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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Manual and the Garden, continued
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (I Corinthians 15:22,23—NIV)
God does not consider people to be completely alive until their physical body has been redeemed.
Is God actually going to redeem our physical body? Of course. If not, there would be no resurrection from the dead. Our heavenly body will not be raised from the dead because it has never died.
The physical body of the Lord Jesus, the flesh and bones of it, walked out of the burial cave of Joseph of Arimathea, and no doubt did a little dance at the time.
We have made Christianity a spiritual religion when in actuality it is both a spiritual and physical religion. Man is one whole—body, soul, and spirit. The whole man is to be redeemed and restored to life on earth, not to life in Heaven.
Perhaps because of the influence of Gnosticism the Christian churches for two thousand years have stressed the manual instead of the garden. Have we brought people to Jesus Christ or to our belief system? If to our belief system we are proselyting, not converting people.
We place enormous stress on our doctrines and statements of faith. Actually these are the manual, not the garden. There is no salvation in doctrine or a statement of faith unless these lead us to the living Jesus.
Think of the pain and damage inflicted throughout the Christian Era as believers have fought over doctrine. This is nonsense. It would be funny if it were not so tragic.
Do you imagine when the Lord returns that what we believe will be a major issue?
"I believe there is one God and Jesus is His Son." So do the demons and they do not have eternal life.
"I believe Jesus was born of a virgin." The demons know this and it does not benefit them at all.
"I believe the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for my sins." The demons are well aware Christ shed His blood for the sins of man but the knowledge brings no redemption to them.
"I believe Jesus rose from the dead and is coming again." The demons realize this and tremble at the thought. But it does not save them.
Am I saying there is no place for doctrine or a statement of faith? I am not saying this at all. The Gospels and the Epistles provide us abundantly with doctrine and from this we can concoct a statement of faith (which probably will conflict with another equally devout Christian's concocted statement of faith).
Each denomination preserves its identity by means of its statement of faith. Its unique statement of faith may be the only excuse it has for being a separate denomination!
I am not certain of the value of a statement of faith. But the writings of the Apostles are of immense importance for two reasons.
The first reason is that through these writings we are oriented correctly to God's eternal purposes in Christ Jesus. We are apprised of the true meaning of world history, of the Divine plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, and of what will take place in the future. In particular we learn of the coming Day of Judgment and Resurrection.
To be continued.