ALL BECAUSE HE LIVES!
“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:9-11.
What if Jesus had not risen from the dead? Paul could write with confidence to these mostly unknown Roman believers because of one thing. Jesus rose from the dead and because of that, He sent His Spirit to live in those who believed in Him.
To be a baptised believer in the Roman Empire in his day was a perilous choice because every believer was in danger of facing death at the hands of a hostile Roman government. Christians were a distinct group. It was not possible to sit on the fence because no one in his right mind would risk death unless he were thoroughly convinced and committed to Jesus as Lord.
So Paul could say, “I know that God’s Spirit lives in you.” If you were a believer, it was a given. The indwelling Spirit of Christ was for them then, and for us now, both the confirmation and the guarantee that they belonged to Christ and experienced all the blessings and benefits of their union with Him.
Because of the Holy Spirit’s presence in them, they were assured of the resurrection of their bodies from the dead although they were still subject to physical death because of the presence of sin. They would die, yes, but that would not be the end. Just as Jesus rose from the dead because death could not hold Him captive forever, those who belong to Him, who are in Him and are united with Him by His Holy Spirit, will also rise from the dead because death cannot hold us prisoner either.
How can that be since we are human beings, part of this present corrupted world and therefore subject to the death that came upon the whole universe at the Fall? Paul understood that we shall still die – our physical bodies are still part of this earth. But that will not be the end.
The Bible teaches us that, as God’s sons and daughters, we have an inheritance; we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. But what do we inherit? Read what Peter wrote:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4.
We inherit God’s nature in which we participate through His promises. Since God is perfect – there is no corruption in Him – He cannot die. Death could not hold Jesus because He, too, was sinless in His earthly life as the Son of God. When we are joined to Him by faith, death cannot hold us either because we have been made the righteousness of God in Him.
And so, just as Jesus rose from the dead, we will also be resurrected when He returns to complete the restoration of all things. Then we will experience the fullness and completeness of our inheritance – eternal life.
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” Romans 6:22.
Can you understand the process? Faith in Christ leads to the gift of righteousness and the presence of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit in us enables us to obey God; obedience leads to holiness – separation from sin and learning to think and live like God (because we have inherited His nature); holiness leads to eternal life.
What Jesus died on the cross for us, and through His resurrection from the dead, He removed the barriers to reconciliation to the Father. He gave us back the Holy Spirit who had departed from man at the Fall. He made possible a life of obedience to Him which will lead us to appropriate our inheritance and eventually to be raised from the dead to experience the fullness of eternal life. It is now up to us to work out in partnership with the Holy Spirit what He has already worked in us.
“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil His good purpose.” Philippians 2:12b, 13.
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