Firstborn Sonship of Christ
Vol 25 No 6
The New Birth
Series Number: 19
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST
This article will address the heart of the Gospel of Christ, the heart of 1Co 15, and the blessed hope of all the saints, which hope is the resurrection birth of the overcomers who qualify for the firstborn sonship of Christ. This birth of the faithful covenant people will be a birth into the resurrection likeness of the divine resurrection birth of Christ, Phi 3:21; 1Co 15:44-54.
BRETHREN I DECLARE TO YOU THE GOSPEL
1 "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand," 1Co 15:1.
This chapter (1Co 15) is not only the resurrection chapter of the Bible, it is also the Gospel chapter of the Bible. It does not give all of the details of the Gospel, but introduces and emphasizes the heart and divine essence of the Gospel as follows:
1. The Gospel Provides for the Salvation of Many Nations of Servant Sons.
21 "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive," 1Co 15:21-22; 1Jn 2:2; Jn 3:16; Rev 21:23-26; 22:1-2; Gal 4:21-31; 5:1-4; Heb 12:8.
From here we reflect back to God's initial purpose in the creation of all things.
22 "What if God, willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23 "And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory," Rom 9:21-23. See also Act 2:23; Eph 1:4-5,11; 1Pe 1:18-20.
God was willing to demonstrate the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy and His wrath on the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. God had already prepared wrath to demonstrate His power and justice upon fallen angels before He created them. And before He created man, God had already prepared wrath to reveal His power and justice upon the unsaved (and the unfaithful saved) with whom He was and is very longsuffering.
Likewise, God had purposed beforehand to demonstrate His mercy upon the vessels of mercy, whom He had prepared for glory as firstborn sons together with Christ. Christ was as a Lamb slain before and from the foundation of the world, and the names of the saints were already written in the book of life, Act 2:23; Eph 1:4-5l 1Pe 1:18-20; Rev 13:8; et al.
Attention will be called again and again to the very important allegory of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac (Gal 4:19-31), and the immediate and profound application of the allegory, Gal 5:4. See also Heb 12. We must not disregard the allegory and its direct application to the churches of Galatia, which, in turn, require its application to all the Lord's churches everywhere throughout the church age. We hope to give extensive coverage of the nations and the unfaithful saved in a later continued study on Gehenna.
2. The Gospel Provides for the Salvation of the Material Universe.
17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved," Jn 3:17.
19 "For the earnest expectation of the creation is eagerly waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
21 "Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
22 "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now," Rom 8:19-22; Mt 19:28.
A curse was placed upon the earth and on the material universe when Adam sinned, Gen 3:17-19. The creation is personified here as eagerly waiting for the liberty of the glory of the firstborn sons of God. The birthright of the firstborn provided for not only "the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth" (Gen 27:27-28), but also for the inheritance and rulership over all creation, including the angels, Heb 1:2,14; 2:5-13; Rom 4:13; 8:17,32; 1Co 3:21-23. Adam had this promised to him, without the curse, before he sinned (Gen 1:26-30), which promise obviously would have been realized via eating the fruit of the tree of life, Gen 2.
The Gospel provides for the faithful covenant people to share Christ's firstborn sonship and to inherit all things together with Him, Rom 4:13; 8:17,32; 1Co 3:21-23. The most important part of that inheritance, infinitely so, is the fullness of God; that is, all the attributes of the divine nature, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
3. The Gospel Requires the Firstborn Sons to Hold Fast to the End in Order to Qualify for the Firstborn Sonship.
1 "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
2 "By which also you are being saved, IF you are holding fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain.
3 "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 "And that He was buried,and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures," 1Co 15:1-4.
The briefest statement of the Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; which, however, requires the whole Bible to provide the whys and wherefores concerning the virgin birth, sinless life, personal ministry, death, burial, and resurrection birth of Christ. This chapter (1Co 15) deals primarily with three major factors within the Gospel: a) the fact of the resurrection of Christ and of all mankind, b) the requirement of holding fast to the end to qualify for the firstborn sonship, and c) the specific divine nature of the new birth resurrection of Christ.
The first half of the chapter (1Cor 15) concerns the fact and necessity of the resurrection of Christ, and that there will be a resurrection of all mankind in the future.
YOU ARE BEING SAVED, IF YOU ARE HOLDING FAST
1 "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you have stood,
2 "By which (Gospel) also you are being saved, IF you are holding fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain," 1Co 15:1-2.
These words were written to the church in Corinth – to saved and properly baptized church members. For the past few centuries we have heard the security of the believer preached in such a way that the saved person has no need whatever for working out his salvation with fear and trembling. Conversely, Paul boldly states that the Gospel (the salvation of this chapter, 1Co 15) is a lifetime process of holding fast by grace through faith, 1Co 15:10. This Gospel salvation is a divine birth of this flesh body into a divine spirit body (1Co 15:44-54), which divine birth is for the faithful covenant people only.
Paul pleaded with the Corinthians and firmly warned them that they must continue holding fast to the doctrine of Christ (the Gospel, specifically, the resurrection in this case,/ 1Co 15:1-2. See also 2Jn 9-11).
UNLESS YOU HAVE BELIEVED IN VAIN
1 "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
2 "By which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain," 1Co 15:2.
11 "Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed," 1Co 15:11.
Verse 1 says the Corinthians had received the Gospel and had stood fast in the Gospel. And verse 11 says the Corinthians had believed. Paul had initially preached to them, they had believed, were properly baptized, and had stood fast in the Gospel. However, if they should make shipwreck of faith (1Ti 1:18-20), then their believing and standing fast in the Lord so far would be in vain. All their "by grace through faith" righteous works would be wiped out and would not be remembered before God, Eze 3:20; 18:24; 33:12-13.
BAPTIZED FOR THE DEAD
29 "Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?
30 "And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?
31 "I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
"If, 32 in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!'
33 "Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'
"34 "Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame," 1Co 15:29-34.
We state very frankly in the beginning that one's faithfulness is determined by His own faith works while he is alive in this life. Our prayers, our sacrificial service, our example, and our working on behalf of someone else will be used by the Holy Spirit to convict and/or inspire others only as long as they are alive. Once they die, their destiny is settled, and there is nothing we can do to help them. Only while they still live, our prayers, example, etc., will be used by the Holy Spirit to aid them toward repentance, faithful service and greater faithfulness. Furthermore, no prayers or efforts by those who are already dead will help those who are still alive, Lk 16:19-31. Our destiny and eternal state of being is determined by what we do in this life only.
Therefore, this whole context (1Co 15) goes together with baptizing for the dead, and obviously has its application to the new birth resurrection of our bodies into a divine state of being when Christ returns; that is, if we are indeed faithful within the Gospel in this life. Standing in jeopardy every hour, dying daily to our old man, fighting a good fight of faith, evil company corrupts good habits, awake to right-eousness and do not sin, some do not have proper knowledge of the Gospel – these expressions, of course, must be associated with being "baptized for the dead."
The expression "all in all" (1Co 15:28) appears to be the immediate cause for the "baptized for the dead" context that follows, 1Co 15:29-34. Observe that the expressions, "all in all," "the firstborn from the dead," "the fullness of God," and "the fullness of deity" are associated with the head or authority over all of God's creation (Eph 1:20-23; Col 1:15-19; 2:9-10; Rev 1:5), as we see in the previous verses of 1Co 15:24-28.
The heart of 1Co 15 is both the resurrection birth of Christ and our standing fast in the Gospel in order to qualify for the resurrection birth into the likeness of Christ's deified human body, 1Co 15; Phi 3:7-14,21; 2Co 3:17-18; 4:7-12,17; Col 2:9 thru 3:10. We will continue to show that this is the theme of 1Co 15 and of the Gospel. The resurrection birth of Christ's human body is the grand finale of all the sacred Scriptures – this is the Gospel of the Son of God, who is still also the Son of Man, Dan 7:13-14; Mt 16:27-28; 19:28; 26:64; Mk 14:62; et al.
This should aid to introduce the subject of baptism which symbolically and metaphorically puts the believer into the church, into the body of Christ, into the crucified, dead, buried, and raised into a deified (divine) state of being, Rom 6:2-13; 1Co 12:12-13; Gal 3:27; Col 2:9-21; 3:1-10. This puts the faithful covenant people into the position of qualifying for the firstborn sonship to rule all of God's creation jointly with Christ. This is all a part of the Gospel.
The Gospel begins with God's righteous will and desire to demonstrate His holy state of being; His knowledge, power, presence, and infinite diversity; His immeasurable love, compassion, mercy, and forbearance; His justice, judgment, and unchangeable faithfulness, Rom 9:18-23; 11:28-36.
So God placed a garden in Eden and gave Adam a choice to obey or disobey. God also gave Satan authority to tempt Adam through his beautiful wife, and Adam sinned by choosing his wife above God's word. Eve was deceived, but Adam was well aware of what he was doing, 1Ti 2:14. God knew this would happen and had already prepared a Lamb slain from and before the foundation of the world, 1Pe 1:18-20; Eph 1:4-5. God arranged this that He may demonstrate His divine attributes of love, compassion, mercy, justice, etc., in giving His Son (Jn 1:1-3,14,18; 3:16-17; 1Jn 4:9), and in preparing a special people who, by His grace, choose to suffer with Christ, Rom 8:17; 2Co 4:7-12,17; Phi 3:7-14,21. Suffering with Christ, in turn, is in order to be conformed to the divine image of Christ and thereby be able to show forth God's praises, His divine attributes, (Isa 43:21; 1Pe 2:9) in all the ages to come. God's "praises" refer primarily to His attributes of deity.
THE FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD
44 "It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 "And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
47 "The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
48 "As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
49 "And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption," 1Co 15:44-50. See also Col 1:15,18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5.
Christ received a mere flesh body from Mary through the virgin birth. Christ's flesh body could become hungry and thirsty, become tired and weak, required rest and sleep, could bleed, be made sin, and die. The life of that body was in the blood, as in all the descendants of the first Adam. However, the Scriptures say there are two bodies: a natural or mere flesh body and a spiritual or divine spirit body. In His resurrection, Christ became the second Adam by creating the new spirit, divine, heavenly body. The life of the new body is in the divine nature (divine life) of God, so that Christ now possesses a body that is both human and divine: it is still a flesh and bone body (Lk 24:39), but it is predominantly a divine, heavenly, spirit body, governed entirely by the divine nature, Col 2:9.
This instant metamorphosis change from a mere human body into a divine body with all the divine attributes of deity in it (Col 2:9) was precisely a divine birth of Christ's human body into a new divine spirit body, Jn 3:1-8; 1Co 15:44-50; 1Pe 1:3-5; et al. This new birth is symbolized in the ordinance of proper water baptism (Jn 3:5; 13:8-10; 1Co 6:11; Eph 5:26; Titus 3:5; Heb 10:22).
It is on the basis of this metaphor, by which the church is called the deified (glorified) body of Christ, that the church received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Jn 7:39; Gal 4:1-7; Rom 8:23. Observe first in Rom 8:23 that "adoption" is called "redemption of the body". Observe also in these passages (Jn 7:39; Gal 4:4-5; Rom 8:23) that the church (the disciples) could not receive the Holy Spirit until Christ was "glorified." After Christ's body was glorified, the church (therefore the members of the church) could and did receive the Spirit because the bodies of the church members were then and are now counted as crucified, dead, buried, and raised in glory (defied) together with and as members of the deified body of Christ. The church therefore being counted as the glorified body of Christ, could receive the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is true because the Holy Spirit dwells only with deity, only in those who are deified – analyze the three passages carefully.
THE RESURRECTION BIRTH OF THE SAINTS
51 "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 "So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory,'" 1Co 15:51-54.
21 "Who will 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.
The flesh, human body of Christ was born again when it was raised out of the grave. This is a fact established by the Scriptures, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5. This birth was accomplished by Christ's human, flesh body being thoroughly imbued with the fullness of deity, the full essence of the divine nature, in His resurrection, 1Co 15:44-50; Col 2:9. When Christ returns, the bodies of all the faithful covenant people will undergo a metamorphosis from a mere human flesh body into a body fashioned into the same fullness of deity that Christ's human (now divine) body possesses, Phi 3:7-14,20-21; Col 2:9 thru 3:10; 2Co 3:18; 4:7-12,17; 5:1-5,16-17; Eph 2:10-16; 4:22-24; 1:22-24; 3:19; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
The bodies of all the faithful covenant people will undergo the same divine metamorphosis in the resurrection that Christ's body underwent in His resurrection. God is able to change our vile bodies into the same divine image of glory that Christ's body now possesses, Phi 3:21. Paul counted all things as loss by grace through faith in order to gain Christ and be found in His likeness in the better resurrection, Phi 3:7-14,21.
35 "Women received their dead raised to life again: and others (men and women) were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection," Heb 11:35.
CONSTANT VICTORY ONLY TO THOSE WHO HOLD FAST
57 "But thanks be to God, who is constantly giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord," 1Co 15:57-58.
God is constantly giving us the victory as we are holding fast to the words of the Gospel.
The Scriptures inform us over and over dozens of times that we are in a training status. God through His Word (through the covenants) is meticulously training us every moment of the day in everything that happens to us. The training is to qualify us for the firstborn sonship of Christ, that we may inherit all creation, even the fullness of God, jointly with Christ.
This inheritance is the birthright of Christ who is the firstborn of God from the dead. The resurrection birth of Christ is the heart of the Gospel. The resurrection birth of the faithful covenant people when Christ returns is also the heart of the Gospel. That the angels, in all their glory and power, will be ministers of those who inherit this resurrection new birth salvation, is a part of the Gospel good news for God's glory and for the faithful covenant people. The redemption of the world and many nations of servant sons, who will not possess the divine nature, is also a part of the Gospel of Christ.
FROM DEATH TO DEATH
15 "For we are being 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 (out of death into death), and to the other the aroma of life leading to life (out of life into life). And who is sufficient for these things?" 2Co 2:15-16.
The faithful covenant people are constantly being a sweet fragrance of Christ to God – among those who are being saved and also among those who are perishing. It is also inevitable that we are constantly being an influence that has eternal consequences on everyone around us, as for distance as well as for the time factor. It is likewise true that those around us with whom we associate, and 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 we cannot escape the fact.
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." 2Co 5:10. 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. Yet another matter is who had the 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 as far as the firstborn sonship is concerned. This person will still be saved, so as by fire, 1Co 3:15. Such sons will become servant sons, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-4; Rom 11:11-22; Heb 12:1-17; et al.
FROM LIFE TO LIFE
"Out of life into life" indicates out of a lesser degree of life into a greater of 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
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, because 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 who 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 CROWN OF LIFE
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 very 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.
THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
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.
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
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. This is holding fast to the end, the opposite of neglecting so great a salvation, Heb 2:3. See also Heb 3:6-19; 4:1-11; 5:8-9; 6; 11; 12.
2. Justification is Progressive
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. Holding Fast by Grace Through Faith
The Gospel of Christ is the power of God to (into, leading to) salvation to everyone who is believing. The believing one is being saved 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. From Faith to 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, Jn 15:1-11; Rom 11:11-22.
5. Within the Gospel of Christ "the just shall live by faith."
A justified person will live (future tense) day by day and in the judgment by 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, Rom 8:6,13. 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 Paul warned the 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
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.
We will primarily 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."
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.
THE CROWN OF GLORY
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 bodies. To receive the crown of righteousness is to be crowned with the attribute of God's righteousness in our bodies. To receive the crown of glory is to be crowned with the glory of God in our bodies – 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.
THE HOPE OF GLORY
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 is 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.
The "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 began into the faith, that the image of Christ should be constantly maintained in them and that they should qualify and factually be born into the image of Christ in the resurrection when Christ returns.
IN CHRIST JESUS WITH AIONION GLORY
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. 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. 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 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 this salvation.
4. 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. Strive to 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 remains faithful to His Word, 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
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.
We will emphasize some of the major relationships in the passage and general context.
1. The covenant people must be faithful to receive God's divine life.
"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 our bodies.
"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 (Jn 7:39). After the body of Christ was born of God in His resurrection (His body therefore deified – glorified), the firstfruits of the Spirit could be given, 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 being deified, and Christ's body was a mere human body until His 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.
2. Church Could Not Receive the Holy Spirit Until Christ was Glorified, Jn 7:39.
Christ's body was sinless and His body was counted as being deified (glorified) when He was baptized by John. And 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 because a part of His ministry was to be made our old man, suffer God's wrath, 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 really finished the crucifixion cycle through the resurrection and had thereby created the new divine man.
This new deified man could not exist until Christ had performed His personal ministry and passed through the crucifixion cycle. The church could then receive the Holy Spirit, which means their bodies were reckoned as deified. 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, as He did for Christ.
3. The Old Man Must Die for the New Divine Man to Live.
We will give a slightly amplified translation of Rom 8:10,11,13 as follows:
"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 righteousness of justification"(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 8:11; 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.
Only those who put the old man to death day by day will experience the new birth when Christ returns. The old man must be daily put to death in this life.
4. The Adoption, Redemption or Deification of Our Human Body.
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.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GROANING FOR US
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. 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.
We will no doubt all agree that 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 great host of firstborn covenant saints. They desire that we aspire to share that oneness with all our heart, life, mind and strength.
They are working all things together for our good that we may learn obedience through the many afflictions of life, Heb 5;8-9; 11; 12. God is not working all things together for good for all the unfaithful saved. There is a cut off point where God cuts them off and there is no return, Heb 3:11; 6:4-6; 0:26-31; 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 the calling and election, Rom 9:22-23; 2Pe 1:5-10.
God predestined that those who reject the grace extended to them, He will prepare for destruction. However, those who by God's grace accept His grace, He has predestined for glory. These are "the called."
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.