"THE Firstborn" or "The Firstbegotten" is one of the names of our blessed Lord. It is applied to Him after His resurrection from the dead. As the Only Begotten He came into this world, the unspeakable gift of God to a lost and ruined world; after the accomplishment of His work on the cross He left the earth, He had created, as the Firstborn. As the Firstbegotten He is now in the highest heaven and as the Firstbegotten the Man of Glory He will be sent back to this earth and rule in power and glory. Paul wrote to the Philippians "to write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous but for you it is safe" (Philippians 3:1). Peter's preaching in the opening chapters of the Acts might have been called monotonous, for he knew but one theme. The Spirit of God filling him gave but one message and that was, the rejected Jesus of Nazareth risen from the dead. In the Gospel of the Glory of the blessed God (1 Tim. 11), as revealed to the Apostle of the Gentiles we have one theme, one abiding, ever satisfying, eternal object and that is Christ who died for our sins, risen from the dead, as Firstborn in Glory and our blessed union with Him. Paul who knew Him as the Firstborn so well found it not grievous to write the same thing. Indeed the more He knew Him the more His heart cried out "that I may know Him" (Philippians 3:10). There is an attraction in Him which is supernatural. Every child of God will increasingly enjoy the contemplation of this old yet ever new and blessed theme, the Firstborn from the dead. Only in this our hearts can find perfect rest and abiding joy. And if your heart, dear reader, is not attracted and absorbed by Himself, it is because there is a broken communion between you and your Lord. Oh, return unto thy rest, my soul! The drifting masses of Christendom have no use for such a theme. The words written in 2 Cor. 3-4 find a fearful application in our time. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this age hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
How little of the Gospel of the Glory is preached! It is not wanted. All the present day preaching of ethics, of doing good, self improvement and self culture is anti-christian. The preaching which leaves out the cross of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the Glory of Christ, differs not in the least from the ethical-philosophical jumble of Buddhistic and other oriental heathen teachers. It is an awful thing which is done in Christendom today, this rejection of the Lord, the Firstborn. Some day and that soon, God will judge those who have rejected that Gospel and deal with them for the sin of all sins which is unbelief (John 16:9). But our hearts, beloved in the Lord, must turn more and more to Him and find their delight in Him, who is the Firstbegotten. And this we shall do now by meditating on a few Scriptures which tell us of Him. "He is the Firstborn from the dead" (Col. i:18). "Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the Firstbegotten of the dead, and the Prince of the Kings of the earth" (Rev. i:5). What blessed declarations these are! In the first chapter of Colossians it is fully revealed who He is, who was dead and who is alive for evermore. Not a creature but the Creator, the one who images forth God, because He is God. By Him were all things created, "that are in heaven, and that are on earth, visible and invisible, thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him." And such a One made peace through the blood of His cross. Such a One took our place on the cross of shame, tasted death in our stead and all the billows of wrath and judgment passed over His holy head. Because He wrought out our redemption it is complete and perfect. Raised from the dead, not held by death but bursting forth, leading captivity captive, He is the Firstborn and to Him belongs all Glory and Power. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). By His glorious resurrection He became the Firstfruits. All who believe in Him will rise too by virtue of being one with Him, who is the Resurrection and the Life. The mighty power of God which raised Him from the dead and seated Him in the highest place, at His own right hand, that exceeding greatness of His power is towards us, who believe. That power has quickened us with Christ, raised us up together and seated us in the heavenly. In some future day that mighty power, which raised Him so that He became the Firstfruits will raise all the saints to meet Him in the air.
"And again, when He bringeth in the Firstbegotten into the world, He saith, and let all the angels of God worship Him" (Heb. i:6).
God will bring the Firstbegotten back to this earth again. This is a very strong passage revealing the second coming of Christ to this earth. The same blessed Person, who walked on this earth as man, who is Emanuel, God with us, who died on the cross for our sins, who became the Firstbegotten from the dead, the Firstfruits of them that slept, He who is now as Man in Glory, the same Person, the Firstbegotten, will be brought back to this world by the power of God. Then worshipping angels will be His attendants and He will bring His Saints with Him.
"For whom He foreknew, He also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). Conformed to the glorious image of God's ever blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the destiny of all, who have cast themselves as lost sinners upon Christ and have been saved by Grace through faith. It is true even now by beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is true if we abide in Him, we shall walk even as He walked (1 John 6). The exhortation in our great salvation Epistle is, not to be conformed to this age, but to be transformed, or as it might be translated, transfigured (Romans 12:2). But to be fully conformed to the image of His Son is never to be expected in this world, where sin is ever present; When the Firstbegotten calls us into His own presence, when the Heir of God summons His beloved co-heirs to meet Him and to enter with Him into the blood-bought inheritance, then each saved sinner will be conformed to the image of Himself. Each will shine forth the excellencies of the Firstbegotten. We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. Hallelujah! This is why God gave up His Son, that He might be able to lift those who are His enemies by wicked works into the Sonplace and make them like His Son in Glory.
"Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the degree; the Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee" (Ps. ii:6-7). In this prophecy He is likewise seen as the Firstbegotten. It does not mean the eternal Son of God, for as such He had no beginning, but the day in which He was begotten is the third day when He was raised from the dead. Paul gives us this truth when He spoke to the Jews in Antioch and said: "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee" (Acts 13:33). Up to this time He is not yet enthroned upon the holy hill of Zion. When He returns as the Firstbegotten and finds the nations of the earth not converted, but in opposition to Him (Ps. ii:1-3), He will become the King and take His throne.
"Also I will make Him my Firstborn, higher than the Kings of the earth" (Psalm 89:27). This reveals the exalted station, which He will assume, when His blessed feet touch this earth again. He will be the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.
This is the Glory of the Firstborn, the loving Sinbearer who endured the cross and despised the shame. He is the Heir of God, the Heir of all things, the Head of all principality and power, the Head of His redeemed people, the church. He that filleth all in all, the Firstborn, will share His glorious title and possessions with His redeemed. The church to which God's marvelous Grace has brought us is the church of the Firstborn. (Hebrews 12:23), because the Firstborn is the Head and beginning and those who are begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead have their portion with the Firstborn. Oh! glorious future we have as His redeemed people! God our Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Thy Holy Spirit, keep the Glory of Thy Son, the Firstborn, before our hearts, that we may be changed into the same image and overcome in these dark and evil days. Amen.
Soon shall our eyes behold Thee