I. CHRIST BECOMING THE FIRSTBORN SON AND THE LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT AND REGENERATING ALL HIS BELIEVERS TO BE GOD’S CHILDREN, GOD’S SPECIES
Through His glorification in His resurrection Christ became the firstborn Son of God, possessing both divinity and humanity, and became the life-giving Spirit, the pneumatic Christ, and regenerated all His believers to be God’s children, God’s species.
How could Christ, who was the only begotten Son of God from eternity, become the firstborn Son of God? This is a mystery which has not been covered adequately by traditional Christian theology. The firstborn Son of God and the only begotten Son of God are the same one person, but there is nevertheless a difference between the firstborn Son and the only begotten Son. The difference is that the only begotten Son of God has divinity but not humanity, whereas the firstborn Son of God has both divinity and humanity. The only begotten Son of God is God, but the firstborn Son of God is both God and man. When Christ, who is the very God, became a man, He did not set aside His divinity. Rather, He retained His divinity, but, as Philippians 2 indicates, He concealed His divinity within His humanity (vv. 6-7). Through His incarnation He became the God-man, the One who is both the complete God and a perfect man. Before His incarnation He was the only begotten Son of God, and as such He had nothing to do with man. However, when He was incarnated, He became a man, and thus was no longer just God but was both God and man.
According to Romans 1 the gospel of God, the complete gospel preached in the New Testament, concerns the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. This wonderful person has two natures—the divine nature and the human nature, divinity and humanity. Verses 3 and 4 say, "Concerning His Son, who came out of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was designated the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness out of the resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord." According to the flesh He is the seed of David, a descendant of David. The seed of David implies Christ’s human nature. According to the flesh He is a human descendant of David, but according to the Spirit of holiness—that is, according to His divinity—He has been designated to be the Son of God with His humanity as well as with His divinity. The word designated in verse 4 is very significant. Before His incarnation Christ was already the Son of God (John 1:18; Rom. 8:3). By incarnation He put on an element, the human flesh, which had nothing to do with divinity. By resurrection His human nature was sanctified, uplifted, and transformed. Hence, by resurrection He was designated the Son of God with His humanity (Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5). In this way the only begotten Son of God was made the firstborn Son of God, possessing both divinity and humanity. This matter is basic for understanding that the issue of Christ’s glorification is the incorporation of the consummated God with the regenerated believers.
In addition to becoming the firstborn Son of God, Christ became the life-giving Spirit, the pneumatic Christ. Furthermore, in His resurrection He regenerated all His believers to be God’s children, God’s species. In His incarnation He, the very God, became a man, and in His resurrection He regenerated His believers, who are men, and thereby made them the children of God. He was God becoming a man, and now we are men becoming God in life and in nature but not in the Godhead. In this sense, we may say that He was God becoming a man, and now we, who are the children of God, are men becoming gods. The children of God are gods. However, to avoid theological misunderstanding, it may be better to say that as children of God we are God-men in the divine species.
(The Issue of Christ Being Glorified by the Father with the Divine Glory, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)