Series: Maintaining this Hope
Jesus’ Return and the Redemption of our Bodies Pt. 2
Let’s start off with our beginning passage in 1Jn. 3:1-3,
“(1) See what marvellous love the Father has bestowed upon us–that we should be called God’s children: and that is what we are.
For this reason the world does not recognize us–because it has not known Him.
(2) Dear friends, we are now God’s children, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been fully revealed. We know that when whenChrist reappears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. (3) And every man who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself so as to be as pure as He is.”
We’ve realized that we need to focus more on the return of Christ.
The Apostles spoke and wrote about it OFTEN, encouraging the church to think about it, long for it and anticipating it, because it does at least 2 indispensable things in the Christian life…
- has a purifying effect within us
- it offers us great hope.
The last two weeks we looked at Romans 8 and the progressive work of God in our lives as we learn to walk in the Spirit by fixing our attention on God’s Word by His Spirit, and long for the Lord’s return. Part of that longing according to Romans 8 was our ANTICIPATION of our GREAT Hope – which included the Redemption of our Bodies at the return of the Lord.
Now, we all can think of NATURAL reasons why this is something to look forward to, but who can offer me some spiritual reasons why this is our Great Hope?
So we ended last week at the beginning of 1Cor. 15 in verses 12-19 so let’s turn there now.
The importance of our bodily resurrection
Paul had written this portion of this letter to the Corinthian church because he knew a distortion of the Gospel had begun to spread in their church that either the dead do NOT raise to New Life OR that the return of the Lord had already happened. This HAD to be set straight – THAT Hope is imperative in that it works purity in the life of the believer. According to Paul belief in the certainty of Jesus’ return and our bodily resurrection was the basis for their salvation!
So the Holy Spirit influenced Paul to argue along these lines…
“(12) Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”?
(13) But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; (14) and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith.”
“(15) In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ–whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. (16) For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. (17) And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”
“(18) Therefore those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. (19) If we have placed our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.”
Paul is here speaking of the reward. The same reward Jesus spoke of in His promises to us – some of which we read last week and all involved His return.
It is the same reward that James and Peter taught, that the writer of Hebrews told us to “not cast away our confidence in”…this is the reward!
If we claim there is no hope of a resurrection then – our faith is to no point! As Paul stated at the beginning of the chapter – We have believed to no purpose.
Why does this matter so much?
Because the resurrection we are talking about is progressive!
Romans 6 tells us that Jesus died once for all to sin but forever lives unto righteousness. The death and resurrection of the body is only PART of this…in fact it is the last and final part.
Let’s read that passage in Romans… it is found in Rom 6:1-14.
“(1) What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? (2) By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (3) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (6) We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (7) For one who has died has been set free from sin. (8) Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (9) We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. (10) For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. (11) So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (13) Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (14) For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
Paul goes on in chapter 7 to address the conflicted nature we deal with as Christians. We have a spirit which is alive to God, but a body that still has sin and death in it. Then in chapter 8, where we were 2 weeks ago, Paul tells us that IF by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body we will have suffered with Him and we will then, as a result and reward – be glorified together with Him by becoming like Him and by our bodies being glorified.
But make no mistake…if you do not participate in the death and resurrection of the soul (salvation of the soul) then you will most certainly NOT participate in the bodily one either!
Now picking back up in 1Cor. 15 verse 20…
“(20) But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
That should seem familiar from our Wednesday nights “Thru the Bible” lessons.
Who remembers the basic idea behind first fruits?
Firstfruits were the beginnings of the harvest offered to God.
So we as Christians have received, if you will, a type of firstfruits in the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is what the scriptures call a forward or downpayment of the fullness of our inheritance. Notice what we are inheriting is GOD Himself!
So what is God inheriting? US!
Psa. 2:1-12, “(1) Why do the nations rebel and the peoples plot in vain? (2) The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers conspire together against the LORD and His Anointed One: (3) “Let us tear off their chains and free ourselves from their restraints.” (4) The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them. (5) Then He speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath: (6) “I have consecrated My King on Zion, My holy mountain.” (7) I will declare the LORD’s decree: He said to Me, “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father. (8) Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance and the ends of the earth Your possession.”
It God the Father says to Jesus the Son, “Ask of Me and I will make the nations Your Inheritance.”
It is recorded in John 17, which we often call Jesus’ high priestly prayer, that He in fact DID ask! He said, John 17:24-26, “(24) Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation. (25) Righteous Father! The world has not known You. However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me. (26) I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
So Paul pointing out that Jesus’ dying and rising from the dead makes Him the firstfruits is nothing more and nothing less than Paul saying “If it’s true about Jesus it is true about us”.
If Christ rose from the dead – so do we!
“(21) For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. (22) For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
“(23) But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, the people of Christ.”
So when does this resurrection and redemption of our bodies that we read about in Romans 8 take place? At His Coming!
“(24) Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.”
Now there are some who use this verse to say that Jesus’ return for His bride is the same return when He begins His reign, since there is no apparent gap in time being mentioned here.
I believe that is a mistake because it does not agree with the rest of scripture AND because this is a pattern often found in scripture.
In Old Testament prophecies, MOST did not describe the time of the Gentiles – the time we are living in right now.
They simply skipped from the coming of the Messiah to His reigning over the entire earth. THAT is why the disciples asked Jesus after His resurrection, “Master, at this time will you return the Kingdom to Israel?” – yet, that is NOT what happened.
Which should not have been a surprise since it would not have been allowing for ALL that the Old Testament said.
Daniel clearly points out a gap of time between one and the other.
So why bring this up?
Just to illustrate that just because Paul does not mention a gap between Jesus’ first return and His second one in this place, doesn’t mean there won’t be one – nor does it negate the fact that such events occurring between His return for His bride and His return to rule and reign ARE in fact mentioned in the New Testament.