Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 15’

There is a war coming between sons of Adam and the sons of God. This is a war between the old and new creations, between the broken union of man and the new humanity in Christ. This must happen before the new creation is established. The amnesty of the present age is passing and when it does the sons of God will unite for the last human war. This is a human war because mankind was given authority over creation (in the beginning), so at the end of the present age mankind will regain its place over creation, in Christ. Order will be reestablished.

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
(1 Corinthians 15:24-28 ESV)

This war is necessary. Christ, who is head of this new human union (and new creation), must subjugate every other government and authority who does not subject themselves to his rule willingly. So that all may be brought to account under the good order that God established in the beginning.

In the process of uniting all thing under his authority Christ will dominate death and raise all from the dead. Just as mankind is united in death the sons of God be united in life. Once Jesus Christ has put all things under his feet he will then put himself under the authority of God the father. The phrase “…that God may be all in all” (vs28) is the language of unity, a union that all Christians will share in as part of the new creation. This is an image of complete consistency with and submission to the authority of God the Father, where no part of creation is in revolt or rebellion against God. The kingdom of God is a perfect union under the order, rule and authority of God the father. Christ will hand over all authority to God so that all things will be subject to God. Never again will mankind seek to wrestle control of creation from God because Christ who is the head of all will not fail where Adam failed, to do so will require him to rebel against himself (he is God also). In this way the future of the new creation will be secure in Christ.

During this last war, creation will unite in rebellion against God one last time. Seeking to destroy their common enemy, God’s chosen king (Christ). They will not prevail, they will be defeated swiftly and without mercy.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
(Revelation 19:11-21 ESV)

Those who will not unite in Christ willingly have no place in the new creation, this is why hell is so important (more on this later). At the end of the book of Matthew describes the final judgement of God where he will separate those who are united in Christ (the sheep) from those who would not submit willingly (the Goats).

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
(Matthew 25:31-34 ESV)

While similar in some respects, sheep and goats are not the same species and as such they have no place coexisting, the goats must be separated out. Note that this distinction between species is not made effective until the final judgement and it is God who makes this distinction not man. So in the present age while there is still time Christians must strive to make Christ known and leave the judgement and punishment of the goats to God at the time of his choosing.

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THE FORM OF CHRIST
As already discussed, Eve shared in the flesh of Adam which made her a suitable helper for him and that it is only by sharing in the flesh of Adam that anyone can be counted as human (i.e. this is what it means to be human). In the same way to be Christian means to share in Christ’s spirit, being reborn into it by dying to Adams flesh and being raised in the spirit of Christ.

RESURRECTION AND NEW HUMANITY
Through one man (Adam) came death, and in the same way through one man (Christ) came the resurrection of the dead to eternal life, this is why Jesus’ righteous act was greater than the trespass of Adam. These two heads are not the head of the same race. This new humanity under the headship of Christ is born out of the old humanity, it is only once the old humanity has died can the new be reborn in the image of Christ.

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
(1 Corinthians 15:42-49 ESV)

1 Corinthians 15 says that this is the natural order of things, death is required to bring life (for wheat to grow the kernel must die). So it must be for the birth of the new human union in Christ, before Christians are raised to life as part of this new humanity their earthly body must die. In the weakness of Adams flesh they are planted as the seeds for a harvest, a superior immortal union that will never waver, decay or fracture. It is the superiority of Christ and his headship that makes this union greater than that of Adam.

Adam was made from dust and had a body of flesh, whereas Jesus is from heaven with a spiritual body. Those who are born of flesh (from the union of a man and a woman) bear the image of Adam in their natural bodies. Those who are born of heaven (raised in the spirit of Christ) will bear the image of Jesus Christ in their spiritual bodies (on the last day and beyond).

It was Jesus’ resurrection from the dead that signified his mantle of headship. Jesus was the first to be reborn from the dead so that he (not anyone else) would be the head of this new human union (and ultimately the new creation). Just like Adam, Jesus is the first of his race (first-born). It was the subsiquent birth of every human into his Adam’s flesh that tied them to his fate. Likewise it is through the subsiquent death and resurrection (in Christ) of every Christian that they are able to fully take hold of the reality of their membership in this new human union.

UNITED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
However this reality has not yet dawned on those who are still in our earthly bodies (the flesh of Adam). They will not fully take hold of their union in Christ until all are raised from the dead on the last day. How then is it possible to be united to Christ if you are still in the flesh of Adam?

Those who are still in the flesh of Adam are only able to begin to take hold of our union in Christ now (set their minds on things of God) by the Holy Spirit. That is, Christ’s spirit living and working in them (unity in spirit). As it says:

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
(1 Corinthians 6:17 ESV)

And again it says:

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV)

It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit (which raised Christ from the dead) that all Christians are able to begin to turn our minds and actions to the things of God, i.e. live out their union in Christ. Romans 8 states that it is the Holy Spirit living in all Christians that unifies them in Christ, making them alive, despite the fact that they are subject to the decay and corruption of Adam’s flesh (earthly body). The Spirit of Christ is much more powerful than the flesh of Adam.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
(Romans 8:9-11 ESV)

Christians owe nothing to the flesh of Adam and have no obligation to continue to live the life of corruption they were born into. If anyone continues to live according to the ways of the flesh they show themselves to be dead (in Adam) by their own actions. Only by actively opposing the ways of the flesh (yourself) do they take hold of their inheritance in the union (kingdom) of God, as sons of God (humans of the new creation), in a renewed union/relationship with him.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
(Romans 8:12-15 ESV)

Therefore know that this current form (flesh) is only temporary and that the Holy Spirit (of Christ) is working in all Christians (using the suffering they endure in their flesh) to prepare them for future glory, perfect unity in Christ.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-18 ESV)

As we struggle through this life we must fix our eyes on that which we cannot yet fully see, the glory of perfect unity in Christ, a renewed relationship with God. As suffering is multiplied to us we must persevere until we are reborn into the image of our Lord Jesus.