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A. The verb summorphoo (summorfoVw) is composed of the following:
1. Preposition sun (sun), “together with.”
2. Verb morphoo (morfovw), “to take on the character of something or someone.”
B. It has the following cognates:
1. Morphe (morfhv) (noun), “essence, nature, character, form, external appearance, shape.”
2. Summorphos (suVmmorfo$ ) (adjective), “being conformed, having the same form.”
3. Summorphizo (summorfiVzw) (verb), “to be conformed to, to take on the same form as.”
4. (verb), “to take on the same form.”
5. Metamorphoo (metamorfoVw) (verb), “to be transformed, to be renovated, to be transfigured, to be
changed in form.”
6. Morphosis (moVrfwsi$ ) (noun), “form, appearance, semblance, embodiment, outward form.”
7. Morphoo (morfoVw) (verb), “to take on form, to be formed, to shape, to fashion.”
C. Comparative Cognate Usages
1. The morphoo word group appears often in the Greek New Testament to describe the deity of Christ and His
identification with all of humanity, which was accomplished by means of the virgin birth and subsequent
2. It is also used in relation to church age believer identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.
3. The noun morphe was used twice in Philippians 2:6-7 to describe the Lord Jesus Christ’s divine essence in
His pre-incarnate state, Philippians 2:6, “Who (Christ Jesus) although existing from eternity past in the
essence (morphe) of God, never regarded existing equally in essence with God an exploitable asset.”
4. It was employed in Philippians 2:7 to describe the Son of God’s identification with humanity through the
incarnation, “On the contrary, He voluntarily denied Himself of the independent function of His deity
by having assumed the essence (morphe) of a slave when He was born in the likeness of men.”
5. The adjective summorphos appears in 2 comparative passages:
a. Romans 8:29, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined {to become} conformed
(summorphos) to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
b. Philippians 3:17, “who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity (summoprhos)
with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to
6. The verb morphoo appears in another comparative passage in Galatians 4:19, “My children, with whom I
am again in labor until Christ is formed (morphoo) in you.”
D. Classical and LXX Usage of the Preposition Sun
1. The etymology of the preposition sun is obscure and means “together.”
2. It expresses togetherness or coming together (from the very first with a sociative dative).
3. In Homer sun with the dative is easily the most common word for “with.”
4. In the older dialects, including the literarily important Ionic and Aeolic, sun was again the normal word for
5. These dialects underlay poetic usage right up to later antiquity.
6. Sun means “with” in the sense of a close fellowship, of assistance and support.
7. Xenophon stands out in Attic prose on account of his preference for sun.
8. In the Attic Greek sun is very common.
9. In the Ptolemaic papyri, which are significant for the background of LXX usage, sun clearly predominates
in every aspect and perhaps Ionic influence was normative here.
10. With the gradual disappearance of the dative, which was so firmly attached to sun, this preposition
dwindles more and more in the post-Christian age.
11. In the Koine we often find compound verbs, noun and adjectives in sun- where classical Greek has the
simple form.
12. There are many such instances in the Greek papyri.
13. In the LXX sun is often used like kai and can represent the Hebrew copula w).
E. NT Usage of the Preposition Sun
1. The NT usage corresponds to that of the koine at an average level of culture.
2. Sun is more common in Lukan and Pauline writings.
3. More than half the NT instances of sun are in Luke and with few exceptions Paul has the rest.
2007 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
If compounds in sun- are counted as well, the position of sun is stronger still.
This is even more significant in view of the fact that of all NT compounds those in sun- are the most
Paul gives the preposition sun great theological importance in his writings.
The basic meaning of sun with the sociative dative is “with,” and the term has a personal character.
It denotes the totality of persons who are together, or who come together, or who accompany one another,
or who work together, sharing a common task or a common destiny, aiding and supporting one another.
It can also denote sharing things or their possession, which brings into a connection with the owner.
The word sun is also used with reference to the things, which a man uses, with which he is equipped, or
with reference to the accompanying circumstances of an event or action.
The personal structure of the preposition is so strong that the things mentioned almost seem to be
personified (Homer Iliad 5, 219).
Intellectual qualities and spiritual passions proper to a man are expressed by sun (Homer Odyssey 24, 193).
Accompanying circumstances and connections, and the results connected with events, are also denoted by
sun (Homer Iliad 17, 57).
The prepositional phrase sun Christo enshrines the content of the Christian confidence of eternal being with
Christ (1 Th. 4:14, 17; 5:10; Phlp. 1:23; 2 Co. 4:14; R. 8:32; Col. 3:4).
It is grounded in Christ’s death for us and embraces the whole existence of the Christian after salvation (R.
6:8; Col. 2:13, 20; 2 Co. 13:4; Col. 3:3).
This prepositional phrase occurs 12 times in Paul and in 1 Th. 4:13-5:11, Paul makes a 2-fold statement:
God through Jesus Christ awakens the dead from the sleep of death (v. 16b) and sets them with the living in
the train of Christ when He is manifested at the rapture (parousia) (v. 14).
Sun auto (v. 14) means “together with Him,” thus the believer shares in His life and glory and victory.
Primarily this again means participation in His life and glory and victory, and it can embrace fellowship
with Him (2 Th. 2:1).
As the risen Lord the Christ who died for men has dominion over them and a claim upon them, so that
salvation is fulfilled in fellowship with Him.
The prepositional phrase sun Christo is employed in R. 6:8.
The dying with Christ in retroactive positional truth is grounded in His substitutionary spiritual death for us
and it takes effect as appropriation in the renunciation of the function of the old sin nature (R. 6:13 f; 7:6;
Posited with it is eternal life with Christ.
Romans 6:8 links dying with Christ indissolubly to Christ’s death by putting the latter in a conditional
clause and then stating the former as a deduction from it.
In Romans 5:12-21 the basis of the sun Christo in the substitutionary event of the death and resurrection of
Christ which establishes the parallelism as seen from the standpoint that Christ is the 2nd Adam.
The working out of the parallelism culminates in Romans 8:32.
The offering for us all by Christ is the basis of the “with Him.”
In fellowship with Him the Christian shares in the victory, dominion, and glory of Christ.
“With Him” the universe is the Christian’s.
Colossians 2:13 tells us that in baptism men who were dead in their sins are made alive with Christ by the
remission granted to them and in the next verse this event is based on the voluntary substitutionary spiritual
death of Christ.
It is true that Colossians 2:13 does not refer to dying with Christ as R. 6:8 does, but rather it refers to being
dead without Christ.
The decisive point is that being dead without Christ denotes the state of being under the dominion of
demonic and astral powers from which Christians die with Christ.
Colossians 2:13, 20 the sun Christo denotes the new existence of Christians and Colossians 3:3 denotes the
new existence of the Christian is his life with Christ.
Like Christ’s life, this is hidden in the essence of God.
This life is a Christ-life-Christ is called he zoe hemon (3:4 cf. Phlp. 1:21; Gl. 2:20).
The process entailed hereby is expressed by Paul in a series of compounds in sun-, 14 in all:
a. Sunapothnesko, “to die together”
b. Sustauroo, “to crucify with, together”
c. Sunthapto, “to bury with, together, at the same time”
d. Sumphutos, “to grow together”
2007 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
e. Sunegeiro, “to assist someone in getting up”
f. Suzao, “to live together with someone”
g. Suzoopoieo, “to make alive together with”
h. Sumpascho, “to suffer with”
i. Sundoxazo, “to glorify with”
j. Sunkleronomos, “co-heir”
k. Summorphos, “having the same form as”
l. Summorphizo, “to confer the same form”
m. Sumbasileuo, “to rule together, with”
n. Sunkathizo, “to set someone with someone”
F. Classical, LXX and NT Usage of the Verb Morphoo
1. The verb morphoo in classical Greek literature meant “to form, fashion,” and was used of artists who shape
their material into an image, especially an idol.
2. It was used especially of the creator of the world who gives specific form to matter.
3. Other related words to morphoo stress the outward appearance rather than the inward essence or nature of
something or someone.
4. This sense of “outward appearance” for morphoo does not occur in the Greek NT Testament.
5. The verb morphoo does not appear in the LXX and only appears once in the NT (Gl. 4:19).
6. In Galatians 4:19 a Christian is here depicted in terms of birth, and the goal is the fashioning of Christ in
7. Christ lives in Christians according to Paul (Gl. 2:20; R. 8:10; 2 Co. 13:3, 5; Col. 1:27; 3:11).
8. He dwells in their kardia, “heart, right lobe of the soul” (Eph. 3:17).
9. In order that this Christ-life may come into being in believers, Christ must take form in them.
10. He must in some sense be incarnate afresh in each individual.
11. The nerve of this metaphor, which is based on the development of the fetus in the mother’s womb, is that
Christ should come to full growth, to maturity, in the Christian.
12. This process is ultimately completed at the resurrection of the church.
G. Classical Usage of the Noun Morphe
1. We noted the cognate noun of morphoo in the kenosis passage in Philippians 2:6-7.
2. The cognate noun morphe occurs twice in Homer where it refers to comeliness or shapeliness of words
(Od. II, 367; Od. 8, 170).
3. It became common in later on in classical literature.
4. The word in general meant “form, fashion, external or outward appearance.”
5. It also could mean “gesticulations, complexion, kind, sort.”
6. Georg Braumann makes the following excellent comment on the word’s usage in classical literature, he
writes, “Morphe is instanced form Homer onwards and means form in the sense of outward appearance.
Aeschylus speaks of seeing neither voice nor form of man (PV, 21 f.). It can also mean the embodiment of
the form, the person in so far as it comes into view. ‘The spirit of misfortune...has robbed me in sending to
me dust and a vain shade instead of your most loved form’ (Soph., El., 1156 ff.). Greek philosophy was
concerned with the question of matter and form. Plato presents Socrates as saying that an exact description
of the nature of the soul will enable us to see ‘whether she be single and the same, or, like the morphe of
the soul’ (Phdr., 271; cf. 103, 104). Aristotle worked out a more precise set of concepts. He
distinguished matter (hule) from form (morphe, also eidos). Matter has within itself a great number of
possibilities for becoming a form and thus becoming manifest as a form. See further Aristotle, Met. 990b,
9; 1029a, 29; 1057b, 7; Phys., 187a, 18; Cat. 2b, 7. These concepts do not imply that form and matter
are separable like husk and kernel. Rather they represent different principles and ways of looking at the
same object. The outward appearance cannot be detached from the essence of the thing. The essence of
the thing is indicated by its outward form. Similarly, morphosis means embodiment, receiving form;
summorphos having the same form; summorphizomai and summorphoomai to take on the same form; and
metamorphoomai to be transformed (cf. Arndt, 513, 530, 786). Of special interest is the use of the word
in the literature of gnosticism and the Hellenistic mystery religions. In the first instance, these texts are not
to be compared with the accounts of the appearance of the gods in various forms (e.g. Jupiter in mortal
form, specie mortali, Ovid, Metamorphoses, 8, 262). For it is not so much the question of the
transformation of the deity into human form (though cf. Phil. 2:6), but that of men into divine form. It is
not merely the external appearance that is changed. Rather, the change of the morphe involves a change of
essential character. According to Pistis Sophia, c. 66, one of the emanations changed itself into the form of
2007 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
a great serpent, whilst another changed itself into the form of a basilisk. The meaning of external
appearance can even recede behind that of essential character. There is a place where there is neither man
nor woman nor even forms, but a perpetual ineffable light (Pistis Sophia, c. 143). ‘All the very mournful
form he [Uriel] will lead to judgment’ (Sibylline Oracles, 2, 230). The external appearance is undoubtedly
meant not as an antithesis to the essential character, but as the expression of it. Thus the Hellenistic
mystery religions contain a great number of stories about transformations. The initiate is transformed by
dedication and rites into divine substances and so is deified. ‘I passed into an immortal body, and now I
am not what I was before but am born again in nous [mind]’ (Corp. Herm., 13, 3). The whole man is
affected and not just a part or something in him” (The New International Dictionary of New Testament
Theology, volume 1, page 705).
7. Behm commenting on the word’s classical usage in relation to schema and eidos, writes, “Eidos denotes
the appearance of the kind, what is common to the individuals, while morphe is the individual form of
appearance. To eidos clings the idea of what may be perceived and known by others, but morphe indicates
what is objectively there. Morphe differs from schema inasmuch as it indicates the individual appearance
as it is, while schema refers to its outward representation. Morphe is the whole (of the body etc.) in and
for itself, while schema is what belongs or has ref. to the whole (form, outward characteristics, manner of
appearance etc.)” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, volume IV, pages 743-744).
8. Morphe has no unequivocal and definite sense in Greek philosophy.
9. Parmenides, the first to use it, speaks of light and darkness as two forms of being.
10. Morphe is a concept of pure form.
11. Phaedrus distinguishes morphe as the characteristic or distinctive form.
12. Plato did not use the word much and used it as an equivalent to eidos or idea for external appearance.
13. The word acquires a fixed meaning in the writings of Aristotle and occupies a central place in his structure.
14. Behm makes the following excellent comment on Aristotle’s usage of morphe, he writes, “In Aristotle
morphe acquires a fixed meaning, and it occupies a central place in his structure. The four principles of all
being (form or nature, matter, moving cause and end) may be reduced finally to two, form (morphe,
eidos) and matter (hule, to hupokeimenon, Phys. I, 7, p. 190b, 20: gignetai pan ek te tou hupokeimenou
kai tes morphes. Morphe and eidos, which often occur together (e.g., An. II, 1, p. 412a, 8; II, 2, p. 414a,
9; Metaph., IV, 8, p. 1017b, 25f.; IX, 1, p. 1052a, 22 f.), are interchangeable concepts for ‘form,’
i.e., that which may be perceived, but which is real only by reference to that which in some way shapes it,
the fulfillment of the possibility of form which matter has within it. As being (to ti esti), cause (to hothen
he kinesis) and end (to ou eneka) find their unity in form (Phys. II, 7, p. 198a, 25 ff. etc.), so essence (to
ti hen einai=ousia) and form are related, Gen. Corr., II, 9, p. 335b, 35; the point is to grasp through
eidos that in a thing which it really was. So, too, are nature (phusis) and form (Phys. II, 1, p. 193a, 28
ff.; II, 8, p. 199a, 30 f.). Finally, there is unity between form and matter, Metaphys., VII, 6, p. 1045b,
15. Behm summarizing morphe’s usage in classical literature, writes, “In sum, it may be seen from the majority
of instances that in all its many nuances morphe represents something which may be perceived by the
senses, and that it does so strictly, not even touching lightly the concept of being or appearance”
(Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, volume IV, pages 745-746).
16. The idea that the deity has form and appears in visible form to man, is found in Greek religion, especially
where there is a dominant belief in sensual divine revelation, in the epiphany of suprahuman beings.
17. In Homer the gods walk on earth in their own or other forms and play a personal part in the affairs of men
(Iliad, 21, 285; 2, 58).
18. A feature of myth is that the gods continually take and change forms such as Aphrodite, Demeter, and
19. In the speculative Gnostic view the thought of the morphe theou recurs in Hermes mysticism.
20. The popular belief that the gods have figures, once established by Homer persisted and was nourished by
myth and the cults but philosophical criticism also produced skepticism.
21. But on the whole the divine form as a concrete phenomenon though challenged or sublimated in
philosophy, remains current in Hellenistic and Greek thought.
H. LXX Usage of the Noun Morphe
1. Morphe occurs only rarely in the Greek translations of the OT.
2. Altogether it appears 9 times for various Hebrew or Aramaic words such as temunah (Job 4:16, of physical
form), tabnit (Isa. 44:13), selem (Dan. 3:19).
2007 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
The LXX never employs morphe in reference to the form of God; not even in its recounting of the Lord
Jesus Christ’s theophanies or in anthropomorphic terms.
4. NT Usage of the Noun Morphe
I. Morphe appears only 3 times in the NT (Mark 16:12; Phil. 2:6-7).
1. The noun morphosis is found twice (Rom. 2:20; 2 Tim. 3:5).
2. Morphe is only used in the NT with reference to our Lord.
3. In Mark 16:12, morphe was used for a post-resurrection appearance of our Lord.
4. Morphe is used in 2 antithetical or contrasting statements in verses 6 and 7.
5. In verse 6, the word is used as an expression for the function or expression of our Lord’s divine attributes
in His pre-incarnate, incarnate and glorified states with the latter continuing up to the present.
6. In verse 7, it is used with reference to God the Son adding to His divine essence, the essence of a servant.
J. Philippians 2:6 Usage of the Noun Morphe
1. Morphe refers to the expression of our Lord’s divine attributes, which compose His divine essence.
2. Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines essence, “the properties or attributes by means of
which something can be placed in its proper class or identified as being what it is.”
3. They also define attribute, “an inherent characteristic.”
4. Morphe denotes the expression of the inherent characteristics of deity in the Person of the Theanthropos,
the Lord Jesus Christ in hypostatic union.
5. Vine quoting Gifford, writes, “morphe is therefore properly the nature or essence, not in the abstract, but
as actually subsisting in the individual, and retained as long as the individual exists” (Vine’s Expository
Dictionary of New Testament Words Unabridged Edition, page 463).
6. Vincent gives an excellent definition of morphe in our passage, he writes, “We must dismiss from our
minds the idea of shape. The word is used in its philosophical sense, to denote that expression of being
which carries in itself the distinctive nature and character of being to whom it pertains, and is thus
permanently identified with that nature and character. Thus it is distinguished from schema fashion,
comprising that which appeals to the senses and which is changeable. Morphe is identified with the
essence of a person or thing” (Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, volume III, page 431).
7. Wuest makes the following comment, he writes “Our Lord was in the form of God. The word ‘God is
without the definite article in the Greek text, and therefore refers to the divine essence. Thus, our Lord’s
outward expression of His inmost being was as to its nature the expression of the divine essence of Deity.
Since that outward expression which this word ‘form’ speaks of, comes from and is truly representative of
the inward being, it follows that our Lord as to His nature is the possessor of the divine essence Deity, and
being that, it also necessarily follows that He is absolute Deity Himself, a co-participant with God the
Father and God the Holy Spirit in that divine essence which constitutes God, God” (Word Studies in the
Greek New Testament, volume II, page 63).
8. Trench commenting on the word’s usage in our passage, writes, “The form of God is not His divine nature,
although He who exists in the form of God is God. This is true because morphe signifies the form as it
expresses the inner life-not ‘being’ but ‘mode of being,’ or better ‘mode of existence,’ and only God could
have the mode of existence of God” (Synonyms of the New Testament, page 276).
9. Webster’s Unabridged Universal Dictionary defines mode as “the manner of acting or doing; method; way;
the natural disposition or the manner of existence or action of anything; form.”
10. Morphe refers to the expression of our Lord’s divine attributes in His pre-incarnate, incarnate and glorified
K. Classical and LXX Usage of the Compound Verb Summorphoo
1. The compound verb summorphizomai and summorphoomai meant “to take on the same form or
characteristics of someone or something.”
2. Thus the Hellenistic mystery religions contain a great number of stories about transformations.
3. The initiate is transformed by dedication and rites into divine substances and so is deified.
4. “I passed into an immortal body, and not I am not what I was before but am born again in nous, “mind”
(Corp. Herm. 13, 3).
5. The whole man is affected and not just a part or something in him.
6. The verb summorphoo does not appear in the LXX.
L. Philippians 3:10 Usage
1. As we have noted the compound verb summorphoo appears only once in the Greek New Testament (Phlp.
2007 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
Bauer, Gingrich and Danker define it, “grant or invest with the same form pass., be conformed to, to take
on the same form as, the form that he (Christ) took on through His death” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the
New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature page 778).
The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, “pres. Pass. Part., to bring to the same form with some other
pers. Or thing, to render like” (page 596).
Louw and Nida state that summorphizomai means “to come to be similar in form to something else – ‘to
share in having the likeness of, to take on the same form as, to become like.’ Summorphizomenos to
thanato autou, ‘to come to be similar in form to him in His death’ Phlp. 3:10. In some languages a more
appropriate equivalent of this expression in Phlp. 3:10 may be ‘to come to be like him in His death’ or ‘to
die in a manner similar to His death’” (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic
Domains, volume 2, page 586).
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words Unabridged Addition, “to make of like form with
another person or thing, to render like (sun, with, morphe, a form), is found in Phil. 3:10 (in the passive
participle of the verb), ‘becoming conformed’ (or ‘growing into conformity’) to the death of Christ,
indicating the practical apprehension of the death of the carnal self, and fulfilling his share of the sufferings
following upon the sufferings of Christ” (page 229).
Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, “[Being made conformable] [summorfizomenos].
Explaining the previous clause: "by my becoming conformed," etc. The English Revised Version (1885):
"becoming conformed." Compare (2 Cor. 4:10; Rom. 6:5). For "conformed" see the note at (Matt. 17:2),
and on "form," (Phil 2:6). The most radical conformity is thus indicated: not merely undergoing physical
death like Christ, but conformity to the spirit and temper, the meekness and submissiveness of Christ; to
His unselfish love and devotion, and His anguish over human sin” (Volume 3, Epistles of Paul, page 443).
This word does not merely undergoing physical death but rather becoming like Christ Who demonstrated
the perfect character and integrity of God on the cross of Calvary 2000 years ago.
It refers to becoming like Christ when He voluntarily, self-sacrificially died a substitutionary spiritual death
on the cross in order to serve both the Father by providing salvation for all humanity.
The participle summophrizomenos refers to having the same character and integrity, which the Lord Jesus
Christ displayed on the cross of Calvary 2000 years ago.
It refers to possessing the same attitude of humility that the humanity of Christ exhibited when He
voluntarily and self-sacrificially went to the cross to serve the Father by providing salvation for all of
The thought is not that of a way of becoming like in the sense that the apostle might through martyrdom
become like Jesus on the cross.
Rather the apostle in his sufferings sees the death of Christ becoming a reality in his own death.
The death of Christ acquires a morphe, “essence, character” in the death of the apostle.
The death of Jesus is not simply a historical datum of the past for Paul but rather a present event.
Nevertheless, here too Paul and Christ remain 2 separate and distinct personalities.
The words in sun-, which we have noted, point everywhere to fashioning in accordance with the Christ
The context in which the saying occurs speaks of the new eschatological creation in which Christ is God’s
image and which reaches its goal when believers are made conformable to the likeness of Christ (Col. 3:9 f;
Eph. 4:24).
This fashioning is the redemption of the body and glorification.
It is thus the end of the process, which begins with calling and justification.
United with Christ, man acquires a share in what Christ is and is thus made like Him, so that God’s purpose
as Creator attains its goal.
That this includes a transformation of the being of man may be seen from Philippians 3:21.
Summorphron refers to the physical body and it corresponds to metaschematisei.
Christ will change the body, i.e., man in his whole existence.
Man is subject to death (R. 7:24), is without doxa (R. 3:23), and is thus far from Christ in his earthly
existence (2 Co. 5:6-8).
By the character transformation man acquires in his corporeality the same form or physical character as that
of Christ’s resurrection body.
This is again based on the union of those who have confidence with Christ (Phlp. 3:10).
It is made possible by His power and His power manifests itself in the life of the believer when he
appropriates the Christ-life, which is eternal life.
2007 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
28. By this character transformation the believer is made conformable to the image of God’s Son, i.e. the
believer becomes like Him (R. 8:29).
29. The transformation of the body will take place at the resurrection of the church, but the transformation of
the believer’s thought process is to take place in time prior to the rapture (Rm. 12:2).
30. This is experiential sanctification, which is a process that takes place in the believer who is in fellowship
and is affected by the Word and the Spirit.
31. This process is designed to form Christ-like character in the believer, which is achieved by the believer
who applies the mind of Christ.
32. The application of the mind of Christ is tantamount to appropriating eternal life (Jo. 6:63).
33. This application of the Word of God enables the Holy Spirit to form Christ-like character in the believer
(Ga. 5:22-23), and thus identifying him with Christ in His death and resurrection experientially (Rm. 6:411).
34. This character transformation in the believer is based upon summorphizomenos to thanato autou (Phlp.
35. Christ-like character is formed in the believer by means of the life, integrity and the power made available
to him through the death of Christ, which eradicated the power of the old Adamic-nature and provided the
power of the new Christ-nature.
36. This character transformation involves the renunciation of the believer’s pre-salvation unregenerate
Adamic-life and the appropriation of the post-salvation regenerate Christ-life, i.e. eternal life.
37. Acquiring Christ-like character after salvation prior to the rapture is based on the believer’s union with
Christ through the Baptism of the Spirit, which occurs at the moment of salvation and identifies the
believer positionally with Christ in His death and resurrection.
38. It also is based upon regeneration that also takes place at the moment of salvation and provides the believer
with very life of Christ, which is eternal life.
39. In order for the believer to be identified with Christ in His death and resurrection, he must renounce his
pre-salvation unregenerate Adamic-life and appropriate the post-salvation regenerate Christ-life, which
produces Christ-like character and integrity in the believer.
40. This renunciation is tantamount to appropriating that which is true positionally, that when Christ died, the
believer died and consequently, when Christ rose from the dead, the believer rose from the dead.
41. Paul wants the life of Christ to become a reality in his life and does not want to wait till the resurrection of
the church to experience eternal life.
42. He wants to appropriate that which is true in positional sanctification in order to experience the life of
Christ which is eternal life.
43. The believer truly has fellowship with Christ and the other members of the Trinity when he appropriates
positional truth and thus makes it an experience after salvation.
44. The union of the unregenerate individual with the corporate person of the 1st Adam is effected by physical
birth, while the union with Christ is brought about by the 2nd birth (Regeneration) and the Baptism of the
Spirit (Ga. 3:26-28).
45. Whereas the crucifixion of Jesus points beyond itself to the men for whom it takes place, the baptism of the
Spirit leads us back to this beginning and unites the believer with the Christ for us.
46. For Paul baptism is acknowledgement of the proclaimed dominion of Jesus Christ which He gained in the
cross and resurrection.
47. The personal link between Christ and those He represents is an act of substitution.
48. The Christ who died for all men has won them to Himself by blotting out their sins and reconciling them to
God (Rm. 5:6-10; 2 Co. 5:14-21).
49. He takes them upon into His death.
50. In baptism they are appropriated to Him, and this in such a way that they are united or identified with His
death which He died for sin (R. 6:10), and which is their reconciliation with God (R. 5:10, 11; 6:3).
51. This lays them under obligation to renounce the function of the sin nature in their life.
52. Thus they are united with Christ and are also dead to the function of the sin nature which resides in the
genetic structure of the physical body (R. 6:6).
53. Thus they are united or identified with Christ and are also dead to the function of the sin nature (R. 6:2).
54. The form of the death of Jesus is the cross, which Paul views as the curse on sin (G. 3:13).
55. Paul himself is dead to the function of his sin nature through what the Law says, which brings to light and
puts the sin nature under sentence of death (G. 2:19).
56. The curse of the Law has been fulfilled for him with Christ for he has been crucified with Christ (G. 3:13).
2007 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
57. The goal of the crucifixion with Christ is that the human body which is ruled by the sin nature should be
destroyed, its power over the individual destroyed.
58. The result of regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit is thus the renewal of life as a process of
appropriating the new life (i.e. eternal life) that is no longer ruled by sin and does not only refer to the
consummation of eternal being with Christ (Phlp. 3:21; 2 C. 4:14).
59. So the circumstantial participle of manner summorphizomenos explains the manner to be adopted in order
to come to know Christ experientially and the power from His resurrection and the participation in His
sufferings and should be translated, “by my becoming like.”
60. Here this compound verb means to become like Christ, Who in order to serve both God and man
voluntarily, self-sacrificially died a substitutionary spiritual death on the cross.
61. It means to become like Christ in regards to humility, self-sacrifice, unselfishness, dedication and devotion
to the execution of the Father’s plan.
62. Summorphizemons means to adopt the same unselfish, self-sacrificial mental attitude that the impeccable
humanity of Christ in hypostatic union displayed when He died a voluntary substitutionary spiritual death
on the cross of Calvary in order to serve both the Father by providing salvation for all mankind.
63. It point back to Philippians 2:5-8, “Everyone keep on thinking this (humility) within yourselves, which
was also in the mind of Christ Jesus, Who (Christ Jesus) although existing from eternity past in the
essence (morphe) of God, never regarded existing equally in essence with God an exploitable asset.
On the contrary He denied Himself the independent function of His deity by having assumed the
essence of a slave when He was born in the likeness of men. In fact, although He was discovered in
outward appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by having entered into obedience to the point of
spiritual death, even death on a cross.”
2007 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries