Begotten, Not Forgotten
Numerous times when I witness to Muslims, they object to Jesus being called “the Son of God” because Allah (the Arabic word for God) supposedly had no sons. When I quoted John 3:16 to one Muslim in particular, this man got hung up on the word "begotten" thinking it only refers to the result of a sexual union.
The words “begot” and “begotten” are used numerous times in the Bible, usually in geneaology listings. But those words have other uses besides records of human offspring. Look at The Message Bible’s rendering of John 1:9-13…
“The Life-Light was the real thing: every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn't even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn't want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten.”
1 Peter 1:3 (NKJV) says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” The New Living Translation uses the term “born again” instead of begotten.
Spiritual children of mature Christians can also be “begotten” as referred to in 1 Corinthians 4:15-17…
15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Paul also wrote in the tenth verse of Philemon, “I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains.” Onesimus, a runaway slave, was a spiritual son or protégé of the Apostle.
As you celebrate Christmas this weekend, look for opportunities to remind people of the reason for the season. God desires everyone to be begotten, not forgotten.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” - John 3:16