Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Bodily Resurrection of Christ, Foundation of Christianity

Whenever the Bible speaks of resurrection, it always refers to bodily resurrection. Our spirits are eternal. They do not die and need no resurrection; though our bodies do. Our spirits can exist independently of our bodies, and the spirits of those who have died do live today in Heaven or in Hell without their bodies. 

However, our spirits are not complete without our bodies and those who have gone on to Heaven  long to be clothed with their bodies.     We Christians who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, rejoice in the redemption of our souls, but we groan in these bodies so contaminated and cursed by sin. We struggle with the downward pull of temptation to sin. We long for the redemption and glorification of our bodies. Rom. 8:22-23 

Listen to the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:14-23, who as every genuine Christian, struggles with the downward pull of his fleshly nature.      Listen to his desire in II Corinthians 5:1-8,  reflecting the desire of every true Christian, to die and go to Heaven. Note in this passage that his desire is not just to be a disembodied spirit in Heaven, but his full desire is to be clothed with his glorified body which will take place later at the return of Christ. 

Many have been resuscitated over the years, but only one body has ever been resurrected  from the dead in a glorified state and that is Jesus.  Jesus raised Lazarus and others from the dead, but they were raised  back into their natural bodies to die again later.  

Jesus died a violent death on the cross. His blood was poured out as a sacrifice for our sins, just as lambs were slaughtered as sacrifices for sin throughout the Old Testament. Read Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53 and Hebrews 9:22, and Hebrews 10 to see the connection between the slaughtered lambs and the slaughtered Christ.    

But unlike the lambs that had to be slaughtered continually for the people’s repeated  offenses; Jesus was crucified as the perfect final sacrifice for sin, as Hebrews 9 and 10 declare.  He died; not for His own sins, for He was the sinless, spotless Son of God. He died to pay the death penalty for every sinner. 

No sinner need ever go to hell.  The only reason sinners go to hell is because in their pride and self-righteousness they stubbornly refuse to admit they are sinners who have offended a holy God and they reject Jesus, the only One who can save them.     As one man, Adam, sinned and led the entire human race into sin to face the penalty of death;  so one man, Jesus,  the perfect Son of God in human flesh, took our penalty of death and saves all who receive His atonement by faith alone, giving us eternal life. That’s the message of the Gospel.  

 I Corinthians 15 is the great Resurrection Chapter of the Bible. It shows the absolute necessity of the bodily resurrection of Christ and assures us that His bodily  resurrection guarantees that God is satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and it guarantees the bodily resurrection of every human being one day.    

The order of the Resurrection is given in I Corinthians 15:22-23 and in Revelation 20. 

 Note, that Christ is the first person to rise from the dead. I Corinthians 15:20-23 identifies Jesus as  the first-fruits, the guarantee that the rest will follow.  

 The next group of people to rise from the dead will be Christians who will rise in glorified bodies to meet Jesus when He returns. Read more about that in  John 14:1-3, Romans 8:11,  I Corinthians 15:51-58,  I Thessalonians 4:13-18,  Hebrews 9:28,  Titus 2:11-14,  I John 3:1-3,    Revelation 22:20.   All Christians are  going to share in the First Resurrection, as is explained in Revelation 20:6.   

The final group of people to rise from the dead will be all those who rejected Christ during their lifetime.  Revelation 20:11-15 describes that terrifying final judgment that faces every Christ-rejecter when they will stand in their resurrected, unglorified bodies before Christ’s Great White Throne to be sentenced to the eternal Lake of Fire.

Death before a firing squad, by the electric chair, by the gas chamber,  by hanging or death by lethal injection, or even by beheading, will be as nothing – a few minutes, then it is over- compared to eternal death in the Lake of Fire that awaits every Christ-rejecting sinner.  

Dear Reader, Paul announced to the Athenians  in Acts 17:31 “God has appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man, whom He has ordained, whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead.”  “God has appointed a day!”  That means, the day is set on God’s calendar. 

You need not face that judgment.  Trust Christ who died to pay for your sins.  Receive Him now by faith. He will save you, deliver you from condemnation and impute to you His perfect righteousness. Receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour right now. Simply invite Him into your life. Thank Him for dying for you.  Read and rejoice in the truths of  John 1:12,  3:14-18, 5:24, Romans 5:1-9, 10:1-13, II Corinthians 5:21,   

If you have put your trust in Christ, you will be amazed how all these Scriptures open up to you and come alive. Christ’s Holy Spirit has come to live in you and given you assurance of eternal life. He has become your Teacher and Interpreter of Scripture..  Rejoice and share this good news with others.  Dig into this Hidden Treasures web site with your Bible and explore the wonders of being a Christian.  Ask God to lead you to a Church where you can grow in the knowledge of God and ask Him to protect you from false teaching that would lead you away from God and from His Word.  

Now, let’s continue with our study of the importance of Christ’s resurrection. Let me give you six reasons for rejoicing in His resurrection.    


I. Jesus’ Resurrection proves His deity.  


In fact, Jesus states in Matthew 12:38-40 that His bodily resurrection after three days and three nights in the tomb, is the one great proof of His Deity. If Jesus rose on Sunday, which He did;  in order to fulfill this specific prophecy, and be in the grave three days and three nights, Jesus had to die on Wednesday and not Friday.  For further information on this event, go back to an earlier study in this RESURRECTON link  to  Jesus, Our Passover Lamb.  Paul also in Romans 1:1-4 confirms the importance of Christ’s  resurrection as the proof that He is the Son of God.


II. Jesus’ Resurrection also assures the salvation of all who trust in Him.   

That is taught in I Peter 1:3 and in I Peter 3:18-22.  The  passage in chapter 3, though difficult, basically teaches us that Jesus died and rose again from the dead to save us from our sins and its penalty.  

Some would use this passage to attempt to prove baptismal regeneration; that is, that people are saved by being baptized.  The Bible, on the other hand, clearly teaches that salvation is by the grace of God and through faith in Christ alone.  This is taught in  Ephesians 2:8-10,  Titus 3:5-7,  in the Book of Romans, as well as many Scriptures throughout the New Testament.  In fact, Paul takes pains to show us in I Corinthians 1:11-17 that baptism is NOT part of the Gospel message.  Rather, it is an act of obedience AFTER salvation.   See Acts 8:26-39  and Acts 16:16-34 for examples of this truth.    

I Corinthians 12:13 teaches that all believers in Christ are baptized or united by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. This spiritual baptism has nothing to do with water.      So if I Peter 3:18-22 is not about water baptism, what is it teaching us?

Note I Peter 3:21 begins with the words, “In the light figure”, It could be translated  “corresponding”. As Noah and  his family were delivered from the waters of the flood by entering into the ark; so  salvation is being baptized into Christ, our Ark of safety.  That is a spiritual baptism, taught in I Corinthians 12:13,  whereby the Holy Spirit baptizes us, or unites us into Christ’s Body by God’s grace and through faith in Christ.   

On the other hand, we are instructed in Scripture to be baptized in water as a testimony to the fact that we have been saved.  That’s taught in the Great Commission in Matthew, Mark and Luke.   Throughout Acts, we see examples of believers who were baptized in water as a testimony to their faith in Christ.   However, Paul makes a clear distinction between the Gospel and water baptism in I Corinthians 1:14-17.    

Now let’s take a careful look at I Peter 3:18-22.  As we examine this passage we can draw the following truths.    The flood waters of Noah’s day did not speak of salvation, but of judgment.   

The ark represented salvation. Those in the ark were saved from the judgment of the flood.    Because Noah and his wife and three sons and their wives (a total of eight people) believed God’s warning and built the ark according to God’s specifications and then entered the ark, they alone were saved from the flood that covered the earth and destroyed every human being, animal and bird, except for that which was safely in the ark.  

II Peter 2:5 describes Noah as a preacher of righteousness. For one hundred years crowds of people flocked to watch “Crazy Noah” build his ark to save those who would enter the ark from a coming world wide flood. For one hundred years he warned them of the coming judgment of God upon the world.  They mocked him, laughing about the flood.  What was a flood?  They had never seen one. According to Genesis 2:5-6 it had never rained prior to the flood.  Instead a mist watered the earth.  

We determine the hundred  years in which Noah preached by comparing Genesis 5:32 which shows Noah was 500 years old when his three sons were born.  with Genesis 7:11 that shows Noah was 600 years old when the Flood covered the earth.  Within those 100 years he and his three sons built the ark.   

Finally the ark was completed and God called Noah and his family to enter the ark along with the animals that would be spared to replenish the earth after the flood.   

Now read again I Peter 3:18-22.  Could this refer to Jesus’ Spirit preaching to the people of Noah’s day,  while His body lay in the tomb for three days and three nights? We’ll look at that in a moment. One thing we know for sure.  There is no opportunity for salvation after death.  Hebrews 9:27 states, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.”   

Rather, I Peter 3:18-22 could be  in reference to Christ’s ministry through Noah. The Spirit of God through Noah, preached to the prisoners of sin in his day, just as He preaches to the prisoners of sin in our own day through the witness and preaching of Christians. Their sin was their disobedience to and rejection of God’s call to enter the ark.

It is the same sin of rebellion in people today who reject the call of God through the witness of Christians.    This rebellion to the Gospel resulted in the drowning of the people in Noah’s day and their souls being imprisoned in hell. 

 But we must also note in this I Peter 3 text  that while Jesus’ body was in the tomb those three days and nights, His Spirit was preaching to those in prison.  Ephesians 4:8-9 refers to this. To whom did Jesus go when He preached to spirits in prison?    Lord willing,  we will attempt to answer these and other questions concerning this I Peter 3 passage and we will continue with other assurances based on the resurrection of Christ in future articles.      

March 20, 2008 - Posted by | Resurrection

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