Resurrection of the Dead
"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ,
let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation
of repentance from dead works
and of faith toward God,
of the teaching of immersions,
of laying on of hands,
of resurrection of the dead
and of eternal judgment ...," Hebrews 6'1-3.
"Nevertheless we, according to His promise,
look for new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells," 2 Peter 3'13.
Like Repentance from Dead Works and Faith Toward God, Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment is a two-fold, intertwined, principle.
All people die. So, resurrection is reality for both Believers and Unbelievers alike.
Jesus said this:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation," John 5'24-29.
These words show that there are two resurrections:
The Resurrection of Life, of "he who hears My word and believes", "those who have done good".
The Resurrection of Condemnation, of "he who does not believe", "those who have done evil".
The Resurrection of Life is of "he who hears My word and believes" resulting in "those who have done good".
The good that these Believers have done is the result of their faith in Jesus and therefore honouring their Father.
Ephesians 2'8-10 points out that faith comes before good works: "... by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them".
James 2'22 clarifies: "... that faith was working together with his works and by works faith was made perfect".
The Resurrection of Condemnation is of "he who does not believe" resulting in "those who have done evil". The evil these Unbelievers have done is the result of their ungodly lifestyle.
John 3'19 says: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil".
Romans 1'28-31 amplifies: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful ...".
Nevertheless, here's the Good News:
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God," John 3'17-18.
THE LORD FIRST
Christ's own resurrection is central to Believers and Kingdom living is all about living in the realities of the Lord's resurrection.
It is a major reality of being immersed in water:
"If we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection," Romans 6'5.
Righteousness and justification are involved in a Believer's resurrection. Using Abraham's faith as the example, Romans 4'22 states that his faith "... was accounted to him for righteousness".
And the Spirit goes on to make this marvellous statement:
"Now it was not written for his(Abraham's) sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us.
It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification," Romans 4'23-25.
Resurrection is crucial to the reality of Kingdom life. For those who would deny its existence here is the word of the Lord:
"Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.
And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up - if in fact the dead do not rise.
For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable."
The final word about the Believer's resurrection is this wonderful statement:
"But now Christ is risen from the dead
and has become the firstfruits
of those who have fallen asleep,
1 Corinthians 15'12-20.
RESURRECTION! BUT HOW?
People usually want to know the ins and outs of things. And in Paul's day it was no different, so he answered their thinking:
"... someone will say, 'How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?'
Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.
And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain — perhaps wheat or some other grain.
But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body," 1 Corinthians 15'35-38.
He went on to say:
"... I tell you a mystery
We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed -
in a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
and the dead will be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed," 1 Corinthians 15'51-52.
There's a great day of rejoicing:
"... if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord," 1 Thessalonians 4'14-17.
REJOICING IN CERTAINTY
Believers rejoice about being resurrected "at the last day". And there's rejoicing, too, in the glorious Kingdom reality of Christ's resurrection life in us now:
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God," Romans 5'1-2.
Peter, the elder-apostle, finishes with this:
"... we, according to His promise,
look for new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things,
be diligent to be found by Him in peace,
without spot and blameless," 2 Peter 13-14.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus and the resurrection that He achieved for us. And thank you, too, for the Holy Spirit's power to live expectantly and fruitfully.
In Jesus' name. Amen.