THE FIRSTBORN AMONG MANY BRETHREN
“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.” (Romans 8:29 NKJV)
Man was created in God’s image, crowned with glory and honour, and made to have dominion over the works of God’s hands.
Psalms 8:4-6 – NKJV
4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.
But when sin set in, man became so distorted, depraved and corrupted that it grieved God to His heart that He had made man on the earth.
Genesis 6:5-8 – NKJV
5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
7 So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Consequently, God destroyed by the flood all living beings from the face of the earth except Noah, his family and some animals. However, as the sons of Noah multiplied, iniquities, wickedness and corruption also multiplied.
Romans 3:10-12 – NKJV
10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
The devastating effects of sin on a man’s spirit, soul and body cannot be washed off, cured or reversed by any man, angel, ritual, institution or religion.
The sacrificial system instituted under the Law given to the nation of Israel through Moses was just a shadow of the good things to come. None of those sacrifices was intended to take away sins or to make sinners righteous, but to cover the people’s sins until the appointed time when God would provide a perfect sacrifice for sins.
Hebrews 10:1-4 – NKJV
1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
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3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
But when the fullness of time came, God presented to mankind His perfect sacrifice for sins and His divine antidote to the poison of sin flowing in man’s veins.
The angels and all the host of heaven rose up and gazed in amazement as Jesus Christ – God’s perfect sacrifice for sins was born in the manger.
After about 30 years of dwelling among us, perfectly revealing God’s true person, nature and character, and teaching and demonstrating to us how God intended us to live and reign on earth, Jesus was offered on the cross as a perfect offering or propitiation for our past, present and future sins.
1 John 4:9-10 – NKJV
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
God has no other sacrifice for sins for anyone who rejects Jesus Christ – God’s perfect sacrifice for sins, who was once for all offered on the cross.
The Scripture warns that “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” (Heb. 10:26-27 NKJV).
Besides God sending Jesus Christ as a perfect Lamb or sacrifice to atone for our sins and deliver us from its terrible consequences, God also sent the Lord Jesus as His firstborn to reveal His true person, nature and character to us and also to model for us how God intended His children to live, reign and operate on the earth(Col. 1:15, Heb. 1:6).
The Scripture amply affirms this truth.
Romans 8:28-30 – NKJV
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.
Colossians 1:13-15 – NKJV
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Hebrews 2:9-12 – NKJV
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
Therefore, it is not enough to just acknowledge or receive Jesus Christ as God’s perfect sacrifice for your sins; you must also acknowledge or receive Him as your Elder Brother and obey, follow and imitate Him in everything as God’s perfect example or model for you.
It is only Jesus’ lifestyle that was well pleasing to God the Father. That is why He has commanded us to obey, follow, and imitate Him.
Matthew 17:1-5 – NKJV
1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
Ephesians 5:1-4 – NKJV
1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Jesus Christ is our perfect example in everything – in love, holiness, humility, longsuffering, self-control, faith, wisdom, power or service. He is God’s perfect standard for us in everything!
There is no other man, living or dead, who is absolutely perfect and worthy to be obeyed, followed and imitated in everything. You are only permitted by God to imitate or follow a spiritual leader as He also imitates or follows the Lord Jesus.
Paul cautions, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1 NKJV).
Therefore, you must be careful not to imitate any man of God when and where he is not obeying, following or imitating the Lord Jesus Christ.
When you became born again through faith in the person and the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, you have become one with Christ in the spirit, wholly conformed to His image in your born-again or recreated spirit.
Paul writes, “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17 NKJV).
“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.” (Rom. 8:29 NKJV).
“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Heb. 2:11 NKJV).
While it is absolutely true that the born-again believers are the brethren of Jesus Christ, having become one with Him in our born-again spirits through the New Birth; however, God wants us to also become wholly conformed to Jesus Christ, our Eldest Brother, in our minds, will, emotions, actions, character or lifestyle.
It is God’s ultimate purpose and expectation for those of us adopted as sons into God’s family through the new birth to grow up to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (Eph. 4:13-15 NKJV).
Beloved, God wants you to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the Firstborn, the Eldest Brother in His family. You are expected to listen to Him, obey Him, follow Him, and walk in His footsteps in everything.
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Jesus Christ is God’s Firstborn sent to be a perfect example or model to all God’s children adopted into God’s family. Therefore, be careful not to follow anyone in God’s family who is not following Christ, the Firstborn.
The Scripture amply admonishes:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philip. 2:5 NKJV).
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” (1 Pet. 2:21 NKJV).
“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:6 NKJV).
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Firstborn in God’s family, is saying to you today, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29 NKJV).
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:15 NKJV).
“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:50 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I receive Christ Jesus today, not just as a perfect sacrifice for my sins, but also as my Eldest Brother – a Perfect Example or Model of all that You want me to be, in Jesus’ name. Amen.