Firstborn Sonship of Christ
A DICHOTOMY OF BODIES
The Scriptures state clearly and repeatedly, as indicated below, that the resurrection of Christ was a birth. There were many people before Christ who were raised back to life after they had died, after preparation for burial, and even after burial, 1Ki 17:18-23; 2Ki 4:18-37; Mt 5:11; Lk 7:11-15, 22; Jn 11:39-45. None of them was a "birth," yet the resurrection of Christ is confirmed by the Scriptures as a divine birth by many witnesses as follows:
1. First Witness
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 may have the preeminence," Col 1:18.
Witness number one says the resurrection of Christ was a "birth" - how else could Christ be "the firstborn from the dead?" Others died and were brought back to life from a dead state prior to the resurrection of Christ, but none of those was called a birth. The virgin birth of Christ joined God to man in a unique way and was the first step in generating a new creation. The resurrection of Christ was a divine birth which consummated that new kind of creation, and gave Christ preeminence above all creation, so that He is "the firstborn of every creature," Col 1:15.
a. Christ was GOD before He was born into the human race, Phi 2:6-11; Jn 1:1-3, 14; 17:5; Col 1:15-19. Observe the significance Jesus put on His being "sent" from the Father - reference to this is made some 28 times or more in the Gospel of John alone. What an awesome thing and how incomprehensible to the human mind that the Son of God should assume a lowly, earthy, human body to be genuinely tested, to suffer the anguish of the cross, to bear the shame of our sins, and to endure the just wrath of God against our sins!
b. Christ was born into a lowly, earthy, human body. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us," Jn 1:14. The body Christ received in the virgin birth was not part God and part human, but was altogether an earthy, human body. Christ was altogether God in His Spirit, but He assumed and dwelt in a human body after the first Adam from its earliest genesis of development in the womb. "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible," Mt 19:26.
c. Christ Is the head of the body, the church. "And He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence," Col 1:18.
The church, in a metaphor, is the flesh "body" of Christ, and is to "grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, even Christ:
16 "From whom the whole body, is being joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, is causing growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love," Eph 4:15-16; Col 2:19.
Observe the intimate oneness between the Head and the body - together, they form one complete body. In this case, Christ is the Head and the church is the body: together, they are one and the same body. As is the Head, so is the body, and the body is the human, flesh body of Christ, from which the life's blood flowed, and which body and blood we commemorate in the Lord's Supper, Rom 12:4-5; 1Co 6:15-17; 10:16-17; 11:24-29; 12:12-27; Eph 4:15-16; Col 2:17-19.
d. Christ Is the BEGINNING of the firstborn sons of God. "And He is the Head of the body, the church, Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence," Col 1:18.
Christ is the firstborn - the firstborn from the dead. He is the first one of His kind. He is both God and man in a human body, which body itself is now filled with all the attributes of deity, so that His body is no longer a mere earthy body, but has been born into a heavenly, divine, spirit body. He is the fullness of deity in a divine human body.
e. For in Him bodily all the fullness of deity is dwelling. In the human body of Christ, all the fullness of Deity is dwelling, so that now there is no longer just a natural body, but also a spiritual (spirit) body. In His resurrection, the body of Christ was born of the Spirit and became a life-giving Spirit, 1Co 15:44-49.
19 "For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell," Col 1:19.
9 "For in Him is dwelling all the fullness (pleroma) of the Godhead bodily," Col 2:9.
It pleased the Father that in the human body of Christ all the fullness of deity should dwell. Now we no longer know Christ in a mere flesh body, but we know Him in a divine, spirit, heavenly body, a new creation, a new creature, 2Co 5:16-17.
f. In Him, His body members are made that same fullness. "And in Him you are made complete (pepleromenoi), Who is the Head of all principality and power," Col 2:10.
Christ is the Head of the body, while the church (the covenant people) is the body (a metaphor). The Head and the body are one and the same body. As the Head possesses the fullness of deity, so the body and the members of the body are addressed as being crucified, dead, buried, raised, and deified together with its Head. The body is currently spoken of as being filled with all the fullness of God - God is metaphorically speaking of things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17. This is done in order to convey more fully to our minds, in our training status, what the end result will be for those who qualify and are approved for the firstborn sonship. The end result is expressed in many ways as: the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8), the fullness of God (Eph 3:19; Col 2:9-10), a one entity oneness with God, (Eph 5:31; Jn 10:30-36; 17:21-23).
22 "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
23 "Which (church) is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all," Eph 1:22-23.
19 "To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God," Eph 3:19.
9 "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
10 "And in Him you are that fullness..." (pleroma), Col 2:9-10.
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.
In John 17 The Lord is praying to the Father for those who "have kept Thy Word," Jn 17:6. These are the faithful covenant people who keep God's Word by grace through faith. They are predestined to be divinely one with and in the Father, with and in the Son, and with and in the Holy Spirit, Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23. Upon the basis of this adoption (Gal 4:4-5) - redemption of the body (Rom 8:23-25) - our bodies were metaphorically born into a divine state of being. Upon the basis of this divine birth (a metaphor), we are given the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit, who dwells only with and in deity (and in those who are in training to be deified), Jn 7:39; Rom 8:23-25; Gal 4:4-7; Jn 17:21-23.
g. The Firstborn and the firstborn ones are one and the same. Christ is the firstborn Son of God, and in the covenants God promised that the faithful covenant people will share Christ's firstborn sonship together with Christ:
29 "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed (sumorphous, conformed together with) to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many (firstborn) brethren," Rom 8:29. See also Ex 4:22-23; Heb 12:23 (1-23).
Christ is the image of God (in the fullness of deity, Col 1:15; Heb 1:3), and God has predestined His elect covenant people to be conformed to the same image in the fullness of deity in Christ's firstborn sonship.
This transformation (metamorphosis) into the image of Christ is twofold: 1) it is a gradual process throughout our lifetime, as will be demonstrated repeatedly from the Scriptures in these books, 2) it will be sudden, in the twinkling of the eye when Christ returns, 1Co 15:52-52.
The gradual process is one of putting off the old man and putting on the new man by the daily and constant renewing of our mind, Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:22-24. We must be constantly presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, which is the crucifixion cycle: dying daily and bearing about in our mortal body the dying of Christ that the resurrection life of Christ be manifest in this same mortal body, 1Co 15:31; 2Co 4:7-12; Gal 4:19. In this way we are growing up into Christ, who is the Head, Eph 4:11-32.
2. Second Witness
5 "And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood," Rev 1:5.
Witness number two also says the resurrection of Christ was a "birth." And the Scriptures say that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. There is much more in the context of both the first and second witnesses which confirm the same theme of the firstborn sonship of Christ being consummated in His resurrection, and the sharing of that firstborn sonship together with Christ by the faithful covenant people in their resurrection birth.
3. A Third Witness
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 "He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
32 "And we declare to you glad tidings -- that promise which was made to the fathers.
33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has RAISED UP Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten You,'" Acts 13:30-33.
Witness number three says the resurrection of Christ was a divine birth. This passage and its context expressly states that the human (flesh) body of Christ did not see corruption (verses 34-37), but was raised back to divine life.
Before Christ's resurrection, His human body was only human with the Son of God dwelling in it. In His resurrection, that human body was made divine with all the fullness of deity imbued into it and thereby permeating the whole body, Col 2:9. The human body of Christ was thereby born of God in its resurrection.
4. Fourth Witness
7 "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten You," Ps 2:7.
Witness number four says the resurrection of Christ was a divine birth. This is the prophecy which Paul quoted by inspiration in Acts 13:33 and applied it to the resurrection of the earthy, human body of Jesus. This use of the prophecy by the Holy Spirit makes it an incontravertible witness that the resurrection of the human body of Christ from the dead was a "birth" of that human body into a divine state of being.
5. Fifth Witness
5 "For to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten You?' And again: 'I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son?'" Heb 1:5.
Witness number five says the resurrection of Christ was a birth. Christ was in the beginning before creation with God and was God, as God is God, with the fullness of the divine nature, Jn 1:1-3; Phi 2:6-11. However, when Christ's human body was raised out of the tomb, His human body was born of God and now possesses the fullness of deity, Col 2:9. Christ therefore has preeminence above all creation and the kings of the earth and angels and devils will bow and worship Him, Ps 2; Phi 2:6-11.
6. Sixth Witness
5 "For to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You'? And again: 'I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son,'" Heb 1:5.
Witness number six says the resurrection of Christ was a birth. "I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to me a Son" is a prophecy of David's son (2Sa 7:14), which prophecy has a double application; 1) to Solomon as David's son; and 2) to Christ also as David's human descendant. This prophecy is sandwiched between two statements addressing the resurrection of Christ as a "birth." And also, since it is specifically given as proof that Christ is greater than the angels, it therefore requires the divine birth of the body of Christ.
7. Seventh Witness
6 "But when He again brings the Firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him," Heb 1:6.
Witness number seven says the resurrection of Christ was a birth. The passage refers to the resurrection of Christ who stood as a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8), and foreordained in all His works before the foundation of the world, 1Pe 1:8-20; Act 2:23; Eph 1:4-5, 11. God again brought His Firstbegotten into the world in the resurrection "birth" of the human body of Christ into a divine status.
8. Eighth Witness
5 "So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: 'You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten You,'" Heb 5:5.
Witness number eight says the resurrection of Christ was a birth. Christ was ordained as High Priest by John's baptism, the receiving of the Holy Spirit from the Father, and the Father's voice from heaven declaring Jesus to be the Son of God, Mt 3:13-17. The prophecies referenced in Heb 1:4-13; et al., require that Christ be God (the Son of God) in the flesh. Christ then served as High Priest in His personal ministry on earth, the final act of which was to offer up Himself as the Lamb of God (Heb 9:14) as the only acceptable Sacrifice for human sins. This final act of death, however, required His resurrection birth in a divine body to initiate the new life required by all the covenants, Gen 2:9; 3:21; 4:4; et al. A major part of that oath, which divinely authenticated the ordination of Christ as High Priest, was His resurrection "birth" from a human body into a spirit, heavenly, divine body, filled with all the fullness of deity, Heb 7:20-28.
A NATURAL BODY AND A SPIRIT BODY,
A DICHOTOMY OF BODIES
1. Our Flesh BODY, Not Our Spirit.
35 "But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?"
36 "Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.
37 "And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain -- perhaps wheat or some other grain.
38 "But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body," 1Co 15:35-38.
We must keep in mind that 1Co 15 is not discussing our spirit, but the resurrection of our body. Resurrection concerns our body not our spirit. However, the resurrection body of the faithful covenant people will be a divine, heavenly, spirit BODY which will serve as a house or clothing for our spirit, 2Co 5:1-10.
42 "So also is the resurrection of the dead. The BODY is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption," 1Co 15:42.
This corrupt, sinful, earthy body is sown in the grave in corruption, but it is raised out of the grave in incorruption. Remember, this chapter and the whole book of 1 Corinthians was written to the church in Corinth. See verses 1 and 2 of this chapter, where the Spirit moved Paul to emphasize the ever present Bible theme of standing fast, holding fast, keeping in memory the words of the Gospel. The Gospel includes much more than salvation from hell, as inexpressible as that salvation is. The good news of the Gospel, as expressed in 1Co 15, is the resurrection "birth" of the earthy, human body into a spirit, heavenly, divine body. A major part of the good news is the resurrection of the human body in an incorrupt and therefore immortal state of being. All saved people will receive this on the new earth.
43 "It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power," 1Co 15:43.
This sinful, earthy body is sown in the grave in dishonor, but it is raised out of the grave into a glorified state of being: "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.
We speak of the glorified body almost as though it were a common thing, as if Christ's human body did not undergo a dramatic, miraculous metamorphosis into a divine "birth" in His resurrection. We must examine 1Co 15 (along with Eph 2:10-16; 2Co 5:16-17; Col 2:9-3:10) more thoroughly, and realize that Christ created a new kind of man in a divine body in His resurrection. This is the "new man" that we are to "put on" constantly as we "put off" our "old man," which is our sinful body. This is done by the "renewing of our minds," Rom 12:2; Eph 4:23.
43 "It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in POWER," 1Co 15:43.
Read Eph 1:19-23 and observe the emphasis placed on the power and majesty involved in the resurrection of the body of Christ - far more than in the resurrection of Lazarus (Jn 11) or any normal resurrection. The resurrection of the body of Christ resulted in His body being divinely born of the Spirit and Christ being placed far above all creation:
19 "And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20 "Which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 "Far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come,
22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
23 "Which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all," Eph 1:21.
The climatic and singularly divine birth resurrection of the body of Christ qualified Him to be set on the right hand of the Father and given regal and divine authority over all creation. This very resurrection of His body into a divine state of being qualified all the faithful covenant people to be filled with all the fullness of God according to God's eternal purpose, Eph 1:18-23; 3:1-19; 4:11-24; Col 2:9 thru 3:10.
Christ became our "old man" on the cross when He was made sin for us, 2Co 5:21; 1Pe 1:22-24; Isa 53:5-6, 8, 10-11. In this way He destroyed "the body of sin...that we should no longer be slaves of sin," Rom 6:6. Therefore we must cultivate a mind-set that is constantly putting off the old man and putting on the new man. Without this mind-set we are not being transformed into the image of Christ. Without this mind-set we are not undergoing the metamorphosis required to obtain the divine birth in the resurrection, 2Co 3:18; Gal 4:19-313; Rom 12:2; Phi 3:21; et al.
5. A Spiritual Body
44 "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.
There is a natural, physical, earthy body, but there is now also, in an extreme contrast in the dichotomy, a spiritual or (divine) spirit body, as the next few verses will clearly demonstrate. There is now an additional kind of body that is still a flesh, human body (Lk 24:39), but is inexpressibly higher in essential quality. This deified body (this new man) is reserved in heaven (2co 5:1-5; Col 1:5; 1Pe 1:4) for those who qualify by the renewing of the mind as they are constantly beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, and are thereby being progressively transformed into the image of Christ, Rom 12:2; 2Co 3:18; Gal 4:19-5:5; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:1-10; et al.
6. The Last Adam
45 "And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (spirit body), 1Co 15:45.
The last Adam, of course, refers to Christ, and in this context is presented as the Head of a new kind of mankind. Being a descendant of the first Adam, Christ is human, but in His resurrection Christ created a "new man," and thereby became the Head (Rom 5:12-21) of a new kind of human race, a race of spirit, heavenly, divine humans. In His resurrection, Christ qualified as the firstborn Son of God to be placed far above all principalities and powers, and to bring many other sons to glory - into His firstborn sonship to share all things together with Him, including all the divine fullness of deity Heb 5:8-9; 2:9-18; Eph 1:18-23; 3:19; Col 2:9-11; et al. And that does not include all saved people.
7. A Life-Giving Spirit
45 "And so it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (a divine spirit body), 1Co 15:45.
This new "spiritual body" is a "divine spirit body." We cannot avoid this understanding. It is not a mere "spirit" that is addressed in this verse, but an added explanation of the "divine spirit body" announced in verse 44 and discussed through verse 56. This life-giving spirit body is clearly that of 1Co 6:15-17; Rom 8:9; Gal 5:25. The covenant people are spoken of as being crucified, dead, buried, raised, and deified into a heavenly, spirit, divine body. The Holy Spirit is given to the church on this basis, as the "firstfruits" or "earnest" (guarantee) that we will receive that body (that heavenly and divine house) in the resurrection (Jn 7:37-39; Gal 4:4-7; Rom 8:23-25; 2Co 3:17-5:5,16-17; Eph 1:13-14, 18-23; 4:30; et al), IF we "hold fast," 1Co 15:1-2; Heb 3:14.
8. The Spirit Body Will Be First
46 "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual," 1Co 15:46.
The natural body was created first, but the spirit body will have preeminence, because of the quality of divine life it possesses through the divine birth of the body of Christ in His resurrection. The faithful covenant people will receive this birth in their resurrection and/or metamorphic change when Christ returns, 1Co 15:51-54; Phi 3:21.
9. The Second Man
47 "The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven," 1Co 15:47.
The first man (the first Adam) is earthy of the dust (and so are all his descendants), whereas the Second Man is the Lord out of heaven, and so will all His descendants be. He is the Lord. He is divine. He possesses the fullness of Deity, Col 2:9. All the attributes of deity are dwelling at home in His human now divine body.
God made the earthy man first as a human arena to demonstrate His attributes of justice, love, forbearance, mercy, forgiveness, etc., to reveal who will meekly listen, believe, and walk by grace through faith in this furnace of affliction. This is done to prove those who will endure and fight a good fight of faith though stricken, smitten, and afflicted. It is the persevering faith of "the believing ones" that overcomes the mere flesh enslavement to this lowly earthy world.
10. As Is the Heavenly
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," 1Co 15:48.
There is a natural body and there is a spirit body. The harmony of the Scriptures is explicit that the nations on the new earth (Rev 21:23-26; 22:1-2) will forever be in physical, earthy, though perfect and sinless bodies. The last enemy (death and sin) will be cast into the lake of fire, 1Co 15:21-28; Rev 20:14.
The subject is still that of the new born heavenly, spirit, divine body in contrast to the earthy body that is enslaved to the rudimentary laws of the physical world. Both bodies will eternally exist; the earthy body in the enslavement represented by Hager and Ishmael in Paul's allegory, while the heavenly body will enjoy the freedom and inheritance represented by Sarah and Isaac in the same allegory, Gal 4:19-5:5.
11. The Image of the Heavenly
49 "And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man," 1Co 15:49.
We will bear the image of the heavenly IF we hold fast to the words of the Gospel, 1Co 15:1-2, 57-58. Little in the Bible, if anything, is as clear as the fact that we must be faithful in the Lord's church in order to bear the image of Christ in His glorified, deified body, Phi 3:7-21.
The allegory in Gal 4:19-31 and its immediate application in 5:1-5 are as explicit as words can put it that the unfaithful saved, even in the church (in the New Covenant), will be cut off from Christ, from His heavenly and divine image, and from the inheritance and freedom of the firstborn sonship.
Christ, in His resurrection, created this "better resurrection," Heb 11:35. His divine (heavenly) resurrection is the one for which Paul counted all earthy gain as dung (rubbish, refuse) that he might win Christ - if by any means, he might qualify for this heavenly, divine resurrection, Phi 3:7-14.
12. The Kingdom of God
50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption," 1Co 15:50.
There is a broad use of the expression "kingdom of God," which includes everything under God's rule - that means all creation, even the devil, demons, and all others in the lake of fire. One does not have to do anything to enter that kingdom. Every created thing is already in it. There is another kingdom of God, a kingdom within itself, a kingdom of divine beings that rule as joint heirs with Christ over the general kingdom. One must be humble as God counts humility, be faithful as God counts faithfulness, and suffer together with Christ in the body of Christ - one must be born again to enter the divine kingdom, Ex 19:6; Mt 5:1-12; 6:33; 18:1-35; Jn 3:1-18; Act 14:22; 1Co 15:50; Phi 3:20-21 (Rev 3:5); 2Th 3-5. Flesh "and blood" will not inherit nor enter this divine kingdom, 1Co 15:50.
The emphasis here is on a quality factor, a kingdom of fully divine beings. The unfaithful saved will not enter this kingdom (Ex 19:4-6; Mt 6:33; 18:1-35; Jn 3:1-18; Act 14:22; 1Co 15:1-2, 44-50) 2Th 1:3-5); somewhat similar to ancient Rome, their names are not found as citizens of this kingdom (Act 22:24-29; Ex 32:32; Ps 69:28; Lk 10:20; Phi 3:20; Rev 3:5; 20:15), though they are clearly a part of the overall kingdom of God, Dan 7:13-14, 26-27. There are numerous hyperboles in the Scriptures, as in probably every language, Mt 3:5-6; Mk 1:4-5; Lk 14:26, 33; Mal 4:1-3; 2Co 2:14; etc. These make sense only as hyperboles. A hyperbole is normally an exaggeration of the fact for the purpose of emphasis and comparison.
13. Always Abounding
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.
These two verses do not apply to the unfaithful saved. We must harmonize verses 1 and 2 with verses 29-34 verses 57-58, and the harmony is that God is giving constant victory to those who are holding fast to the words of the Gospel. Perseverence of the faithful is a Bible doctrine, but perseverence of all who are saved from hell is not a Bible doctrine. Those who are faithful by grace through faith will receive this divine "birth" when Christ returns, while the unfaithful will receive corruption and punishment, Gal 6:7-9; 2Pe 1:4; Mt 19:16-30; Lk 10:25-37; 12:46-48; et al. The "glory" belongs to the faithful covenant people, Isa 46:13; 48:9-12; Rom 9:4. Much will be written on this later.
Metamorphosis is common knowledge to most everyone. In a metamorphosis there are biological and chemical changes that take place within the physical structure or body of the larva which transforms it into an insect or the tadpole into a frog. However, the metamorphosis from the human body into a divine body in the Scriptures is twofold:
1) The change, transformation, or metamorphosis of the human body in the resurrection is a complete change of the physical body into a divine state of being that possesses all the attributes of deity, but still retains all the attributes of man that are not canceled out by the divine nature. That is an absolute impossibility in the physical world, but with God all things are possible, Mt 19:26.
2) The change, transformation, or metamorphosis currently required of the covenant people is the state of mind or mind-set that produces a drastic change in the character of life from a self-centered lifestyle into a Christ-centered, Christ-reflecting lifestyle of bearing about in our bodies the dying of the Lord, that the life of Christ be constantly manifest in and through our bodies, 2Cor 4:7-12.
The current metamorphosis is a function of the mind, a mind-set, a fixed mental attitude that governs body language, speech, and all other mental, emotional, and physical activities. This mind-set is what determines one's "life," and our "life" (psyche) before God includes our entire life of thoughts, attitudes, emotions, words, deeds, aspirations, goals, and whatever else has been and is involved in our life - past, present, and future.
We are either saving our "life" or losing it before God, Mk 8:34-38; Lk 9:23-26. The saving of our life is determined by our conscience and "will" - (a mind-set), as the above verses show. And our "will" is determined by what is fed into the mind by our five senses - sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch; yet, conversely, our will or mind-set also determines, to a great extent, what is fed into the mind. Our natural mind must undergo a metamorphosis in order to produce the same metamorphosis in our manner of life or lifestyle.
God will insure that we have sufficient opportunity to be fed on His Word: "But He answered and said, It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,'" Mt 4:4.
4 " Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates," Deu 6:4-9
27 "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him," Jn 6:27-67.
Our mind literally consumes information as food, and is nourished and grows in knowledge. As a result, our character is formed by the information that is processed and acted upon by our mind. We must feed into our mind the heavenly information (food) of God's Word, rather than the earthy things of this world. This transformation of our mind is absolutely necessary to produce the transformation of our daily life into that Christlike lifestyle which also is required in order to receive the divine birth of the body in the resurrection, Col 3:1-2.
"Be not conformed to the world, but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" Rom 12:2.
18 "But we all, with unveiled face, continually beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2Co 3:18.
Moses' face was veiled to lessen the brilliance of the "glory" of the Lord radiating from Moses' face. That veil represented the mental veil (an improper mental or psychological disposition) over the eyes (minds) of the Jews, 2Co 3:13-16. The Word of God is the "mirror" used by the Holy Spirit to transform our minds and thereby our lifestyle into the glory of the Lord from glory to glory as we constantly attend to God's Word. This transformation of the mind and lifestyle must take place in our daily lives or there will be no new birth of the body when Christ returns. The unfaithful saved will simply but expressly not be partakers of Christ when Christ returns, Heb 3;14; 6:4-6; 10:25-31; 12; Phi 3:7-14,21; 2Pe 1:1-11; 2Ti 2:10-13; Lk 16:9-12; Gal 4:19-5:5; et al.
Our minds must be saturated with the Bible: read the Bible, hear the Bible, think the Bible, talk the Bible, live the Bible, dream the Bible. Perhaps more than 90% of the common Christian TV viewing must go, and the Lord must be constantly reigning in our hearts. Read Ps 119 again and again, where the Word of the Lord in varied expressions appears all but 2 or 3 of the 176 verses.
IF YOU THEN BE RISEN WITH CHRIST
20 "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances," Col 2:20.
1 "If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God.
2 "Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 "For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God," Col 3:1-3.
6 "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," Eph 2:6.
In the metaphor (Rom 4:17), our bodies:
1. Have been baptized into the human (now deified) body of Christ.
2. Have been crucified together with and in the physical body of Christ.
3. Have died together with and in the physical body of Christ.
4. Have been buried together with and in the physical body of Christ.
5. Have been raised from the dead together with and in the physical body of Christ.
6. Have been born again out of the grave together with and in the human, now deified, body of Christ.
7. Have been seated together with and in the deified body of Christ. We are now (in the metaphor) seated at the right hand of the Father together with and in the deified body of Christ.
There are numerous metaphors in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, and sometimes mixed or multiple metaphors in a single passage. For instance, in 1Pe 2:2-9 Christ is called a living stone, a chief corner stone, with the members of the church being called living stones built up into a spiritual house, a chosen race, a kingly priesthood, and a holy nation.
God, who calls things which be not as though they were, (Rom 4:17), says that those in the body of Christ are seated (in the metaphor) at His own right hand in Christ in the third heaven, Eph 2:6; while at the same time we are here on earth, and by the Holy Spirit (as deified members of the deified body of Christ) we have access through the Veil into the presence of God, Heb 10:19-22; 6:19-20; 7:19, 25; 11:6; Eph 5:18; 3:12.
We are seated in Christ by the Father on the heavenly throne. We have entered into the most holy place through the Veil, being "in Christ," who is the Veil, Heb 10:20.
So why then, "as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations (worldly, physical ordinances, represented by the Law Covenant), do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.....?" Col 2:20-21.
The veil has been rent and the covenant people of the church, the first holy place, have free access into the most holy place, Heb 8:1-5; 9:11, 23; 10:21. We are therefore to set our mind (affections, delights) on things above - divine things in heaven, and not on earthy things on earth.
In the metaphor, our old man died ("for ye are dead"), and the flesh body was quickened (made alive) together with Christ (in the body of Christ) into a new kind of mankind with divine bodies. The bodies of those in the body of Christ are joined to Christ as members of His divine body with the same deified life His body possesses, explicitly stated in Col 2:9.
4 "Mortify therefore your members which are upon earth.....
9 "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him," Col 3:4-10.
22 "That ye put off concerning the former manner of life the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," Eph 4:22-24.
We have been showing the dichotomy of the earthy and the heavenly, the physical and the spiritual, the old man and the new man, the mere human body and the divine human body.
In the metaphor, we have been crucified together with Christ, have died together with Christ, have been buried together with Christ, raised together with Christ, born again from the dead together with Christ into a heavenly, spirit body, and are seated in heavenly places at the right hand of the Father together with and in Christ.
QUESTIONS AND WORK TASKS FOR CHAPTER FOUR
1. What kind of body did Christ receive in the virgin birth? Explain what kind of body and why.
2. What does the fullness of God mean in Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:l9; 2:9-10?
3. How is the church (and each member of the church) filled with all the fullness of God?
4. God's purpose is for the church and each member of the church to be "one" with God, Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23. Explain.
5. Define how Christ is the image of God.
6. Describe how the church is the image of Christ.
7. Explain the differences between the natural body and the spiritual body.
8. Explain the similarities between the natural body and the spiritual body, 1Co 15:44-50; etc.
9. Why is Christ called the second Adam?
10. What is the kingdom of God in 1Co 15:50 in the sense of the context?
11. Describe the metamorphosis of the renewing of the mind in Rom 12;1-2; 2Co 3:18; Eph 4:22-24; and Col 3:1-10.
12. Explain the crucifixion cycle of the church being the body of Christ, and therefore of our bodies being crucified, dead, buried, and raised (born again) into a deified state of being.
13. Saved people outside the church (outside the covenants) cannot experience and share in the crucifixion cycle. Explain why.