Firstborn Sonship of Christ
RAISED IN CHRIST'S RESURRECTION LIKENESS,
A DIVINE BIRTH
if we have been united together and have grown together in the
likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His
resurrection," Rom 6:5.
First, we must be united together with Christ in
the likeness of His death, burial, and resurrection birth through
water baptism into a true local church (metaphorically, the body
Second, as members of the church (the body of
Christ) we must be faithful in church attendance and active in
all scriptural church activities. The whole church is
metaphorically the human now deified body of Christ, and as every
member, joint, and part of the physical body is constantly
working first and foremost for the effectual and coordinated
function of the whole body, so must every member of the church be
always striving to perform his or her part as a member of the
body of Christ, Eph 4:11-16; Col 2:11–3:25; Rom 12.
Third, every member of the church must be daily
and steadfastly feeding on the Word of God. We will thereby be
daily presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable to God, by not being conformed to the world but by
being transformed into the resurrection image of Christ in all
our thoughts, emotions, words, and deeds. We will thus be always
bearing about in our bodies the dying of the Lord that the
resurrection life of Christ be also manifest in our mortal
bodies, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18; 4:7-12.
PUTTING TO DEATH THE OLD MAN BY TRANSFORMATION
this, that our old man was crucified
with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we
should no longer be slaves of sin," Rom 6:6.
"And those who are Christ's have
crucified the flesh with its passions and evil
desires," Gal 5:24
These verses say that our
"old man" (the flesh with
its sinful passions and lusts) has been crucified with Christ.
However, if our old man were really crucified with Christ, then
our "old man" would be truly
dead and we would no longer have to be concerned with putting to
death the deeds of our old man or the deeds of our flesh.
Obviously, the "old man" is
our flesh body being controlled by our sin nature, which is still
very much alive. Therefore, having been crucified together with
Christ, having died together with Christ, having been buried
together with Christ, having been raised back to life in a new
birth resurrection together with Christ is a metaphor, along with
the church counted as being the body of Christ, and our
individual bodies counted as being the members of the body of
Christ, 1Co 6:15-17: Rom 6:2-13. The church is not really the
flesh and bone body of Christ, and our bodies are not really the
members of the physical (now deified) body of Christ.
This is a metaphor that runs throughout the Scriptures. When
Israel ate the Passover, they ate the Passover Lamb. The body of
every animal sacrificed in the Old Testament represented the body
of Christ. The body of the Passover lamb represented the body of
Christ. Israel's eating of the body of the lamb represented
all the faithful covenant people in Israel partaking of Christ,
precisely in the same way our eating of the Lord's Supper
represents the faithful New Covenant people partaking of that
same body of Christ in the resurrection.
"For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if
by the Spirit you put to death the
deeds of the body, you will live," Rom 8:13.
If our "old man" were really crucified with
Christ and thereby put to death, we could not possibly live
according to the flesh. However, since we still have the sinful
flesh nature (the "old
man"), the deeds of the flesh must daily and
throughout each day be put to death. We must maintain a vigilant
process of putting to death the deeds of our "old man," which is our sinful flesh
"And do not present your members as instruments of
unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being
alive from the dead, and your members
as instruments of righteousness to God," Rom
Observe the expression,
"alive from the dead," in
this passage. It is our flesh bodies that are to be presented as
"alive from the dead." This
cannot be separated from the crucifixion cycle of crucifixion,
death, burial, and resurrection into a deified body together with
Christ. The crucifixion cycle is applicable only with the body of
Christ and the faithful covenant people who are credited as being
the members of Christ's body. The cycle is not complete
without deification of the body, and this is promised only to the
faithful covenant people, Rom 6; 8:1-30; 11:11-22; 1Co
15:1-3,29-58; Phi 3:7-14,21; et al.
This putting to death the
"old man" is done by denying
the passions and works of our sinful flesh nature, Rom 8:13; Gal
5:19-21; Col 3:4-10. The bearing about in our bodies the
resurrection life of Christ is done by
daily and steadfastly feeding on the Word of God, meditating on
the Word of God, obeying the Word of God, and properly teaching
the Word of God to others, 2Jn 9-11; Jn 8:31-32; Gal 5:1-5; Eph
4:22-24; Col 3:1-10.
Only if we are daily being
transformed into the image of Christ in our heart or mind, in our
emotions, and therefore in our daily manner of life, then we will
be literally, finally, and forever transformed into the same
likeness and image of Christ's resurrection when Christ
returns. This transformation (metamorphosis) can take place only
in those who are in proper covenant relationship with God in a
true local church. Christ created the new man by His being born
again (the new birth) in His resurrection, 1Co 15:1-2,44-50; Phi
3:7-14,21; Col 1:21-23; Heb 2:1-3; 3:6–4:11; 5:8-9;
BAPTIZED INTO THE DEIFIED BODY OF CHRIST
and metaphorically, we were baptized by water into the
body of Christ (Rom 6:2-6; 1Co 12:13; Gal 3:28-29; Rom 11:11-22),
and thereby into the likeness of His
death and raised out of the water in baptism into the
likeness of His resurrection. This is
the testimony of scriptural water baptism. By this baptism we
were metaphorically baptized into Christ – into the human (now
deified) body of Christ, and thereby our bodies are counted to be
deified members of Christ's deified body, Rom 6:3; 1Co 12:13;
Gal 3:27. God is metaphorically speaking of things which be not,
as though they were, Rom 4:17. This is not true with saved people
outside the church.
Christ was divinely born
again in His resurrection (Col 1:15-18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33;
Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; 1Co 15:44-50), and metaphorically the bodies of
everyone in the body of Christ were born again together with
Christ (in the body of Christ) in His resurrection, and are
thereby called the sons of God (firstborn covenant sons), 1Jn
3:1-3; Ex 4:22-23; Rom 8:29; Heb 12:23. God's eternal purpose
includes other sons who are slave sons, Gal 4:21-31; 5:1-5; Heb
1 JOHN 2:28 THRU 3:10
now, little children, abide (remain, continue)
in Him; that when He appears, we may have
confidence and not be put to shame from Him in His
coming," 1Jo 2:28.
1. This letter of the apostle John was written
to saved covenant people in true churches.
written to saved and scripturally baptized church members who
were metaphorically counted as being crucified together with and
in the body of Christ, dead together with and in the body of
Christ, buried together with and in the body of Christ, raised
back from the dead together with and in the body of Christ, and
raised back to deified life together with and in the body of
Christ, Rom 6:2-13; 7:4-6; Gal 2:19-20; 5:24; Eph 2:5-6.
2. These people to whom First John was written
were already "in
not commanded to get into Christ, or to abide (continue, remain)
in salvation from hell, but were commanded to abide (continue,
remain) in the body (bride) of Christ, from which covenant
position the unfaithful saved will be put out or cut off, Jn
15:1-11; Rom 11:11-22; 1Co 9:27–10:12; Gal 5:1-4; Heb 3:6-19;
6:4-8; 10:25-39; 12:15-17; 2Jn 9-11; Mt 25:1-30.
3. Abiding in Christ (in the body of Christ)
is done by bearing the proper fruit, Jn 15:1-11; 2Jn 9-11.
covenant people were and are commanded to abide (continue,
remain) in Christ by bearing the proper fruit, and bearing the
proper fruit is done by believing and obeying according to the
Scriptures, Jn 15:1-11; 2Pe 1:5-10. Sprinkling for baptism,
baptizing babies, and other forms of alien baptism are not the
doctrine of Christ, and the Scriptures state explicitly that such
people do not have the Father and the Son. See following
discussion which includes 2Jn 9, 1Jn 5:6-13, and 2:23-25.
Both Jn 15 and 1Jn 2:28 are
written to saved people in the body of vhrist who are therefore
in covenant relationship with Christ. Both passages include the
command to abide in Christ. This is so because, though these
saved covenant people were already "clean" by the words of Christ and by
their covenant standing, they could nevertheless cease to abide
in Christ (be cut off from the body of Christ) because of
4. Those who do not faithfully abide in the
body of Christ, will be put to shame from Christ when He
urgently warned and commanded to give "all diligence" to continue in Christ by
bearing the proper fruit or we will be cut off from Christ and
fail to make our calling and election sure, Jn 15:1-6; 2Pe
1:5-10; Gal 5:1-4. A part of the punishment for failing to give
all diligence to make our calling and election sure is that such
saved covenant people will be put to shame from the Lord in His
coming, 1Jn 2:28.
you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who
is practicing righteousness is born
of Him," 1Jn 2:29.
Those who "are practicing righteousness" are
counted as having been metaphorically crucified, dead, buried,
and raised (born again) together with Christ into divine life,
Rom 6:2-13; 7:4-6; Col 2:9-21; 3:1-10; 1Co 15:1-2,44-50.
Those saved covenant people
who "are not
practicing righteousness" will abort the firstborn
sonship of Christ, and will be other than firstborn covenant
sons, as happened with Ishmael and Esau, Gal 4:19-31; Heb
12:15-17. As for saved people outside the covenants, they do not
have the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit, because they
do not have the doctrine of Christ:
"Every one who is transgressing, and is not remaining in the
doctrine of the Christ, does not have God; he who is remaining in
the doctrine of the Christ, this one has both the Father and the
10 "If anyone comes to
you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into
your house nor greet him;
11 ‘For he who greets (has
fellowship with) him shares in his evil deeds," 2Jn
1. Must be In the Body of Christ.
person must have been baptized with John's baptism into the
body of Christ, Rom 6:3-6; 1Co 12:12-13; Gal 3:27. The words
"in Christ" and similar
terms such as "in Him"
nearly always mean "in the body of
Christ." Saved people who are in the body of Christ
but are unfaithful will be cut off from Christ, which means being
cut off from the body of Christ and the loss of all the benefits
of the body of Christ, Jn 15:1-11; Gal 5:1-4; Rev 3:15.
2. Must Have and Remain In the Doctrine of
person must be in the body of Christ in order to have the
doctrine of Christ, and must remain in the doctrine of Christ in
order to remain in Christ and have the Father and the Son. This
is stated both positively and negatively in 2Jn 9. Furthermore,
those who fellowship spiritually with Christians (so-called) who
are not in a true church are not abiding in the doctrine of
Christ, because this passage clearly says such is forbidden, 2Jn
9-11. Baby baptism and sprinkling for baptism (Rom 6:3-6),
refusing John's baptism (Lk 7:29-30), rejecting the
circumcision of Christ (Col 2:11-13), and those who fellowship
such churches (1Jn 10-11; Mt 7:15-27; Gal 1:6-9; 1Ti 1:19-20; 2Pe
3:16-18), do not have the doctrine of Christ, and therefore do
not have the Father nor the Son nor the Holy Spirit. Therefore
they do not have the divine life of the Father and the Son and
the Holy Spirit.
DIVINE LIFE IS IN THE SON
who is constantly believing into the Son of God has the witness
in himself; he who is not constantly believing God has made Him a
liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has
given of His Son," 1Jn 5:10.
The preceding three verses
say that there are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are One. Also, there
are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and
the blood. These three agree in the same witness (testimony,
This chapter (1Jn 5) puts
great emphasis on the "witness" of the Father, the Son, the
Holy Spirit, the water, and the blood. That emphasis is
demonstrated by the constant, progressive, transitional believing
into the body of Christ by the faithful covenant people. The
unfaithful saved in their conduct are demonstrating that God is a
liar. They are not abiding in the doctrine of Christ, and either
have been or will be cut off from Christ. They will not share in
the divine life that is in the Father, in the Son, and in the
"And this is the testimony: that God has given us
divine (aionion, age) life, and this
life is in His Son," 1Jn 5:11.
This divine "life" is in the Son, and those who do
not continue in the doctrine of the Son do not have the Son. They
do not continue in the body of Christ (a true church), and
therefore do not have the divine resurrection life, which we can
obtain only in the the body of Christ which was crucified, died,
was buried, and raised back into a divine body.
"He who has the Son has life; he
who does not have the Son of God does not have life,"
Those saved people who do not
have the doctrine of Christ (or are not abiding in the doctrine
of Christ) do not have the Father, nor the Son, nor the divine
life that is in the Son.
TO THE ONES CONSTANTLY BELIEVING
"These things I have written to you, to the ones
constantly believing into the name of the Son of God, that you
may know that you have divine life, and that you may continue to
believe into the name of the Son of God," 1Jn
As earlier emphasized when discussing Jn 6, a progressive,
persevering faith is under consideration – a directional,
transitional believing into the crucified, dead, buried, raised,
and deified body of Christ in order to share in Christ's
divine firstborn sonship.
The "faith" that is overcoming the world is
the constantly abiding faith demonstrated throughout this
chapter, not the faith demonstrated by those who are not abiding
in the doctrine of Christ, Jn 15:1-6; 1Co 10:1-12; Heb 3:7-10;
6:4-8; 10:25-31; 12:15-17; 1Pe 1:9; et al.
Divine life is in the Son, and we must have the Son (be in the
body of Christ) to have the divine life of the Father and of the
We must first have the doctrine of Christ (be in the body of
Christ) and continue in the doctrine of Christ (continue in the
body of Christ) in order to have the Father, have the Son, and
thereby have their divine life, 1Jn 9-11.
Sprinkling for baptism, baptizing babies, and other forms of
alien baptism are not the doctrine of Christ. Saved people who
practice these things and claim to be the Lord's churches do
not have the doctrine of Christ and therefore do not have the
Father nor the Son, and hence do not have their life, Mt 7:15-27;
24:4-5; Act 20:29-31; 2Co 11:1315; et al.
"Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he
who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24 "Therefore let that
remain in you which you heard from the beginning (the
doctrine of Christ). If what you heard from
the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son and
in the Father.
25 "And this is the
promise that He has promised us – divine life," 2Jn
We acknowledge the Son by being sure that the doctrine of Christ
remains in us, which means we faithfully ferret out the truth and
diligently obey it, 2Jn 9-11; 1Jn 5:10-12; 1Jn 2:23-25. The
unfaithful saved deny the Son by not doing this.
Likewise, we abide in the Father and in the Son by being sure the
doctrine of Christ actively remain in us, 1Jn 23-25. We must
faithfully teach and practice the truth.
If the doctrine of Christ remains in us, we have the Father and
the Son, 1Jn 2:23-25. Only those who faithfully teach and
practice the doctrine of Christ have the Father and the Son.
If we have the Father and the Son, we have divine life, 1Jn
5:10-12; 2Jn 9-11. Divine life is in the Son, that is, in the
crucified, dead, buried, raised, and deified body of Christ,
which the church is metaphorically credited as being.
Many saved people do not have
the doctrine of Christ. For the most part they are in churches
which do not have John's baptism and therefore do not have
the authority to baptize or to serve God at all because they have
rejected the counsel of God against themselves, Lk 7:29-30. They
have rejected the circumcision of Christ (Col 4:11-13), and
therefore do not have the doctrine of Christ, 2Jn 9-11. There is
no way that they can practice
righteousness before God. They are not firstborn sons, but
are illegitimate, non-covenant sons as Ishmael and Esau were, Gal
4:21-31; Heb 112:15-15.
NOW WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD
NOW we are children of God; and it
has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when
He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He
is," 1Jn 3:2.
This verse by itself states
that we are already children of God, but compare this with the
following verses which equally state that we must be faithful
overcomers in order to be children of God. We cannot have it both
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse
you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who
spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 "In order that you may be sons of your
Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil
and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the
unjust," Mt 5:44-45.
"But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for
nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is
kind to the unthankful and evil," Lk 6:35.
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority
to become children of God, to those
constantly believing into His name," Jn 1:12.
"Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says
the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive
18 "'I will be a Father to you, and you shall be
My sons and daughters, says the LORD
Almighty," 2Co 6:17-18.
"My little children, for whom I labor
in birth again until Christ is formed in you,"
"He who overcomes shall inherit
all things, and I will be his God and he
shall be My son," Rev 21:7.
In addition to these verses,
consider the many passages which state that divine "life" is obtained by a faithful
Christian life "by grace through
faith." A few of these passages are here indicated,
Mt 7:13-14; 19:16-30; Mk 10:17-30; Lk 10:25-37; 18:18-30; Jn
12:25; Rom 6:22-23; 8:6,13; Gal 6:7-9; 1Ti 6:12,17-19; Ja 1:12;
2Jn 9; Rev 2:10; 3:11; et al.
Those who have and maintain
the doctrine of Christ have the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit, while those who do not have the doctrine of Christ, do
not have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and therefore
do not have their divine life. Such saved people are not
firstborn sons, and will not be made like Christ. To be made like
Christ and see Him as He is, the believer must maintain that
"living hope" by daily and
progressively "purifying himself as
Christ is pure," 1Jn 3:3.
Christ, as God, was with the
Father before creation, but for a while He as God dwelt in a mere
human, flesh body, Jn 1:1-3,14; Phi 2:6-11. In His resurrection,
His human body was born into a new
state of existence – into a divine (deified) flesh body. Though
Christ, for a while was known (experienced) in a flesh body, He
is no longer known (experienced) in or after a mere flesh body,
but rather after a new kind of deified flesh body, 2Co 5:16-17;
Col 2:9; 1Co 15:44-50.
The unfaithful saved will not
see Christ "as He is." They
will not share in the new birth in the resurrection, because they
have not "held fast" to the
Gospel, 1Co 15:1-2. They have not "held
fast to the end," Heb 3:14; Col 1:21-23; Phi
3:7-14,21. They have not been transformed into the image of
Christ in their lifetime of qualifying for that divine birth, 2Co
3:17-18; 4:7-12,17; 5:1-21. They have transgressed the doctrine
of Christ and do not have the Father, the Son, or the Holy
Spirit, 2Jn 9-11. They have not borne the proper fruit and have
been or will be cut off from Christ, Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22.
They have mixed the New
Covenant with the Law Covenant, or otherwise mixed the holy
covenants with an unfaithful and unholy life, Gal 4:19-31;
4:19-26; 5:1-4; 5:7-9; Heb 3:7-19; 12:15-29. They will not share
in Christ's new birth resurrection and will not "see Him as He is," because they have
not practiced righteousness, 1Jn 2:29–3:10. Only those who share
Christ's death and resurrection likeness in doctrine
(scriptural baptism) and grow into His resurrection likeness in
their daily lives will share in that resurrection likeness and
see Him as He is when He returns, 2Co 3:17; 4:7-12; Col 2:9–3:15;
We are now sons on a trial
and qualifying basis (Heb 12:1-29), where we must be overcomers
by grace through faith, 1Co 15:1-2,29-58; 1Co 9:23-27; 10:1-13;
Heb 3; 5:8-9; 11:1-40. If we do not overcome by grace through
faith, we will abort the firstborn sonship and become
illegitimate, non-covenant, or slave sons who are never of
God's divine nature, 1Co 15:1-2,29-58; Gal 4:19 thru 5:4;
6:7-9; Heb 12:8; 2Pe 1:4 (3-10); et al.
HAVING THIS HOPE
everyone who is having this hope in Him is
purifying himself, just as He is pure," 1Jn
What is the "hope?" The "hope" is being made "like Him" – like Christ, being made
like His resurrection body that was born into a divine body, as
stated in 1Co 15:44-50. However, the Galatian churches were
urgently warned that they were about to abort that firstborn
covenant sonship, Gal 4:19 thru 5:5. God has given us the Holy
Spirit as a guarantee that this mortal body will be swallowed up
of divine life, but this "earnest" pledge is conditioned on
purifying ourselves by walking in the Spirit and sowing to the
Spirit, Rom 8:1-30; Gal 6:7-9. Both walking in the Spirit and
sowing to the Spirit are the same, and are the opposite to
walking in the flesh and sowing to the flesh. Saved church
members who persist in walking after the flesh shall die from the
new birth qualifying position in the deified body of Christ (Rom
8:5-13), at which time they crucify to themselves the Son of God
afresh and pass from life back to death, Heb 3:6-19; 6:4-6;
10:25-31; 12:1-17; Rom 8:1-13; Jn 15:1-6; Gal 5:1-5; et al.
This "hope" is the hope of
glory – a divine attribute. We must be
faithful to obtain the glory and be conformed to the image of
Christ, Rom 5:2-5; 8:23-25 (17-30); Phi 3:7-21; Col 1:5,23,27;
1Pe 1:3-5; et al. The "glory" is a covenant promise to the
covenant people only, Isa 46:13: 48:9-12; Rom 9:4.
This "hope" is the hope of
righteousness – a divine attribute,
Gal 5:5; Mt 5:6; 6:33; 25:34,37,46; 2Ti 4:8; et al. Justification
is a covenant promise to the covenant people (Gal 3:6-29; Rom 4),
and the unrighteous will be cut off from the covenant people, Eze
3:20; 18:24; 33:12-13; Mt 25; Rom 11; et al.
This "hope" is the hope of
divine life – a divine attribute, Mt
19:16-29; Lk 10:25-37; 1Ti 6:12,17-19; Ti 1:2; 3:7; Ja 1:12; et
al. Divine life is a covenant promise to the covenant people, but
the unfaithful saved are cut off from Christ, Jn 15:1-6; Gal 4:19
thru 5:4; Rom 11:11-22; Rev 3:16; Heb 3:6-19; 6:4-6; et al.
This "hope" is the hope of
divine holiness – a divine attribute,
Heb 12:10,14; 1Pe 1:16. The covenant people (Israel and the
church) are counted as holy while all non-covenant peoples are
left as unclean and therefore unholy, Lev 11:44-45; 20:23-26. The
unholy were and are to be put out of the covenant and away from
the covenant people, Lev 20; 1Co 5; et al.
This "hope" is the hope of
divine sonship – a divine state of
being, 1Jn 3:2-3; 2Pe 1:4 (3-10); Mt 5:9,44-45; Lk 6:35;
2Co 6:17-18; Rev 21:7; et al. The "adoption" belongs to Israel (Rom 9:4),
and the church as the body of Christ is God's Israel because
Christ was the Seed of Abraham, Gal 3:14-29. Gentile church
members have been grafted into Israel (Rom 2:28-29; Rom 11:11-22;
Gal 3:6-29), and must be faithful or be cut off from Christ (Jn
15:1-6; Gal 4:19-5:4; Heb 3:6-19; 6:4-6; 10:25-31; 12:15-17; Rev
3:16) and therefore from Israel as the covenant people, Rom
This "hope" is a
"living hope" into a
new born deified body, reserved in
heaven in the body of Christ's deified body, 1Pe 1:3-5; Col
1:5,23,27; 2Co 5:1-5. God has metaphorically "begotten us again to a "living hope by the
resurrection of Christ from the dead, to an inheritance
incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved
in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith
for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,"
1Pe 1:3-5. The next four verses (1Pe 1:6-9) call attention to the
covenant disciplinary training we must endure and overcome in
order to qualify for this divine firstborn sonship.
This "hope" is a
"living hope" in which we
must "count all things but
loss" in order to "gain
Christ" in the resurrection, Phi 3:7-21. If we do not
overcome God's covenant disciplinary training, God will
not "transform our lowly body that it may be conformed
to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is
able even to subdue all things to Himself,"Phi 3:21:
2Co 3:18; Rom 12:1-2. The result is that the unfaithful saved who
do not "gain Christ," will
not be made like Christ when He comes, for they have not
maintained this "hope" by
purifying themselves as He is pure, 1Jn 3:2-3.
THE UNHOLY ARE CUT OFF
everyone who has this hope in Him is purifying himself, just as
He is pure," 1Jn 3:3.
This verse reveals the
fallacy of the traditional interpretation of verse 2 (1Jn 3:2):
first by designating verse 2 as a "hope," which requires that being made
like Christ is contingent upon each covenant person purifying
himself as Christ is pure. The context continues dealing with the
covenant people practicing righteousness and not practicing sin,
as a covenant requirement for the firstborn sonship. Observe that
each chapter of First John deals with the covenant people walking
in the light, abiding in Christ, practicing righteousness, and
maintaining brotherly love in order to be approved for the
firstborn sonship. All of these lead to divine life, but the
opposite of these leads to death from the divine sonship – we are
in a qualifying status within God's covenant training
"For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and
if the root is holy, so are the branches," Rom 11:16
The context reveals that the
branches are in the proper covenant position of conditional
election (making their calling and election sure, Rom 11:11-22
(1-32); 2Pe 1:3-10; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 8:6,13,17-30; et al.
God's predestination is that we make our calling and election
sure by purifying ourselves by grace through faith obedience, Rom
11:1-32; 2Pe 1:3-10; Heb 2:11 thru 4:11; 5:8-9; et al. God has
predestined that He will cut off those who resist His
Spirit's working to present us holy and without rebuke, Jn
15:1-11; Rom 11:11-22; 1Co 10:1-12; Gal 5:1-5; Heb 3:6-19; 6:4-5;
10:25-31; 12::15-17; 2Pe 1:4-10; Col 1:21-23; et al.
"Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and
you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
21 "For if God did not
spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
22 "Therefore consider
the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity;
but toward you, goodness, IF you continue in
His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut
off," Rom 11:20-22 (1-36); 2Pe 1:3-10.
We must continue in God's
goodness to maintain "this
hope" of a resurrection birth into a divine body that
is conformed to the image of Christ's glorified body, Phi
3:7-21; Rom 8:23-30; Col 1:5:21-23,27; et al. With this
"living hope" we are
purifying ourselves by the Holy Spirit by grace through faith, as
we progressively bear the proper fruit and are thereby approved
and remaining in Christ. Otherwise, we will not share in the
likeness of Christ's resurrection birth. In the metaphor of
being the body of Christ, we already have this birth, by being
crucified together with Christ in His body, by dying together
with Christ in His body, by being buried together with Christ in
His body, by being raised together with Christ in His body, and
being born again from the dead together with Christ in His body,
Rom 6:3-13; 7:4-6; 1Co 12:12-27; Gal 2:20; 5:24; Col 2:20;
We must be holy in our daily
lives as God and Christ are holy in order to partake of Their
holiness and Their righteousness in the resurrection birth, Heb
12:9-11. God begat us again to a "living
hope" by Christ's resurrection birth (1Pe 1:3-5)
in view of our being conformed to Christ's image in God's
disciplinary training, and being conformed to Christ's divine
image in a deified human body, 2Co 3:1-18; 4:7-12; Col 2:9 thru
3:10; et al.
We must not be conformed to
the world but be transformed into the image of Christ's
resurrection likeness by the daily renewing of our minds in order
to be transformed into the image of Christ's divine birth of
His body in the resurrection, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18; 1Jn 2:28;
"Every one who is remaining in Him is not sinning; every one
who is practicing sin, has not seen Him, nor known
Him," 1Jn 3:6.
There is "one hope of our
calling," not two, three, or more hopes, Eph 4:1-6.
Pursue the word "hope" in
view of "the hope of glory,"
"the hope of eternal (divine) life," "the hope of
righteousness," "one hope of your calling,"
etc., with the understanding that "hope
that is seen, is not hope," Rom 8:23-25; Heb 11:1.
"Hope" speaks of something
we do not have and will not receive without patiently and
faithfully waiting for it under God's rigid covenant
disciplinary training. We must be overcomers in this covenant
training in order to qualify for that new birth when Christ
unfaithful saved bearing the proper fruit and thereby practicing
holiness, or are they failing to bear the proper fruit and are
thereby practicing sin? 1Jo 2:29 thru 3:12; 2Pe 1:8-9. Were the
Israelites whose carcasses fell in the wilderness practicing
holiness or rebellion? 1Co 10:1-12; Heb 3:7-19. Was Paul's
severe self-discipline needless, 1Co 9:27? Do we need to pay any
heed to these urgent warnings? 1Co 10:1-12; Heb 3:6-19; 2Pe
3:14-18. How about those disciples who went back and walked with
Jesus no more? Jn 6:66. Were they practicing righteousness after
they went back and walked with Jesus no more? What is the
resurrection hope and its results for those who do not purify
themselves as Christ is pure? 1Jn 3:3; 2Pe 1:9 (5-10). What is
the resurrection hope for those who do not practice righteousness
and do not hold fast the true Gospel, to the doctrine of Christ?
2Pe 1:5-10; Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; 1Co 10:1-12; Gal 4:21–5:4;
Col 1:21-23; 15:1-2; Phi 3:2-14; Heb 3:7-19; et al. The covenant
disciplinary training is for the purpose of purifying the
covenant people, 1Jn 3:1-12.
"He who is practicing sin
(living in sin) is of
the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might
destroy the works of the devil," 1Jn 3:8.
The one who is bearing the
proper fruit and is abiding in Christ is practicing
righteousness, but the one who is NOT
abiding in Christ by bearing the proper fruit and keeping
Christ's commandments by grace through faith is practicing
sin, 1Jn 2:28–3:12. What are the unfaithful saved practicing? The
unfaithful saved covenant people (and all saved people outside
true churches) are NOT adding the
godly virtues, 1Pe 1:5-8. They are therefore blind and cannot see
afar off, and many have forgotten that they were once purged from
their old sins, 2Pe 1:8 (5-10). These saved people are practicing
sin and are not practicing righteousness, 1Jn 2:28–3:10.
Therefore they cannot scripturally possess the "hope" of 1Jn 3:2-3. They are
not purifying themselves as Christ is
pure, 1Jn 3:2-3. The truth is that we are now the sons of God
only in the form of the metaphor of being the deified body of
Christ. Those who are not purifying themselves cannot
scripturally have the "hope"
of 1Jn 3:2-3, and will not be firstborn (free, ruling) sons when
Christ returns or ever thereafter.
The Scriptures say these
unfaithful saved people are (in practice) of
the devil, 1Jn 3:8. That is what the verse says of those
who are not practicing righteousness. We must harmonize these
statements that appear to contradict each other. Mishandling the
Word of God amounts to adding to and diminishing from the
Scriptures, which will bring the Gehenna judgment upon all the
unfaithful saved, Rev 22:18-29. "He who
is practicing sin is of the devil," 1Jn 1:8.
has been born of God is not sinning (practicing sin),
for His seed is remaining in him; and he
cannot sin, because he has been born of God," 1Jn
We must not try to lift this
verse out of its context or try to interpret the context in light
of the verse, but interpret the verse in light of the context.
The person who is really born of God CANNOT sin, because he is born of God. But we do
sin (1Jn 1:7-9; 2:1) and that is clear proof that we are born of
God only in the metaphor of being the deified body of Christ. God
is speaking (in a metaphor) of things which be not as though they
were (Rom 4:17; 6:2-6), when the Scriptures speak of the covenant
people as having been already born of God, on the basis that the
church is called the body of Christ.
only two real births, and both were real births: one was
from his human mother (Lk 2), and the other was His resurrection
birth, Col 1:15,18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; 1Co
15:44-50. Likewise, we will have only two real births: one into a
human body by our parents, and one from God when Christ returns –
in the likeness of Christ's resurrection birth. Jesus was
symbolically born of God in His
baptism which represented His crucifixion, death, burial, and
resurrection birth, Mt 3:15. We were likewise symbolically or metaphorically born of God in
scriptural water baptism, on the basis of which we received the
Holy Spirit, as the earnest of the promised divine firstborn
sonship of Christ, Jn 7:39; Gal 4:4-7; Rom 8:14 (14-23); 2Co
4:7-12,17; 5:1-5; Titus 3:5; Jn 3:5; 1Pe 1:3-5.
The person who is really born
of God CANNOT sin, and therefore
cannot sin and cannot practice sin. The saved person who persists
in practicing sin is of the devil (2Pe 1:9; 1Jn 3:8,10) and does
not have his name written in the book of life, because he does
not have the Father, nor the Son, and therefore cannot have
divine life, 2Jn 9-11; 1Jn 2:23-25; 5:10-13.
SAVED PEOPLE NOT PRACTICING RIGHTEOUSNESS
this the children of God and the children of the devil are
manifest: everyone who is not practicing
righteousness is NOT of God, nor is he who is not loving
his brother," 1Jn 3:10.
one outside a true church is practicing righteousness
before God, for they have rejected the baptism of John, Lk
7-29-30. They have thereby rejected the counsel of God against
themselves (Lk 7:29-30), and therefore cannot practice
righteousness before God. Likewise, saved people who have refused
scriptural water baptism have rejected the circumcision of
Christ, Col 2:11-12. Moreover, those who have refused scriptural
water baptism have thereby rejected the doctrine of Christ and do
not have the Father or the Son, and therefore do not have their
divine life, 2Jn 9-11. Those who have refused John's baptism
cannot walk in the light as God is in the light and therefore
cannot scripturally hold fast to the end, 1Co 15:1-2; Heb 3:6-10;
Rom 11:11-22; Col 1:21-23; Phi 3:7-14.
Saved people who have been
made "clean," but who have
been cut off from the Vine (Jn 15:1-6), cannot practice
righteousness acceptable to God. Jesus said "without Me (cut off from Me) you can do nothing," Jn 15:1-6. Paul told
the churches of Galatia (saved and scripturally baptized people)
if they persisted in trying to keep the Law Covenant,
"Christ will profit you
nothing" within the covenant relationship, Gal
4:21-31; 5:1-4. They would thereby abort the firstborn sonship of
Christ and its resurrection likeness, which is the new birth into
the divine family of God, Eph 2:10-22. They would thereby become
illegitimate (non-covenant, slave) sons, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-4; Heb
LOVE THE BRETHREN
know that we have passed from death to life, because we are
loving the brethren. He who is not loving his brother is abiding
15 "Whoever is hating
his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer is
having eternal (divine) life abiding
in him," 1Jn 3:14-15.
"Whoever is constantly believing that Jesus is the Christ is
born of God, and everyone who is loving Him who begot also is
loving him who is begotten of Him.
2 "By this we know that
we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His
3 "For this is the love
of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are
4 "For whatever is born
of God is overcoming the world. And this is the victory that has
overcome the world -- our faith.
5 "Who is he who is
overcoming the world, but he who is believing that Jesus is the
Son of God?" 1Jn 5:2-5.
At this point A. T. Robertson
provides some pertinent comments from the Greek:
Quote: 1Jo 5:5 - And who is he that overcometh?
(tis estin de ho nikon<). Not a mere rhetorical question
(2:22), but an appeal to experience and fact. Note the present
active articular participle (nikon) like nikai (present active
indicative in verse 4), "the one who keeps on conquering the
world." See 1Co 15:57 for the same note of victory (nikos)
through Christ. See verse 1 for ho pisteuon (the one who
believes) as here. Jesus is the Son of God (Iesous estin ho huios
tou theou). As in verse 1 save that here ho huios tou theou in
place of Christos and see both in 2:22f. Here there is sharp
antithesis between "Jesus" (humanity) and "the Son
of God" (deity) united in the one personality. Unquote.
Those outside true local
churches do not have the doctrine of Christ, and therefore do not
have the Father, the Son, or their divine life, 2Jn 9-11. The
commandments of the Lord are not committed to them, and therefore
they cannot keep God's commandments which are the doctrine of
Christ, which this writing contains. This doctrine of Christ is
held in contempt by them, and we who hold this doctrine have been
severely persecuted by them down through the ages.
BAPTISM IS SYMBOLIC BUT EFFECTUAL
now to the baptismal (symbolic, metaphoric) death of the old man,
and the baptismal (symbolic, metaphoric) resurrection into the
new man in the likeness of
Christ's resurrection. This metaphoric death in baptism must
be followed by daily bearing about in our bodies the dying of the
Lord Jesus, 2Co 4:7-12. Bearing about in our bodies the dying of
the Lord is done by feeding our minds on the Word of God (2Co
3:17-18), presenting our bodies a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2),
bearing about in our bodies the dying of the Lord (2Co
4:7-12,17), putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom 8:13),
and setting our affections on things above, Col 3:1-10.
As we bear about in our
bodies the dying of the old man, both death and life are working
in us: death to the old man and life for the new man. As we
diligently strive to be conformed to the image of Christ, death
to the old man is more and more obvious in our manner of life,
while the life for the new man is more and more obvious in
qualifying for the divine birth when Christ returns. As this life
of the new man increases more abundantly in our manner of life,
it increases life in us within the resurrection image of Christ
into the ages of ages to come, Jn 10:10; 1Th 3:8; 2Co 4:7-12.
In most cases the words life,
glory, righteousness, holiness, etc., are generic for all the
attributes of God. More abundant life
equals more abundant glory, equals
more abundant righteousness, equals a
greater abundance of every attribute of God to be experienced
As we faithfully serve the
Lord, all the fullness of God is being increased on our behalf in
God's record books, Jn 10:10; 1Th 3:8; 2Co 4:12,17; 9:10; Heb
12:9-11. Conversely, as we conform to the fashions of this world,
the resurrection fullness of Christ is decreased against us in
God's record books, and will not be received by us in the
resurrection or ever thereafter, 2Jn 8; 2Co 5:10; Rev 3:11;
22:12; Ecc 12:13-14; Eze 3:20; 18:24; 33:12-13; Mt 13:12; 25:29;
Mk 4:25; Lk 8:18; 19:26. We must fear lest we lose the things we
have wrought, 2Jn 8. We can fail to hold fast and thereby lose
the crowns for which we have been working by grace through faith,
WHAT GOD IS OFFERING US
It is the
image or likeness of Christ in His resurrection which God is
offering to us by covenant promise (Rom 6:5), and has confirmed
the same with His oath, Heb 6:11-20. In like manner, God has
confirmed the oath of His wrath against the unfaithful saved
because they have refused His covenant offer of His fullness in
the firstborn covenant sonship of Christ, Heb 2:1-3; 3:11; 4:3;
12:25-29. God is offering to share Himself to us. Eph 1:22-23;
3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10. To Abraham He said, "I am ...your exceeding great reward,"
Gen 15:1. Jesus prayed that the faithful covenant people would be
made "one" with the divine
Trinity – that the divine nature of the Trinity would be in the
faithful covenant people, as the divine nature is in the Father
and in the Son, that we should be "one" in divine union with Them, Jn
10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
"For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the
beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,"
In God's reckoning and in
the measure of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have become
partakers of Christ, who is the precise image of the Father, Col
1:15; Heb 1:3. In Christ's deified body all the fullness of
deity is dwelling (Col 1:19; 2:9), and each faithful member of
Christ's deified body will receive of the fullness of deity
to the extent of the faithfulness of that member, Mt 25:14-23; Lk
19:11-19; 2Co 5:10; Rev 22:12.
THIS IS PARTAKING OF CHRIST
Christ's flesh and drinking His blood is a symbolic partaking
of what Christ's body became in
His resurrection, 1Co 15:44-50. In His resurrection Christ became
the firstborn from the dead, Col 1:15,18-19; Rev 1:5; Act
13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5. In His resurrection birth Christ's
human body was born into a heavenly, spirit, divine body, 1Co
15:44-50; Col 2:9. In His resurrection birth Christ created a new
kind of man (the "new man"),
possessing all the fullness of God's divine nature in a human
body, Col 2:9; 2Co 5:1-5,16-21; Eph 2:10-15. In His resurrection
birth Christ created a "new
man," a new race of mankind of which He is the head
as the second Adam, 1Co 15:44-50; Rom 5:14-19. In Christ's
new divine body dwells all the fullness of deity, which divine
nature was not inherent in the body which Christ received from
Mary until His resurrection birth.
Mary gave Christ a "flesh and
blood" body that had to be born again in His
resurrection, 1Co 15:44-50. The life of Christ's deified body
is not in the blood, but in the divine nature, 1Co 15:44-50.
All those in "the body of Christ" (a true local
church) are counted as being metaphorically the members of
Christ's human (now divine) body. As the members of
Christ's divine body, we are joined to His divine body, and are therefore
counted to be as much a part of His divine body as our feet,
legs, hands, arms, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc., are members of
our individual bodies. All the members of our flesh body are one
and the same flesh, and constitute one and the same flesh body.
In this same way, we, as the members of the divine body of
Christ, constitute one and the same kind of divine (deified
human) body that Christ has, Rom 12:4-5; 1Co 6:15-17; 11:23-29;
12:1-27; Eph 4:15-16,25; 5:30-31. God who calls things which be
not as though they were, counts the members of the body of Christ
to be metaphorically crucified, dead, buried, raised, and born
again into one and the same deified body of Christ, 1Co 5:7; Col
2:9-10-17; Eph 2:10-16.
BAPTISM JOINS US TO CHRIST
scriptural water baptism we were metaphorically baptized into
Christ's deified human body:
"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put
on Christ," Gal 3:27.
"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into
Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 "Therefore we were
buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ
was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
also should walk in newness of (divine)(and have grown
together) life – in deified life.
"For if we have been united
together (and have grown
together) in the
likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in
the likeness of His
"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that
the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer
be slaves of sin," Rom 6;3-6.
It is God's purpose to
conform the bodies of the faithful covenant people into the
likeness of the resurrected body of
Christ. We (metaphorically) have been baptized into the
body of Christ, and have thereby been joined to the body of Christ. The Greek word
"sumphutos" carries both the
action of being united (joined) together and also the process of
growing together after being united together. This is with a view
to our growing up into the glory image of the resurrected body
and mind of Christ:
THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST
"Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a
man, to the measure of
the stature of the fullness of Christ," Eph
Here is the activity of
growing up into the stature of the fullness of Christ – a growth
process of growing up into Christ who is the Head of the body,
"But we all, with unveiled face, constantly beholding as in
a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being
transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by
the Spirit of the Lord," 2Co 3:18.
Again we have a
transformation and growing activity "from glory into glory." God's
purpose is that the faithful covenant people not be conformed to
this world, but throughout each day being progressively
transformed into the resurrection image of
Christ from glory to glory.
"Do you not know that your bodies are members of
Christ (of Christ's deified human body)? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them
members of a harlot? Certainly not!
16 "Or do you not know
that he who is joined to a harlot is
one body with her? For ‘the two,' He says, ‘shall become one
17 "But he who is
joined to the Lord is one
spirit (divine, body)with
Him," 1Co 6:15-17.
The one who is joined to
Christ's body is one deified, spirit body with Him. It could hardly be put clearer than
this, and of course the language is symbolic in the context of a
metaphor. The church is called the human (now deified) body of
Christ which Christ received from Mary. However, in reality the
church is not the body of Christ (His flesh and bone) at all. God
is speaking of things which be not as though they were, a
metaphor, Rom 4:17.
The word sumphutos (Rom 6:5)
means to be united together with Christ and to grow together as
one body – grow up into Christ who is the Head, Eph
GROW UP IN ALL THINGS
speaking the truth in love, may grow up in
all things into Him who is the head, that is,
Christ," Eph 4:15.
"Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of
Christ," Eph 4:13 (11-16).
"For in Him is dwelling all the fullness of the Godhead
10 "And in Him you are
being made that fullness....." Col 2:9-10.
"For if we have been united together (and have grown
together) in the likeness of His death,
certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His
resurrection," Rom 6:5; 2Co 4:7-12.
God has chosen the faithful
covenant people in Christ to be conformed to the resurrection
image of Christ – "to the measure of the
stature of the fullness of Christ" in the current and
permanently divine state of His human (now deified) body, filled
with all the fullness of deity, Col 1:19; 2:9.
WITH UNVEILED FACE
"But we all, with unveiled face,
steadfastly beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are
being constantly transformed into the same image from
glory to glory, just as by the Spirit
of the Lord," 2Co 3:18.
".....that you may be filled with all the fullness of
God" (Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 2:19-10; Jn 17:21-23),
and thereby be partakers of Christ both now and when Christ
returns, Heb 3:14.
"Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest
any of you seem to have come short of it," Heb
"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
10 "For he who has
entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God
did from His," Heb 4:9-10; 4:4; Gen 2:1-3).
Those in a true local church
are in covenant relationship with God, and are metaphorically
reckoned to be crucified, dead, buried, and raised together in
Christ's heavenly, spirit, deified body. The faithful
covenant people are currently and metaphorically in this
"rest." This simply means we
are counted (credited, reckoned) as having already been glorified
(defied) together with Christ, and are in the qualifying position
to really enter that "rest"
in the resurrection, IF we hold fast
the beginning of our confidence to the end.
"Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest
anyone fall according to the same example of
disobedience," Heb 4:11; 3:6-19; 4:1-10.
Let "us" who are holy brethren (Heb 3:1) of
the house of Christ (Heb 3:6) – let us
therefore be diligent, lest "we" "fall
according to the same example of disobedience." The
unfaithful saved will not be partakers of Christ. They will not
be partakers of His "rest."
The doctrine of their unfaithful lives which they preach by their
conduct is not the doctrine of Christ, and therefore they do not
have the Father and the Son, and will not share in the likeness
of Christ in the resurrection life.
QUESTIONS AND WORK TASKS FOR CHAPTER THREE
1. Explain the metaphoric application of Rom
6:3-6. The metaphor is that the church is called the body of
Christ, and was portrayed as the body of Christ when the Lord
instituted the Lord's Supper before the cross. Follow this
oneness with Christ's body through the crucifixion cycle.
2. Define the "old man"
versus the "new man."
3. Describe how the true believer passes from death into life as
in Jn 3:16 and 5:24, but then passes from life back to death as
in Rom 8:6,13; Heb 6:4-6; Jn 15:1-6; Gal 5:1-5; etc.
4. Following the metaphor, explain how we present the members of
our bodies to God as "alive from the
dead." See Rom 6:13 and 8:13.
5. The believer is baptized into the deified body of Christ.
Follow the metaphor and explain what happens when one is baptized
6. Define how those in the body of Christ are "in Christ." Follow the metaphor.
7. Those outside a true local church cannot practice
righteousness. Explain why, using Lk 7:29-30; Col 2:11-12; 1Jn
8. Describe the "transition"
(transition from what to what) when one is baptized into Christ,
9. God has two kinds of sons, Gal 4:21-31. What are they? Explain
how the faithful covenant people are divine sons "now," 1Jn 3:2-3.
10. Explain the metaphor of sonship in 1Jn 3:2.
11. Demonstrate the application of the "hope" in 1Jn 3:2-3.
12. Show from the Scriptures how saved people practice sin, 1Jn
13. Give examples from the Scriptures of saved people not
practicing righteousness and not loving their brethren.
14. Define how many saved people do not have divine life.