The last 2 weeks I shared God's Plans A, B, and C for Israel as His firstborn, and today a follow up to that: Jesus as the Father's firstborn.
When we see the phrase 'firstborn' in reference to Jesus in the NT, it is directly followed by, or understood to be followed by, 'from the dead'.
Colossians 1: 18 says it this way: "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." He is the first one raised from the dead, the first of millions of us who will one day be born from the dead with glorified bodies, even as He.
What does firstborn from the dead mean?
When Jesus left heaven to be conceived in Mary's womb as the Son of Man, it changed not only His relationship with the Father, but within Himself as well. When Philippians 2: 7-8 states "...and being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man", it demonstrates this was a forever change. He is still a man (Man).
When He was resurrected, He was resurrected as a man, in a human body. He has a glorified body or as Paul said, celestial*, made with heavenly material. Romans 6: 4 says He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father - bright light of the Father's glory infused life into His dead earth body's cells and transformed them into heavenly material. *I Corinthians 15: 39-50
Can you imagine the change between Father and Son when Jesus ascended to heaven as a man, the first man born from the dead? We are told in James 1: 13 that God the Father is not tempted, tested, nor tried by evil, and neither does He tempt, test, or try people with evil. Why isn't He tempted, tested or tried by Satan? Because He doesn't have a human body.
Jesus however, has a human body. The Father doesn't know what it is to be tired, to sweat, to have to use the toilet, to be limited to 1 place at 1 time. Jesus knows all these things, having experienced them personally. He is the firstborn from the dead, a man (Man), and the first of millions to be born from the dead in similar fashion.
We are the 'many brethren'
Romans 8: 29 calls Jesus the first born from the dead: "For whom He did foreknow, He also predetermined them to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." We are the 'many brethren.'
Note: To predetermine by knowing ahead of time who would choose Him and who would not, does not infringe on free will. As we in like manner do; if we know what a situation will be ahead of time, we make preparation based on what we know. Same thing with the Father God. Those He knew ahead of time would be saved if given the opportunity, allowed Him to move to provide salvation for them.
The NT writers were so aware that Jesus was the firstborn from the dead, that we read in Hebrews 12: 23: "But you have come to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven. And to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (mature, complete)."
A nearly synonymous term is 'firstfruits', which define the first offering to the Lord, the first and best of the crop, which goes to God. The Lord is the firstborn, the firstfruit from the dead: "And now has Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of those who sleep (have died)." I Corinthians 15: 20
"But everyone in their own order; Christ the firstfruits, afterward those that are Christ's at His coming." v23
"Of His own free will He birthed us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creation." James 1: 18
Romans 8: 23: "And not only they, but we ourselves who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is to say the redemption of the body."
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, and we are the firstfruits of His creation. The firstfruits were offered to the Lord, so we are intended to live our lives as a sacrifice to the Lord, which as Paul said in Romans 12: 1-3, is our reasonable service. Now you know why. Amazing Grace, for we are in Him, and He in us. What a glorious future awaits! New subject next week, until then, blessings,
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