirit-begotten human in the Church is in the PROCESS of being born of God, BUT he has not yet entered the Kingdom of God.
"He is in the GESTATION state TOWARD spirit-BIRTH, but not yet BORN of the Spirit," (pp. 22, 23).
Is this what the Bible really teaches? Are regenerated, "born again" Christians only "in the GESTATION state TOWARD spirit-BIRTH, but not yet BORN of the Spirit?"
The Apostle Peter says in his first epistle, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever," (1 Peter 1:23).
It is NAGEGENNEIMENOI, translated "being born again" in the King James Version.
Because this word is in the perfect tense it is certain that "being born again" involves a present state, resultant upon a past action, with continuing results.
Even the beginning Greek student is familiar with the force of this tense.
A freshman Greek grammar book explains:
"This is the Greek tense of `completed action,' i.e., it indicates a completed action with a resulting state of being. Involved in the Greek perfect are three ideas: an action in PROGRESS, its coming to a point of CULMINATION, its existing as a COMPLETED RESULT. Thus it implies a process as having reached a consummation and existing as a completed state," (Essentials Of New Testament Greek, Summers, p. 103).
The translation, therefore, according to the Greek tense of the verb is past tense, "having been born again."
So because the apostle Peter used this particular Greek tense he is plainly stating that the new birth is already completed before the resurrection.
The Christian has been born again and continues to be in that state of regeneration at the present time. The perfect tense also indicates that this "born again" state will continue on into eternity because it has continuing results (cf. Jn. 6:47; 5:24).
The late Dr. Walter Martin, considered by many to be the foremost expert in cults in the U.S. before his untimely death, said in his book, The Kingdom Of The Cults:
"The new birth in the New Testament is synonymous with spiritual regeneration to eternal life, and the very fact that Jesus Christ and the apostles described the possessors of the new birth as `saved' decimates Mr. Armstrong's contention that one must wait until the resurrection in order to be born again," (p. 317, 1977 ed.).