Romans 1:3-4 The Birth and Resurrection of Christ

Rom 1:3-4
3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

In giving an expanded declaration of the Gospel in Romans, Paul sets out two important factors about it in the very beginning of his letter: the humanity of Christ and the resurrection.

There are several things Paul is not writing about in these verses:

  • the humanity and deity of Christ
  • a proof of the deity of Christ
  • the eternal sonship of Christ
  • Jesus becoming the Christ or the Son of God at the time of His resurrection

These two verses parrallel the birth/rebirth order that Jesus prescribed in John 3 —

John 3:3-7
3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

For us, the whole being is renovated — body, soul, and spirit. We are born sinners in the flesh first. The spirit is born again in righteousness at the time we are saved, but the body will be reborn also at the resurrection. Of course, Christ being sinless, did not need a new birth in the same sense that we do. He did not need a spiritual rebirth. For Christ to be the captain of our salvation, He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh and the flesh was reborn in His resurrection. Christ came in the flesh by way of the incarnation, being made of the seed of David. That was His first birth. His second birth is in view in the resurrection from the dead and as such is the spiritual birth applied to the created part of Him (created only in that He became the God-man). The same Spirit spoken of here will also quicken our mortal bodies.

Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

In the quickening (rebirth, resurrection) of our bodies we will be adopted. This refers to being placed as a son (huiothesia), or the redemption of our bodies. This is the sense that we get not only from Romans 8 but also from Ephesians 1.

Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 1:13-14
13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The sonship described here refers to being resurrected. It is not referring to becoming a child of God which is secured the moment we trust Christ to be our Savior.

Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Christ is also placed as a son. It is not that He became the son of God, but became a son of God. In this sense, Christ was declared to be, or manifested as, a ‘son,’ or resurrected one.

Rom 8:29 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.

Col 1:18 And 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.

1Cor 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Carefully note in Acts 13:32-33 how Christ’s sonship as a resurrected one is indicated.

Acts 13:30-32
30But God raised him from the dead:
31And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
32And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

Heb 2:9-10
9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Jesus was made flesh in order to suffer for us and then resurrected as the captain of our salvation. Salvation is dependent not only on the suffering of Christ, but also on the resurrection. It was not sufficient to have Christ suffer for our sins. In the resurrection He demonstrated His power to conquer death and restore us from the effect of sin.

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