Romans 1:4 says that Jesus Christ “was designated the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness out of the resurrection of the dead.” Christ’s divinity and glory as the Son of God were concealed in His flesh. No one had vision that could penetrate through His flesh to see that He was the glorious Son of God. But after He had passed through the process of death and resurrection, He was designated the Son of God, that is, He was marked out and manifested to be the Son of God.
This designation was according to the Spirit of holiness. The Spirit of holiness here is in contrast to the flesh in verse 3, which speaks of Christ as the seed of David according to the flesh. As the flesh in verse 3 refers to the human essence of Christ, so the Spirit in this verse does not refer to the Person of the Holy Spirit of God, but to the divine essence of Christ, which is “the fulness of the Godhead” (Col. 2:9). This divine essence of Christ, being God the Spirit Himself (John 4:24), is of holiness, full of the nature and quality of being holy. Therefore, in the flesh Christ was designated or marked out through resurrection according to this holy and divine essence.
Through His resurrection, Christ became the firstborn Son of God, full of the essence of God’s holiness, not only in His spirit, but also in His body. Before His death and resurrection the holiness of God was in Christ’s spirit, but this holy essence had not been manifested in His flesh. In other words, it had not permeated His flesh. It was through death and resurrection that God’s holy essence saturated the physical body of the Lord Jesus.
Romans 8:29 says, “Because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He should be the firstborn among many brothers.” The fact that verse 29 begins with the word “because” indicates that it is a continuation of verse 28, which says that God causes all things to work together for good. As we shall see, God causes all things to work together for our designation as sons of God.
We have seen that Christ was designated the Son of God according to the divine essence of holiness through the process of death and resurrection. As saved ones, we have the Son of God in our spirit. At the very moment we were saved, He was sown into us. Once again, the Son of God is concealed in humanity, this time in our human life, in our humanity, in our flesh. There is no doubt that the Son of God as the divine essence of holiness is within every believer. But this holy essence is concealed and confined within our natural man. For this reason, God causes all things to work together for good on our behalf. In this way we are processed, that we are transformed metabolically. Our wife or husband, our children, and our environment are all the best for this processing. The Lord Jesus was processed through death and resurrection, and now we are being processed through the working together of all things.
All things are working together to transform us metabolically. Christ as the organic seed, the organic essence, in our spirit must permeate and saturate our whole being. Eventually our humanity will be saturated with this divine essence. This saturation is sanctification and also a type of designation. An organic element is working within us to transform us by permeating and saturating us with the divine essence of holiness, which is actually the Son of God Himself.
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