Resurrection and New Creation
According to Paul, there is “now no condemnation” for anyone who is “in Christ Jesus.” This happy condition exists because the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and of death.” Moreover, he links our salvation to the inheritance of Christ and the coming redemption of the creation. Adam’s transgression condemned the entire universe to bondage and death, not just humanity. However, “much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus, abound to the many.”
The Apostle Paul connects our salvation to our future resurrection, presenting us with a forward-looking faith. Everlasting life is an inheritance we will receive when God raises the righteous from the dead and transforms living saints when Jesus appears - (Romans 8:1-4).
|[Photo by Townsend Walton on Unsplash]
In his theology, the term “flesh” refers to man in his mortal and fallen state, an orientation that “prefers death, but the Spirit prefers life and peace.” This “fleshly man” is the product of Adam’s disobedience, not his physical body but his mortality and bondage to sin. Adam was an embodied creature before he disobeyed the commandment of God.
The “flesh” remains hostile to God since “to the law of God it does not submit itself, neither can it. They who in flesh have their being cannot please God.” To be “in the flesh” is equivalent to being “in Adam” - (Romans 5:18-19).
Paul’s discussion about “flesh” and “spirit” contrasts our former Adamic life in bondage to sin with the new life that is free from it. The contrast is not between the physical and the nonphysical, but the old nature “in Adam” and the new one “in Christ.” In either case, we remain embodied beings, not disembodied spirits.
Nor is Paul speaking about two “natures” that reside within each of us locked in mortal combat, but rather about the PAST life “in flesh” of the Adamic man and the NEW life “in the Spirit” provided by Jesus and empowered by the Spirit.
- “But you have not your being in flesh but in spirit, if, at least, God’s Spirit is dwelling in you. And if anyone has not Christ’s Spirit, the same is not his. But if Christ is in you, the body, indeed, is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. If, moreover, the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from among the dead is dwelling in you, he that raised Christ Jesus from among the dead will make alive even your death-doomed bodies through the means of his indwelling Spirit within you” - (Romans 8:9-11).
We do not have our lives “in the flesh” but “in the Spirit”; that is, “IF God’s Spirit is dwelling” in us, including in our bodies. However, if anyone does not have his Spirit, “the same is not his.” It is the Spirit that equips mortal men and women to walk uprightly - (Galatians 5:13-18).
Though the present body is “dead because of sin,” the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now dwells in us, and therefore, the Spirit will resurrect us on the Last Day.
Paul then introduces the resurrection directly into the conversation. Integral to his concept of salvation is the BODILY resurrection of the saints. Our final redemption will be actualized when we are raised from the dead, which, by necessity and logic, includes the redemption of the human body. We will not simply discard our mortal bodies, but we will replace them with immortal bodies.
The entire man that God created was condemned to bondage, body, soul, and spirit, and not just Adam’s soul or inner self. Therefore, if God is to recover all that was lost to sin and Satan, His redemptive act must include our bodies.
Likewise, the creation that was condemned to corruption and death by Adam’s disobedience must be rescued from bondage, otherwise, “redemption” will not take place.
Though we have been declared righteous “through the faith of Jesus,” our receipt of final salvation is not a foregone conclusion. In the interim until Christ’s return, we must not live “according to the flesh.” If we do, apostasy becomes a very real possibility - (Romans 3:21-22, 8:12-14).
If we do live after the “flesh,” we will “die. But if by the Spirit we put to death the practices of the flesh, we will attain life.” It is we who are “led by God’s Spirit who are His sons” - (Romans 8:15-20).
The Spirit of God in us “bears witness with our spirit that we are His children,” and this means we are “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ.” However, to be his joint heir entails suffering in this life for his sake so we also may be “glorified” with him.
The creation itself has been subjected “to vanity” - to death and decay - because of the disobedience of Adam. Accordingly, all creation now suffers until the present hour.
|[Photo by Eugene on Unsplash]
However, the creation is “ardently awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” When his sons are “revealed” for all to see, the “creation itself shall be freed from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.” That day will mean nothing less than New Creation - (Romans 8:21-23).
Thus, the redemption of the entire creation is dependent on the resurrection of the “sons of God.” The promises of bodily resurrection and the New Creation are inextricably linked according to Paul’s teachings on redemption and salvation.
We who are declared righteous in Jesus receive the Spirit of God, and if we continue to live accordingly, we will receive our final salvation and everlasting life when Jesus arrives and raises us from the dead.
- Spirit and Resurrection - (The Gift of the Spirit is the First Fruits of the bodily resurrection and a foretaste of the promised New Creation)
- Resurrection and Salvation - (Central to salvation in the Apostolic tradition is the bodily resurrection of the dead when Jesus arrives to gather his saints)
- The Life-Giving Spirit - (Jesus dispenses the Life-Giving Spirit without which there is no enduring life. His words are spirit, and they are life)