APRIL 19, 2013


We can become so familiar with the human authors of scripture, in such a way, and in such a depth that, as it were, like John the Baptist ministering in the spirit and power of Elijah, we may be graced to read and understand, for instance, what Paul is saying in the spirit and power of Paul. We experience a particular jointure within that larger unity of union enjoyed by all the members of the body of Christ. There is one body and one spirit, with very specific connectedness coming into play in the unity of the Spirit that makes us one body. 


I have been blessed from time to time to enjoy moments of breathtaking connectedness with Paul in spirit and power. One such moment involved being drawn into a very focused attention upon his explicit and repetitive way of presenting the full effect of Jesus' resurrection from among the dead. I'm referring to his statement concerning the full effect of Jesus victory over death in Rom. 8: 11. I've learned to pay special attention to Paul when he resorts to expressing himself in a very pronouncedly explicit way, while adding repetitiveness to drive home his point. It's easy to imagine talking with the apostle and have him lock eyes with me, and speak in the manner above, the effect being, "Are you getting this, and are you getting the importance of it, and feeling the revelatory weight of it?"


Can there be any more of an example of "laboring a point," than we find in Rom. 8: 11. First from the Amplified Version: "And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you." Here's that repetitively explicit style of pronouncement. In one sentence we're told twice that the dynamic at work in Jesus' resurrection is nothing less than, and none other than, "...the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus...." and further described as ...."He Who raised up Christ Jesus...." Twice also, he makes sure that we understand from what base this life-infusion, and life-transformation proceeds: Twice he presses upon us that the operation is from and by the indwelling of "the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead," then going on to affirm our union with that operation with the words, "through His Spirit Who dwells in you." What is true of Jesus' resurrection is at work in our resurrection. 


Then Paul applies explicitly what he has stated with pronounced and repetitive precision: "....restore to life your MORTAL (short-lived, perishable) BODIES...." (emphases mine). Not some hazy, disembodied resurrection here. Not a discarded body. A restored body. The consummating goal is the full regeneration of the whole embodied man, of MORTAL embodiment at that. This corruption must put on incorruption. This mortal must put on immortality----from whence? Why, wonderfully, by the Spirit of life that hides DEEP within, and is the constitution of all materiality. The way that death is swallowed up in life, is for life to come forth from out of within death, and coming out with such volume and force as to overcome our mortality from the inside out. Picture the well of water that Jesus promised us, springing up and engulfing the mortal body out from within its intrinsic depths.


To find out what our bodies really are, we have to go deep enough, down below the distortions they suffer in this present life, down into their enlivening essence. That is profoundly deeper than what Paul---using the term in a negative sense---refers to as "the flesh." The flesh, in the negative sense, is the body suffering a disconnect from its spirit-essence, and from that disconnect, all its senses have become deprived of the truth which is in Christ Jesus, the truth OF God, and OF man, becoming "re-wired" to the wisdom of this world, to the deceptiveness of the present fashions of religion, government and culture.  


Since the final goal of the resurrection is the raising of, and transformation of, our mortal bodies, and since it is to be received without question that all resurrection has as its source the resurrection of Christ, then it follows that He rose bodily from the dead in that body that bore our sin and death. The scripture is clear that "He bore our sin in His own body on the tree." The goal is of the nature of the origin. The argument that the present body may cease to exist, that it might be, for instance, vaporized by a nuclear explosion, is specious, as is the argument that our bodies are constantly changing as old cells die off and are replaced by new cells. Those who argue thusly fail to understand the union of our creaturehood with all of creation, and that we were formed of the soil of the ground, and that this source of our materiality is particularized to make each of us the physical person we are. 


Out from the common soil-source of our bodily formation, we are given a personal DNA structure that is not lost by the dying off of, and replacement of, old cells. My adult DNA is the same as that of my childhood. Likewise, vaporization is not annihilation. Nothing is ever made to cease to exist. It takes another form, but what makes me, me remains constant within the universe, giving a body to me that is integral to my soul, which in turn is integral to my spirit, or to me as a spirit. 


Finally, to bring to this truth all the vividness it deserves, particularly regarding how at-home God is in our bodies, I close with Jonathan Mitchell's translation of our text: "Now since the Breath-effect (or: Spirit; Attitude) of the One arousing and raising Jesus forth from out of the midst of dead folks is continuously housing itself (making His abode; residing; making His home; by idiom: living together as husband and wife) within, and in union with, you folks, the One raising Christ Jesus forth from out of dead ones will also give life to (or: will even make alive) the mortal bodies of you folks (or: the continual in-housing of [other MSS: because of] the constant indwelling of His Spirit (or: the continual in-housing of His Breath-effect; the continuous internal residing of the Attitude, which is Him,) within you folks."



































RESURRECTION of the SOUL [John R. Gavazzoni] 4-19-13          2

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