PRESERVING OUR REDEMPTION
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Used by permission.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
The goal of the Christian salvation is the redemption of our mortal body, that is, the filling of it with the Holy Spirit that presently dwells in us.
At what point in early church history the goal of redemption became that of dwelling forever in Heaven, reclining in a mansion, I do not know. But the Scripture is clear that our goal is immortality in our body.
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7)
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." (I Corinthians 53,54)
The passage above is of great significance. When we receive Christ we have a portion of eternal life. But it is not until our body is made alive by the Spirit of God that the saying is true, "Death is swallowed up in victory."
This is not the only passage that shows the New Testament does not consider us to be alive until the Lord comes and redeems our body.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (I Corinthians 15:22,23)
Can you see from the above that the emphasis in Christian teaching ought to be on the redemption of our body at the coming of the Lord, instead of placing the emphasis on when we "accept Christ"?
The New Testament does not consider us to be "alive" until our body has been clothed with the Holy Spirit.
The "rapture" as it is taught neither is a resurrection nor a redemption of the body. It is a totally false teaching that Satan uses to minimize the need for victorious Christian living, placing the emphasis, rather, on an escape to Heaven so we will not be bothered by Antichrist or the Great Tribulation.
The teaching of the rapture of the Church to Heaven, whether before or after the Tribulation, should be regarded as a major Christian heresy. Every sincere Christian should renounce it firmly.
But it (grace) has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (II Timothy 10)
"Life" has to do with the Divine Life of Christ, which always should be increasing in our personality. "Immortality" is referring to the overcoming of the last enemy, physical death.
The Apostle Paul spoke quite a bit about attaining to the redemption of the body.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)
Can you see from the above that we are not adopted to sonship until our body has been redeemed?
If our goal is eternal residence in Heaven, we obviously are not going to be concerned with the redemption of our body. We will not need our body when we get to Heaven.
Notice the following verse:
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:23)
The Holy Spirit presently is dwelling in our personality. But our body is dead because of the sin that dwells in it. However, God has promised that He will give life to our mortal bodies.
The Spirit that we have now is a down payment on the fullness of redemption, which is the clothing of our resurrected body in the Day of the Lord.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13,14)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12)
We do not owe it to our flesh that we should obey its lusts. It is spiritually dead because of the sin dwelling in it. But the Spirit that has been given to us as a guarantee of the redemption to come is alive; and our task is to sow to the Holy Spirit rather than to our spiritually dead flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)
How do we put to death the actions of our sinful nature? Remember, these are spirits that dwell in our flesh. As we confess and renounce them, and then through Christ refuse to yield to them, they lose their strength.
If we have been faithful in confessing and renouncing our sins, the Lord, when He returns, will cleanse us from all these forces that prompt us to sin.
The verse above is of great importance. It is advising us Christians that if we choose to live in the desires of our flesh we will die. This means that when the Lord comes and raises our body, our body will not be made alive. We shall have slain our own redemption.
There are two parts to the resurrection from the dead. The first part is the animating of our body so that it once more can stand upon its feet. This is not done by the Holy Spirit, necessarily, but by the power of Christ that animates the creation, including the angels. Such is my understanding at this time.
The second part has to do with the clothing of the animated body. If we have lived a godly life, overcoming our sinful nature by the grace of Christ, our animated body will be clothed with that same Holy Spirit that today resides in our inner personality.
If we have not lived a godly life (I am speaking to Christians as well as other people), our animated body will be clothed with the corruption we have sown as we have yielded to the impulses of our fleshly nature.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)
We must understand that the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping comes from the Father. It is not changed because we profess belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and King. We are going to reap in our body what we are sowing, whether unto immortality or unto corruption.
Daniel says much the same thing:
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
And notice what the Lord said:
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
Every person at one time or another will hear the voice of Christ and be called to stand before His Judgment Seat. Those who lead many to righteousness will shine as the stars, as Daniel says. But those who have continued to live in sin will be clothed with a body that reveals their inner character, the kind of person they have become.
In the present hour we can conceal what we truly are. We actually may be noble and generous. Or we may be wicked and self-serving. All shall be revealed in the Day of Resurrection. The truth shall be portrayed in the kind of body we receive when we are called forth.
I must say that the concept we are forming our own resurrection now by our behavior is not commonly preached. But it clearly is scriptural.
Notice how Paul speaks of his continually being brought down to death by various pressures, and then being raised by the resurrection Life of Christ.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Corinthians 4:17)
Paul is telling us that the numerous, severe tribulations he endured was achieving for him an eternal weight of glory.
We find in the next chapter that the eternal weight of glory is a heavenly body that gains weight as we respond to the Lord in faith, patience, and obedience.
We know from what Paul wrote in the Book of Colossians that at the present time we are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God. We are dead, not because of sin, but because we have abandoned our own desires that we might obey Christ continually in every aspect of our thinking, speaking, and acting.
It appears also that we have a heavenly form, whether attached to our life that is hidden with Christ in God, or residing in some other part of Heaven, I cannot say.
Our heavenly form is not static. It continually is responding to our behavior on the earth, revealing in itself whether we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He puts to death the actions of our sinful nature, or whether we are living according to the desires of our sinful nature.
This means that when our body is raised from the dead it is going to be clothed with its own deeds, in the form of a heavenly robe. This is a wonderful thought for those who have been living the life of victory in Jesus; but the horror of all horrors for those who have chosen to follow their sinful nature.
For while we are in this tent (our present mortal body), we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
Remember, it is our response to our afflictions that adds weight to our heavenly body. The purpose of our suffering is to free us from the bondages of sin. If we respond in faith, ceasing from our sinful behavior, this will be revealed in the heavenly body that is waiting for our animated flesh and bones to stand once again on its feet.
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. (I Peter 4:1)
If we are found worthy to participate in the first resurrection, when the Lord appears from Heaven, we will be raised from the dead and clothed with our own righteous deeds.
All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (II Thessalonians 1:5)
"Counted worthy of the Kingdom of God." This may be a new thought to some of us.
"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God's holy people.) (Revelation 19:7,8)
This is the first resurrection. It shall take place when Jesus appears. At that time no books will be opened, because those who participate in this early resurrection have already been manifest at the Judgment Seat of Christ while yet alive upon the earth.
Their sentence is to be brought back to life and then clothed in their righteous acts–behavior that has resulted from their living by the Life of Christ.
This is true of the saints who have returned with Christ and also those who are alive upon the earth when He returns.
I believe it was this first resurrection that Paul spoke of as his goal:
And so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
At the second resurrection, which occurs at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, all people who were not raised in the first resurrection will be brought before Christ and His army of judges.
Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will be brought over to citizenship on the new earth. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire—in their bodies, I might add.
"From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the Lord. "And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind." (Isaiah 66:23,24)
"The dead bodies"!
We can understand then why we should, as did the Apostle Paul, count everything else as garbage that we might attain to the resurrection that is out from among the dead. Then we have no need to worry about the final resurrection, because we already have been sentenced to eternal life and immortality and to follow the Lamb forever. Our robes are spotless.
How do you feel about this?
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.
They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)