Firstborn Sonship of Christ
THE AROMA OF LIFE AND DEATH
"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in
Christ (in the deified body of Christ), and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in
15 "For we are to God
the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among
those who are perishing.
16 "To the one we are
the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma
of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these
things?" 2Co 2:14-16.
FROM DEATH TO DEATH
faithful covenant people are constantly being made a sweet
fragrance of Christ to God, among those who are being saved and
also among those who are perishing. We are constantly having an
influence that has eternal consequences on everyone around us. It
is likewise true that those around us with whom we associate, and
all others as well, are constantly having an influence on each
other, for good and for bad. And all of this also has its eternal
consequences far more than we think. God made it this way, and no
one can escape this ordinance of God.
Of course, God's
requirement for us is that we strive to keep ourselves aware of
this fact and do all we can to make that influence on our part as
productive as possible for God's glory and for the eternal
benefit of others. This means striving to love God with all our
heart, life, mind, and strength, Mt 22:37.
The Scriptures say that we
will be judged for everything we do, whether good or bad:
"For God will bring every work into judgment, including
every secret thing, whether good or evil," Ecc.
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
that each one may receive the things done in the body, according
to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11 "Knowing, therefore,
the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...," 2Co
5:10-11. See also Lk 12:2-3.
Obviously, some have sinned
more than others, so their eternal judgment will be greater than
others. Another factor is that there will be greater judgment for
those whose sin or sins are greater, Jn 19:10-11. And yet another
matter is some had more and greater witness borne to them, Mt
of death into death" indicates out of a lesser degree
of death into a greater degree of death, and this fact will be
true with both the unsaved and the unfaithful saved. Jesus made
it clear that the branch that is clean and properly in the Vine,
but does not bear the proper fruit will be cut off from the Vine,
from Christ, will die, and will be cast into fiery judgment
outside the firstborn sonship of Christ. This person will still
be saved, so as by fire, 1Co 3:15. Such sons will become servant
or slave sons, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-4; Rom 11:11-22; Heb 12:1-17; et
FROM LIFE TO LIFE
of life into life" indicates out of a lesser degree
of life into a greater degree of divine life. Certainly, we must
pass out of physical life into divine life; however, we are here
dealing directly with divine life. As we will see, this harmonizes
very well with the truth that the more we faithfully serve the
Lord the greater our reward will be. We must also keep in mind
that the Scriptures require us to be faithful in order to qualify
for the firstborn sonship with its divine state of being. Let us,
therefore, briefly consider those who are counted faithful enough
to qualify for the firstborn sonship.
MORE ABUNDANT LIFE
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and
to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they
may have it more
abundantly," Jn 10:10.
"For now we live (more abundantly), IF you stand fast in the
Lord," 1Th 3:8.
10 "Always carrying
about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of
Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
11 "For we who live are
always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of
Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
12 "So then death is working in us, but life in
you," 2Co 4:10-12.
Those who are the more
faithful will reap life more abundantly. Paul and his companions
would gain more abundant life as long as they themselves were
sufficiently faithful; yet here they were praying that those to
whom they ministered would continue to be faithful. By doing so
they, the Thessalonians, would be increasing, storing up, a
greater abundance of divine life for Paul and his faithful
companions. The Thessalonians would be bearing about in their
bodies the dying of the Lord which further increased the divine
life promised to Paul and his companions. As we live faithfully,
we increase the divine life in those whom we have influenced and
in those who influence us. Those who are faithful are mutually
increasing the divine life promised to others who are faithful.
That is what the above verses teach.
THE VICTORY CROWNS
"Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we
worked for, but that we may receive a full reward,"
"Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that
no one may take your crown," Rev 3:11.
The "stephanos" was a garland wreath worn on
the head by the victor in competition. The crown of incorruption,
the crown of rejoicing, the crown of righteousness, the crown of
life, and the crown of glory all use the word stephanos. However,
these crowns in the Bible are not mere garland wreaths placed on
one's head, but are symbols of the attributes of God, the
fullness of God, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10, promised to
the faithful covenant people; that is, incorruption as God is
incorrupt, rejoicing as God rejoices, the righteousness of God,
the divine life of God, the glory of God, etc.
The crowns of life, of
righteousness, of glory, etc., signify that God's divine
fullness, the fullness of God, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19;
2:9-10, will be vested into the bodies and spirits of the
faithful covenant people so that the fullness of the divine
nature will permanently permeate the entire being, body and
spirit, of the saints. This is a new birth of the whole person
into the divine firstborn sonship of Christ, just as the human
body of Christ was divinely born of God in His resurrection, Col
1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33, Ps 2:7; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5. This
resurrection birth of Christ's human body produced a new kind
of man, a second Adam and head of a new race of divine sons of
Christ was God in a human
body. In the beginning He was the Word of God, was with God, and
was God the Son, Jn 1:1-3; Phi 2:6-11. At the Father's
appointed time the Son was made flesh, born of a virgin, Isa
7:14; Mt 1:18-25; Phi 2:6-11, and dwelt among us, Jn 1:14. His
human body was just that – a human body, without sin. His body
was not divine. As a mere human body, it hungered and required
food, Mt 4:1-10. It thirsted and required water, Jn 4:7; 19:28.
It grew tired and required rest, Jn 4:6. It required sleep, Mk
4:38, and could bleed and die, Mt 27:4-25; Jn 19:34; 1Pe 1:18-19.
Now the body of Christ is filled with all the fullness of God, as
the forerunner for all the bodies of all the faithful covenant
people, Phi 3:7-14,21; 1Co 15:44-54; 1Pe 1:3-9; 1Jn 3:2-3.
THE INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN
"Now this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it
24 "Do you not know that
those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run
in such a way that you may obtain it.
25 "And everyone who
competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it
to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable
26 "Therefore I run
thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats
27 "But I discipline my
body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to
others, I myself should become disqualified," 1Co
We will point out just three
of the many things of great interest from this passage: Paul
labored 1) that he might be a partaker
of the Gospel, which means partaking of all the covenants
promise, 2) that others may be
partakers of the Gospel with him, 1Co 9:16-23; 2Ti 2:10, and
3) that he should not by any means
become disapproved and castaway.
Partaking of the Gospel first
means deliverance from our sinful state of being and the eternal
death and punishment that sin brings. Partaking of the Gospel
further means a new birth into the divine state of life when
Christ returns. God wants us to partake of the Gospel more
abundantly, which is done by striving to be all things to all
mankind that we may by all means save more. When Paul said
"we live IF you stand fast,"
1Th 3:8, he meant, we will be born more abundantly into God's
likeness when Christ returns if you stand fast in this
THE CROWN OF REJOICING
"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it
not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His
20 "For you are our
glory and joy," 1Th 2:19-20; Phi 4:1.
Jesus came that we might have
divine life more abundantly, Jn 10:10. The Scriptures further say
we are a sweet aroma out of life into life, 2Co 2:14-16, meaning
more abundant life, being conformed more abundantly into the
image of Christ's glorified, deified, body, Phi 3:7-14,21;
Col 2:9-10. All of this means the more disciples we make and the
more we edify them and edify one another, the greater our eternal
joy and happiness will be, and this means divine pleasure, not
mere human happiness. The more people we win, the greater
God's joy will be eternally. The more we edify one another,
the greater the joy the Godhead will have eternally.
THE CROWN OF LIFE
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has
been (trained, tested, and) approved,
he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to
those who love Him," Ja 1:12.
The word "crown" comes from "stephanos" which signifies a
victor's crown. Observe that this crown of divine life is
promised to those who love God, and the Scriptures are clear to
the end that those who love God are faithful to keep His
commandments, Jn 14:21-24; 1Jn 5:2-3; 2Jn 6,9-11. This verse, Ja
1:12, states that the crown of life will be given to those who
faithfully endure God's training and are being approved day
Hundreds of thousands of
Israelites who witnessed the great plagues in Egypt, had bowed
their heads, believed, and obeyed God by grace through faith, Ex
chapters 1 thru 14. Nevertheless, most of them died in the
wilderness because they made shipwreck of faith, 1Co 10:1-12; Heb
3:7-19. They will not be partakers of Christ in the resurrection
new birth, 1Co 15:44-54, because they did not hold fast their
faith to the end, Heb 3:14. They will not share in the
resurrection birth into the firstborn sonship of Christ, because
they did not hold fast to the words of the Gospel, 1Co
15:1-2,29-34,57-58. They will not receive the crown of divine
life, because they did not endure God's training in order to
qualify for the firstborn sonship of Christ, Heb 2:1-3; 3:1-19;
5:8-9; 6:4-8; 10:25-31; 12:1-29. They made shipwreck of the faith
they had for 215 years in Egypt, when they ate the Passover, and
when they passed through the Red Sea, Heb 11:28-29. They made
shipwreck of that faith.
THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept
8 "Finally, there is
laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only
but also to all who have loved His appearing," 2Ti
Paul was faithful. He fought
a good fight as a good soldier of the cross, he finished the race
set before all the covenant people, and kept the faith which is
the doctrine of Christ, 2Jn 9-11, therefore he has qualified for
the crown of righteousness, which is one of the divine attributes
The crown of righteousness is
promised to those who are "of
faith," Gal 3:6-9. The righteousness of justification
is the divine righteousness of God which is progressively
credited to the covenant people as they walk in the steps of the
faith of Abraham, Rom 4:12. Justification is not a once for all
act of God, but is a progressive process. We are credited with
more of God's righteousness every time we think, say, or do
anything by grace through faith, Mt 5:6; 6:33; 2Co 9:10; Phi 3:9;
Gal 5:5; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 2:22; 4:6-8.
HARVEST OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
"Now He who is suppling seed to the sower and bread for
food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase
the harvest of your righteousness," 2Co 9:10.
Credit for the increase of
every attribute of God is recorded for
every act of faith on the part of the faithful covenant people.
We will reap a greater, a more abundant harvest of God's
life, of God's righteousness, of God's glory, of
God's love, etc., all are divine attributes, for every act of
faith, so long as we continue to be faithful.
THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of
Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for
everyone who is constantly believing, for the Jew first and also
for the Greek.
17 "For in it the
righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is
written, ‘The just shall live by faith,'" Rom
Observe the following among
other significant factors:
1. The Word "Believe."
"believe" in verse 16 is
present participle and should be translated "is believing" – a progressive believing
posture for the Christian. This is holding fast to the end, the
opposite of the Hebrews, and/or us, neglecting so great a
salvation, Heb 2:3. See also Heb 3:6-19; 4:1-11; 5:8-9; 6; 11;
2. The Righteousness of Justification.
righteousness of justification is the righteousness of God, one
of God's attributes, Phi 3:9; Rom 3:21-26. To maintain the
status of justification, we must walk in the steps of the faith
of Abraham, Rom 4:12. Here again it is the "believing ones" who are justified, Rom
3. The Power of God Into Salvation that Is IN
of Christ is the power of God to, into, leading into, salvation
to everyone who is progressively believing into Christ. And this
is done only into and in the body of Christ. The believing one is
being saved into the firstborn sonship of Christ IF he is holding fast to the words of the Gospel,
the doctrine of Christ, 1Co 15:1-2; 2Jn 9-11; 1Jn 2:23-25.
4. Out of faith into faith.
of Christ is "from faith to
faith," out of faith into faith. This again requires
a progressive believing into Christ, into the deified body of
Christ, otherwise the branch is cut off out of Christ, and Christ
will profit him nothing as for as the firstborn sonship of Christ
is concerned, Jn 15:1-11; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 4:21 thru 5:4.
Positionally, we are in Christ, but this is on a proving,
training, qualifying, basis. We are "in
Christ" in this life only in a qualifying status,
where we must continue being diligent as a member of His body in
order to remain in His body, Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 4:21
thru 5:5; 2Pe 1:3-10.
5. The Just Shall Live by Faith.
Gospel of Christ "the just shall live by
faith." A justified person will live,future tense,
day by day walking in the steps of the same faith which Abraham
had, Rom 4:12. When the justified person stops walking by faith,
he will die, Jn 15:1-6; Rom 8:6,13; Gal 5:1-5. We will all die
physically, with or without faith. So this is speaking of
spiritual death from the body of Christ, as a branch that is cut
off from the vine, Jn 15, from the olive tree, Rom 11, or as
warned in Galatians, Gal 5:1-4.
Those who make shipwreck of
faith and a good conscience by aborting the doctrine of Christ
are forfeiting their justification, Eze 3:20; 18:24; 33:12-13. If
we were already born again, we could in no wise abort the new
birth. However, aborting the new birth, the firstborn sonship of
Christ, is precisely what Paul was addressing when he wrote,
"I travail in birth again until Christ
be formed in you," Gal 4:19 (4:19 thru 5:4).
Christ was born twice: once
in the virgin birth, and again in His resurrection, Col 1:18; Rev
1:5; Act 13:29-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5. No one in the Bible is
addressed as having three births: a flesh birth as a baby, a
second birth at first faith, and a third birth in the
resurrection. Metaphorically, one is born again in scriptural
water baptism, but that is not a real birth, only a figure that
is aborted when one makes shipwreck of faith, 1Ti 1:18-20, and
crucifies to himself the Son of God afresh, Heb 6:4-6.
AFFLICTIONS OF THE GOSPEL
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,
nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for
the Gospel according to the power of God,
9 "Who has saved us and
called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in
Christ Jesus before time began,
10 "But has now been
revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has
abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through
the Gospel," 2Ti 1:8-10.
We will generally associate
three things in this passage together with the Gospel of the new
birth. We have already shown that the Gospel in its briefest
expression concerns the death, burial, and resurrection birth of
Christ. Therefore it will be a resurrection birth of all the
faithful covenant people whose bodies will be changed into the
same image of Christ's body of glory when Christ returns, 1Co
15:44-54; Phi 3:21.
1. The Afflictions of the Gospel, 2Ti
tried to restrict the Gospel to the first act of faith where they
claim they got it all. Obviously, the sufferings of the Gospel
must come after that first act of faith and apply to a life of
dedicated service to the Lord. To be glorified together with
Christ, we must suffer together with Him, Rom 8:17-18. We will
see this in other passages.
2. The Holy Calling, 2Ti 1:9.
"calling" is found often in
the Scriptures, Rom 8:28-29; Eph 4:1,4; 2Pe 1:10, and is the same
as the heavenly calling which the holy brethren in the wilderness
aborted and failed God's testing and thereby failed to become
partakers of Christ's firstborn sonship, Heb 3:1-19; 5:8-9;
12:1-29; Jn 6:27-67; 1Co 9:23 thru 10:12. We must endure the
afflictions of God's covenant training in order to make our
calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:3-10. The unfaithful saved
refuse the disciplined life required by the covenants, Heb
11:25-38, and choose rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin, the
treasures of Egypt, and the plush way of life which last only for
this earthy life, Heb 11:25-26.
3. Christ "Abolished
Death and Brought Life and Immortality to Light through the
Gospel," 2Ti 1:10.
"life" is the divine life Christ received in His human
body when He became the firstborn from the dead, Col 1:18; Rev
1:5. "You are My Son. Today I have
begotten You," – Christ was born again in His
resurrection, Ps 2:7; Act 13:29-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; 1Co 15:44-50.
And this is when the faithful covenant people will all be born
again – when their bodies will be fashioned into the image of
Christ's body of glory, Phi 3:21.
THE CROWN OF GLORY
"The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow
elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a
partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
2 "Shepherd the flock of
God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion
but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
3 "Nor as being lords
over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
4 "And when the Chief
Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does
not fade away," 1Pe 5:1-4.
To receive the crown of life
is to be crowned with life in our bodies – to receive the divine
life of God in our body and spirit. To receive the crown of
righteousness is to be crowned with the attribute of God's
righteousness in our body and spirit. To receive the crown of
glory is to be crowned with the glory of God in our body and
spirit – to receive the glorified body.
The faithful covenant people
will have their bodies fashioned into the same image as
Christ's body of glory or glorified body, Phi 3:21. The
church as the body of Christ is predestined to be filled with all
the fullness of God, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10. We
cannot receive the fullness of God without receiving all the
attributes of God. And for the faithful covenant people to
receive all the fullness of deity in their bodies, means that
they become "one" with the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit are "one,"
Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal
glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect,
establish, strengthen, and settle you," 1Pe 5:10.
We must suffer together with
Christ in order to be glorified together with Christ. This
covenant discipline is an absolute covenant requirement, Heb 2:3;
3:1-19; 4:1-11; 5:8-9; 6:11-15; 10:32-29; 11:1-40; 12:1-29.
THE HOPE OF GLORY
"Because of the hope which is laid up
for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word
of the truth of the
Gospel," Col 1:5.
There is a blessed hope that
is laid up in heaven for the faithful covenant people, and this
hope is the hope of the Gospel, as we will see in the next
"And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind
by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22 "In the body of His flesh through death, to
present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His
23 "IF indeed you continue in the faith,
grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the
hope of the Gospel which you heard,
which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I,
Paul, became a minister," Col 1:21-23.
By nature we were enemies in
our minds, but now being counted as deified members of
Christ's deified body, we can qualify through covenant
disciplinary training to be blameless and above reproach in His
sight in new born deified bodies in the better resurrection, Phi
3:7-14,21; Heb 11:35; 1Co 15:1-2,44-54; 2Co 4:17 thru 5:4; et
However, this depends on our
steadfastly enduring the covenant discipline expressed here in
the words, "IF indeed you continue in the faith,
grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the
hope of the Gospel."
27 "To them God willed
to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery
among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory," Col 1:27.
that is laid up in heaven for us, Col 1:5, is "the hope of the Gospel," Col 1:23, and
is here called "the hope of
glory;" that is, a glorified, deified body, fashioned
into the exact image of Christ's body of glory – a divine and
instantaneous new birth metamorphosis when Christ returns, Phi
3:7-14,21; 1Co 15:44-54. This will be experienced only by those
who have faithfully endured the covenant discipline throughout
this current life.
This may be compared to a
gestation period during which we are also daily travailing in
birth for ourselves and for others by daily putting off the old
man and putting on the new man by the renewing of our minds. Paul
travailed in birth again for the Galatians, Gal 4:19, and since
this was a metaphor we can be sure that he continued to travail
in birth throughout his life for all the saints that he
metaphorically begat into the faith, that the image of Christ
should be constantly maintained in them and that they should
qualify to be born into the image of Christ in the resurrection
when Christ returns.
IN CHRIST JESUS WITH AIONION GLORY
"Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was
raised from the dead according to my
9 "For which I suffer
trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word
of God is not chained.
10 "Therefore I endure
all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain
the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with
11 "This is a faithful
saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.
12 "If we endure, We
shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny
13 "If we are faithless,
He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself," 2Ti
Observe the following points
of emphasis from this passage and general context:
1. Not of Man.
Gospel was and is the Gospel of Christ, 2Ti 2:8; Rom 2:16; 16:25.
Paul by inspiration said his Gospel was not of man, but that he
received it directly from Christ, Gal 1:11-12.
2. Covenant Discipline.
requires covenant discipline, 2Ti 2:3-13. The Gospel requires
that we endure covenant disciplinary training throughout our
earthly life. Christ had to learn obedience through the things He
suffered and so must the covenant people, Heb 5:8-9;
3. Salvation Which Is IN Christ Jesus.
which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory, 2Ti 2:10. This is
not initial salvation from hell, but a covenant salvation which
is in the body of Christ, which offers divine glory, and which
the covenant people must endure a lifetime of afflictions to
qualify for it.
4. Must Die in Order to Live.
We must die
together with Christ in order to live together with Him, 2Ti
2:11. John baptized people in preparation for Christ. Jesus
received John's baptism, organized His church with John's
baptism, and from that time we baptize people into the church.
Since the church is metaphorically the human, now deified, body
of Christ, we baptize people into Christ, into the body of
Christ, Rom 6:3-6; 1Co 12:13; Gal 3:27.
Therefore, generically and
metaphorically, we baptize them into the crucified, dead, buried,
raised, and deified body of Christ. Based on the metaphor, we
must daily bear about in our bodies the dying and resurrection
life of Christ, 2Co 4:7-12,17. Paul said, "I die daily," 1Co 15:31. We die daily
by presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable
to God, which is done by not being conformed to the world but
being transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove
what is the good, perfect, and acceptable will of God, and
thereby being transformed into the image of Christ from glory to
glory, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:17-18; 4:7-12, 17-18.
5. Must Endure All Things.
strive to endure all things, all the covenant discipline, or
Christ will deny us that divine glory, 2Ti 2:10-12. The glory of
God is one of the divine attributes of God, which is offered
through covenant promise to the faithful covenant people. The
covenant disciplinary training includes all the problems of life.
Everything that happens to us is permitted by God as a part of
our covenant training. God is testing us, and we are graded by
the Lord on how we handle everything that happens to us
throughout each day, Ecc 13:13-14; Mt 12:36; Lk 12:2-3; 2Co
We confess Christ by
everything we think, say, and do that is according to His Word,
and we deny Christ by everything we think, say, or do that is
contrary to God's Word, Mt 10:32-33; Lk 12:8-9. We are to
love God with all our heart, life, mind, and strength, Deu 6:5;
Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27, and everything other than this is
denying the Lord, is opposed to the Gospel, and will bear witness
against our receiving the new birth in the resurrection.
6. God Is Faithful.
faithful to His Word, to His oath, 2Ti 2:13; Heb 3:11; 6:16-18.
God is faithful. He cannot do contrary or less than what He has
sworn to do. God has sworn that He will deny those who deny Him.
In the context of 2Ti 2, this applies to the covenant people who
are unfaithful to the extent they are disapproved in the covenant
training requirements, and therefore will not be fashioned into
the image of Christ's body of glory. The glory belongs to
Israel, Rom 9:4; Isa 46:13; 48:9-12, but the unfaithful are cut
off out of Israel, Rom 11:11-22.
CALLED AND GLORIFIED
"And we know that all things work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are the
called according to His purpose.
29 "For whom He
foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His
Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 "Moreover whom He
predestined, these He also called; whom He
called, these He also justified; and whom He justified,
these He also glorified,"
This is a choice
predestination passage, and to properly understand
predestination, we must understand that God predestined the
covenant people to be faithful by grace through faith in order to
qualify for the firstborn sonship with its glorified, deified,
state of being.
MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE
"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to
your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
6 "To knowledge
self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance
7 "To godliness
brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
8 "For if these things
are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 "For he who lacks
these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has
forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 "Therefore, brethren,
be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if
you do these things you will never stumble," 2Pe
God predestined that the unfaithful, as in verse 9,
will fall and fail to make their calling and election sure. True
believers in a true church stand within the calling and election,
but those who are unfaithful will fail to make that calling and
election sure. We are very foolish to argue against this explicit
and inspired fact. Our theology must be corrected: those saved
people outside the body of Christ are not within the calling and
election of God, and the unfaithful within the body of Christ
will be cut off out of that firstborn sonship. This passage, 2Pe
1:1-10, along with Jn 15:1-6; Rom 5:3-6; Gal 4:19 thru 5:5; Heb
3; 4; 6; 10:25-31; etc., require this understanding.
THE POSITIONAL RECKONING
"(As it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many
nations') in the presence of Him whom he believed – God, who
is giving life to the dead and is calling things which do not
exist as though they did," Rom 4:17.
What things are these that do
not exist which God speaks of as existing? They are shrouded in
metaphors, parables, allegories, and other figures of speech. The
metaphor is predominate. And here we address them in the context
of a positional reckoning. This is a covenant position, currently
within the New Covenant. It is a special national position, as
having been grafted into the Israel of God. It is a body of
Christ position in a true local church: the church being called
the deified body of Christ.
The church is not really the
body of Christ; however, metaphorically, the church is frequently
called the body of Christ in the New Testament, Rom 12:4-5; 1Co
6:15-17; 10:16-17; 11:18-29; 12:12-27; 2Co 6:16; Eph 1:22-23;
2:10-22; 3:6; 4:11-16; 5:22-31; Col 1:18,25; et al. The church is
addressed as being the human or physical body of Christ that was
crucified, died, was buried, and raised in a divine state of
being, called the new birth, Rom 6:3-6; 1Co 5:7; 10:16-18; 2Co
5:14-17; Eph 2:10-22; 5:22-32. Christ thereby became the
firstborn from the dead, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; et al,
and the bodies of the church members are therefore addressed as
the deified, glorified, members of the deified body of
When one is properly
baptized, he is metaphorically joined to the crucified, dead,
buried, and divinely born from the dead body of Christ. As long
as one is properly in a true church he is counted as being
crucified together with Christ, dead together with Christ, buried
together with Christ, and born again from the dead into a divine
body together with Christ. It is on the basis of this glorified,
deified, body of Christ, covenant, position in which we stand in
the church, that we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The
church could not receive the Holy Spirit in this special
covenant, body of Christ, position until Christ's body was
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made
me free from the law of sin and death," Rom 8:2. We
are only counted as being dead to the law of sin and death. We
are free from the Law Covenant, but the law of sin and death is
still working in ourbodies.
"And if Christ is in you (if the Holy Spirit is in
you), the body is dead because of sin
(the sin nature), but the Spirit is life
because of righteousness." Rom 8:10. Our bodies are
still dead to God because of the Adamic sin nature; however, our
bodies are credited as being deified members of the deified body
of Christ. The Holy Spirit could not be given to the church
before Christ's body was glorified, deified, Jn 7:39. After
the human body of Christ was born again into a divine state in
His resurrection, His body therefore being deified, the
firstfruits of the Spirit could be given to the church, Gal
4:4-6; Rom 8:23.
We must observe the harmony:
the Holy Spirit dwells at home in those who have deified bodies.
Being glorified means to be born again into a deified, spirit,
heavenly body, 1Co 15;44-50; 6:15-17; 2Co 5:14-17; Phi 3:7-14, 21.
Christ's body was a mere human body until that human body was
born of God and became the firstborn from the dead in His
resurrection, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5.
Christ's body was sinless
and His body was "counted,"
Mt 3:15; Rom 4:17; 6:2-6, as being deified, glorified, when He
was baptized by John. On this basis He was given the Holy Spirit
to officially perform His personal ministry as High Priest of the
New Covenant. His body was still not deified, glorified, because
a part of His ministry was to be made our old man, be made sin,
2Co 5:21; 1Pe 2:24, suffer God's wrath against sin, and die
in order to destroy the old man. Therefore the church, as the
body of Christ, could not receive the Holy Spirit until Christ
had finished the crucifixion cycle through His resurrection and
had thereby created the new divine man.
This new deified, glorified,
man could not exist until Christ had performed His personal
ministry and had in reality passed through the crucifixion cycle.
The church could then also receive the Holy Spirit, which means
their bodies were "counted"
as deified, as the body of Christ was now deified, Jn 7:39; Rom
4:17; 6:2-13. The Holy Spirit was given as the "earnest," the guarantee, to the
covenant people, 2Co 5:1-5, that as they by grace through faith
yielded themselves to the Spirit, the Spirit would continue to
energize them and qualify them for the new birth image of Christ
in the resurrection, 2Co 3:18; 4:7 thru 5:17.
"And if the Spirit of Christ be in you, though the body is
dead because of the Adamic sin nature, the Spirit guarantees
divine life (glorification, deification) because of the divine righteousness of justification or
deification," as in Act 13:39.
"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the
dead (into a divine body) is dwelling
in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give
(resurrection new birth) life to your mortal
bodies through His Spirit who is dwelling in you."
Rom 8:10-11; 2Co 5:4-5; Eph 1:13-14; Phi 3:11,21.
"For if you are living according to the flesh you are about
to die (from the body of Christ); but
if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body,
you will live" (in divine life in the resurrection
new birth), Rom 8:13.
"Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting
for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
24 "For we were saved in
this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one
still hope for what he sees?
25 "But if we hope for
what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with
perseverance," Rom 8:23-25.
The context from verse 17
through 25 is dealing directly with the glorification,
deification, of the faithful saints. We must suffer together with
Christ in order to be glorified together with Christ. We must be
eagerly waiting for the resurrection birth into the deified image
of Christ in order to qualify for that resurrection birth when
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GROANING FOR US
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do
not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit
Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be
27 "Now He who searches
the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes
intercession for the saints according to the will of
God," Rom 8:26-27.
The Holy Spirit is jealous
over us with a holy jealousy, and grieves greatly over our
worldliness and unwillingness to yield to His leading through the
Word, Ja 4:4-5; Eph 4:30. The Spirit is obviously infinite as the
Father and the Son are infinite, but They all can be touched
emotionally by our situation, feelings, and actions. They have
love, compassion, and patience with us beyond our understanding,
and these verses express emotions beyond human words, indicating
Their desire for us to overcome and share a oneness, a divine
oneness, with Them, Jn 10:30-35; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for
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'?
10 "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 dwells in Me does 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.
"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
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 17:21-23.
This infinite oneness between
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is a blessedness beyond
human comprehension. The divine Trinity desires to share that
oneness with a vast host of firstborn covenant saints. They
desire that we aspire to share that oneness with all our heart,
life, mind, and strength.
God is working all things
together for our good that we may learn obedience through the
many afflictions of life, Heb 5;8-9; 11; 12. However, God is not
working all things together for good for the unfaithful saved.
There is a cut off point where God cuts the unfaithful saved off
and there is no return, Heb 3:11; 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 12:15-17.
Justice and mercy meet
together above this cut off point, but below the cut off,
God's justice forbids further mercy toward the firstborn
sonship. God's foreknowledge and justice require their
preparation for destruction, perishing, from God's calling
and election, Rom 9:22-23; 2Pe 1:5-10.
God "predestined" that saved people in the
covenant position, who reject the grace extended to them for
repentance and faithful service, be cut off from the election,
Rom 11:11-22; 2Pe 1:3-10. However, those who by God's grace
accept His grace, He has predestined for glory. These are
"the called according to His
purpose," Rom 8:28.
"Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He
called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He
also glorified" (deified), Rom 8:30.
QUESTIONS AND WORK TASKS FOR CHAPTER FIVE
1. Define the
expression "from death to
death," 2Co 2:14-16; Rom 7:7-25; 8:6,13; Jn
2. Define the expression "from life to life," 2Co 2:15-16; Jn
10:10; 2Th 3:8; 2Co 4:7-12,17; Mt 6:20-21.
3. Describe the nature of the crowns
in the Bible. What is the application of the crowns (what do they
represent)? See page 62.
4. The unfaithful saved will not
receive the incorruptible crown, but will be raised in bodies
that are still corrupt. Explain 1Co 9:23-27; 2Pe 1:4; Lk
12:46-48; Col 1:21-23.
5. Paul wrote to the churches of
Philippi and Thessalonica and said, "You
are our crown of rejoicing," Phi 4:1; 1Th 2:19-20.
How do we win these crowns, specifically the crown of rejoicing,
but also with all the crowns?
6. Christ abolished death and brought
divine life and immortality to light, 2Ti 1:9-10; 1Co
15:1-4,44-54. Delineate how this requires the new birth when
7. Delineate in detail the positional
reckoning, Rom 4:17; 6:2-6; Gal 5:20.
8. Describe the ministry, the earnest,
and the groanings of the Holy Spirit, 2Co 5:1-5; Rom 8:26-27
(23-30); Ja 4:4-5; 2Co 11:2-3; Eph 5:22-32.