Anglican Morning Devotion for 3 February 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. 28My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. 29His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.” (Psalms 89:27-29)
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:12-18; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
I have written before of the order of descent of the first and second born child. In the biblical and cultural context of Israel, the distinction between the firstborn, and succeeding children born to a father, are profound. Adam was the first man – not born, but created. He is the federal head of all creatures of the flesh. By the sin of Adam came death upon all living. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the second Adam (man) by whom all who are born into life eternal are begotten by means of adoption into the family of God. We will discuss that point more later.
Eve gave birth first to Cain – a man of sin – and then righteous Abel. By legal right, the blessing favors the firstborn, but in the realm of the spiritual, we find the second son to be the one favored by God. Abraham had two sons – the firstborn was Ishmael, the second-born, Isaac. Ishmael was not the child of promise. He was born contrary to the promise of God and, therefore, discounted as an heir of the promise. “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2)
Isaac had two sons – Esau and Jacob. Esau was carnal and irreverent. He traded his birthright away lightly for a bowl of red porridge. Jacob was the one upon whom the blessing of the father fell. The Old Testament Church provided the line of descent for the promises of God through the second son: “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32)
Interesting precision in this statement “But as touching the resurrection.” We of faith, in our first estate under the fallen blood of Adam, perish; but when born anew in Christ, we are new creatures in the adoption and election of God.
Now, as stated earlier, let us examine the “second man, Adam.” This was the Son of righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ. “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Cor 15:44-49)
We are born into this world with the likeness of our fleshly father, Adam. We are born anew into the spiritual likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord, like Isaac (born miraculously by the Promise of God), was raised as the firstborn of God the Father in the resurrection. “For whom he did foreknow, 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) This refers to the Lord as the firstborn of all who inherit eternal life in Christ, not the first man, Adam, by whom many remain lost to the tender mercies of God. (see also Colossians 1:12-23, Hebrews 12:23, & Revelations 1:5 for further distinction). We all of faith have been reborn into newness of life as the adopted of the Lord.