Sunday April 12, 2020
Jesus was the only Man who ever lived who had life, what we would designate as spiritual life.
He was begotten from all eternity and not created. He is the eternal Son of God, the exact image of God, and who astoundingly became a Man.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
John mentions Jesus’ life twice here and both times they are followed by rejection; “the darkness did not comprehend it” and “the world did not know Him.”
In the word, the One with pure life was surrounded by sin, evil, and death (darkness).
He reveals life, but no one sees. His disciples saw somewhat, but not much. He speaks of life with an authority that no one ever heard before. He performs miracles that reveal the power of life. Still, no one sees.
He dies openly and publicly. Thousands saw Him there, but no one really saw who He was or what He was doing.
He resurrects, but no one initially recognizes Him. The disciples take Him for a ghost. Mary thinks He’s the gardener. The men on the road to Emmaus don’t see Him. But, by His word from His resurrection body, He opens their eyes.
For everyone, it takes the word from a resurrected Lord for them to actually see Him. Their faith in that word, from the risen Jesus, is the only thing that opens their eyes.
What life did He have that all the living people in the world lacked and could not see until after He was resurrected?
Man, in his natural condition, has biological life in the image of God, but doesn’t have spiritual life.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural [psuchikos = soulish] body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Spiritual life is a term for God’s life; hence one member of the Trinity bears the name Spirit. In a man, spiritual life is the life that walked out of the tomb.
Some think that eternal life or spiritual life refers to chronological matters only, meaning the man who has it will live forever in heaven, and that is certainly a part of it, but a part like a frame is a part of a picture. Naturally, life that is pure life must go on forever. It has no association with death, and while this is true, that life died in Christ, which makes His cross even that much more incredible.
Holiness and immortality must accompany one another, one cannot be immortal without being holy.
Paul so continually holds up to us the risen life of Christ as that to which we are to be conformed. We are to rise with Jesus to newness of life. As Christ has done with death, having died to sin once, so must His people be dead to sin and live to God with Christ. Sometimes in weariness or dejection one feels as if he had seen the best of everything and experienced all he can experience, and that he must now simply endure life; he sees no prospect of anything fresh, or attractive, or reviving. But this is not because he has exhausted life, but because he has not begun it. To the children of the resurrection, who have followed Christ in His path to life by renouncing sin, and conquering self, and giving themselves to God as well as the members of the body of Christ, there is a springing up of life in their own soul that renews hope and energy.
The Holy Spirit is the source of both holiness and immortality:
But 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 indwells you.
Not natural life, but spiritual life.
By its very nature it cannot abide with death. But that in no way describes what the life is. We might as well say that the best events to attend are the ones that last a long time.
God’s life, spiritual life, is Himself. Jesus said that He was, “the way, the life, and the truth.”
Whatever it is, God’s life is in us and we are in it, for the Lord is in us and we are in Him. But this is not all.
We are united with God, but just like the Trinity, we are individuals, and, we are also combined with one another in a new way.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.
And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"
This unity to one another, individuals and yet part of a body that can only function well with all its individual members working together, is a part of the life of God. The Trinity is comprised of three Persons, but they are one God.
Satan has taken his limited understanding of this truth and promoted a doctrine that all souls will be absorbed into the one common source, which is depicted as something like God. It is like drops of water being absorbed into the ocean. There is some truth to this, but only as a picture is a representation. It is not the reality. When a drop goes into the ocean, it is no longer drop. It loses its identity. When we are finally absorbed into the body of Christ the way we were meant to be, when our bodies are at last redeemed, we will not lose our identity, but we will become a part of a single functioning organism, the body of Christ.
I don’t have to go to all the scriptures in the NT that describe our unity, for you know them, and in this last year have seen and heard them several times.
This is very important for us. Especially in light of the fact that our fallen nature, the old man, seeks isolation. Fallen man want to be above all others, superior to all, adored by all, served by all, and what he doesn’t understand is that all of that only leads to isolation.
The life of God is only seen and experienced when we are properly united to God as well as to one another (position and experience).
So, after Jesus’ resurrection, He appears to people in several instances.
Jesus appears to Peter alone because Peter had isolated himself from the group.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
Jesus appeared to Peter alone because he had isolated Himself from the group, and Jesus restores him. He appeared to the twelve and to 500 at one time as they were unified.
Thomas was not with “the twelve” when the Lord appeared the first time. Jesus was sure to appear to him in order to restore him to the group.
But then, appearing to seven of the disciples as they were fishing in Galilee, Jesus singles out Peter and asks, “Do you love Me?” Peter’s path is not identical to the others. “What about John?” Not the same path. “You both have a path that I choose,” says Jesus in essence. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit often act in unique ways, and so do the members of the body, but the Trinity is always one, and so is the body of Christ.
If a believer purposely isolates himself from the life, way, and truth of Christ and/or if he isolates himself from the body of Christ, he will not experience the life of Christ, but only something that is “like it,” as a painting is like a landscape.
For some, it seems that the image or likeness is good enough. The cost for the experience of the real thing is too high. The cost is losing your own life so that you may find “it.”
We could not know anything about our resurrection without the resurrection of Christ.
Who would have looked at a seed or an acorn and imagined what would result from its death in the ground?
Nothing breads confidence like triumph.
But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?" 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
Paul’s analogy is perfect, but it doesn’t prove anything about human resurrection.
Analogy is a powerful instrument for removing objections, but utterly weak for establishing positive truth. The seed becoming something else entirely doesn’t prove human resurrection, it only establishes the fact that one thing dying can become something else living.