Redemption of Our Body

There is “now no condemnation” of anyone “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 death.” In Romans, the Apostle Paul links our salvation to the inheritance of Christ and the coming redemption of our bodies and creation itself.

The disobedience of Adam condemned humanity and the universe to bondage and death. Nevertheless, “much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus, abound to the many.”

Wild Flowers Sun - Photo by Preston Browning on Unsplash
[Photo by Preston Browning on Unsplash]

Paul connects salvation to the future resurrection, thus presenting a 
forward-looking faith. Everlasting life is an inheritance received when God raises the righteous from the dead and transforms living saints at the return of His Son.

  • For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his  Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace” - (Romans 8:3-6).

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 sin, not his physical body but his mortality and bondage to sin. He 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 sin with the new life free from its tyranny. 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.

Paul is not speaking about two “natures” that reside within the individual that is locked in mortal combat, but rather about the PAST life “in the 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 have our new lives “in the Spirit… if God’s Spirit dwells” in us. This includes our physical 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 will resurrect us on the Last Day.

REVEALING HIS SONS


Paul brings the resurrection into the conversation. Integral to his concept of salvation is the bodily resurrection of the saints. Their final redemption will be actualized when they are raised from the dead, which, by necessity and logic, includes the redemption of the human body. Believers will not simply discard their mortal bodies but exchange them for immortal bodies.

The entire man created by God was condemned to bondage - body, soul, and spirit. Therefore, if God is to recover all that was lost to sin, His redemptive act must include the human body. Likewise, the creation that was condemned to corruption and death by the sin of Adam 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. Until he returns, we must not live “according to the flesh.” If we do, apostasy and eternal loss become real possibilities - (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.” We who are “led by God’s Spirit are His sons” - (Romans 8:15-20).

The Spirit of God “bears witness with our spirit that we are His children.” This means we are “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ.” However, to be his coheir entails suffering in this life for his sake so we also may be “glorified” with him.

Moreover, 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.

Rainbow Sky - Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash
[Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash]

However, the universe is “
ardently awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” When they are “revealed” for all to see, the “creation itself will 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 a new creation, the promised “New Heavens and Earth” - (Romans 8:21-23, 2 Peter 3:10-13).

The redemption of the creation is dependent on the resurrection of the “sons of God.” The promises of bodily resurrection and this New Creation are inextricably linked.

We who are declared righteous in Jesus receive the Spirit of God. If we continue to live accordingly, we will receive our completed salvation and everlasting life when Jesus arrives and raises us from the dead.



RELATED POSTS:
  • Abolishing Death - (Paul reminds Timothy of Christ’s resurrection and victory over death since false teachers are denying the resurrection of believers)
  • The Death of Death - (Central to the future hope of the Apostolic Faith is the bodily resurrection of the dead when Jesus arrives to gather his saints)
  • Final Events - (The arrival of Jesus at the end of the age will mean the end of the Last Enemy, namely, Death - 1 Corinthians 15:24-28)

{Published originally on the Letters to the Church website}

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