Life-Study of Romansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 1:9 Paul said that he served God in the gospel of His Son. This indicates that we all should serve God in the gospel of Christ. In order to do this, however, we need to know what the gospel is.
The gospel does not simply involve matters such as redemption, forgiveness, justification, reconciliation, cleansing, and regeneration. All these are aspects of God’s salvation. But God’s salvation has a goal, and that goal is sonship. This means that redemption, forgiveness, justification, reconciliation, cleansing, and regeneration are all for the fulfillment of God’s desire to have many sons to be His expression.
God’s eternal intention is that He be expressed through a Body constituted of glorified sons. Originally, God had just one Son, His only begotten Son. But now that the resurrection of Jesus Christ has been accomplished, He has many sons. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, millions of sinners have been made sons of God. This is God’s eternal purpose. Hence, the book of Romans reveals that the goal of the gospel is sonship, the producing of the many sons of God.
The first four verses of Romans are extremely important. In the very first verse Paul says, “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God.” The fact that Romans opens with a word about the gospel of God indicates that the gospel is the subject of this book. The gospel of God is not concerned with religion, doctrine, or forms; moreover, it is not concerned merely with redemption, forgiveness, or justification. As verse 3 makes clear, the gospel of God is concerned with God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. This indicates that the gospel is concerned with sonship. God’s delight, desire, and pleasure are all related to His Son. It is His intention to produce many sons conformed to the pattern, the model, of the Firstborn. Through Him, in Him, and with Him many sons are being produced. Thus, the gospel of God is concerned with this producing of many sons conformed to the image of Christ.
In His incarnation Christ came as the seed of David according to the flesh (1:3). In the Bible the word “flesh” is not a positive word. Nevertheless, the Gospel of John declares that the Word became flesh (1:14). The gospel of God concerns the Son of God who became flesh, who became the seed of a man according to the flesh. In Romans we see that this flesh has been designated the Son of God!
Through this designation the Christ who was already the Son of God before His incarnation became the Son of God in a new way. Before His incarnation, He was the Son of God only with divinity. But now, through His resurrection, He has been designated the Son of God both with divinity and in humanity. If Christ had never put on human nature, there would have been no need for Him to be designated the Son of God, for in His divinity He was already the Son of God, even from eternity.
Romans 8:3 says that God sent His Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin. This indicates that Christ did not have the sinfulness of the flesh; He had only the likeness of the flesh of sin. In this respect, He was like the brass serpent lifted up on a pole in the wilderness (Num. 21:8-9). The brass serpent had the form of a serpent, but it did not have the poisonous nature of a serpent. In the same principle, Christ had the form, the appearance, the likeness, of the flesh of sin, but He did not have the sinful nature of the flesh of sin.
Because Christ, the Son of God, had clothed Himself with the flesh, He needed His human nature to be designated the Son of God in power by resurrection. Death in Adam is terrible. The death of Christ, however, is wonderful. This is because His death terminated all the negative things and opened the way for resurrection. Through resurrection Christ was transfigured and designated the Son of God.
Psalm 2:7 says, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Since Christ was already the Son of God, how could there have been the need for Him to be begotten as the Son of God? Acts 13:33, which quotes from Psalm 2:7, indicates that Christ was begotten as the Son of God on the day of His resurrection. But was He not the Son of God before that day? Certainly He was. Nevertheless, He still needed to be begotten by resurrection because He had put on humanity. As to His divinity, there was no need for Him to be begotten. But as to His humanity, there was the need for this. On the day of His resurrection, Christ’s flesh was uplifted and transfigured into a glorious substance. This is the begetting in power by resurrection. This begetting is also the designation. In this way, Jesus, the Man in the flesh, was begotten and designated the Son of God.
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