In Genesis we see how Adam failed to express and represent God, but in the New Testament the Lord Jesus as the second man came to fulfill God’s original intention in creating man.
Through His incarnation and God-man living on earth, the Lord Jesus expressed God in everything and He exercised God’s authority to bring in the kingdom of God. Hallelujah!
Now when we preach the gospel, we need to first help people to repent and come back under God’s authority by preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and then they can enjoy God as life and grace.
In the Gospels we can clearly see how God’s original intention is fulfilled through the Lord Jesus, and in Acts the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ is being preached so that God’s image and dominion may be recovered and expressed through the church, the regenerated rebellious sinners.
Today we want to go on and see how in the book of Romans God intends that the believers in Christ would be conformed to the image of Christ, the Firstborn Son of God, so that they may reign in life through Christ (see Rom. 8:29; 5:17).
God has already predestinated and selected us to be His sons – this is settled, there’s nothing we can do about that.
Now, as believers in Christ, God’s intention is to conform us to the image of His firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, by shaping us into His image through the process of regeneration, transformation, and conformation. When we are conformed to the image of God’s Firstborn Son, we express God’s image corporately.
Also, God’s complete salvation is for us to reign in life by the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness. We have been regenerated by God with His divine, kingly, and royal life, and we have the capacity and even responsibility to reign in life over the enemy and his foothold in our being.
May we be those who live under the rule of the divine life inwardly, practice the restriction in the divine life, and receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness so that we may reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
God’s Intention is to Conform All Believers in Christ to the Image of Christ, the Firstborn Son of God
God predestinated us unto sonship, and in time we believed into the Lord Jesus. After being regenerated by God, we are now in the process of being transformed and conformed to the image of Christ, the Firstborn Son of God.
Conformation is the last stage and the result of transformation; transformation is the inward metabolic process by which God is slowly replacing our natural element with His divine element, and conformation is both being changed inwardly in essence and nature and being changed in our outward form so that we would match the glorified image of Christ, the God-man (see Rom. 8:29, footnote 3).
Through His death and resurrection, Christ’s humanity was uplifted into His divinity, and in His resurrection Christ was born as God’s firstborn Son (Acts 13:33) – which means many sons follow.
In Christ’s resurrection He was begotten by God as His Firstborn Son, and we as the many believers in Christ were raised together with Christ in His resurrection to be the many sons of God (1 Pet. 1:3), the many members of the Body of Christ to be God’s corporate expression on the earth (see Rom. 8:29, footnote 4 in the Recovery Version). Hallelujah!
Now after being regenerated with God’s divine life, this life operates in us to change us inwardly, transforming us from sinners into sons of God and from clay into precious stones.
As we cooperate with God’s transforming work, we are being transformed and conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son. Right now, I still have my self-likeness: I look like myself, behave like myself, and speak like myself. But, praise the Lord, I am in the process of being saved from my self-likeness and being conformed to the image of Christ!
We are being saved in life from self-expression and self-likeness to be conformed to the image of Christ, the Firstborn Son of God! This conformation to Christ’s image denotes a shaping of life: God’s life in us is shaping us into the image of Christ.
Conformation is a process in which we are being saved in life from our self-likeness to be conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son for God’s corporate expression (see Rom. 5:10).
Lord Jesus, conform us to Your image in our emotion, mind, and will! We open to the flow of Your life within us. Transform us and conform us to Your image until we look the same as You and even are the same as You. Save us in life from our self-likeness that we may be conformed to Your glorious image to be Your corporate expression on the earth! Father, this is Your intention: do it in us! Conform all believers in Christ to the image of Your Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ!
God’s Complete Salvation is for us to Reign in Life by Receiving Grace and Righteousness
On the one hand, God wants to conform us to the image of His firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, so that we may bear God’s image corporately as the church. On the other hand, God’s complete salvation is for us as believers in Christ to reign in life by receiving the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness (see Rom. 5:17, 21).
Every genuine believer in Christ has received God’s life into his spirit, and this life is kingly, royal, heavenly, and spiritual.
At the time of our regeneration we were redeemed by Christ, reconciled to God, forgiven of our sins, washed by the blood of Christ, justified in Christ, and we were regenerated with Christ’s kingly, royal, heavenly, and spiritual divine life.
Now because of this kingly life within us we are qualified to reign in life as kings. In His complete salvation, God wants us to reign in life by receiving the abundance of grace – which is God Himself as our all-sufficient supply for our organic salvation – and of the gift of righteousness – which is God’s judicial redemption applied to us in a practical way.
We need to receive God’s redemption, apply the precious blood of Christ as we confess our sins, and enjoy the abundance of grace by enjoying God in Christ as the Spirit as our everything. The more we apply the blood of Christ and enjoy Christ in our daily living, the more we are being saved in life to reign in life through Christ.
In our experience, to reign in life is to be under the ruling of the divine life; we need to allow God’s life to rule and reign in us, and we will be qualified to reign in life for God.
All the believers in Christ who have received the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness need to practice the restriction and limitation of the divine life (see Matt. 8:9; 2 Cor. 2:12-14; 5:14).
We need to allow God’s life to restrict us and limit us, listening to the sense of life within, obeying the teaching of the anointing, and checking with the Lord about everything.
On the one hand we enjoy grace and righteousness in abundance, and on the other hand, we enthrone Christ in our being and practice allowing the divine life to limit us. This will save us in life and cause us to reign in life through Christ.
Lord Jesus, we want to be saved in life much more by receiving the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness so that we may reign in life through Christ, the One! Oh Lord, may Your divine life reign in us in all our daily decisions, activities, and situations. Keep us receiving grace and righteousness, and make us those who practice the restriction and limitation of the divine life. Lord, may Your royal and kingly life rule in us and enthrone us as kings with Christ over the enemy in us and around us! Gain Your dominion being expressed through many saints who are saved in life to reign in life through Christ!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my Christian experience, bro. Ron Kangas’ sharing in the message for this week, and portions from, Crystallization-study of the Complete Salvation of God in Romans (msg. 4), as quoted in, the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Genesis (3), week 12 / msg 12, Image and Dominion – the Heart of Genesis (you can buy this morning revival book here).
- Further reading: see ch. 7 in, Salvation in Life in the Book of Romans (by Witness Lee).
- Picture credit for Romans 5:17 and more spiritual quotes via, Christian Pictures Blog.
- Hymns on this topic:
# God’s intention is to have us / All conformed to His dear Son; / Thus a work of transformation / By the Spirit must be done. / Lord, transform us to Thine image / In emotion, mind, and will; / Saturate us with Thy Spirit, / All our being wholly fill. (Hymns #750)
# Through God’s dispensing, abundance of grace, / Christ’s saving life will reign and death displace; / God’s holy nature, our life sanctifies, / His saving life soon, our life glorifies. (Song on Saved in Life to Reign in Life)
# How I love Your reigning life, Lord. / How I love abundant grace. / How I love to have Your presence, / As I live before Your face. / By Your life, Lord, I am reigning. / I am over, over everything. / As I’m joyfully confessing, / Jesus, as my Lord and King. (Song on Reigning in Life)
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