IDENTIFICATION IN RESURRECTION
Most Christians think that a time will come when the physical body will be raised up, and they call this the first resurrection. There are several reasons why I don't think the physical body will be resurrected. God said that the body is destined to return to dust, and Paul said that mortality cannot put on immortality. Since we now have a new body, i.e., the body of Christ, we no longer need the old body - not even in a resurrected form.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is of tremendous significance to us, especially because of our identification with Him in His death and resurrection! Today we are going to look into our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection! The things He experienced, we experience spiritually in our identification with Him. These things do not happen to us historically, nor do they happen to everyone at the same time. They have to be appropriated individually. Through the grace of God, we enter in by faith!
If we have died with Him, we will also be raised with Him. But to do so we must go through the same processing Jesus did. We have to repent from having been under the law just like He did; we have to be baptized into death and buried in water and be raised out of death into life, just like He was; the heavens have to be opened to us and we need to hear the Father say that we are His beloved sons, just like He did. Jesus experienced this while He was on earth in His physical body.
"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire."
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
The dead are those who are dead in their trespasses and sins; this death has nothing to do with the physical body. Everyone born into the world is dead in his sins, because in Adam all die. The natural man lives in this death, but the spiritual man lives in life, for in Christ all are made alive! Christ is the spiritual Word that comes to us. He did not die as a substitute for us, but because He was identifying with us. He did not die instead of man, but with him and for him. He did not die to save us from the penalty of sin, but from sin itself! He did not die that we might not die, but to deliver us out of a death in which we were already involved!
"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."
This is wonderful news! Life is for now while we are in this world! If we hear the voice of the Son of God, we pass from death to life. The physical body is not involved in this passing from death to life. This takes place in the unseen, in the spirit.
"For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself."
"And He gave Him" (Christ Jesus) "authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man."
"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment."
Two classes of people are mentioned in this passage. All hear the voice of the Son of God, but the reception varies. Those who are hearing the voice have passed from death to life. Those on whom the Word of God has no effect, remain in death, and so will be judged. Many Christians do not know the difference between knowing and hearing. They know about Christ and God, but they have not heard His voice. They have read about the Spirit, but they have not heard the voice of the Holy Spirit in their spirit.
When they arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the grave for four days. An interesting conversation took place between Martha and Jesus upon His arrival.
Very gently Jesus dismissed and negated the popular myth that the resurrection was in the last day, by saying,
How does this knowledge affect our thinking? Since He is the resurrection, it cannot be a historical event. Neither can it have anything to do with physical happenings - so it is not the restoration of physical bodies. Christ is spiritual, so resurrection has to be spiritual; it is the spiritual passing from death to life. To receive resurrection we have to be put into Christ! Therefore we cannot receive resurrection apart from Him, for it cannot be separated from Himself.
Resurrection takes place while we are still on planet earth. In Adam all die. Jesus said,
Jesus was resurrected from among the dead. His baptism was the first demonstration of this. For 30 years He had lived under the law. At the Jordan He received John's baptism of repentance; He was burying the natural man - that sense of self (the ego) that is in the flesh and in the death realm.
Romans 6 tells us that we have been buried with Christ Jesus through baptism. So we know that water is a place of burial. Our old self was crucified with Him; we are buried with Him in baptism, and raised from the dead so that we might walk in the newness of life - just like He did. Our old self is our ego - the sense of being that is rooted in the ME! In baptism we demonstrate our identification with the things Jesus did - we express our faith in the knowledge that the old self - the ego sense of being that is in our old soul - is dead, and we are ready to bury it. This is called repentance.
It is interesting to note that Jesus received the anointing of the Spirit when He came out of the Jordan River - not before His baptism or during His baptism, but after He had been baptized. This tells us that baptism not only symbolizes death and burial, but also resurrection!
Paul explains this in
Ephesians tells us that there is only one baptism. This baptism is the burial of the spiritual death that the natural man is in. To come out of that death we have to be resurrected into life. Since Jesus is the resurrection, He didn't need resurrection. But He lived His life on earth, then died on the cross and appeared again to demonstrate spiritual realities, for they are unseen. Spiritual realities are permanent. Jesus Christ's body was temporal. We will see later that some of the things He did were simply a demonstration or manifestation to humanity of things that can only be seen in the Spirit.
There is a faith, which was once for all handed down to the saints. (Jude 3) We are to live according to the faith of Jesus. Paul said,
In a sense Jesus identified with the human nature, which is dead in Adam, because He went to be baptized as the last Adam. This was death to the old Adam because he was buried, and the new man who was raised up got the anointing. Peter confirms this in Acts 2 when, in His Spirit-filled message, he preached repentance and baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus to receive the remission of sins! This makes us new creatures! Then we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit - the anointing!
This is the way it happened to Jesus, and He is the way! After He was baptized, the Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove. Although this happened to Jesus in His spirit, it was presented visually, so humanity would know that this had happened. After being anointed with the Spirit, the heavens were opened to Him, and He heard God say,
Resurrection cannot take place without a death having occurred. The death Jesus experienced was a death to sin. (Rom. 6:10) That is why He never sinned. He identified with humanity, but He Himself never sinned. In
"When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions."
Our first identification is with the old man - with our sins and transgressions. Since we have been made a new creation
"Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."
Let's continue with our identification. In
In reply to the Sadducees' question about whose wife this woman would be in the resurrection, Jesus said,
In the resurrection we are as angels of God in heaven. Just imagine, when we have been raised together with Him, we are heavenly messengers! We are spiritual messengers! The word EVANGELISM has the word ANGEL incorporated within it. Angels are messengers. Jesus Christ is the great messenger!
"But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."
"Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?"
It is interesting to note that the Old Testament saints have already been resurrected. God is a God of the living! He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so we know that they have already been resurrected and are living in God. On the Mount of Transfiguration we see that Moses and Elijah have also been raised from the dead, for they are there with Jesus! The disciples could only know that through revelation, for they had not seen them before - they hadn't even seen a photo of them! This knowledge had to be revealed to them!
Everything real and spiritual that happened from Adam to the time that Jesus appeared, whether through Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, etc., is summed up in Christ! This was symbolized when Jesus was baptized. A careful study shows that almost all of them were present in the Spirit at His baptism. He became the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets!
"But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming."
"Everyone in his own order." Christ is the first fruits of all those who are born of the same incorruptible seed of Christ - they all come from the same seed! "Everyone in his own order" means that those who are in the order of Adam die, and those who are in the order of Christ are made alive. In his own order does not refer to certain groups coming in at certain times. For example, it doesn't mean that a billion Chinese will come in at a certain time, then a billion people from India and Europe, etc.
Let's see what happened when Jesus was on the cross in
We must remember that on the cross, God provided an innocent, enlightened, guiltless Son of God as an offering to man that he might receive Him and become like Him! This is God's purpose for man! However humanity rejected God's provision, and looked for an opportunity to kill Him! They finally took this man Jesus, who only exhibited the love of God and the innocence of a lamb, and put Him on a cross and crucified Him. He was given into the hands of wicked men that we might receive the Spirit of God! God gave His only begotten Son as an offering so that we can receive His Life! This is a demonstration of God's marvelous grace!
Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. People did not have the power to take it from Him. In
Since Jesus lived by the Father, He let the Father have complete control of His soul. The authority to lay down His soul and to take it up again was given Him by the Father! It is important for us to understand that we live by Christ's soul! He gives us His sense of being! Just as Jesus was born of the Father and lived by that sense of being, so we live by His! When God gave Jesus the authority to lay down His soul, He also gave Him the authority to take it up again! There is a great truth here! Living in the power of God's word brings life into that which has been laid down for Him! God raised Him from the dead with that same word that He was living in!
We now have the same Spirit who was in Christ Jesus. He is our guarantee, our assurance that we have passed from death to life even now at this present time. Therefore the grave holds no terror for us. We now have within us the same Spirit that was in Jesus Christ! If our physical life passes away, we know that we will not experience terror or darkness. Physical death has no power over those who are in the body of Christ. Christ's soul has gone through death and into life! So once we are put into His body, we are in Him who has triumphed over death! The Holy Spirit has made us alive in God, and death loses its power in life. Jesus demonstrated this for the purpose of taking away the fear of death from all of us.
I suppose I should say something about the body, because many persuasively teach that the body is going to be resurrected. The scriptures do not really teach that resurrection and the body are bound together. Redemption has to do with the body; resurrection has to do with the spirit. When we are made new creatures in Christ Jesus, we become part of the body of Christ. The body of Christ was there before we were put into it, and it will be there after we have been put into it!
1 Cor. 15:38
This is hard for many to believe because they cannot see it! Let's remember that Paul said,
I believe that the scriptures conclusively testify to the fact that in the resurrection Jesus Christ was not raised alone. When we understand our identification with Christ, we will have confidence and faith that we have passed from death to life, that we have been raised together with Him, and that we are new creatures in the body of Christ! This gives us a new sense of being! As we hear the voice of the Spirit, we will grow in understanding to see who and what we are! We will see the fulfillment of God's purpose for us in Christ Jesus.
May the Lord bless you! Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding. Amen.