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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Eternal Life, #2
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
Paul looked forward to the redeeming, the making eternally alive of his physical body.
And not only they [the entire material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
There has crept into Christian thinking the concept that everlasting life is primarily for the spirit of man. We would suggest that John 3:16 is speaking rather of the body of man. It is referring to our body perishing—our body being our contact with the earth. It is our body that perishes, not our spirit.
In addition to its spiritual counterpart, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus was distinctly physical.
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. (Luke 24:39,40)
There are non-Christian philosophies that teach spirit inherently is good and matter inherently is evil and, in some instances, that reality is in the spirit realm and matter is not "real." It appears this thinking has affected Christianity.
One offshoot of such philosophies is the current teaching that it is not important we obey the moral law of God because we are saved by grace apart from what we do in the flesh and are destined for eternal residence in the spirit realm. How we behave in the material realm is not critically important. The doctrine of the "rapture" appears to be associated with the stress on the spiritual. The saints are carried off to the spirit realm while the sinners inherit the evil earth.
Today's Christian teaching emphasizes the salvation of our spiritual nature, while the salvation of our physical body is not given anywhere near the emphasis that the Scriptures place on it. In fact, due to the "rapture" teaching we have lost sight of the Christian redemption—the resurrection of the physical body. The resurrection of the physical body is seldom mentioned while the catching-up or ascension of the believers is announced again and again in current preaching. This is error!
It is the concept of the physical creation being inherently evil and worthless, and the spiritual being inherently good and worthwhile, that has changed the Christian Gospel from its original message of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth to its present message of escape to the spirit paradise.
The truth is, neither spirit nor matter is inherently good or evil. When God created the material universe He declared it to be "very good" (Genesis 1:31). God does not create evil. The material world that God has created is very good indeed. However the material realm is not militantly righteous and can easily be seduced into sin and rebellion against God.
Sin did not originate in the material world but in the world of spirits. Spiritual evil entered the physical creation and corrupted it. Therefore the concept that matter is evil and spirit is good should be expelled from Christian thinking.
To be continued.