Series: Maintaining this Hope
Message – …until Death is abolished
…until Death is abolished
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…
- …it has a purifying effect within us
- …it offers us great hope.
So we ended last week in 1Cor. 15 verse 24 so let’s turn there now.
The importance of our bodily resurrection
Now remember that Paul had written this portion of his letter to the Corinthians because he knew a distortion of the Gospel had begun to spread in their church which was attacking their foundation. It was attacking the fact of Jesus’ resurrection and our resurrection at His return.
This HAD to be set straight because in verse 13 & 14 Paul tells us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that this doctrine is FOUNDATIONAL!
“(13) 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.”
Now from verses 14-24, which we covered last week, Paul argues that death entered the world through man and therefore Jesus partook of humanity so that IN HIM all may come to new life.
So this confirms again that if it is true about Jesus it is and/or will be true for us as well.
Then the passage ended with the statement that Jesus was the firstfruits of righteousness from the dead and that we will be the remainder of that harvest at His return!
Now let’s continue…
“(25) For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. (26) The last enemy to be abolished is death. (27) For He has put everything under His feet. But when it says “everything” is put under Him, it is obvious that He Who puts everything under Him is the exception. (28) And when everything is subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him Who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
LOTS of “Hims” here…so let’s clarify.
Jesus as the God man, the Creator and the created is both the author of and pre-eminent above all things in creation – except He cannot be before Himself in His humanity.
So, by His sinless life, vicarious death and resurrection He has redeemed (bought back) humanity to God the Father, for Whom they were created in the first place.
Jesus is the head of this Kingdom and He both WILL and MUST rule over it until the end.
Once the last enemy has been completely subjectated to Jesus then the entire Kingdom will be handed over to the Father and even the Son Himself will willingly place Himself in subjection to the Father BECAUSE He too has partaken of flesh and blood.
This is yet another reason why Jesus’ becoming human was SO important.
1Peter 2:24-25, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; by His wounding you have been healed. (25) For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.”
This is seen from another angle in Philippians 2, so let’s turn there…
Php. 2:5-11, “(5) Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, (6) Who being in His very nature God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His Own advantage or tightly held onto.
(7) Instead He emptied Himself by taking the form of a slave, becoming Himself a human being.”
“And when in His external form He had come as a man, (8) He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death–even to death on a cross.
(9) For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, (10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow–of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth– (11) and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
In these verses Paul was quoting from Isaiah 45 which also gives further proofs and an additional setting for these statements regarding Jesus’ right and necessity to reign until the end.
Remember that Jesus IS the Creator and so it becomes clear that these verses in Isaiah are specifically talking about Jesus as Creator and Savior.
Isa. 45:18-25, “(18) For this is what the LORD says–God is the Creator of the heavens. He formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited–“I am the LORD, and there is no other. (19) I have not spoken in secret, somewhere in a land of darkness. I did not say to the descendants of Jacob: Seek Me in a wasteland. I, the LORD, speak truthfully; I say what is right. (20) “Come, gather together, and draw near, you fugitives of the nations. Those who carry their wooden idols, and pray to a god who cannot save, have no knowledge. (21) Speak up and present your case–yes, let them take counsel together. Who predicted this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no one except Me.
(22) Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.
(23) By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked:
Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. (24) It will be said to Me: Only in the LORD is righteousness and strength.”
All who are incensed against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. (25) All the descendants of Israel will be justified and find glory through the LORD.”
So Jesus, being God, Creator AND SAVIOR MUST reign until the end. THEN He will take the Kingdom He has won again through blood, love & righteousness and lay it at the Father’s feet and then, because He is still man – He will take His place under the Father as well!
So you see the story unfolding? Is it making sense?
The initial rebellion in heaven was answered by the creation of Man who bears the image of a God they have never seen.
They too fell, but because their knowledge of Him was fragmentary – their fall was not a defiant rebellion based upon perfect knowledge… thus making redemption possible… mankind could be redeemed.
By becoming one of us, and shedding His sinless blood on our behalf and then rising to new life, man can be cleansed through that blood and come into the KINGDOM we forsook in the garden. We willingly place ourselves back under the Lord our God, in love and trust and obedience which answers the rebellious question of the enemy – why should you reign?
Also, can you see why God, in the garden drove mankind out so that they would not eat of the tree of life? If they had – no redemption would ever have been possible. Man would not be able to physically die, but would eternally be spiritually dead. So ironically physical death was necessary for our freedom from sin and our entrance into new life. Jesus tasted death for all and once everyone has been made subject to Him – AND I DO MEAN EVERYONE for on that last and final day – EVERY KNEE will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus IS in fact MASTER and LORD which confession will glorify God and justify His claim to reign! THEN death itself – the very vehicle by which our redemption was purchased will itself be cast down under His rule and EVERYTHING in Heaven and on earth will be in their proper place under Him by their own freewill confession. THEN that completed Kingdom of perfect subjection will be placed under God the Father once for all and we, as His redeemed children will live in perfect union with Him FOREVER!
Okay…now back to earth…let’s back up and read from verse 28
“(28) And when everything is subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him Who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all. (29) Otherwise what will they do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them?”
Now this is a bit of a weird verse, but this is NOT to be taken as an endorsement of such a practice since if it were a foundational teaching in the gospel it would be taught with some prominence and explanation, but it is not.
This was most likely simply a man-made ceremony for those who had believed into Christ but had not been able to be baptized before they died. It was most likely a way of outwardly commemorating the faith of a fallen brother or sister in the Lord.