Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bible Prophecy and the resurrection

Philippians 3:10-11 -  "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

Salvation or Christian faith in its three stages
    When we talk about salvation, it is common to speak of salvation occuring in a three-fold way: What happened in my human spirit at a point and time in the past - regeneration/conversion through faith; what is occuring as a process in my human soul right now - sanctification and what will occur in the future when my soul and spirit are untied with my transformed human body - glorification. 
  The first has to do with God convicting and quickening in my human spirit so that I by faith can see the awfulness of my sin and the awesomeness of Christ - thus SAVED FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN (Romans 5:1). 

    Following from this is the ongoing process of the Spirit making me more like Christ in my soul, and I co-operating with His work by prayer and the word in sanctifcation - thus SAVING ME GRADUALLY FROM THE POWER OF SIN (Romans 6:4-11; 8:1-5). 

    When we speak of what will occur when I as a believer go on to be with the Lord, salvation is then spoke of in future terms - whereby I WILL BE SAVED FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN (Philippians 3:21; 1 Peter 1:9).  It is with this last stage of salvation that the idea of resurrection takes center stage.
 Resurrection was first revealed in the Old Testament
    The idea of resurrection was given by God to man almost immediately from the fall.  We see inklings of it in Adam's naming of Eve (life-bearer) in Genesis 3:20, indicating his reception of God's promise of salvation to her in Genesis 3:15.  Abraham of course is the first person credited in history for believing in it, since in placing Isaac on the altar he believed God could raise his son from the dead (Hebrews 11:19).  Job, the oldest book in the Bible, mentions the faith of Job in seeing God with his own eyes in resurrection (Job 19:25).  In prophetic scriptures such as Daniel 12:1-3 the resurrection forms the hub of events in the final judgment.    

Resurrection fully revealed in the New Testament
     The New Testament gives us a complete and detailed picture of what to expect at resurrection.  As much as this concept is used to illustrate what happens spiritually at conversion (see John 5:24-25; 1 Peter 1:3); our concerns here deal with the physical resurrection that every Christian can look forward to at Christ's return.  1 Corinthians 15:45-58 gives us the fullest treatment on the importance and explanation of the resurrection.  In other words, we can note five pairs of truths about the resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15:45-58....
1.  15:45-49 The believer's resurrection will be formed upon Christ's resurrection
2.  15:50-51  The believer's resurrection will involved being transformed from this decaying body into a non-decaying body

3.  15:52   It will be an instant event, not an ongoing process like our current sanctification
4. 15:52    The resurrection will occur instantly at Christ's return

5. 15:53   The resurrection will be taking the old and changing it into a new body
6. 15:53   The resurrection  will bring to pass the completion of salvation for every Christian

7. 15:54-55 The resurrection will signal that death is done for8. 15:54-55 The resurrection will signal that sin is done away
9. 15:57  It reaches back into our present to give us power for the Christian life
10. 15:58 It reaches back into our present to give us purpose for Christian service

When surveying the more than 40 passages that speak of resurrection in the New Testament, we can offer this conclusion about the doctrine of the resurrection for our Christian identity....
Resurrection is rooted in Christ's first work - the cross and empty tomb, reassures about Christ's current work - sanctification and renders proof of Christ's future work - His return