Firstborn Sonship of Christ



      14 "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 every place.
      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.


      The 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:
      14 "For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil," Ecc. 12:14.
      10 "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 11:20-24; 12:41-42.
      "Out 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 al.


      "Out 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.


      10 "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.
      8 "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.


      8 "Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward," 2Jn 8.
      11 "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 God.
      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.


      23 "Now this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
      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 crown.
      26 "Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
      27 "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified,"
1Co 9:23-27.
      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 life.


      19 "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 coming?
      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.


      12 "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 by 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.


      7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
      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 4:7-8.
      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 of God.
      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.


      10 "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.


      16 "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 1:16-17.
      Observe the following among other significant factors:

1. The Word "Believe."

      The word "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; 12.

2. The Righteousness of Justification.

      The 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 4:11-25.

3. The Power of God Into Salvation that Is IN Christ.

      The Gospel 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.

      The Gospel 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.

      Within the 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.


      8 "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 1:8.

      Some have 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.

      The holy "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.

      This "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.


      1 "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.
      10 "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.


      5 "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 passage.
      21 "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 sight,
      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 al.
      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.
"hope" 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.


      8 "Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my Gospel,
      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 eternal glory.
      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 us.
      13 "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself,"
2Ti 2:9-13.
      Observe the following points of emphasis from this passage and general context:

1. Not of Man.

      Paul's 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.

      The Gospel 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; 12:1-29.

3. Salvation Which Is IN Christ Jesus.

      Salvation 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.

      We must 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 5:10.
      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.

      God remains 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.


      28 "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,"
Rom 8:28-30.
      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.


      5 "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 godliness,
      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 1:5-10.
      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.


      17 "(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 Christ.
      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 glorified, deified.
      2 "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.
      8 "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.
      10 "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.
      11 "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.
      13 "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.
      23 "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 Christ returns.


      26 "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 uttered.
      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.
      8 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'?
      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.
      21 "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 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.
      30 "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.


1. Define the expression "from death to death," 2Co 2:14-16; Rom 7:7-25; 8:6,13; Jn 15:1-6.

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 Christ returns.

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.