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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Resurrection and Eternal Judgment, #13
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)
Since God will not place a glorified outward man on an immature inner man, and since there cannot be an instantaneous transformation of the inner man, such an instantaneous transformation being neither scriptural nor logical, it follows that prior to giving to us a glorified outward man (which is our reward for Christ-filled righteous behavior) there must be a transformation of the inner man. This fact virtually is unknown in Christian circles; yet, it is of the greatest possible significance to the believer.
It is true that God can break the chains of sin in a moment. But deliverance from sin is only the negative aspect of moral transformation. The positive aspect of moral transformation is the forming of Christ in us. The forming of Christ in us absolutely cannot be done in a moment. It is a lifelong process as we submit to the program of continual dying and continual rising in Christ.
We think the Apostle Paul, in Philippians 3:11, is speaking of the transformation of his inner man in preparation for the transformation of his outward man. The goal of such inner transformation is the total conversion of the inner man into resurrection life in preparation for the total glorification of the outward man in conformity with the glorified outward man of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If such is the case, if our reasoning is scriptural and sound, then the bodily resurrection to eternal life, which is the Christian hope, can take place only if the inner man has been transformed previously. The conclusion of this reasoning is that only those believers who have pressed forward to the mark, the mark being the transition from the adamic nature to the new nature of the Substance of Christ, are eligible for resurrection to eternal life and glory when Christ appears in the clouds of heaven.
The resurrection of I Thessalonians 4:14-17 must be attained.
Let us consider for a moment the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when Jesus returns to earth as King of kings.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
The above passage is referring to I Thessalonians 4:14-17, to the resurrection that will take place when the Lord returns. This is the first resurrection. This is the "out-resurrection" from among the dead to which Paul was referring in Philippians 3:11. The first resurrection is the first resurrection!
The participants in the first resurrection will be the firstfruits of mankind. They are blessed. They are holy. They are the priests and rulers of God and His Christ.
Notice the expression in Revelation 20:4, "and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Now, it is not reasonable that the statement "they lived" is referring to the inner man of these victorious saints. The members of the royal priesthood possessed eternal life in their inner man long before the time of the first resurrection from the dead.
To be continued.