Resurrection and Creation

The Spirit is the first fruit of the future resurrection of believers and the redemption of the Creation – Romans 8:1-23.

Paul declares that there is “now no condemnation” for those who are “in Jesus.” This happy condition is the result of the “law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set them free from the law of sin and of death.” And the gift of the Spirit is the foretaste of the resurrection of believers and the redemption of the creation.

The sin of Adam has condemned the entire creation to bondage, sin, and death, not just humanity. And under the Mosaic law, humanity cannot liberate itself from bondage to sin and death. That takes something, or, more accurately, someone else:

  • (Romans 8:3-4) - “What was impossible by the law in that it was weak through the flesh, God, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who, not according to the flesh do walk, but according to spirit.”

FLESH vs SPIRIT

In the eighth chapter of Romans, the term “flesh” refers to humanity in its mortal and fallen state that “prefers death, but the Spirit prefers life and peace.” The “fleshly man” is the product of Adam’s disobedience, and it remains “hostile towards God, for 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).

The discussion on “flesh” and “spirit” contrasts the old Adamic life in bondage to sin with the new life that is free from servitude to it. Moreover, that life is found in Jesus.

Paul is not speaking about two “natures” within an individual human being that are locked in mortal combat, the “old man” versus the “new man,” but about the past life in the “flesh” of the Adamic man in contrast to the new life in the “spirit” provided in the man, Jesus Christ - (Romans 8:9-11).

His disciples do not have their life in the flesh but in the spirit, if God’s Spirit is dwelling” in them. But if anyone does not have his Spirit, “the same is not his.” It is that same Spirit that equips disciples to walk uprightly - (Galatians 5:13-18).

Though our present physical bodies are “dead by reason of sin,” if the Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, “He that raised him from among the dead will quicken our death-doomed bodies through means of his indwelling Spirit.”

THE RESURRECTION

Next, Paul introduces the resurrection into the discussion. Integral to his concept of salvation is the bodily resurrection of the saints. Final redemption is realized at the resurrection, and this, by necessity and logic, includes the redemption of the body.

The entire man that God created was condemned to bondage by Adams’ transgression, not just his soul or inner self. Therefore, if God is to redeem humanity and recover all that was lost, His redemptive act must include the human body.

Likewise, the creation that was also condemned by sin must be redeemed - (Romans 8:12-14).

Though believers have been declared righteous, their receipt of final salvation is not a foregone conclusion. They are obliged to live “not according to the flesh,” for if they do, they will “die. But if by the Spirit they put to death the practices of the flesh, they will attain life.” It is men who are “led by God’s Spirit that are His sons” - (Romans 8:15-20).

COHEIRS WITH JESUS

The Spirit of God that dwells in believers “bears witness with their spirit that they are His children,” and this means they are the “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ.” But to be a coheir with him also means suffering in this life for his sake so we also will be “glorified” like him.

The creation itself has been subjected “to vanity” - to death and decay - because of the disobedience of Adam, and, accordingly, all creation now suffers until the present hour.

But the creation is “ardently awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” When his sons are “revealed” for all to see, then the “creation itself also 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 THE NEW CREATION.

  • (Romans 8:21-23) – “That creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of the decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God; for we know that all creation is sighing together and travailing-in-birth-throes together until the present, and not only so, but we ourselves also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we even ourselves within our own selves do sigh, sonship ardently awaiting, the redemption of our body.

Thus, Paul links the New Creation to the bodily resurrection at the end of the age. His is a FORWARD-LOOKING FAITH. Everlasting life is an inheritance that is received in all its fullness at the resurrection of the righteous, an event that will coincide with the arrival of the New Creation at the return of Jesus. And the possession of the Spirit is the “first fruit” and guarantee of that blessed and final event - (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

Moreover, the redemption of the entire creation is dependent on the resurrection of the “sons of God.” Therefore, the promises of bodily resurrection and the New Creation are inextricably linked.

Throughout the eighth chapter of Romans, the focus remains on the future inheritance of the saints, and Paul links it to the New Creation and the resurrection. New Creation and bodily resurrection are two sides of the same coin.

Disciples who have been declared righteous in Christ, who have received the Spirit of God, and who continue to live accordingly, will receive their final redemption when they are raised from the dead at the end of the present age. The arrival of Jesus at that time will mean nothing less than the “new heavens and the new earth” and life everlasting.



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