THE BATTLE FOR THE BODY
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. 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.
It may be true that the process of the Christian redemption can be summed up as a battle for the body. God has placed our spirit and soul in an animal body, or a ‘body of sin and death’, as Paul terms it. Our objective is to attain to the resurrection from the dead, that is, to the redeeming of our body until it is filled with eternal, incorruptible Divine Life.
THE BATTLE FOR THE BODY
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)
The context of the verse above reveals that attaining to the resurrection from the dead is the goal of the Apostle Paul. In order to attain to this goal Paul set aside all other attainments. Every aspect of Paul’s life that had not been wrought in Christ, or was not an integral part of Christ, was esteemed as so much garbage.
The power of His resurrection. To live in the power of His resurrection. What does this mean? It must be of very great importance since Paul had set this as his mark toward which He was pressing with single-minded diligence.
Have you ever heard a sermon whose subject was attaining to the resurrection from the dead? I never have. Now, here is a singular thing. The supreme goal of the Apostle Paul is not mentioned in Christian sermons. This might tell us that we do not understand the Christian process of redemption as we should.
We need to think about Paul’s use of the term “resurrection.” The word is not used in the Old Testament, although the concept is mentioned. We are acquainted with the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ literally rose from the dead in His flesh and bone body. In our mind “resurrection” means one thing—bringing to life a dead body and standing it on its feet.
But there is something the Lord Jesus said that requires an enlargement of our understanding.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26)
The Lord Jesus Himself is the resurrection.
When you stop and think about it, it sounds as though Christ is saying that when we have Him, we have the resurrection. Would you agree with this? Toward the end of his life, Paul was seeking to gain Christ, to know Christ, and to know the power of His resurrection. We can say that Paul was seeking to gain the resurrection, and to know the resurrection.
Based on this, it seems to me we must view the resurrection in two ways. The first way has to do with the raising of Christ’s body on the third day, and the raising of our body when He appears. The second way has to do with our gaining Christ.
Could we refer to these two ways as an outer resurrection and an inner resurrection? The outer resurrection has to do only with our flesh and bones. The inner resurrection has to do with our inner nature.
In fact, it may be true that the outer resurrection will reflect directly our inner resurrection. If this is true, multitudes of Christian church-goers are in for a shock when the Lord returns. They are living in the flesh and not in the power of Christ’s resurrection. They are not gaining Christ, and are not gaining the resurrection. Therefore in the Day of the Lord their outer resurrection, the resurrection of their flesh and bones, will be a pitiful exhibition of spiritual corruption. They did not attain to the resurrection unto eternal life in the body.
If such is not the case, the Bible does not mean what it says; and we know this cannot be. Will we reap what we sow? Assuredly we shall. But won’t mercy and grace intervene? Of course not. If you plant grass you will reap grass. If you plant weeds you will reap weeds. No matter how much love and care you lavish on the soil, if you plant weed seeds you are going to reap weeds. No matter how much love, care, grace, and mercy are lavished on an individual, if he sows to the fleshy nature, then this is what he or she is going to reap.
I can’t think of a more needed truth in America today. Can you?
Paul urged Timothy to lay hold on eternal life. This is the same as laying hold on the resurrection.
In the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, Paul tells us that we are crucified with Christ that we might walk in newness of life. Newness of life does not mean we feel better, are healthier, or have more energy. Newness of life means we are walking in the Spirit of God by praying without ceasing; reading our Bible; and looking to the Lord Jesus for every decision we make. How many church-goers do you know who are walking in newness of life in the Spirit of God? There are not many, I believe. But these are the only ones who are attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
For the most part the believers in America live in the desires of their fleshly nature. They love parties. They want to have fun. They suppose they can enjoy all the material comforts and pleasures of the American culture, and then continue their partying in Heaven after they die. They are called Christians, but they are not Christians at all. They are not cross-carrying disciples. They have been deceived by a self-serving ministry.
The issue in the beginning was life, the Tree of Life. The Lord Jesus Christ was there in the Garden of Eden. He is the only Tree of Life. He was there in the midst of the garden so Adam and Eve could eat and receive the Divine Life of God.
Instead they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This also is Christ. It is the eternal moral law of God. There is nothing wrong with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If there were, God would not have placed it in the midst of the garden. Why would God place a tree in the garden that was not good for them?
The problem was not with the fruit of the tree, the problem was that Adam and Eve ate it out of Divine order. If they had eaten of Divine life, becoming strong in Christ, then they could have been able to distinguish between good and evil, and been able to embrace the good and reject the evil. In fact, the ability to distinguish between good and evil, along with the strength and wisdom to embrace the good and reject the evil, is the mark of spiritual maturity.
God had breathed human life into the nostrils of Adam, and Adam became a living soul. If Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life, of Christ, he would have lived forever in the flesh. He no longer would have been merely dust, he would have been eternal dust.
At this point human beings lost immortality. Their bodies became intelligent dust—nothing more. Apparently God received Adam and Eve into the spirit world when they died physically, and then their bodies returned to the dust from which they were taken.
However, it is not God’s will that the marvelous bodies He has given us return to the dust from which they were fashioned and remain there permanently. God is restoring life and immortality through the Gospel.
Who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 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 1:9,10)
Life and immortality! Life in the inward nature and immortality in the body.
We use John 3:16 as a ticket to Heaven. It is not. The promise given to whoever believes in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and our Redeemer, is that he will not perish but have eternal life. This is referring to immortality in the body—that which Adam and Eve lost in the beginning. It is the body that perishes, not the inward nature.
It is the same idea as “He who live and believes in me shall never die, because I Myself am the Resurrection.”
Paul’s goal was the redemption of his body of sin and death, that is, the renewing of it in righteousness and life. When our goal is not the redemption of our body, when we are not pressing forward in the Spirit of God every day in order to attain to the resurrection which is unto Divine life in our body, we are not following Christ as we should. We are waiting to die and go to Heaven, while the opportunity to attain to the resurrection from the dead is passing us by.
Remember, we are not suggesting that we are being resurrected in our body in the present hour. Paul told us clearly that we shall be resurrected in our body in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, the seventh trumpet of the Book of Revelation. We are referring primarily to the inner resurrection, the filling of our inward nature with Christ as the counterpart and forerunner of the final resurrection of the house in which the inward nature dwells.
The inner and outer resurrections are tied together. One cannot have an outer resurrection unto Divine Life if the inward nature still is largely corrupt. I think the reader will understand readily the logic of this.
Let us examine carefully the following passage from the Book of Romans.
But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 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. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 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, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:10-14)
“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”
Our physical body is spiritually dead because of the sin that dwells in it. Our spiritual nature, on the other hand, is alive because the righteous Christ is dwelling in us. Our sins have been forgiven because of the atonement made through His blood on the cross.
We are alive spiritually; in fact, we are at the right hand of God in Christ. But we have a sinful nature. Sin dwells in our flesh. Death, separation from God’s Spirit, always follows sin. Life, which is God’s Spirit, always follows righteousness.
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you,”
Unlike the old covenant, the new covenant does not consist of words written on stone or paper. The new covenant is the Lord Jesus Himself, operating in us through the Holy Spirit. The new covenant is a covenant of the Spirit.
The Christian religion has become an assortment of “Statements of Faith,” varying from one sect to another. It is not. The Christian salvation is that of the Spirit of God dwelling in us. It is this one Spirit that makes all true Christians brothers, even though their doctrine may be quite different.
If Christ is not dwelling in us we do not belong to Him.
The Spirit of God lives in every true child of God.
“He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”
In order to understand the above sentence we probably should give some thought to the two bodies that are involved in the resurrection of the body.
First, there is our flesh-and-bone body. At the time of the Lord’s return that body will be interred somewhere. Perhaps thousands of years have gone by; or perhaps we have been cremated or blown to bits by a bomb. It does not matter. God will always know where our elements are, and He shall assemble them so that we are able to stand upright upon the ground.
Second, there is a body, a robe, being fashioned from our conduct on the earth. It is in Heaven at the present time. When our flesh-and-bond body is raised, or as it is being raised, it shall be clothed with the body from Heaven.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, (II Corinthians 5:1,2)
Jesus said all who are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth. The power that will produce this resurrection is not eternal life. It is the power that created and operates the material universe. Perhaps this is the power by which the angels live, for it probably is not true that angels possess the Life of Jesus Christ.
The Scripture says He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who lives in you. When, and in what manner will the Spirit of God give life to our mortal bodies?
The thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew informs us that in the last days God’s messengers will remove from God’s Kingdom everything that causes sin. This means that the sin that dwells in our flesh will be removed. If such is the case, that which is causing death will be removed.
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Matthew 13:41)
If we are part of Christ’s Kingdom, then we can look forward to the time at the end of the age when sin is removed from us.
This passage in Matthew is of the greatest importance. It informs us of the time when we will be delivered from the power of sin, a deliverance purchased for us by the blood of the cross.
It does not say where this shall take place. But since the passage states that “all who do evil” shall be removed, and we know the evil are not found in the Kingdom in Heaven, we must conclude that the removal of sin will take place in Heaven and on the earth at the same time, since some of the elect will be in Heaven and some on the earth.
It usually is true that we cannot understand the significance of our own day. This certainly was true of the Jews who were living at the time of Jesus. It is our tendency to look forward to some spectacular event to come in the future, at which time we will be carried out of ourselves and brought into some new state apart from any exercise of will or faith on our part. The current teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture is like this, isn’t it?
I have become convinced, over the last fifty years, that the removal of sin from God’s people has begun. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the second goat, the scapegoat of the Day of Atonement who was led out of the camp. This also was a goat of atonement, even though it was not slain.
It is written that if we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I seem to see in this both forgiveness and cleansing from the presence of sin. Otherwise the statement would be saying that the Lord is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to forgive us our sins. Wouldn’t it?
I imagine we have been taught for so long that as long as we are alive on the earth we can be compelled to sin, that the thought of being released from the power of sin is difficult to accept. Yet, the Bible does declare that Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. We just never have thought that such redemption would be possible.
Well, Daniel tells us that God is going to make an end of sin. Matthew informs us that the messengers of God shall remove from His Kingdom “everything that causes sin.” Can you see that this is not referring to forgiveness of guilt, rather it is speaking of all that causes sin and motivates us to sin. It is a wonderful promise, isn’t it?
Let us return now to the concept of resurrection.
Our body, which consists largely of what we think, what we speak, and what we do, is dead because of indwelling sin. The sinful spirits that dwell in our flesh affect what we think, what we speak, and what we do. Thus our thoughts, our words, and our actions proceed from spiritual death, and from desires that are separate from God.
Now, if at the end of the age God’s messengers remove from His Kingdom everything that causes sin, perhaps our body will be influenced by the Holy Spirit rather than by Satan. Perhaps this is what is meant by “He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.”
We might suppose from Matthew that angels will come down from Heaven, wave magic wands, and presto! Our sinful nature is removed.
But what if it is true that today the Holy Spirit is telling us that if we will confess and turn away from our sins, the Spirit will guide and empower our thinking, our speaking, and our behavior? Thus, we will be living in Divine Life, in resurrection Life, in the Life of Christ, we might say.
What if the “angels,” of Matthew 13, are human preachers? What if we have to cooperate with the program of deliverance by confessing our sins; denouncing them; renouncing them; proclaiming them worthy of eternal residence in the Lake of fire; and turning away from them with all the resolution and diligence we can muster?
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” is an old folk-saying. Do what I have suggested. When the Holy Spirit points out some aspect of worldliness, lust, or self-will and rebellion in your behavior, try confessing it to God. Then ask for His help in turning away from it. Then see if there is a difference in your life.
Who knows, we may possibly be at the end of the age!
Perhaps this is what Paul meant by attaining to the resurrection from the dead; by God giving life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit.
In any case, confessing our sins and turning away from them is a good thing to do, isn’t it?
These actions really bring the Life of Christ into us, and that itself is resurrection; not the resurrection that shall take place when the Lord returns, but the necessary first step of that climactic event.
“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.”
I wish the above sentence were emphasized to every Christian on earth, and in the spirit world (for I believe the dead are learning from us, just as we have learned from studying the record of their lives.)
How many times have we heard it said we have to sin while we are living in a body on the earth. But the Apostle Paul stated clearly that we are not obligated to live according to the sinful nature. I realize many will be scornful if someone suggests otherwise. But all the promises of God are possessed by faith, and faith comes through what is written.
It is written that we are not obligated to live in the bondages of our sinful nature. We can believe it or not, but this is what the Book says.
Why haven’t God’s ministers always taught us this? I have no idea. We really ought to be preaching the Scriptures, not our traditions. Do you believe this? Then you believe that we are not required to sin while alive on the earth.
Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, not forgive the works of the devil.
“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die.” Now, what does this sentence mean?
Isn’t it true that people die physically whether or not they live according to the sinful nature? So this expression is not referring to physical death.
Keep in mind that Paul said God would make alive our mortal bodies through His Spirit. Perhaps the meaning here is that if we choose to continue in the appetites of our flesh, our body will continue to be dead because of sin. It will not be made alive by the Spirit of God.
What, then, will be true in the Day of Resurrection? Our flesh-and-bones will be raised to stand on its feet, but there will be no life in it. Will it at that time be clothed with a body of eternal life from Heaven? Not likely!
No doubt the body from Heaven, having been fashioned from our behavior while on earth, will reveal in itself the corruption and death of the sinful nature. Thus we will be raised to shame and everlasting contempt, as Daniel says. Paul states in Galatians that if we live in the sinful nature we will reap corruption.
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)
“But if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
The “misdeeds of the body” are the acts of the sinful nature. We are to put them to death by the Spirit. How do we do this? By confessing and renouncing them as the Spirit points them out to us. Putting them to death means the fire and life of them are extinguished so we are able to choose not to practice such behavior.
It all kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? The promise is that God will make alive our mortal body through His Spirit who is dwelling in us. How does the Spirit do this? By leading and empowering us to confess and renounce our evil practices. Not all at once, but “city by city,” so to speak, as the Spirit brings us into our inheritance—a major part of which is our body, the house which contains our spiritual nature. We are in a battle for our body, aren’t we?
“Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
The sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. What does the Spirit of God lead us to do? According to the context of the verse, we would say the Spirit of God leads us to put to death the works of our sinful nature.
As a matter of fact, the true Christian walk is one of learning to discern between what is good and what is evil; and gaining the strength to embrace the good and renounce the evil.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13,14)
If Adam and Eve had partaken first of the Tree of Life, of Jesus Christ, they then would have been able to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When they recognized they were naked they would have had the strength to drawn near to God for the clothing He had provided for them.
Adam and Eve were innocent. Innocent people cannot maintain Paradise when they have it. They must learn the difference between good and evil so they can choose what will bring them love, joy, and peace, and reject that which results in suffering and death. If we would be like the Lord Jesus we must partake of Him until we have His knowledge of good and evil, and His delight in righteousness and in doing God’s will.
The Lord Jesus had some significant things to say about our resurrection.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
Can you see from the above verse how the inner resurrection comes before the outer resurrection?
Every time we refuse the demands of our sinful nature, preferring instead to do what we feel God’s Spirit would have us do, we are fed, in the spirit realm, the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He Himself is the Tree of Life. He Himself is the resurrection and eternal, incorruptible, resurrection life.
It is God’s will that we live by eating and drinking Christ just as Christ lives by partaking of the Father’s Life.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
As we feed on the flesh and blood of Christ, resurrection life grows in us. Then, when the last day arrives, the resurrection life that already has been created in us will be clothed with its counterpart—a body fashioned from eternal life that has been reserved in Heaven to be given to us at the coming of the Lord.
If we are to live in resurrection life we must accept the sufferings of Christ that are sent to enable us to make the transition from adamic life to the life of the life-giving Spirit, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. Resurrection life always proceeds from the cross.
We can notice this in the life of the Apostle Paul:
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. (II Corinthians 4:11)
If we would know Christ and the power of His resurrection we must be willing to participate in His sufferings. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and trudge along after the Master. This is the true Christian life. Everything else is just empty religion.
The Lord Jesus told the church of the Laodiceans, the church of the “rights of people,” that He is standing at the door and knocking. This is true in the present hour of the self-centered churches in America. We are so busy running around with our programs that we do not know for certain what Christ is thinking or doing.
If we will turn away from our human endeavors and listen to Him, we will notice that He desires to enter our personality in a greater way. He desires to sit at His table with us. He is nourished by our obedience and worship. We are nourished by His flesh and blood. This is how we are to live at all times, day and night.
An age of moral and physical horrors is approaching the United States. No individual will be able to stand in spiritual victory unless he or she is feeding constantly on the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. Apart from living in Christ we will not be able to save ourselves, our family, or our loved ones. The spiritual forces unleashed at that time will overcome us. We no longer will be able to pray because of the oppression.
But if Christ is living in us, and we are living in Him at every moment, we cannot be overcome no matter how the enemy rages.
The Apostle Paul told us how we are to live:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
It is not enough to be crucified. Everyone in the world is crucified one way or another. The thief on the cross who did not repent was crucified. But he was not crucified “with Christ” in the manner to which Paul was referring.
Everybody suffers. The way of the transgressor is hard. But the pain of the wicked person brings no profit, whereas the pain of the patient saint is giving rise to resurrection life in his personality.
“I no longer am living. Christ is living in me.”
This means that Paul was living in resurrection life. He still was housed in a body of sin and death, but Paul was putting sinful acts to death through the Spirit. He was longing for the day to come when the Lord removes the last vestiges of sin and rebellion from his flesh, and clothes him with a body of incorruptible, eternal life.
“The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God.”
The righteous live by faith. The opposite of living by faith is living by trust in our own wisdom, strength, and abilities. Paul was praying without ceasing, bringing every issue and decision to Christ in order to gain His will, wisdom, and strength. This is the way we must live if we would attain to the resurrection which is unto life.
The point of all we have said is that we must put to death, through the Spirit of God, that which is keeping our body in a state of spiritual death.
The saints and martyrs of old were seeking a better resurrection.
Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)
God is opening up His Word and revealing many truths to us today, truths that apparently have been largely hidden throughout the Christian era. Of these truths, none may be more important than the fact that the kind of resurrection we will experience is being determined by how we are behaving today.
Two major errors have entered Christian thinking—errors that prevent God’s people from attending to the battle for the gaining of a body filled with incorruptible resurrection life.
The first error is that the purpose of the Christian salvation is to make us eligible for eternal residence in Heaven. Although there is no passage in the Old or New Testament that suggests we are saved in order to make Heaven our eternal home, this concept prevails among devout believers who pride themselves on their faithful adherence to belief in the plenary verbal inspiration of the approved Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.
The fundamentalist Christians boldly declare the Divine inspiration of the Bible and would resist unto death anyone who claimed otherwise. Yet they continue to teach and believe that the purpose of salvation is to bring us to Heaven.
Obviously if we view eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of our salvation, and freely given grace as the means of attaining such residence, we are not going to understand the Apostle Paul when he presented attaining to the resurrection from the dead as the mark toward which he was pressing.
Incidentally, I have noticed that Christian people are under the impression that we are raised from the dead in order to go to Heaven. Obviously this is not logical. We go to Heaven by dying, not by being raised from the dead.
We are raised from the dead in order that we may resume our life on the earth. We do not need a Spirit-filled body in order to live in Heaven.
The second error is based on the first. Unlike the first error which apparently dates back to the early centuries of the Christian Era, the second error appears to have entered Christian thinking in the middle of the nineteenth century. To my knowledge, the teaching of the second error, the pre-tribulation “rapture” of all who profess faith in Christ, does not appear in the writings of the early Christian scholars.
The doctrine of the “rapture” makes light of or ignores altogether the importance of the resurrection from the dead. Yet it is the resurrection, not the ascension into the clouds, that marks the overcoming of the last enemy—physical death.
Paul had not set attaining to the “rapture” as the goal of his discipleship. There is no attaining to the “rapture.” The catching up (“rapture”) is the ascension that follows the raising of the bodies of the victorious saints.
- The Lord Jesus appears in the clouds above the earth. (The clouds may be a symbolic representation of the saints who are appearing at that time with the Lord.)
- There is a shout of war, for this is the attack of Armageddon.
- There is the voice of the archangel Michael, appearing at the head of the warrior angels.
- There is the trumpet of God, announcing the King and His Kingdom. This is the seventh trumpet of the Book of Revelation, the last trumpet.
- The kingdoms of the world have now become the Kingdom of God and of His Anointed.
- At this point the graves will burst open and the victorious saints will stand on their feet. This is the first resurrection from the dead, the overcoming of the last enemy.
- The saints still alive on the earth will be changed so that they also will be filled with eternal resurrection life.
- The reunion that will take place will be the most wonderful time of fellowship ever experienced on the earth.
There is nothing Satan or the armies of the wicked can do to harm this gathering of light-filled saints. They will gnash their teeth in rage and terror, being powerless to interfere as the table is spread for the righteous.
When God sees that this fellowship has been enjoyed to the fullest, His power will descend upon His people. Slowly, as to the sound of a celestial organ perhaps, the great cloud of the army of the Lord will ascend to take their places on the white war stallions, ready to ride behind the mighty Conqueror as He descends to the Mount of Olives.
Woe to the sinners in Zion in that day, for they have neglected to turn aside from their own life that they might follow the Lord in patient discipleship! Woe to those teachers who have sought their own glory, not warning God’s flock of the true nature of the Day of Resurrection; of the terror of the coming of the Lord! They shall stand with their deceived congregations and receive their due recompense from Him whose name is Faithful and True.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)
The two errors we have just mentioned are the reason why the above passage is neither preached nor understood. If our goal is Heaven, and we go there by lawless grace, we certainly are not going to lay aside everything in our life as the Lord leads, counting it all as so much garbage that we might gain Christ.
We are not going to follow Paul in pressing toward attainment to the resurrection from the dead.
I believe it is time for a reformation of Christian thinking. Do you agree with me that this is so?
(“The Battle For the Body”, 3637-1)