LIVING IN RESURRECTION LIFE
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
If we truly are saved our spirit is in Christ at the right hand of God. But our body is filled with evil that must be overcome, as Christ helps us. So we see that we partly are resurrected already, in the sense of being alive from the dead. Our body is conscious on the earth, unless we are deceased, but our spiritual nature is eternally alive in Christ.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
It is this double position that, as far as I know, distinguishes the Christian salvation from all other religions.
Perhaps this would be a good place in which to define my terms:
Our body is our house and the means through which we contact our environment. When we die we have some sort of spiritual form, and we are aware of our environment although we do not “see” with physical eyes.
When the original blood is removed from our body and replaced with the flesh and blood of Christ as well as the Spirit of God (these may be the same to some extent) we will be able to communicate with both the physical and spiritual environments.
In the beginning, God breathed blood into our body. Blood is the life of the flesh. But when sin entered us the blood was corrupted and eventually we died, the blood no longer being circulated by our heart.
When our body is resurrected it will be made alive by the body and blood of Christ, as I understand it, and by the Spirit of God. I think the degree to which the individual possesses the body and blood of Christ and the Spirit of God depends on his or her role in the Kingdom of God. But all who are “saved” must be made part of Jesus Christ, and all must to some extent be guided by the Life of the Spirit.
The body of the Father is the Lord Jesus Christ and all who are an integral part of Christ, that is, all the members of the Royal Priesthood.
Our soul is who we are as a unique individual. Here is where our decisions are made, our moral judgments. It is not that we merely “have” a soul, it is that we “are” a soul. God “has” a soul, but He “is” a Spirit.
Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. (Leviticus 26:11—NASB)
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24—KJV)
We begin as a living soul but through Christ we become a life-giving spirit.
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. (I Corinthians 15:45-49)
At present we have a body, which is our house and our means of communicating with our environment. When we die we will have a form, and a means of responding to our environment.
When we are resurrected we will have a body which will be our house, the temple of God, and a means of responding to our environment.
We have a soul, which is our unique identity as a person. Jesus warned us about the danger of losing our soul because of excessive trust in the material world.
When we die, our soul will not change. It will be placed in a part of the spirit world to which it is suited. If we belong to Christ, our spiritual nature will remain at the right hand of God regardless of where our soul is placed.
In the resurrection, our soul will enter our new body. If we belong to Christ and are part of the Royal Priesthood, our spirit will remain in Christ, being one spirit with Him. Our soul has been transformed into the image of Christ as the eternal law of God is written in our mind and heart.
Man is body, soul, and spirit. Our spirit is that which radiates from our soul. When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, our spirit becomes one spirit with the Lord Jesus and is placed in Christ at the right hand of God.
But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (I Corinthians 6:17—NASB)
When we die, our body goes into the place of burial. Our soul goes to the location for which it is suited, either into the Land of Light or the Land of Darkness. If we are part of Christ, our spirit remains at the right hand of God in Christ.
In the Day of Resurrection, our soul is reunited with our raised and transformed body. Our spirit, being one with the Lord Jesus, enters our raised and transformed body to such an extent it can be said that we are a life-giving spirit. We have a transformed body; a soul that has been transformed into the image of Christ as God’s eternal moral law is written in the mind and heart; and a spirit that joyously brings forth eternal Life to God to a dead creation.
As is the case with both Christ and us, our spirit remains at the right hand of God even though it also enters our transformed body when it is raised.
We now are the eternal house of God and are one with Christ and the Father, being inseparable parts of Them. Such is the Royal Priesthood.
We Christians already have been raised with Christ. That is, our spirit now is in Christ at the right hand of God. That awareness should be affecting our life. We already are in Heaven, so to speak. We are not there consciously, but the Bible states that if we are a part of the Body of Christ we already have come to Mount Zion.
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, (Hebrews 8:22)
What part of us is on the earth? Our body and our soul. It is here that the battle rages; the war is fought.
“Resurrection” is one of the central, if not the central topic, of the New Testament. The whole fifteenth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians is devoted to the resurrection. But if our spirit already is at the right hand of God, then the resurrection applies obviously only to our body.
Paul spoke with longing of the redemption of his body.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)
Is it true that our adoption as a son of God depends on the redemption of our body from the hand of death? It sounds like it, doesn’t it?
Have you ever heard this preached? Neither have I. You know, I think the redemption of our body, that is, its resurrection into the Life of Christ, is the main hope presented by the Gospel. It was bodily life that was lost in the beginning. The promise is that through Christ we shall regain the lost immortality.
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7)
The verse above sounds as though eternal life is related closely to bodily immortality.
But it 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 1:10)
As I go through the New Testament I am impressed with the emphasis on the resurrection of the body, and also on being set free from sin. Now if our spirit already is in Christ at the right hand of God, why is it so important that we be set free from the sins practiced in the body?
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
If our spiritual nature already is in Christ at the right hand of God, what is the need for victory over the sins of the flesh and spirit? Why do we have to perfect holiness in the fear of God?
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1—NASB)
The reader may note (above) that even though our spirit is at the right hand of God it still can be defiled by us on the earth, and perhaps also by those dwelling in Heaven. Sin began in Heaven and it is possible to practice sin there.
Because of the destructive influence of the religion of Gnosticism, it commonly is believed that “spirit” is good and “matter” is evil. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the worst sins are not those of the human body but the sins found in the human spirit, such as pride, revenge, self-glorification, and rebellion.
It is clear to me, and has been for years. that one of the roots of the problem we have understanding the Bible is that we picture the purpose of salvation as being that of bringing us to Heaven when we die. But Paul said we already are considered as dead, and our spirit already is in Heaven at the right hand of God.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)
So it can’t be true that our goal is to go to Heaven, since our spirit already is there.
It is true that where our soul will be placed when we die depends on its spiritual maturity. As we press forward in Christ we become increasingly suited to a more pleasing environment. It is not a case of either Heaven or Hell, rather we go to one of the numerous places between Heaven and Hell.
The problem with continuing to yield to our sinful nature is that we lose our place at the right hand of God in Christ. We permit someone to take our crown from us—sometimes by harming us until we permit ourselves to be overcome with hatred and a desire for revenge. We always must be exceedingly careful to keep our heart free from bitterness and hatred.
To lose our place at the right hand of God is to die spiritually. If we keep yielding to the deeds of our sinful nature we will die spiritually.
The following two verses are written to Christian people and are referring to Christians who yield to the sinful nature. The context of the sixth and eighth chapters of the Book of Romans reveal that the verses following are not directed to the unbelievers:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)
If through our sinning we drag ourselves down from the right hand of God, losing our crown of righteousness and life, the result will be the loss also of our chance for the immortality of our body.
The following passage is addressed to Christian people:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)
What is destroyed is the body. In the Day of Resurrection instead of the body being raised to immortality it is raised to condemnation.
“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 good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:28,29)
The point is, our body is on the earth. Our soul resides in our body (or somewhere in the spirit world if we have died, in whatever place is suitable for the kind of person we are). Our spirit is in Christ in the Presence of God.
Well, why not discard our body, consign it to decay in the ground, and go to live in our spiritual nature in Christ? I think this may be the hope of people who trust they will be raptured into Heaven one of these days.
What an important question this is? Why is there to be a resurrection of our body? Is it really necessary for our eternal well being? Why was the Apostle Paul so concerned about the redemption of his body? Why did Paul set as his goal in life the attaining to the resurrection from the dead?
I believe in today’s preaching we are missing, to a great extent, the central idea of the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is that of raising to eternal life our mortal body.
That certainly is a disturbing idea; but I can’t see any way around it, unless we just want to forget the New Testament and rejoice in our traditions.
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 through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
The point of all of this is that we must, as did the Apostle Paul, make attaining to the resurrection (by inference the resurrection to life and glory) the focal point of our daily behavior. We must by continual prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with fervent Christians, minimize our involvement in the things of the world.
And so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
Our problem in America is our saturation in the antichrist spirit of the world. We are bombarded continually by the media assuring us that we need this thing or that experience; that we deserve a life of comfort and ease. However, in the present hour we see that the judgment of God is on our country and difficult times are on the horizon.
We have to direct our priorities toward attaining to the first resurrection, that of rulership with Christ. Only those who are prepared will be raised from the dead when the Lord appears.
In our mind continually must be the concept that our spirit already is at the right hand of God. We already have come to Mount Zion. Paul says we have died. We have died to our first life. We have been crucified with Christ Now we are to live in newness of life with the Lord Jesus.
Everything we think, say, and do must be presented to Jesus for His guidance. We must learn to live by His Life. We must enter that part of the resurrection that is available now, ceasing to be led by our animal nature.
There is no doubt that judgment is on America. We have been living on the fat of the land because of material abundance. We may not realize it but our present prosperity is due to God’s blessing, a blessing produced by the faith and diligence of early American pioneers.
Now our land is being flooded with immigrants who desire, understandably, to partake of the material wealth. These new people do not understand the old American values. Some of them are bringing new gods to our shores.
But the main fault is not with the immigrants, it is with established American families, including the young people, who have given themselves over to the lusts of the flesh and the pursuit of pleasure.
God has had enough of this. He is going to remind the American people of the price that must be paid if God’s blessing is to return to America. So the new generations must adopt a mind to suffer, for suffer they shall until they turn from the pursuit of the lusts of the flesh and pursue a God-fearing life.
Many Americans will be slain in the future. That is no problem, actually, for the person who has been practicing living in the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. Dying will be to leave the body for now and enter a pleasant life in the spirit world, while waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus. He will bring us back with Him and give us a new body. We will be with Him forever.
No, dying is not our problem. Suffering is not our problem; rather, suffering will free us from sin. The problem is what we are doing now. Are we preparing ourselves to be forever with our Lord, or are we wasting time with the toys of the American antichrist culture?
Those who are wise will spend these brief days preparing themselves to stand with Jesus, and to help others to stand, in the day of trouble that is on the horizon for America.
You can see from what I have written above that you cannot suddenly be changed from a carnal Christian into a life-giving spirit. This is the great deception of the “rapture” teaching. The full resurrection of the human being is a complex operation that requires the cooperation of God and the person over a period of time.
The end of the matter is Christ. He who has Christ has everything. He who does not have Christ has nothing of eternal value.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14)
(“Living in Resurrection Life”, 3547-1)