Future Hope - Resurrection and New Creation

SYNOPSIS - The Apostle Paul links the bodily Resurrection of the saints with the New Creation - The promised redemption includes both – Romans 8:1-23

Hopeful Horizons - Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash
In concluding the first half of his letter to the churches of Rome, Paul begins by declaring that, for all those who are “in Jesus,” there is “now no condemnation.” This happy condition is because the “law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set them free from the law of sin and of death.” In explaining this proposition, he links the redemption of believers with the redemption of the created order. The sin of Adam condemned the entire creation to bondage under sin and death, not just humanity, even though God had declared the entire universe “good” - (Genesis 1:31). - [Hopeful Horizons - Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash].

Under the Law of Moses, humanity could not liberate itself from bondage to sin. That would take something or someone else:
  • (Romans 8:3-4) - “What was impossible by the law in that it was weak through the flesh, God, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh, In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us — who, not according to flesh do walk, but according to spirit.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
The “flesh” - humanity in its mortal and fallen state - “prefers death, whereas the Spirit prefers life and peace.” The “carnal man” was the product of Adam’s disobedience and is now “hostile towards God, for unto 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 flesh” is equivalent to being “in Adam,” so to speak.
  • (Romans 5:18-19) – “Hence then, as through one fault the sentence was unto all men unto condemnation, so also through one recovery of righteousness the decree of grace is to all men for righteous acquittal for life; For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of the one the many shall be constituted righteous.”
The discussion of “flesh” and “spirit” contrasts the old Adamic life in bondage to sin with the new life free from servitude to it that is now found in Jesus. Paul is not speaking of two “natures” locked in mortal combat within an individual - The “old man” versus the “new man” – but of the past life of the “flesh” of the Adamic man versus the new life of the “spirit” provided in the man, Jesus Christ.
  • (Romans 8:9-11) – “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 by reason of sin, whereas, the spirit is life by reason 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 shall make alive even your death-doomed bodies through means of his indwelling Spirit within you.”
His disciples do not have their life in the flesh but in the spirit - If God’s Spirit is dwelling” in them. However, if anyone does not have his Spirit - “The same is not his.” It is the Spirit that equips the disciple to walk uprightly - (Galatians 5:13-18).

Though our present physical bodies are “dead by reason of sin,” if the Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us:
  • He that raised from among the dead Christ Jesus will make alive, even our death-doomed bodies through means of his indwelling Spirit.”
Next, Paul brings the resurrection into the discussion. Integral to his concept is the future bodily resurrection of the saints. Final redemption is realized at the resurrection and this, by necessity and logic, includes the redemption of the body.

The entire man that God created was condemned to bondage, not just his soul or inner self. Therefore, if God is to redeem mankind and recover that which was lost, the redemptive act must include the body. Likewise, the creation that was also condemned by the sin of Adam must be redeemed.
  • (Romans 8:12-14) – “Hence, then, brethren — debtors we are not unto the flesh that according to flesh we should live — For if according to flesh you live, you are about to die, whereas, if in spirit the practices of the flesh you are putting to death, you shall attain unto life; For as many as by God’s Spirit are being led, the same are His sons.
Though believers have been declared righteous through Jesus, receipt of their final salvation is not a foregone conclusion. They are obligated to live “not according to flesh.” If they do, they will “die, whereas, if by the Spirit they put to death the practices of the flesh, they will attain life.” It is men and women who are “led by God’s Spirit who are God’s sons.”
  • (Romans 8:15-20) – “For you have not received a spirit of servitude leading back into fear, but you have received a spirit of sonship, whereby we are exclaiming — Abba! Oh Father! The Spirit itself is bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God; And if children, heirs also — heirs, indeed, of God but co-heirs with Christ — if, at least, we are suffering together in order that we may also be glorified together. For I reckon that unworthy are the sufferings of the present season to be compared with the glory about to be revealed towards us; For the eager outlook of creation is ardently waiting for the revealing of the sons of God — For unto vanity hath creation been made subject — not by choice, but by reason of him that made it subject - in hope.”
The Spirit within believers is “bearing witness with their spirit that they are children of God.” This means they are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” But to be a co-heir with Jesus means to suffer in this life for his sake so that we “also are glorified.” But the sufferings of “this present season cannot be compared with the glory about to be revealed.”

Universe - Photo by Vincent Ledvina on Unsplash
Universe - Photo by Vincent Ledvina on Unsplash

The creation itself has been subjected “to vanity” - death and decay - because of the disobedience of Adam. All creation is suffering until the present hour - The original creation is “ardently awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” When his sons are “revealed” for all to see, then the “creation itself also shall 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 the arrival of the New Creation.
  • (Romans 8:21-23) – “That creation itself also shall be freed — from the bondage of the decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God; For we know that all creation is sighing together and travailing-in-birth-throes together until the present, — And not only so, but we ourselves also who have the first-fruit of the Spirit — we even ourselves within our own selves do sigh— sonship ardently awaiting — the redeeming of our body.
Thus, Paul links the promised New Creation to the bodily resurrection of the saints at the end of the age. Like the other writers of the New Testament, the Apostle to the Gentiles presents a forward-looking faith.

Everlasting life is a future inheritance to be received in all its fulness at the bodily resurrection of the righteous, an event that will coincide with the arrival of the New Creation. Moreover, the redemption of the entire creation is dependent on the resurrection of the “sons of God.” The promises of bodily resurrection and New Creation are inextricably linked - (Compare - 1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

Throughout this section of Romans, the focus remains on the future inheritance of the saints that Paul links to the New Creation and the resurrection - New Creation and bodily resurrection are two sides of the same coin.

Believers who have been declared righteous in Christ, who have received the Spirit of God, and who continue to live accordingly will receive their final redemption at the time of the New Creation and the bodily resurrection - Events that will occur when Jesus arrives in glory at his parousia - (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).




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