Firstborn Sonship of Christ
PARTAKING OF CHRIST, A BIRTH
we have become partakers of Christ IF
we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the
end," Heb 3:14.
What does it mean to be
"partakers of Christ?" The
Scriptures demonstrate that partaking of Christ means partaking
of what Christ is right now – what He became in His resurrection.
As we are constantly looking into His Word as into a mirror, we
are being transformed into His glory, from glory to glory, 2Co
3:18. We are to be constantly putting on the "new man," which is "created in true righteousness and
holiness" (Eph 4:24), and "is renewed in (into our fuller) knowledge (as we grow up into Him) according to the image of Him who created
him," Col 3:10. And we have so far established that
Christ's human body was born again into a divine state of being in His resurrection.
In brief summary, Christ has
from everlasting to everlasting been altogether divine,
possessing the fullness of deity with the Father without
beginning, Jn 1:1-3; Phi 2:6. In His virgin birth, Christ took
upon Himself a sinless human, material, flesh body precisely the
same as Adam and Eve had before they sinned, Jn 1:14; Phil 2:6-8.
Christ's human body at that time
and throughout His earthly ministry was not divine, though He was
fully God dwelling in a mere human, flesh body. In that human
body Christ required parental care, and until His resurrection
required food, water, rest, sleep, was righteously subject to all
God-appointed authorities, was subject to the elements of the
physical universe, could be and was tempted (otherwise, God
cannot be tempted, Mt 4:1-11; Ja 1:13; Heb 4:15; 2Co 5:16-17,21),
had to learn obedience by the things He suffered (Heb 5:8-9), and
had to live a sinless life in a mere human body in order to be
our Kinsman Redeemer, 2Co 5:21; 1Pe 3:18.
Christ's human body was
born out of the grave into a divine, heavenly, spirit body in His
resurrection, 1Co 15:44-50; Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33;Heb
1:5-6; 5:5. In this way Christ became "the Firstborn from the dead" – His
human body being born again from a mere flesh and blood body into
a divine body, and thereby became "the
Firstborn of every creature" in pre-eminence above
all creation, Col 1:15-19.
The covenant people are
explicitly stated as being, in the metaphor
of a human body, fully and organically "joined to" (1Co 6:15-17), or
"united together with," or
"born together with," and
are "growing up together
into," the now deified human body of Christ, Rom
6:3-5; 1Co 12:12-27; Gal 3:27; Col 1:18-19; 2:9-17-21.
The faithful covenant people
are therefore addressed, in that metaphor, as being collectively
one divine, spirit, human body of Christ, and members of that
body individually, Mt 26:26-28; 1Co 6:15-17; 10:16-17; 11:24-29;
12:12-27; Eph 4:15-16; Col 2:17,19; et al.
Partaking of Christ has a
twofold application, or is a twofold process for this current
lifetime and for eternity:
current lifetime is a proving grounds toward qualifying for the
new birth in the resurrection. The requirement is that we be
constantly transformed into the image of Christ in our thoughts,
aspirations, emotions, speech, and conduct – a daily
metamorphosis by the renewing of our minds, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18;
Eph 4:11-24; Col 3:1-10. In the pursuance of this theme of the
firstborn sonship of Christ, we will demonstrate how God is
requiring this very serious and pronounced metamorphosis in us
each day of our lives. Our great battle here is to maintain
constant vigilance within this mind-set through the inner working
of the Holy Spirit.
2. If we
qualify and are thereby approved (dokimos – approved after testing), we will then
experience for eternity that "rest" of partaking of the divine image
of Christ in the resurrection – the new and divine resurrection
birth. After the resurrection there will obviously continue to be
a growing process in knowledge, love, appreciation, worship,
etc., within this divine state of being on the part of the
faithful covenant people, Eph 2:7; 3:21; Isa 42:21; 1Pe 2:9. The
expression of future "ages of
ages" reveals changes in each age, not for the worse
because there will be no sin except in the lake of fire, but for
the better because God is infinite in all His attributes – a
never ending progressive increase in revelations of God's
infinite knowledge, power, glory, and majesty. Eph 2:7 not only
looks back at what Christ has done for us, but primarily into the
future at what God will yet create and reveal in perpetual ages
to come. The faithful covenant people who learn obedience through
transformation into the image of Christ in this lifetime will
gloriously share increasingly in the richness of God's divine
attributes as indicated above.
Now, with this as God's
divinely appointed goal for us in partaking
of Christ, let us look at Hebrews chapter three.
THE THEME OF HEBREWS 3
Faithfulness, holding fast,
steadfastness, tenacity, perseverance, endurance – these words
express the urgent thrust of Hebrews chapter 3, the whole book of
Hebrews, and the whole Bible:
"Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly
calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession,
Christ Jesus," Heb 3:1.
The book of Hebrews was
written to "holy brethren," Heb 3:1. This means they
were in a proper church and New Covenant relationship, as 3:6 and
10:19-31 clearly state, and is otherwise demonstrated throughout
These "holy brethren" were "partakers of the heavenly calling," Heb
3:1. This is the same "calling,"
"called," or "the
called," referenced by Paul, and signifies our
calling and election into the firstborn sonship of Christ in
bridal relationship. We have been "called" to be "partakers of Christ from glory to
glory," Heb 3:14; 2Co 3:19; 4:17; 2Th 2:13-14; 1Pe
The book of Hebrews and all
the Bible emphasize this calling and election is on an
"IF" contingency –
"IF" we by faith-obedience make our calling and
election sure, 2Pe 1:1-10; Rom 8:28; Jn 14:21,23-24; 1Jn 5:3. The
"heavenly calling" is based
upon God's promise to those who faithfully "give all diligence to make their calling and
election sure" by grace through faith which the
unfaithful saved fail to do, (2Pe 1:5-10; Rom 11:11-22; Jn
Observe further in Heb 3:1
that Christ is the Apostle and High Priest of "our confession." This again places
those to whom the book of Hebrews was written within the New
Covenant and within the church as saved and scripturally baptized
church members. The Law Covenant had been done away and Christ
was not and is not the Apostle and High Priest of the Law
Covenant. These Hebrews could scripturally say, "But Christ is the Son over His own house, whose
house WE are IF WE hold fast the
confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the
end." Heb 3:6.
"Who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also
was faithful in all His house," Heb 3:1-2.
Jesus was faithful to Him who
appointed Him, as Moses was faithful in all of God's house.
This tenacious persevering faithfulness is the theme of not only
Hebrews 3, but of the whole book of Hebrews and of the whole
Bible. Observe the prophetic mind-set of Jesus:
"The Lord GOD has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious,
nor did I turn away.
6 "I gave My back to
those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the
beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
7 "For the Lord GOD will
help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set
My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be
ashamed," Isa 50:5-7.
This is the mental faith
posture the Scriptures are repeatedly, with great emphasis,
urging us to adopt in order that we can be partakers of Christ in His divine firstborn
sonship. Like Christ, we also must give all diligence to
cultivate a flint-rock mind-set to be constantly transformed into
that same image of Christ every day of our lives in our thoughts,
in our passions, in our speech, and in all that we do.
BACKGROUND OF THE CONTEXT OF HEBREWS 3
Israelites in bondage in Egypt were still God's covenant
people, the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We will reference
the many times they believed God, bowed their heads, and
worshiped God. Many of them were as bad or nearly as bad as that
class of saved covenant people referenced in 2Pe 1:9 who have
been cleansed from their old sins, but have not added or
continued to add the necessary Christian virtues and are
therefore spiritually blind and oblivious to the fact they were
once purged from their old sins. These saved people will not make
their calling and election sure.
Most of Hebrews 3 is given to
the persistent lack of persevering faith and the ever
accompanying rebellious posture of Israel in the wilderness. They
were filled with complaints and rebellion against God's
covenant disciplinary training. Keep in mind, however, that
Israel was God's covenant people, and that the people were
true believers in God.
Observe in Exodus 1 how God
greatly blessed and multiplied the seed of Abraham exceedingly,
precisely as he had repeatedly promised Abraham. The alert Hebrew
midwives "feared God" and refused to do as Pharaoh
commanded. Also, when people are in great anguish, they cry out
to God for mercy and help, and this is precisely what the
Israelites did daily under their bitter slavery:
"Now it happened in the process of time that the king of
Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the
bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because
of the bondage.
24 "So God heard their
groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with
Isaac, and with Jacob.
25 "And God looked upon
the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them,"
The seed of Abraham,
God's elect, "groaned because of the
bondage, and they cried out." And to whom did they
cry out? If they were crying out to some false god, would God
have looked favorably upon them and have acknowledged them? Also,
for how long did they cry out to God? They were crying out to God
many years before Moses was born. After 40 years they were still
crying out to God, when Moses had to flee out of Egypt. Then
another 40 years later they were still crying out to God, and it
was time for Israel to be delivered out of Egypt, according to
the 430 years God had predetermined, Ex 12:40-41; Gal 3:17.
These were the seed of
Abraham, God's covenant people, who were crying out to God
for help under bitter slavery which God predestined them to
experience. God was keenly listening to Israel's crying out
to Him, was maintaining a caring shepherd's watch over them,
and was greatly (exceedingly) multiplying them during the 215
years they spent in Egypt, Ex 1. And for 80 of those years God
was specifically and uniquely training Moses as His man to lead
Israel out of bondage as He had promised.
THE PEOPLE BELIEVED AND WORSHIPED GOD
time came, God told Moses to say to Pharaoh:
"Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD:
"Israel is My son, My firstborn.
23 "So I say to you, let
My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go,
indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn," Ex
"So the people believed; and
when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel
and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their
heads and worshiped," Ex
Observe the ten great plagues
God sent upon Egypt, and the distinct difference God made between
the Egyptians and the Israelites in the plagues, Ex 7 through 12.
See how God killed all the firstborn of Egypt and preserved the
firstborn of Israel. See also how Israel believed God and by
faith they observed the Passover:
"That you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice of
the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in
Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our
households.' So the people bowed their
heads and worshiped.
28 Then the children of
Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses
and Aaron, so they did," Ex 12:27-28.
"By faith he kept the Passover
and the sprinkling of blood, lest He who destroyed the firstborn
should touch them," Heb 11:28.
Was Moses the only one who
kept the Passover "by
faith?" The verses quoted above (Ex 12:27-28) say the
people bowed their heads and worshiped, and obeyed doing
precisely what God told Moses for them to do. As Moses observed
the Passover "by faith," so
did the people observe the Passover "by
faith," or the firstborn in each of their houses
would have been killed also.
With the Egyptian army behind
them and the Red Sea before them, the faith of the Israelites
wavered. But Heb 11:29 says:
"By faith they (Israel)
passed through the Red Sea as by dry land,
whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were
drowned," Heb 11:29.
THE FAITH OF THE PEOPLE WAVERED
faith of the Israelites wavered, but
they still had faith because Heb 11:29 says "by faith they passed
through the Red Sea as by dry land."
faith the Israelites suffered through their bitter slavery
in Egypt. By faith Israel observed the
distinction God made between the Egyptians and themselves as His
covenant people with these terrible plagues upon Egypt.
By faith they bowed their heads and
worshiped and observed the Passover. By
faith they crossed the Red Sea all night in a very wide
area with the fiery cloud above them, the waters of the Red Sea
standing high on the right and the left, and with dry ground
below them. By faith they greatly
feared and hurried across the sea bottom all night long, and then
the next morning watched from the other side. By faith Moses stretched out his hand over Pharaoh
with his onrushing army, and suddenly God released the tremendous
power behind the high walls of water, brought the waters down
upon the Egyptian army and destroyed them all. By faith the Israelites sang for joy on the
opposite banks of the Red Sea.
The faith of the Israelites wavered, but when God
separated the waters, took some two million of them across with
their cattle, sheep, and a great abundance of other goods. God
then destroyed the great Egyptian army in the sea, and the faith
of the Israelites was revived and they sang the "faith is the victory" song of
"Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in
Egypt; so the people feared the Lord,
and believed the Lord and His servant
Moses," Ex 14:31.
These were saved and
circumcised covenant people. They were the covenant seed of
Abraham. God acknowledged them as His covenant people, Ex 2:23-25
(chapters 1 thru 14). God promised Abraham He would care for them
and bring them out of Egypt with great substance, Gen 15:13-14.
How awesome were those terrible plagues on Egypt, and how
overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving the Israelites were at
God's mighty works! His mighty power moved them to believe
and shout for joy.
But then they had gone only three
days journey into the wilderness when God put Israel to the first
severe test, Ex 15:22-27. If we are not being severely
disciplined by God's disciplinary training, we are in that
very dangerous Laodicean lukewarm state of mind. We must
recognize and experience God's covenant disciplinary
"Now all these things happened to them (the
Israelites) as examples (as types),
and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages
12 "Therefore let him
who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall," 1Co
"As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day
long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter,"
"Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things
which He suffered.
9 "And having been
perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who
are constantly obeying Him," Heb 5:8-9;
The armed forces are supposed
to be put through severe and realistic training physically,
mentally, psychologically, and in every needful way. Training
educationally should thoroughly cover every academic area related
to the degree in which the student is majoring. Our training to
qualify us to share in Christ's firstborn sonship likewise
covers every facet of life many times over.
Most of the Israelites who
were redeemed out of Egypt later died in the wilderness because
they failed the testing which God's covenant discipline
required for this divine relationship with God. They failed to
become "partakers of
Christ." There is nothing that can separate us from
Christ (Rom 8:28-39), except the lack
of tenacious faith on our part that holds fast to the end, by
grace through faith:
"For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence
steadfast to the end," Heb 3:14.
The wilderness failure of
Israel is God's example for our instruction. But we Landmark
Baptists have joined the Protestants and have twisted the
Scriptures, and are as sure as the Pharisees that we are safe and
secure. "Therefore let him who thinks he
stands take heed lest he fall," 1Co 10:12.
The liability of becoming a
castaway (adokimos, tested and
disqualified) from the firstborn sonship was very real to the
apostle Paul. He said, "But I severely
discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I
have preached to others, I myself should become
disqualified," 1Co 9:23-27.
Paul had Israel's
covenant training in the wilderness keenly in mind, and continued
writing in the most explicit language to this effect:
"Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that
ALL our fathers were under the cloud,
ALL passed through the sea,
2 "ALL were baptized into Moses in the cloud
and in the sea,
3 "ALL ate the same spiritual food,
4 "And ALL drank the same spiritual drink. For they
drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock
5 "But with most of them
God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the
wilderness," 1Co 10:1-5.
Paul wrote these words to
saved and scripturally baptized church members in the church in
Corinth. We are adding to and diminishing from God's holy
Word when we try to apply these words to lost people. The word
"ALL" is emphasized five
times, and it is urged twice in this passage (1Co 10:6,11) that
this covenant disciplinary training of the Israelites constitutes
inspired examples of the covenant disciplinary training set
before us in the New Covenant. The same "covenant people" referenced in 1Co
10:1-12 are referenced again in Heb 3:7-19 with precisely the
same warnings of aborting the firstborn sonship of Christ.
As Christ learned obedience
by the things He suffered (Heb 5:8-9), so must we learn obedience
the same way. Christ was tempted (tested, proved, disciplined) in
all points just as we are, Heb 4:15. We must learn obedience just
as He did under the same covenant discipline, Heb 4:13-16.
There were no more than 64
years between the death of Joseph and the birth of Moses.
Moses' father and grandfather were contemporaries with
Joseph, and were all obviously godly men.
Amram was Moses' father,
(Gen 46:8-11; Ex 6:18-20,26) and was a godly man. Just as
clearly, Moses' mother was a godly woman, because Moses was
thoroughly taught the true faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses had the true faith so embedded in his heart that he refused
all this world had to offer in order to be a "partaker of Christ," Heb 11:24-27.
As God's covenant people
in true churches, we are urgently warned (1Co 9:23–10:12; Heb
3:6– 4:11) over and over again throughout the Bible, of making
the same fatal mistake of aborting the firstborn sonship of
Christ by crucifying to ourselves the Son of God afresh, Heb
2:1-3; 3:6–4:11; 6:4-8; 10:25-31; 12:15-29; et al. These often
repeated warnings are to be taken very seriously and with the
It is beyond reason for
anyone to think those Israelites who fell in the wilderness were
not saved covenant people. Indeed, they were God's true
covenant people who believed and worshiped God, but who made
shipwreck of faith and disqualified themselves from becoming
firstborn sons and from being partakers of Christ in the new
birth in the resurrection, 1Co 9:24-27; 10:1-12; Heb
IF WE HOLD FAST TO THE END
we have become partakers of Christ IF
we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the
end," Heb 3:14.
"But Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are
IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm
to the end," Heb 3:6.
"Holding steadfast to the end" means
being faithful – not faith-half-full, but faithful. We are to
"give ALL diligence" to add
all the godly virtues and thereby "make
our calling and election sure," 2Pe 1:4-10. Satan and
our own sinful nature has deceived us into thinking nothing can
separate us from the love of God. But remember it was to saved
but unfaithful covenant people that God said, "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter
My rest,'" Heb 3:11; 4:3.
It was to and about saved
covenant people that the Scriptures say, "How shall we escape if
we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be
spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard
Him," Heb 2:3.
It was to and about eternally
saved covenant people that the Scriptures say,
"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised,
Christ shall profit you nothing...
4 "Christ has become of
no effect to you (you are severed from Christ),
you who are trying to be justified by
Law (the Law Covenant); you have
fallen from grace," Gal 5:2,4.
It was to and about saved
covenant people that the Scriptures say, "Whoever is
transgressing and is not continuing in the doctrine of Christ
does not have God. He who is abiding in the doctrine of Christ
has both the Father and the Son," 2Jn 9-11.
Only a true church is the pillar
and ground of the truth, but there are many saved people outside
true churches. These are not the pillar and ground of the truth,
they do not have the truth, they do not have the doctrine of
Christ, and therefore they do not have the Father the Son, and
the Holy Spirit. Many false churches have a lot of truth, but
Satan will make sure that truth is twisted into a perverted
gospel. For instance, is sprinkling and baptizing babies the
doctrine of Christ? Also, those who fellowship those false
churches (false Christians) are being corrupted by such
fellowship and will inevitably lose their status as true churches
before the Lord.
Only those who are in the doctrine
of Christ and continue in the doctrine of Christ will be
partakers of Christ. Partaking of
Christ means being conformed to His image now in order to
be conformed to His divine new birth image in the resurrection –
we must hold fast to the end to qualify for that resurrection
It was to and about saved
covenant people that Paul said, "But I
severely discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest,
when I have preached to others, I myself should become
disqualified," 1Co 9:27.
"Dokimos" means tested and approved by
overcoming the testing. "Adokimos" means tested and disqualified
as a result of failing God's covenant disciplinary training.
Paul's theme in 1Co 9:22-27 was:
".....I am made all things to all men that I might by all
means save some.
23 "Now this I do for
the Gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with
you," 1Co 9:23. The Gospel means far more than
salvation from hell. Observe that we must hold fast in the Gospel
in order to share together with Christ in His new (spirit,
heavenly, divine) resurrection birth of the body, 1Co 15:1-2,
The context in Heb 3 covers
both the Old Testament and New Testament with great emphasis on
the requirement of faithfully persevering in the grace of God
which runs strong in every book in the Bible. How very incorrect
it is to teach "perseverance of the
saints" – meaning that every saved person will
faithfully persevere! Only those in the covenant position are
saints, and they must, by God's grace, faithfully persevere
in the covenant position to remain holy before God and thereby
become partakers of Christ in His firstborn sonship. Saved people
outside the Lord's church do not have the doctrine of Christ,
therefore cannot persevere in the doctrine of Christ, and
furthermore cannot make their calling and election sure (2Jn
9-11; 2Pe 1:5-10) – the calling and election belongs to the
firstborn sonship of Christ.
THE OATH OF GOD'S WRATH
"So I swore in My wrath, they shall not
enter My REST, Heb 3:11.
unfaithful saved who rebel against God's disciplinary
training as Israel did in the wilderness will not be partakers of
Christ, which is the "rest"
of Heb 3 & 4, Heb 3:7-19; 4:11-11; 12:1-29. They will receive
God's wrath and fiery indignation, Heb 3:11; 10:25-31;
The unfaithful saved who fall away and crucify the Son of God to
themselves afresh will not be partakers of Christ, Heb 6:1-8.
These will also receive God's wrath as just stated.
The unfaithful saved who forsake the house of God will not be
partakers of Christ, Heb 3:6; 10:25-31. These also will receive
fiery indignation as just stated.
The unfaithful saved who are as salt that has lost its savor (Mt
5:13; Mk:9:41-50) will not be partakers of Christ, but will be
cast out and receive fiery indignation as stated above.
The unfaithful saved who cause strife, division, and offense
among God's people (Mt 18:1-35; Rom 16:17-18) will not be
partakers of Christ, but will receive the judgement indicated
The unfaithful saved who do not forsake all and follow Christ (Mt
19:16-30; Lk 10:25-37; 14:25-35) will not be partakers of Christ,
but will receive the judgement indicated above.
The unfaithful saved who do not watch, pray, and increase their
talents (Mt 24:36-51; 25:11-46; Lk 21:34-36) will not be
partakers of Christ, but will receive the Gehenna (not hell)
judgment indicated above.
The unfaithful saved who do not bear fruit (or do not bear
acceptable fruit) will be cut off from Christ. They will not be
partakers of Christ, but will be cast into Gehenna when Christ
returns, Jn 15:1-6; 1Jn 2:28.
The unfaithful saved who do not patiently continue in God's
goodness will be cut off from Christ, from the covenants, and
from the covenant people, Rom 2:1-11; 11:11-22. They will not be
partakers of Christ, but receive wrath as indicated above.
The unfaithful saved who persist in trying to keep the Law
Covenant along with the New Covenant (or otherwise walk after the
flesh) will be cut off from Christ, will not be partakers of
Christ, but will receive the condemnation and wrath of the Law
Covenant, Rom 1:1-11; 4:15; 7:24; 8:6,13; 2Co 3:7; Gal 3:10; Heb
The unfaithful saved who are very zealous and have many religious
works, but who resist the true doctrine of Christ (Rom 10:1-3;
2Jn 9-11; Rev 3:16-17) will not be partakers of Christ, but will
receive fiery indignation when Christ returns, as indicated
The unfaithful saved who add to and take away from God's Word
(Deu 6:2; 12:32; Jos 1:5-9; Rev 22:18-19) will not be partakers
of Christ, but will receive the plagues of God's wrath when
THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS
"These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you
15 "But if I am delayed,
I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in
the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the
pillar and ground of the truth.
16 "And without
controversy great is the mystery of
godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in
the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed
on in the world, received up in glory," 1Ti
1. God was manifest in the flesh.
may be expressed in many ways which may be summed up as true
God-likeness. The first thought in this expression is a life or
character that exemplifies godly virtues – devotion to God,
devout, pious, religious. However, that is not the primary
emphasis in 1Ti 3:16. After one brief expression, the Holy Spirit
through Paul addresses the deified aspect of Christ as God now
dwelling in a human body. The current thrust of justification is
God's covenant people living an "of
faith" life in a sinful world. However, unobserved by
contemporary theology, the primary focus of justification is
toward justification in the resurrection. That is, living a
righteous life now according to the Scriptures in order to
receive God's divine righteousness in the resurrection –
being deified in the resurrection, Rom 4:25; Gal 5:5; Phi 3:9;
2Ti 4:8; Heb 11:7; Mt 5:6; 6:23; 25:37; 2Co 9:10; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti
2:22; Heb 12:11; Ja 3:19; 1Pe 2:24; Rev 19:7-8; Ps 17:15; et
being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal
7 "But made Himself of
no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in
the likeness of men.
8 "And being found in
appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to
the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 "Therefore God also
has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above
10 "That at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on
earth, and of those under the earth,
11 "And that every
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father," Phi 2:6-11.
Great is the mystery of
godliness. "God was manifest in the
flesh," and lived a perfect life in the flesh as a
human being and as our Substitute toward creating a special new
kind of mankind. God kept this mystery mostly cloaked for ages
(Eph 3:8-11) until Christ was born into a human body in His
virgin birth. Even though the disciples believed because of His
speech, His demeanor, and His miracles, yet they still could
hardly conceive that Jesus was God in a human, flesh body.
"Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is
sufficient for us.'
9 "Jesus said to him,
‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me,
Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you
say, 'Show us the Father,'"? Jn 14:8-9.
2. "Justified in the Spirit," 1Ti
Justification in the Bible
concerns the righteousness of God being credited through faith to
the covenant people:
"Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be
justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of
21 "But now the righteousness of God apart from the Law is
revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 "Even the righteousness of God, through
faith OF Jesus Christ, to all and on
all the believing ones. For there is no difference,"
Rom 3:20-22. See also Rom 3:25-26 and Mt 6:33.
"And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which
is from the Law, but that which is through faith OF Christ, the righteousness which is from God by
faith," Phi 3:9.
We have no righteousness
before God – all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, Isa
64:6. The righteousness of justification is God's
righteousness – a divine attribute of God, an attribute of His
divine essence, His deity.
Currently, and from the time
of Adam, those covenant people of faith have been and are
credited with a measure of God's divine nature, in this case
called God's "righteousness" (generic for all the
attributes of God). All of God's attributes are credited
(reckoned, counted) to the covenant people at the time of
scriptural water baptism in this age, and a measure of those
attributes is increasingly credited to the covenant people as
they walk by faith and grow up into Christ, Eph 4:11-16; Jn
10:10; 2Co 4:7-12,17; 9:10; 1Th 3:8; Mt 17:14-21;18:4; et al.
But the righteousness of God
is only credited (counted, reckoned) to the covenant people in
this life. It will not be vested into the person of the faithful
covenant people until the resurrection – observe the association
of justification with the resurrection:
"But also for us. It shall be imputed to us who are
constantly believing upon Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from
25 "Who was delivered up
because of our offenses, and was raised on
behalf of our justification," Rom 4:24-25; Phi
3:9; 2Co 5:21; Gal 5:5; 2Ti 4:8; 2Co 9:10; Mt 6:33; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti
2:22; Rom 5:21.
In His resurrection, Jesus
was justified in (the sphere of) spirit, 1Ti 3:16. In His
resurrection, the body of Christ was
made (transformed into) a spirit body. His flesh body was born
into a divine life-giving spirit body that possesses all the
divine attributes of deity, 1Co 15:45 (44-50); Col 2:9;
1:15,18-19; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5. Remember that
1Co 15 concerns the resurrection of the human body into a
heavenly, divine, spirit body. Flesh with blood as the life
source of the flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God, 1Co
How did Christ's human
body become what Col 2:9 says it now is, with the full essence of
deity vested in the flesh so that the flesh body is now a fully
deified spirit body, but still flesh and bones? This is what the
Scriptures call a "birth."
Christ is the Firstborn from the dead, Col 1:15,18-19; Rev 1:5;
Act 13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; 1Co 15:45 (44-50); Col 2:9. This is
what "justified in spirit"
means. This is the consummation of justification in the mystery
of godliness: a genuine birth into a divine state of
"And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam was made a living
being.' The last Adam was made a life-giving
Spirit," 1Co 15:45.
The context (1Co 15:54-50) is
addressing two kinds of bodies: one is a natural, physical body,
while the other is a new divine, heavenly, spirit body.
PARTAKING OF CHRIST
"For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of
our confidence steadfast to the end," Heb 3:14.
God is offering Himself (His
divine essence) to the faithful covenant people. God is offering
to share Himself (the full spectrum of God's divine
attributes, the essence of deity) with His faithful covenant
people. He is doing this in and through the covenants which
currently belong to the church, which is metaphorically called
the body of Christ. This offer is made within the purview (range,
scope) of the firstborn sonship of Christ, which is predestined
to include only the faithful covenant people.
God said to Abraham,
"I am your
shield and your exceeding great
reward," Gen 15:1.
God is offering the fullness
of His divine nature as a covenant promise, which promise
generically includes all the covenant promises. These promises
are all included in the firstborn sonship of Christ, which,
unfortunately, most covenant people abort because of lack of
daily transformation (a mind and character metamorphosis) into
the image of Christ by the renewing of their minds, Rom 12:1-2;
2Co 3:18; 4:7-12; Col 3:1-10; Eph 4:11-32.
The renewing of the mind is
done only by constantly and literally feeding the Word of God
into our minds. "Man shall not live on
bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of
God," Mt 4:4.
"By which have been given to us exceedingly great and
precious promises, that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped
the corruption that is in the world through lust,"
2Pe 1:4; Jn 1:12; Mt 5:9,43-45; 12:46-50; Lk 6:35; 2Co 6:14-18;
Gal 4:1-7,19-31; Rom 8:17-23; Heb 12; 5:8-9; 2:10-13; Rev 21:7;
But God is offering His
divine nature only to the faithful covenant people – only a true
local church holds that covenant position in this church age.
God's offer is to every human being, but only through
faithful service by grace through faith within the covenant
22 And He
put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all
things to the church,
"Which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in
all," Eph 1:22-23.
The local church is the body
of Christ. There is no other church, and there is no other body
of Christ than the local body. When the local church scripturally
excludes an unholy, unfaithful member from its membership (Mt
18:15-18; 1Co 5; 2Th 3:6-15), there is no other kind of
scriptural church or body of Christ for that excluded person to
join. The universal church (visible or invisible) would create
two kinds of churches and two kinds of bodies of Christ. The true
local church is the only one that can scripturally dismiss from
its membership an unholy (unrepenting) member of the church.
The Scriptures provide only
one kind of church and only one kind of body of Christ, Eph 4:4.
There are not two kinds of churches, and there are not two kinds
of bodies of Christ. The scriptural local church can purge out
the leaven that is in it (Mt 18:15-18; 1Co 5; Jn 20:23; 2Th
3:6-15), but there is no scriptural universal church in which
anyone can be a member. There is therefore only one kind of
active, acceptable New Covenant church in the Scriptures.
Again, God is pleased that
all the fullness of deity dwell at
home in the body of Christ, "For it
pleased the Father that in Him all
the fullness should dwell," Col 1:19; 2:9. All the
fullness of deity dwelt in the Son of God from eternity, but the
Son became flesh – clothed Himself in human flesh through the
virgin birth, and lived a perfect life in that human body. Then
in His resurrection Christ's human body was born into a
divine state of being, and became the Firstborn from the dead,
Col 1:15,18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; Ps 2:7. This
was God's purpose from eternity, and this was God's chief
purpose for Christ becoming a human being, Jn 18:37; Rev 1:5.
Now the human body of Christ
(which He received in His virgin birth) possesses all the full
essence of deity:
"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead
10 "And you are made
that fullness in Him, who is the head of all principality and
power," Col 2:9-10; Jn 1:16.
In Christ (in the body that
Christ received in the virgin birth) we are metaphorically made
full with the same fullness addressed in Col 2:9. Again, in the
human, now deified, body of Christ, we (as members of that body)
have the same fullness of deity that dwells "at home" in that human, now deified,
heavenly, spirit body of Christ. This is what Paul prayed on
behalf of the church at Ephesus:
"To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;
that you may be filled with all the fullness
of God," Eph 3:19.
Christ now possesses the
fullness of deity in a human (now divine) body, and this same
fullness of deity is being offered to the faithful covenant
people through a covenant relationship. God, who speaks of things
that be not as though they were, speaks of us metaphorically as
being the human, now deified, body of Christ – metaphorically,
being crucified together with Christ, dying together with Christ,
being buried together with Christ, and being deified together
with Christ in His resurrection and at the time of His
The faithful covenant people
are thereby counted as being deified members of the deified human
body of Christ, Rom 4:17; Rom 6:3-6; 1Co 6:16-17; Gal 3:27; Eph
2:10-16;Col 3:1-10. In the body of Christ, we are credited as
possessing that same deified fullness, Col 2:9-10-21. We are not
counted as being sinful flesh members of the deified body of
Christ – though we are still in the flesh and do not yet possess
that deified state of being, 1Co 5:7. But in all cases, only
those in a true local church are counted as being the members of
the body of Christ. This has no application whatever to saved
people outside a true local church, and therefore outside the
Paul prays for those in the church
at Ephesus (and all true churches) that they "might be filled with all the fullness of
God," Eph 3:19. This can be applied only to faithful
members of a true local church. Those who have refused the
baptism of John have rejected the counsel of God against
themselves, Lk 7:29-30. Those who have refused the baptism of
John have rejected the circumcision of Christ, Col 2:11. Those
who have refused John's baptism have also rejected the
circumcision of Christ and have thereby rejected Christ as High
Priest of the New Covenant (Col 2:11-12; Gal 5:1-4; Rom 6:3-5),
and have also rejected the covenants and all the covenant
promises. Those who have refused the baptism of John cannot walk
in the light as God is in the light and cannot receive daily
forgiveness of sins, 1Jn 1:5-7. Those who have refused the
baptism of John have rejected the doctrine of Christ and
therefore do not have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
God is not offering the
fullness of His divine nature to anyone outside the body of
Christ. Being crucified together with Christ, dying together with
Christ, being buried together with Christ, and being raised in a
deified body together with Christ is promised only to those who
are faithful in the body of Christ. All the faithful covenant
people from Adam on will be included in the body of Christ in the
resurrection, Heb 11; Rom 11:11-32; 2Co 6:16; Gal 3:5-29;
4:21-31; Eph 2:10-22; 1Pe 2:5-10. This will be often demonstrated
when we deal with the Old Testament.
Partaking of Christ means
partaking of what Christ became in His resurrection birth.
Partaking of Christ means receiving a divine new birth into the
same state of being into which Christ was born in His
resurrection. In His resurrection, Christ's body was born
into a heavenly, divine, spirit body, 1Co 15:44-50; Act 13:30-33;
Rev 1:5; Col 1:15,18; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5.
Our bodies were
metaphorically and symbolically born into that same divine state
of being in scriptural water baptism, Jn 3:5; Titus 3:5. The real
new birth will take place in the resurrection when Christ
returns, IF we hold fast in being
daily transformed into the image of Christ in this life.
ONE WITH GOD
and My Father are ONE.
31 "Then the Jews took
up stones again to stone Him.
32 "Jesus answered them,
Many good works have I showed you from My Father; for which of
those works do you stone Me?
33 "The Jews answered
Him, saying, For a good work we do not stone You; but for
blasphemy; and because that You, being a man, make Yourself
34 "Jesus answered them,
Is it not written in your Law, I said, You are gods?
35 "If He called them
gods, unto whom the Word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be
36 "Say you of Him, whom
the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, You
blaspheme; because I said, I am the Son of God?" Jn
When Jesus said, "I and My Father are one," He was saying, "I am the Son of God." – "I am the Son of God in a human
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
14 And the Word (God) became
flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as
of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and
truth," Jn 1:1,14.
The Jews correctly understood
what Jesus meant when He said, "I and My
Father are one." Jesus meant He is divine as the
Father is divine. Jesus meant He is the fullness of deity --
"the brightness of God's glory, and
the express image of God's person," Heb 1:3.
Jesus was the fullness of the Godhead (Godhood) dwelling in a
mere human, flesh body. In His resurrection, that human body was
born of God and forever thereafter that flesh body possesses the
full essence of deity.
This new birth of the human
body of Christ into the fullness of deity produced a new
creation, a "new creature"
(Col 1:15), the "new man,"
"Therefore, from now on, we know no one according to the
flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know Him thus no longer.
17 "Therefore, if anyone
is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new," 2Co 5:16-17.
From the virgin birth of
Christ until the death and burial of His human body, Christ was
known on earth as a human after the flesh. But in His
resurrection, Christ's human body was born into a divine
state of being, and is no longer known "after the flesh," 2Co 5:16. His flesh
and bones now possess the divine nature, and the divine nature
changes the predominating characteristics of the flesh and
This new birth of the flesh
body of Christ produced a new creation, a new creature, 2Co 5:17.
In order to do so, Christ had to become a man (be born into a
human body), as a descendant of Adam and of a virgin woman for
the human and Kinsman Redeemer requirement, Mt 1:1-25; Rom 5:14;
1Co 15:44-50. Christ had to become a descendant of Abraham for
the additional covenant and High Priest requirements (Gal 3:6-29;
Heb 2:16-18), and as a descendant of David for the further
covenant Lord of lords and King of kings requirement, Rev 5:5;
Christ also had to live a
perfect life, be crucified, and while on the cross He had to be
made our "old man," in order
to destroy the "old man" in
His death (Rom 6:6-10) and create the "new man" in His resurrection, 1Co
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we
might be made the righteousness of God in Him," 2Co
Christ shared our sin nature
in our "old man" (2Co 5:21;
1Pe 1:24) that we might share His divine nature in the
"new man," which He created
in His flesh body as the second Adam. 1Co 15:44-50. Christ was
made our "old man," in order
for us to be made God's divine righteousness in Him (in His
body – as a member of His body, and therefore united together
with Him in His body).
"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree,
that we, being dead to sins, should live in (divine)
righteousness: by whose stripes you were
healed," 1Pe 2:24.
Christ bore our sins in His
own human body, and we, being metaphorically the members of His
body, could also together with Him in His body die to sin, that
we should live together with Him in His divine righteousness – in
His divine nature. In this way we can be one with the Father,
one with the Son, and one with the
"Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the
Law by means of (being members of) the
body of Christ, that you may be married to another – to Him who
was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to
God," Rom 7:4.
Since our bodies were counted
to be members of the body of Christ, we died together with Christ
to the Law of sin and death, that we should be married to (be
made ONE with) Christ and serve God in the newness (kainos) of divine life, Rom 7:4-6; 6:2-6.
7 "Let us
be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the
Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.
8 "And to her it was
granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the
fine linen is the righteous acts of the
saints," Rev 19:7-8.
The righteous acts of the
saints refer to God's righteousness which is credited to the
faithful covenant people by faith each time they take a
"step" by faith, Rom 4:12.
Again, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, Isa 64. The
only righteousness we have is God's divine righteousness
credited to us in justification by faith with each step we take
by faith as God's covenant people, Rom 4:12.
"For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His
31 "For this reason a
man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one
flesh," Eph 5:30-31.
God's eternal purpose is
that the bride of Christ (God's faithful covenant people)
should be made one with Christ and
therefore one with the Father and one with the Holy Spirit in a
divine relationship possessing the divine nature, 2Pe 1:4. This
will be so only with the firstborn sons, not with the slave
(illegitimate or non-covenant) sons.
"Do you not believe that I am IN
the Father, and the Father IN Me? The words that I speak to you I
do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who is dwelling
IN Me is doing the works.
11 "Believe Me that I am
IN the Father and the Father
IN Me, or else believe Me for the
sake of the works themselves," Jn 14:8-11.
Christ being in the Father,
and the Father being in the Son means They are one in kind, possessing the fullness of deity. For
the bride of Christ to be made one
with Christ, everyone who qualifies for the bride of Christ will
possess that same divine fullness with the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit.
"That they all may be one, as
You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;
that they also may be one in Us, that
the world may believe that You sent Me.
22 "And the glory which
You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
23 "I in them, and You in
Me; that they may be made perfect in
one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me,
and have loved them as You have loved Me," Jn
This oneness is a oneness
within the fullness of deity including all the divine attributes
of God. This includes the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and
all the faithful covenant people of the ages as the bride of
Christ. The bride people will not be infinite, but will receive a
measure of all the divine attributes according to their
faithfulness (their by grace through faith works) in this life.
The unfaithful saved will be slave (illegitimate or non-covenant)
EATING CHRIST'S FLESH AND DRINKING HIS BLOOD
"‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If
anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread
that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of
52 "The Jews therefore
quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His
flesh to eat?'
53 "Then Jesus said to
them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of
the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
54 "‘Whoever is eating
My flesh and is drinking My blood has eternal life, and I will
raise him up at the last day.
55 "‘For My flesh is
food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
"‘He who is feeding on My flesh and is drinking My blood is
abiding in Me, and I in him.
57 "‘As the living
Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who is
feeding on Me will live because of Me.
58 "‘This is the bread
which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna,
and are dead. He who is feeding on this bread will live
forever,'" Jn 6:51-58.
Eating Christ's flesh and drinking of His blood is
partaking of Christ, precisely what is
taught in Heb 3:14, and throughout the Bible as we shall continue
Eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood is done by
believing and obeying the Scriptures.
This is not a figure of speech. We literally feed our minds and
therefore our psyche ("life," in the sense of saving or
losing our "life") on the
Word of God. "But He answered and said,
‘It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
Christ is the bread of Life: "And Jesus
said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who is constantly
coming to Me shall never hunger, and he who is constantly
believing into Me shall never thirst,'" Jn
The word "constantly" is used to express a fixed
mind-set, a faith posture of the mind, a characteristic coming
and believing lifestyle. The primary meaning of "constant" is unwavering, unchanging,
continuous; however, the dictionary also gives continual as a
synonym of constant. The entire Christian life is (must be) one
of constant coming to and believing into Christ.
The one who is constantly coming to Christ, God and Christ will
in no wise cast out: "All whom the Father gives Me will come
to Me, and the one who is constantly coming to Me I will by no
means cast out," Jn 6:37.
We have shown over and over
that those who are "in
Christ," but do not bear fruit properly will be cut
off from Christ, Jn 15:1-6. The branches are "in" Christ (Jn 15:1-5) and have been
made "clean" (Jn 15:3; 2Pe
1:9), but those who do not bear fruit will not make their bride
of Christ calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:1-20.
The book of Galatians was
written to saved and scripturally baptized church members who
were being deceived and led to try to keep the Law Covenant along
with the New Covenant, as the Jerusalem church had persistently
been doing, Act 10; 11:1-18; 15; 21:17-26; Gal 1 & 2. Paul
sternly warned them that trying to keep the Law Covenant along
with the New Covenant would bring the curse and condemnation of
the Law Covenant upon them, and would cut them off from Christ,
Gal 5:1-4. This would further result in their being slave sons as
Ishmael was, rather than free covenant firstborn sons, Gal
We are to feed on Christ, and we do
this by feeding on the Word of God constantly every day – being
constantly transformed into the image of Christ.
"Whoever is feeding on My flesh
and is drinking My blood has eternal
life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 "For My flesh is food
indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
56 "He who is
feeding on My flesh and is drinking My blood is abiding in Me, and I in
57 "As the living Father
sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who is
feeding on Me will live because of
58 "This is the bread
which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna,
and are dead. He who is feeding on
this bread will live forever," Jn 6:54-58.
QUESTIONS AND WORK TASKS FOR CHAPTER ONE
1. What does it mean to be partakers of Christ
in this life – that is, how do we partake of Christ on a daily
basis? See page 3 and 4.
2. The church is called the body of Christ, Col 1:18,24. Explain
what the human body of Christ was in its natural state, and
define what it is now in its divine state.
3. Define the relationship and the function of the church as the
body of Christ. See also Rom 12:4-5; 1Co 12:12-27; Eph
4. Describe the crucifixion cycle where the church is the body of
Christ and church members as members of the body of Christ – our
bodies being crucified, dying, being buried, being raised (born
again) in deified bodies. See Rom 6:2-13; 7:4-6; 2Co 4:7-12; Gal
5. Explain what it means to be partakers of Christ in the
resurrection when Christ returns. See page 4 and Phi
6. Who are the "holy brethren, partakers
of the heavenly calling" of Heb 3? Explain what the
"calling" is – to what are
7. Were the Israelites in Egypt saved people? Were they covenant
people? Describe their "faith" experiences. See 1Co 10:1-12 and
the first 15 chapters of Exodus.
8. Were all the Israelites counted as firstborn sons? What
constituted or declared them to be firstborn sons? Give scripture
9. Did all the Israelites qualify as firstborn sons? Explain what
they did that disqualified them.
10. Explain covenant disciplinary training in the light of
Israel's wilderness experiences correlated with 1Co 10-12;
Heb 3, and Heb 12.
11. The unfaithful saved will not be partakers of Christ when
Christ returns. Describe why this is true. See pages 12 and
12. Justification requires the new birth of the human body of the
faithful saints in the resurrection. Define why this is so and
give scriptures establishing this truth.