And to finish off our week-long look (and even our concerted four month-long look) at God’s eternal purpose, Tobias discusses the aspect of the Family of God. This excerpt, along with all the others from this week, will be available soon as part of our brother’s upcoming project. Look for it!
Death of the First Adam
In Genesis, we saw Adam, who was made in the image of God. He was the first of mankind. In Luke 3:38, Adam is called the “son of God,” meaning that he came from or was created by God. As we know, Adam sinned, and the result of sin was costly. Through Adam, sin entered into the world, and through sin came corruption and death. Death spread to all men because all sinned. Corruption and death came, not only to man, but also to all of creation. Yet, Adam was an earthly picture. He was a type, but not the true reality God was after (Genesis 2, 3; Romans 5:12-16).
God’s desire was to have others who would be able to share, and even participate, in the unhindered communion of love, fellowship, and life He shared with His Son. These others were to be His family, sons and daughters of God, through whom He would have His increase. However, with the arrival of sin, corruption, and death into the earth, the intended purpose for the original humanity was no longer capable of existing. Man was now cut off from God; separated because the original humanity was now corrupt and dying.
God would have to wait for a new humanity to be born upon the earth in order to have His family. And so, as we have seen, God is ever so patient, and at the same time, relentless in fulfilling His purpose.
The Second Adam
In the Gospels, we see Jesus, whom Paul called the Second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:9), as He walked on the earth in bodily form. As a man, Jesus lived, breathed, ate, slept, and did almost everything a man would do. The difference is that Jesus was sinless. When He was baptized by John the baptizer, something unique happened. The Spirit of God descended and came to rest upon Him, and God the Father, spoke from the heavens confirming to those around that Jesus was His Son and that God was pleased to live within Him (Matthew 3:13-17). All the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in His Son (Colossians 2:9).
Christ Jesus was truly unique in that He was the Son of God. In His earthly form, He embodied God and man together. This was the first expression of what God was after, but in a singular form. However, God wasn’t after a singular expression of His Son on the earth. He was after an increased expression of His Son on the earth. How was He going to achieve this increase?
Light and Life Sent
One of the key things Jesus often said to people was that His Father had sent Him into the world, and through Him, His Father’s will would be accomplished. The Father sent Jesus to the earth to fulfill His purpose (John 5:36-37, 6:44, 6:57, 8:16, 8:18, 8:42, 12:49, 14:24, 17:21, 17:25, & 20:21).
Jesus stood in stark contrast to the first Adam, and to the rest of the world. The rest of the world had fallen into corruption and darkness. But when Jesus Christ came into the world, life and light came flooding back in; for Christ Jesus was life and light. Not only did Jesus have life within Himself, He was also the embodiment of Life and Light.
“4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” – John 1:4-5 (NASB)
“26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.” – John 5:26 (NASB)
“25 I am the resurrection and the life…” – John 11:25a (NASB)
The Firstborn and The Increase
When Jesus Christ was crucified and buried, He took sin, death, and the fallen creation to the grave with Him. He took them upon Himself in order to resurrect them in a new life. Christ Jesus came and He took on sin, the corruption, and death that had overtaken the first humanity so He could create a new humanity, and they could become the sons and daughters of God. This is the increase of the Son.
“21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NABS)
In His resurrection, He brought forth a new humanity, which was an entirely new race, that would bear the image of God. He was the Firstborn of this new race. This is how God works: Christ Jesus came to earth in the midst of a fallen creation, He was unrecognized and rejected by His creation, took all the sin, the corruption, and death upon Himself, suffered a horrible death, and in spite of all of that, He still rose from the grave victorious over all of it. Not only that, but He would be bringing many brothers and sisters with Him. They would be the family of God, of whom He was the firstborn.
“28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” – Romans 8:28-29 (NASB)
The New Humanity
After His resurrection, there was a dramatic change in the way Jesus related to His followers. Prior to His resurrection, the closest term Jesus used to relate to His disciples was “friends,” except for the one time He made a generalized statement about who His mother, brother, and sister were (Matthew 12:46-50). He called them brothers. God was not only His Father, but He was also their Father, and they were His family.
“17 Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” – John 20:17 (NASB)
In 1 Corinthians 15:49, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ became a life-giving spirit. We first see this reality in the gospel of John, when Jesus appears to his disciples. The disciples were gathered together in one place, and the doors were shut when Jesus came and stood in their midst. He told them He was sending them out to the world just as the Father had sent Him, then He breathed the Holy Spirit on them. In that moment, those men became His brothers, and God became their Father (John 20:19-23; Hebrews 2:11). Just as God breathed life into man when He created him, Jesus also breathed new life into the new humanity. But they weren’t the only ones who would become sons of God.
Not long after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven, where He sat down at the right hand of the Father, and sent His Holy Spirit just as He had promised His disciples He would do (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 2:1-4, 2:32-36; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3, 8:1-6, 10:12-14). In Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to those whom Jesus had promised, as they were all gathered together. There was a sound like a mighty rushing wind that filled the place where they were, tongues of fire appeared and rested on each person there. As they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them the ability.
There were Jews from every nation in Jerusalem at the time and they heard the voices of those speaking in different languages, yet they all heard them speaking in their own language. Then one of the disciples stood up and explained things to them with revelation and boldness and approximately three thousand people repented, were baptized, and received the Holy Spirit as well.
But the promise of the Holy Spirit, bringing people into the family of God, the new humanity, through Jesus Christ, wasn’t just for the Jews, nor was it just for other people in those days. This same promise has been extended to you and me, and to all who would receive Christ Jesus.
“12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12 (NASB)
By His life in the Spirit, Jesus has taken all those who would receive Him, from both groups, the Jews and the Gentiles (non-Jews), and placed them into Himself creating one new man. Jesus Christ has broken down the barriers of classes. He has removed the division between races. He has done away with the old humanity. In and through Christ Jesus we have abundant life. We’ve been brought into the family of God as sons and daughters. We have His Spirit within us. We are no longer cut off from the Father as strangers; instead, we are part of His household. As sons and daughters, we are heirs in Christ Jesus to the Father (John 10:10; Romans 6:6-7; Galatians 3:27-28, 4:4-7; Ephesians 2:11-22; Colossians 2:13-15; 3:9-11; 1 John 5:12).
What a Christ!
May we be a people who are called according to The Eternal Purpose of God, in Christ Jesus!