Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 203

From Handbook to God’s Promises


Siblings of the Firstborn
(Romans 8:28–29)

The firstborn male in ancient Israel occupied a privileged family position. He succeeded the father as head of the household and received a double portion of the father’s inheritance. This tradition became even more significant on the night when “the destroyer” (Ex. 12:23) struck down all the firstborn sons and animals of Egypt but spared the Israelite firstborn. From the night of this first Passover, every firstborn male (both human and animal) became consecrated to God (Ex. 13:2; 34:19–20).

Israel, the nation that came from Abraham and Sarah’s firstborn son, Isaac, was considered God’s firstborn among the nations and was entitled to special privileges (including exemption from the massacre described above; Ex. 4:22). Of Jacob and Esau, Isaac’s twin sons, Jacob was the favored one and given the status of the firstborn (see Gen. 27). And read the words Jacob used to describe his son Reuben: “You are my firstborn; my might and the beginning of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power” (Gen. 49:3). Indeed, Paul tells us, Jesus became the firstborn of God’s family (Rom. 8:29).

For believers in Christ, there is a profound statement of purpose bound up in Jesus’ being the firstborn of God: Firstborn, not “only-born” (though Jesus was the “only begotten” Son of God; John 3:16), means that Jesus is the first of many sons and daughters to follow.

God has called us to become brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, as Paul said: Jesus was “the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). Spiritually now, and in some mysterious way for all eternity, every Christian is destined to become Jesus’ brother or sister!

This part of God’s purpose for the believer’s life is a profound revelation. What will it mean to spend eternity with an older brother like the Lord Jesus Christ? The best preparation for such a privilege is to spend as much time with Him now as possible. Who wouldn’t enjoy the security of having an older brother with the strength, honor, and power of Jesus?

God’s Promise:
He has given Jesus to you not only as your Savior, but also as your spiritual sibling.