Firstborn Sonship of Christ
JESUS CHRIST - BORN AGAIN?
Christ was born as a human in the virgin birth. That was His first birth. However, the Scriptures also say that Christ was and is the "Firstborn from the dead:"
18 "And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the FIRSTBORN from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence," Col 1:18.
5 "And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful Witness, and the FIRST BEGOTTEN of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood," Rev 1:5.
Jesus was born out from among the dead. This is another birth, different from His virgin birth. It was His human body born into a divine body when it was raised out of the grave.
29 "Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
30 "But God raised Him from the dead:
31 "And He was seen many days of them which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
32 "And we declare to you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made to the fathers,
33 "God hath fulfilled the same to us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten You," Act 13:29-33.
The Jewish religious leaders and the Jewish people in Jesus' day had strong convictions about their traditional interpretations of the Old Testament Scriptures. And Satan had been quite successful in causing them to add to and diminish from the Scriptures, thereby twisting them to the extent of making the Scriptures void, Mt 15:1-9; Mk 7:1-13; et al.
It was God's covenant people who made the Scriptures void. We know this, but do not consider that the same thing has happened to God's covenant people since the Reformation, and is still happening. We cannot see that much of our cardinal doctrines have been purchased from the Protestants to the near demise of the Gospel of Christ, and the eternal destruction of many from the body and bride of Christ.
5 "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you -- unless indeed you are failing the test," 2Co 13:5. This failing the test is why Paul so excruciatingly disciplined his body lest he be disapproved and fail in God's disciplinary covenant training. May each reader, therefore, honestly seek to discern precisely what is at stake in the Christian life and what these scriptures are all about.
GOD BEFORE CREATION
1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was GOD.
2 "The same was in the beginning with God.
3 "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made," Jn 1:1-3.
5 "And now, O Father, glorify Me with Your own self with the glory which I had with You before the world was," Jn 17:5.
Christ was in the beginning with God and was fully divine possessing all the attributes of God before creation.
WORD MADE FLESH
14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth," Jn 1:14.
6 "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 "But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men," Phi 2:6-7.
All things were created by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the Son became flesh and dwelt among men. This was not an end within itself, but was the first major step toward a grand and glorious objective. This objective, in turn, was and is obviously a prelude to an ever continuing series of "ages of ages" in which the divine attributes of God will be manifest on an infinitely ascending and varied scale, Isa 43:21; 1Pe 2:9.
The Son of God becoming flesh was an inexpressibly humiliating step downward to the lowest state of existence among God's intelligent and eternal creatures -- indeed, condescending to the death of the cross is beyond our grasp. In this way God was and is demonstrating His divine attributes, beginning with His love, compassion, patience, mercy, goodness, justice, righteousness, glory, omnipotence, omniscience, etc. This grand redemption plan of God will be demonstrated from the Scriptures as we proceed.
FIRSTBORN OF EVERY CREATURE
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN of every creature," Col 1:15.
The word "Firstborn" signifies a birth and also preeminence of birth -- preeminence above all creation, for instance. "Firstborn son" speaks of preeminence above other sons primarily (in the Scriptures) in state of being but also in all other matters, Gen 49:3. This greatly neglected and eminent Bible doctrine is strongly emphasized in the scripture context just quoted, Col 1:15-19.
FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD
18 "And He is the Head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.
19 "For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell," Col 1:18-19.
In this passage "All fullness" includes all the divine attributes of God which were promised first to Christ (as quoted above) and then only to the faithful covenant people, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23; et al.
Here we have "firstborn" explicitly and inseparably joined to resurrection. Christ's human body was literally born of God in His resurrection. Keep in mind, this is what the Word of God says. Christ was, is, and always will be God's FIRSTBORN out from among the dead. And all of God's faithful covenant people are predestined to share this unique firstborn sonship with Christ, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23; Ex 4:22-23; Heb 12:1-23; 2:9-13; 5:8-9; Ja 1:18; Rev 14:1-5; et al.
Resurrection is a birth. Otherwise, how could Christ be born from the dead? How can we say it more explicitly than that Christ is the "firstborn from the dead ones?"
5 "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the Firstborn of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood," Rev 1:5.
Here is a second witness that Christ's resurrection was a birth. Who are we to deny the Word of God? Again, can we possibly find a way to deny this repeated statement in the Scriptures that Christ was born out from among the dead in His resurrection, and thereby became the Firstborn from the dead? Observe the harmony throughout the Scriptures, including extensive coverage from the Old Testament.
RESURRECTION IS A BIRTH
"Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
30 "But God raised Him from the dead:
31 "And He was seen many days of them which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses unto the people.
32 "And we declare to you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
33 "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, "˜Thou are My Son, THIS DAY have I begotten Thee,'" Act 13:30-33.
The resurrection of Christ was a birth. We have already shown that Christ was God (as God is God) before creation. He was then born into a human body by the virgin birth. He was not born into a divine body, but into a human body in His virgin birth. That body could hunger, thirst, get tired, sleep, bleed, be made sin (2 Cor 5:21), and die.
Such things cannot happen to God. God cannot be tempted (Ja 1:13), but God in a human body could be tempted and was tempted (Mt 4:1-11). Christ as God in the flesh until His resurrection was constantly being tempted in all points as we are, Heb 4:15; 2:16-18.
Who will deny that Jesus in His virgin birth was born into a human body? Who will say that a divine body can hunger, thirst, get tired, sleep, bleed, die, decay, and turn to dust? Rev 7:16; 21:4. Of course, the human body of Christ was given a birth into a divine body before it saw corruption. Is all this "make believe," or did these things really happen? Did God (the Word) really become human flesh? Jn 1:14.
JESUS BECAME OUR "OLD MAN"
"I have been crucified together with Christ....."
6 "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified together with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin,"
This last verse says "our old man was crucified together with Him."
The word "Him"
is supplied, and is properly supplied as the context requires and as Gal 2:19-20 expressly states.
The word translated "crucified with"
can also be translated "crucified together,"
or more precisely "crucified together with...."
Our "old man"
(sinful body) was crucified together with Christ when Christ's body was crucified. Rom 6:6 says this was done that the "body of sin"
(sinful nature) should be destroyed. See the context, Rom 6:2-13. See also Col 2:11; Eph 2:5-6; 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10.
Christ, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, 2Co 5:21; 1Pe 2:24. Christ's body (not His Spirit) was made sin, 2Co 5:21. Christ was made "our old man"
when He bore "our sins in His own body on a tree,"
1Pe 2:24. In His body He became "our old man"
that "the body of sin might be destroyed,"
Rom 6:6; Col 2:11.
Christ qualified to become our "old man"
by living a perfect life and completing His appointed personal ministry. Then by bearing our sins, suffering God's wrath against our sins, and dying in our stead, Christ destroyed "our old man."
Being the members of the body of Christ (metaphorically), we are now able to "put off"
our old man and "put on"
that new kind of man that Christ's human body became when His body was raised as "the firstborn from the dead."
Christ's divine Spirit which dwelt in His human body was not made sin. Rather, His human body only
was made sin, and though His human body died, His divine Spirit did not die. It was His human body, not His Spirit that was quickened (made alive) out of the grave. His divine Spirit was not born of God from the dead, but His human body was born into a divine state of being which the Word of God calls a birth. His Spirit was already divine, possessing all the divine attributes of God from eternity.
The wonderful redemptive plan of God was for the Son of God:
- To be united with us in an earthy human body in its low, earthy state of being, Jn 1:14; Phi 2:6-7; 1Co 15:44-45.
- To be tempted in all matters as we are tempted, Heb 2:14-18; 4:16.
- To overcome in God's prescribed covenant training for this divine sonship, and be fully approved for the purpose of offering Himself to God as the one and only Sacrifice for our sins, Jn 1:29; Heb 9:14.
- To be made sin by bearing our sins in His own body on the cross, 1Pe 2:22-24; 2Co 5:21.
- To suffer the fullness of God's wrath against our sins in His human body on the cross, Isa 53; Mt 27:46.
- To die and be buried in order to consummate the destruction of our "old man" - that is, the sin nature in our bodies, Rom 6:6-10; Col 2:11-15.
- To rise from the dead in an incomparably new kind of flesh (made divine) body. This new kind of body has been infused with the divine nature which includes all the attributes of deity - all the fullness of God, Eph 1:22-23; 2:10,14-16; 3:19; 4:22-24; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; 3:9-10.
- To be divinely born of God in His body in His resurrection - the Firstborn from the dead, and thereby have the preeminence over all creation, Col 1:15-19; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33.
- i. To bring many faithful covenant sons into the glory of His firstborn sonship, Rom 9:4; 8:17-30; Ex 4:22-23; Heb 12:23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Phi 3:7-14, 21; et al.
- To save the physical universe which will include many nations of other sons who will forever be slaves of the elementary laws of the physical universe, Gal 4:3, 9, 19-31; 5:1-4; Col 1:8-21; Heb 12:8 (1-23).
God is preparing a "special people"
who will faithfully study and learn His covenant provisions, obey the covenant commandments, and endure the severe training required by God in the covenants, 1Pe 2:5, 9; Titus 2:14; Heb 5:8-9; 12:1-29; Isa 48:9-12.
1 CORINTHIANS 15
1 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you have stood;
2 "By which also ye are being saved, IF you are holding fast what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain," 1Co 15:1-2.
It is amazing how Satan has overwhelmed God's true covenant people with Protestant theology! Through the dark ages the writings of the covenant people were for the most part destroyed. Protestant theology freely flowed from the pens of the Reformers while the poor, and in the main, uneducated covenant people famished for lack of written materials - even the lack of the Scriptures in many cases. Satan very effectively utilized these circumstances along with Protestant writings and translations of the Bible to supplant the true interpretation of many cardinal teachings of the Scriptures. The KJV is a good translation but is nevertheless a major contributor to this massive error. Later translations have only compounded this perversion of truth.
As part of that very sinister working of Satan, 1Co 15 is applied to all saved people - a product of Protestant theology that teaches, for instance, that all saved people will eventually be in the bride of Christ. Verses 1 and 2 will completely prohibit the application of 1Co 15 to anyone other than the faithful covenant people. Please observe:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye have stood," 1Co 15:1.
By inspiration Paul states frankly that these Corinthians had properly received the Gospel. Paul should know since he established them as a church and had spent a year and a half faithfully teaching them "night and day with tears" (Act 18:5-11; 20:31), as was Paul's constant endeavor. As a result, Paul had firmly established them in the Gospel, and they had stood fast (hestekate) until the occasion of Paul writing this epistle, only some three years later.
Carefully analyze these verses and the whole chapter all the way to verse 58 with the entire epistle, and observe that the Holy Spirit through Paul is directing this epistle to those who had truly received and had stood fast in the Gospel. Neither these verses nor the whole chapter nor the entire book of I Corinthians was written to unbelieving, unsaved people.
Incidentally, the Gospel includes more than initial trusting faith and salvation from hell; it includes the entire New Covenant, as verses 1 and 2 clearly show.
2 "By which also ye are being saved, IF you are holding fast what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain," 1Co 15:2.
This is a proper translation of the verse. "Are being saved" and "are holding fast" are present tense and are dependent upon the "IF" clause - "IF you are holding fast." The salvation is not salvation from hell, but refers to the salvation of the life that is so commonly referenced in the Scriptures, Mt 5:13; 7:13-27; 10:22; 16:24-27; 22:1-14; 24:12-13; 36-51; 25:1-30; Mk 8:34-38; 16:16; Lk 9:23-26; Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; et al.
There are clearly two salvations in the Bible: the first is salvation from hell, and the other is covenant salvation or salvation of one's daily life - salvation from a mere human being into a divine being. One does not have to "hold fast" in order to be saved from hell (1Co 3:15; Rev 21:23-26, but one must "hold fast" "by grace through faith" in order to save his "life." - examine the scriptures immediately above and many others like them, Mt 10:22; Mt 19:16-30; 24:12-13; Mk 8:34-38; 10:17-31; Lk 10:25-37; 18:18-30; Jn 12:25; 15:1-6; Rom 2:6-7; 6:22-23; 8:6, 13, 23-30; 11:11-22; et al.
"Believed in vain" means that these Corinthians had properly believed. Paul said they had "received" the Gospel and had "stood" in the Gospel. In Galatians Paul wrote of a perverted gospel, but that is not the case here. These Corinthians had received and believed the true Gospel and had stood fast in it.
However, because there were some in the church who were failing to stand fast in the Gospel, does not mean that the Gospel was the wrong Gospel or that they had not properly believed in the beginning. Verse 1 shows they had received the Gospel, and clearly, from the language used, they had received and believed the Gospel in the proper way. They only needed to continue to stand fast right where they were.
"Believed in vain" refers to saved people who become unfaithful and fall away from the faith in whatever way. In verse 1 Paul specifically says these Corinthians had received the Gospel and had stood in the Gospel, but they were in great danger of being disqualified (castaway, disapproved, adokimos) in their misdirected pursuit of the covenant promises.
Someone says, "There are no unfaithful saved people." Yet Jesus said there are unfaithful saved people, Mt 25:1-30; Jn 15:1-6. Paul said there are unfaithful saved people, 1Co 9:27; 10:12; 2Ti 4:3-4. Peter said there are unfaithful saved people, 2Pe 1:9-10; 3:16-17. John said there are unfaithful saved people, 2Jn 9; Rev 3:16-20. The book of Hebrews says there are unfaithful saved people, Heb 3:6-19; 6:4-8. And Jesus said these unfaithful saved people will lose their "life" and be severely punished, Mt 18:1-35; Lk 12:31-48.
The unfaithful saved person will lose his "life," but is still saved from hell, Mt 15:27; 1Co 3:15; 2Ti 2:19-21; et al. He will not be a "firstborn" son, but will be among the other sons as described in Gal 4:21-31 and Heb 12:8. Observe in these passages that the other sons are still sons of the same Father. It is sad how terribly enslaved we are to popular but incorrect theology, and thereby have greatly missed the boat in many major Bible teachings! We need to weep as Jesus and Paul and others wept, "night and day," Heb 5:7; Jn 11:35; Act 20:31; 2Ti 1:4.
"Believed in vain." Paul feared greatly lest, after he had sacrificed so much for Christ and the Gospel's sake, he should become a "castaway" (be disqualified). This simply but gravely means Paul (in such a case) would still be saved from hell, but his great sacrificial life of faithful service to obtain the firstborn sonship (Phi 3:7-14) would be in vain. Since Paul so feared, who are we to be so bold?
As 1Co 15:2 and a host of other scriptures say, we are being saved only IF we hold fast. And that salvation is not salvation from hell, but is in addition to (over and above) salvation from hell. It is a special salvation prepared specially by God for a special people - the faithful covenant people whom God has appointed to share the unique firstborn sonship of Christ.
A NATURAL BODY AND A SPIRITUAL BODY
"It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body," 1Co 15:44.
The natural body is the physical body that is governed by the elementary laws of the physical universe. The spiritual body is the glorified body into which Christ was born in His resurrection. The glorified body is a divine body possessing all the attributes of God, which only the faithful covenant people will receive in the resurrection. The "glory," therefore the glorified body, belongs to God's Israel:
4 "Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises," Rom 9:4.
13 "I bring near My righteousness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel My glory," Isa 46:13.
9 "For My name's sake will I defer My anger, and for My praise will I refrain for you, that I cut thee not off.
10 "Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.
11 "For My own sake, even for My own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory to another.
12 "Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He; I am the first, I also am the last," Isa 48:9-12; et al.
The glory of God (generic here for all of God's attributes) is promised to Israel by covenant, and the Scriptures make it clear that God will "not" give His glory to any other.
The natural body is for the nations of saved people on the new earth (Rev 21:23-26; 22:1-2), while the glorified (spiritual) body is for the faithful covenant people, 1Co 15:1-2; Rev 22:14; Lk 16:9-12; Phi 2:7-14,21 Rom 8:17, 23-30; et al.
A QUICKENING SPIRIT
45 "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit" (spirit body), 1Co 15:45.
The last or second Adam is Christ. He is called the second or last Adam because He is the Head of a new race of mankind. See also Rom 5:12-21. The first Adam is the head of the current race of mankind in physical bodies, while the last Adam is the Head of the new and future race of mankind in glorified, spirit bodies that are neither male nor female, Gal 3:28; Lk 20:34-36.
The subject of 1Co 15 is the resurrection of the body. We must not lose sight of the fact that this chapter is devoted to the resurrection of the body, and Paul by inspiration is here discussing the new kind of spirit body called the "new man."
In the resurrection of Christ's body, that body "was made a quickening" (life giving) Spirit body. In His Spirit He already had power as the Son of God to give life even before He clothed Himself in a lowly human body. As the Son of God in a human body, and as High Priest of the New Covenant, Christ was officially on a singular and divine mission. This mission, in general, had two major requirements: 1) to perfectly fulfill all the requirements of the former covenants, and 2) to establish the New Covenant which provides new race of divine humans beings. This would require a divine birth of Christ's human body in His resurrection.
Here in 1Co 15, it is Christ's resurrection body that is under consideration. The emphasis is on the new spirit "body" as a "life-giving divine body." Christ will now in like manner give a life-giving divine body to all the faithful dead (and the faithful living) in the resurrection. Both their body and spirit will be born into a divine state of being and will possess life-giving ability inherent in the divine fullness, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
There is a natural body and there is a spiritual (spirit, divine) body. When Paul said, "the last Adam was made a quickening or life-giving Spirit," he is addressing Christ's resurrected body as a spirit body. The passage continues discussing that spirit body.
WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?
"But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" 1Co 15:35.
There will be a resurrection of all mankind (Jn 5:28-29; Rev 20:11-15), and we have been taught that all the saved, faithful and unfaithful, will be raised in glorified bodies. It is true that all mankind will be raised and judged; however, the unfaithful saved will not be raised in a glorified body. We have just noted that the glory belongs to the faithful in Israel (the covenant people) only, (Rom 9:4; Isa 46:13; 48:9-12; Rom 8:6, 13, 17-30; Gal 6:7-9; 2Ti 2:10-13; Heb 2:10; 5:8-9; 1Co 15:1-2; Rev 22:14; Lk 16:9-12; Phi 2:7-14,21; 1Pe 5:4,10; 2Pe 1:4; et al.
The glorified body is a new kind of body - a divine body that is currently only slightly comprehensible to the human mind. It is otherwise described with such expressions as "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph 3:8), "the fullness of God" (Eph 3:19; Col 2:9-10), "but as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1Co 2:9), "that they may be one, as You Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they may be one in Us..." (Jn 17:21), "the divine nature," 2Pe 1:4, et al.
This body is for those who are "being saved" by "holding fast" (1Co 15:2, present tense) by grace through faith to the Word of the Gospel which includes immeasurably more than being saved from hell, as inexpressibly wonderful as salvation from hell is.
We must keep in mind that this passage (1Co 15:44-40) concerns first of all the resurrection of the body of Christ as a birth - a divine birth into a divine, spirit body, possessing all the fullness of deity, Col 2:9.
Of Christ's resurrection, God said, "You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten You," Act 13:30-33. Christ became the "Firstborn from the dead," Col 1:18; Rev 1:5. Here in 1Co 15:55-50, Paul is describing that divine birth of Christ's human, earthy body He received through the first Adam and through Mary.
WHICH WAS FIRST?
"Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual," 1Co 15:46.
There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. There is a flesh body and there is a spirit body. There is an earthy body and there is a heavenly body. There are distinctly two kinds of human bodies in the eternal purpose of God. They will exist not only in the one thousand year Millennium but in the ages of ages that follow.
This amazingly profound and yet explicit passage (1Co 15:44-49, along with Gal 4:21-31; et al) presents a striking dichotomy that runs throughout the Bible from the first Adam on, in a vast number of types and cloaked expressions in the Old Testament, and in parables and often purposely disguised language in the New Testament, Mt 11:25.
Here we have two kinds of bodies: one is a mere flesh body, the other is a human, flesh-spirit, divine body, one is an earthy body made of the earth and subject to the rudimentary laws of the universe while the other is a human body transformed (a divine metamorphosis) into a heavenly body that shares all the divine attributes and the full freedom of the deified body of Christ, Gal 4:3, 9, 21-31; 5:1-4; 2Co 3:17-18; Jn 8:31-32. One is the body of the first Adam, while the other is the resurrected and (born again) divine body of Christ as the "last Adam." Christ is still
"The Son of Man" (Dan 7:13-14; Mt 26:64; Lk 24:39; Heb 10:19-20) and at the same time altogether Lord of heaven and earth under the Father, Heb 1; Col 1:15-19.
47 "The FIRST MAN is of the earth, earthy: the SECOND MAN is the Lord from heaven," 1Co 15:47.
The Holy Spirit is directing Paul to explain and emphasize the great difference between the natural body and the spiritual body. The spiritual body is not a mere flesh body of a godly person who is truly dedicated to the Lord. Rather, the spiritual body, though still a flesh body, has literally been reborn into a divine state of being, and is therefore a spirit body that can be visible, invisible, tangible, intangible, burn like a fire, shine like the stars, etc.
The first Adam was created of the dust of the earth, and in death he returns to the dust of the earth, Gen 3:19. Of course, it was God's purpose from the beginning to show His love, compassion, mercy, forbearance, power, etc., in creating the earthy Adam first, thus producing an earthy race of mankind. It was also God's purpose to send His Son to become a descendant of the earthy race, then to become the second and last Adam by combining the earthy with the heavenly and thereby creating a "new man," Eph 2:10, 15-16; 4:22-24; 2Co 5:16-17; Col 3:9-10.
When Christ arose out of the grave, God said, "You are My Son, this day I have begotten You," Act 3:30-33. Christ thereafter no longer had a mere human body, but a divine body - a glorified (divine, spirit, heavenly, born from above) body, a new man, a new race of mankind. Thus Christ is the Head, the Adam of a new race of mankind, and is therefore called the "second" and "last Adam." There will be no other Adam of the human race. There have no doubt been thousands of Adams, but only two of them have become the "head of a race of mankind - two similar yet immeasurably different kinds of mankind.
48 "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly," 1Co 15:48.
The Holy Spirit continues to move Paul to further explain and emphasize the difference between the natural body and the spiritual body. We must not overlook this obvious effort of the Holy Spirit in pursuit of our attention and understanding of this glorious truth. And we can be assured that Satan has been and still is cunningly working to twist and cloak this and related passages so that we misunderstand their true application.
Satan has so thoroughly succeeded that traditional teachers are unaware that these verses strikingly describe a birth from the earthy body into a heavenly body without using the words birth or born. Furthermore, as the same temptation from Satan is a trial from the Lord, so also this deceptive device of Satan is a proving of us by the Lord to reveal how serious we are in handling His Word.
The lowly earthy body of the first Adam came first -- normally the "firstborn" is inherently given the preeminence. Here the opposite is true, as it was true with Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., when the firstborn was inappropriate because of unacceptable attitude and conduct.
The resurrection of the body of Christ gave birth to a divine body: "This day I have begotten You." In this way Christ's human body in His resurrection was born of God to become the "Firstborn from the dead," Col 1:15,18; Rev 1:5.
"God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath RAISED UP Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten You," Act 13:33.
As is the earthy Adam, so is the race of earthy (covenant violating) sons of God, Gal 4:21-31; Heb 12;8. As is the heavenly Adam, so is the race of "firstborn" sons who will be conformed to the image of the Firstborn Son and share His firstborn sonship with Him, Rom 8:28-30; 12:1-2; 2Co 3:17-18; Heb 5:8-9; et al. But these firstborn sons must be constantly being transformed into the image of Christ by the renewing of their minds and lifestyle; and this can be done only by reading and meditating on God's Word every day and every moment of every day that we can, Deu 6:5-9.
49 "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly," 1Co 15:49.
A little more explanation and a little more emphasis - amazingly we must have it to lead us back to this very obvious Bible truth. That is, the resurrection of Christ was a divine birth from the earthy into the heavenly, from a mere flesh body into a spirit body that is still flesh, but governed completely by the fullness of deity.
Not all saved people will bear the image of the heavenly body of the second and last Adam. We must remember that we are being saved into this special covenant salvation only IF we hold fast to (keep in memory) the Word of the Gospel, 1Co 15:2. The unfaithful saved have not, are not, and will not make their calling and election sure, unless they repent and become fruitful in the necessary godly virtues, 2Pe 1:4-10.
9 "But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins," 2Pe 1:4-10.
This verse clearly states that this person (generally representing all the unfaithful saved people) "WAS purged from his old sins." Such people have not added the virtues of verse 8, and are drastically unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. They are near fatally blind and shortsighted, and are by no means holding fast to the Word of the Gospel. Since they do not keep in memory (hold fast to) the Word of the Gospel, they cannot share in the resurrection birth into a glorified, spirit body of 1Co 15.
The unfaithful saved have borne the image of the earthy, but if they do not correct their unfaithful attitude and conduct they will never bear the image of the heavenly. First, because the glory belongs to Israel, Rom 9:4; Isa 46:13; 48:9-12. Second, because they have sown corruption to the flesh and must reap corruption in the resurrection, Gal 6:7-9; 2Pe 1:4; 1Co 5:5. Third, there will be no corruption on the new earth because the last enemy will have been put down, 1Co 15:21-28; Rev 20:14; 2Pe 3:13. The "healing of the nations" (Rev 22:2) should be translated "household of the nations," Lk 12:42 (and also Mt 24-45 in the KJV).
Throughout his Christian life, Paul without wavering sacrificed all things that he might be constantly being transformed into the divine image that Christ now has, and thereby win Christ in this better resurrection.
11 "IF by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead," Phi 3:11 (7-14,21).
14 "For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end," Heb 3:14.
We are "being saved" with this resurrection birth IF we "keep in memory" (holding fast to) "the Word of the Gospel," 1Co 15:1-2.
50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption," 1Co 15:50.
That which is born of flesh is flesh, while that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Christ's earthy flesh and blood body was born of the Spirit in the resurrection of that same body, the result was that His body became a spirit body, a life-giving spirit body, born of the Holy Spirit 1Co 15:44-50; 6:15-17; 2Co 4:17-18; 5:1-5, 16-17; Eph 2:10, 15-16; 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10.
Here is a singular kingdom of firstborn sons who have been appointed to share Christ's divine firstborn sonship in a unique oneness entity with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23; 1Co 3:21-23; Rom 8:17, 32; Eph 2:19-22.
This is a kingdom within itself for which we must suffer and endure God's severe "furnace of affliction" training, Isa 48:9-12; Mt 6:33; 18:1-3; Act 14:22; 2Th 1:3-5. This kingdom of divine firstborn sons will rule together with Christ over God's general kingdom, which includes Satan, fallen angels, the lake of fire, and all the rest of God's creation, Heb 1:2; Rom 8:17,32; 4:13; 1Co 3:21-23; Heb 2:5-13; 1Co 6:3; Rom 16:20; Rev 3:9.
When Christ's flesh, earthy body was born of the Spirit, it became a heavenly body - a birth from above, 1Co 15:44-50. Metaphorically, as members of the body of Christ, the covenant people are accredited as being crucified, dead, buried, and raised together with Christ, and are therefore credited as being the same-in-kind members of the divine (heavenly, spirit) body that Christ now possesses. That is what the Scriptures mean when They say:
15 "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
16 "What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
17 "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (one spirit body) 1Co 6:15-17; 15:44-50.
That is also what the Scriptures mean when They say,
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us," 1Co 5:7.
How can one purge out leaven when he has no leaven? How can the Scriptures say, "Purge out the old leaven," and at the same time say, "you are unleavened?" Another way of saying this is, "put off the old man and put on the new man." The old man is leavened, while the new man is without leaven (is deified).
We still have this old earthy, sinful body, but God credits us as being the glorified members of the glorified body of Christ. Crucified, dead, buried, raised, and glorified members of the crucified, dead, buried, raised, and glorified body of Christ. God does not take us in our "old man" condition or state of being, and join us to Christ in His "new man" or state of being.
When Christ bore our sins in His own body on the cross, His body became a "mortal body," like ours, requiring death. In His resurrection, that mortal (dead body) was raised out of the grave, was swallowed up of divine life (2Co 5:4), and was thereby born into a divine, heavenly body from above, 2Co 5:1-5.
Christ's divine body has no blood. The life of His body is the divine life of God, promised so often in the Scriptures to the faithful covenant people only, who will share His firstborn sonship together with Him.
Christ became "the Firstborn from the dead," becoming a "new man," the Head of a new race of mankind immeasurably superior to the earthy race of the first Adam. As the third heaven is higher than the earth, so the firstborn sons will be higher than the other sons, Gal 4:21-31; 1Co 15:44-50.
QUESTIONS AND WORK TASKS FOR CHAPTER TWO
1. Explain why it was necessary for Christ to become our Kinsman Redeemer.
2. Clarify why Christ had to be born of a virgin.
3. Review in writing why it was necessary for Christ to live a perfect life as a human.
4. Indicate why Christ's body had to be human and not divine during His earthly life.
5. Define how a divine body could not become tired, hungry, thirsty, sleepy, could not it be pierced by thorns, by a whip, by nails, by a spear, then bleed, and die.
6. A divine body could not lie dead in the tomb for three days and three nights. Explain why.
7. Describe the kind of body Christ possessed when He arose from the dead, 1Co 15:44-20.
8. Define how Christ's resurrection was a divine birth into a divine state of being, Col 2:9; 1Co 15:44-54; Phi 3:21.
9. Explain how and why Christ's divine body is still human, and is still flesh and bone, Lk 24:39; Jn 20:24-28; Heb 10:20; Dan 7:13-14; Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; Lk 22:69; Heb 2:14-18; 4:14-15; 1Ti 2:5.
10. God can sympathize with us perfectly. Christ as God can sympathize with us perfectly. Define how Christ being human as we are human can comfort us more.
11. Analyze and define the major factors signified by Christ being designated the "Son of Man."
12. Summarize how Christ is both the Son of God and the Son of Man.
13. Analyze what the Scriptures reveal in response to Christ's statement that He and the Father are "one," Jn 10;30-36.
14. Define what it means for the faithful saints to be filled with all the fullness of God, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-12.
15. Explain what it means for the faithful saints to be "one" with the Father and "one" with the Son, Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.