Resurrection from the dead - what does that mean? A lot of people might assume this post will be about Christ's resurrection. But I'm going to talk about the Resurrection of the Church.
This is when Christ returns, and He resurrects those who love Him to Heaven in spiritual, glorified bodies. It doesn't matter if they're dead or alive, they're resurrected and taken home. The very same bodies we inhabit now we'll inhabit then, but we'll be clothed with Christ's own righteousness. Those believers who are still alive when this happens will never taste death. They're glorified alive and taken straight to Heaven. You can read about this event in 1 Corinthians 15 and the short books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians.
I was thinking about the Resurrection when a thought struck me. That is not the moment we're resurrected. It IS the moment we overcome death, but it's not when we're resurrected.
What sense does that make?
Ephesians 2:1-3 says: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.Before we believed, we were dead in our sins. This is what Jesus meant when He told the man who had to bury his father to "let the dead bury their own dead." (Matthew 8:22) He wasn't being heartless to this man, He was making a point. The dead are just that -- dead. They cannot do anything. And those who were burying this man's father were dead in their sins. They were not believers, and thus, not alive.
Christ told Nicodemus that one must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:1-15). We've heard that phrase "born again" countless times. Some of us don't understand what it means. It's quite simple, really. When we first believe, God does a supernatural work on our hearts. We are instantly free from sin because our punishment was taken upon Christ. In its place is His righteousness. (2 Corinthians 5:21). Being "born again" means that God's grace saves us, and also creates a new heart within us, one that hates sin and loves righteousness. This is done so Christians don't run amok and sin to their hearts' content. It is also to prove we are new creations in Christ. We are no longer creatures born under the first Adam, but under the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45).
If the second death is eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14), then the second birth is eternity in Heaven.
Therefore, our resurrection from the "dead" happened the hour we first believed. We weren't dead bodily, but we were dead spiritually. And that is the resurrection that counts! When Christ gives us our new bodies upon our glorification, it is because we were first resurrected from spiritual death to spiritual life through the second birth!
Christ Himself proves this idea when He says:
"And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” ~~Matthew 22:31-32This revelation stunned the crowd He was with.
And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. ~~Matthew 22:33Why is this so revolutionary? Because Christ was telling them that their Patriarchs were alive! They weren't dead. Their bodies might be dust, but their spirits lived on.
Christ came to give life. Spiritual life. This is why those who believe aren't necessarily afraid of death because they know their destination. Death is merely the transition into this new Life. But there is no life apart from Yeshua (1 John 5:12). Therefore, if you die the first death (bodily) without Yeshua, you will suffer the second death (Revelation 20:14). But if you are born the first birth into this world (bodily) and believe in Yeshua, you will be blessed by the second birth (John 3:1-15).
Therefore, it is belief in Yeshua that resurrects you from spiritual death. And because of that resurrection, you will partake in the BODILY Resurrection when Christ returns for His Church.
This concept was taught by Paul in the book of Romans.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ~~Romans 6:1-3Christians know this as a part of doctrine, that we're baptized into Christ, which symbolizes dying and rising with Christ. But Christians usually think of our resurrection as "The Resurrection" when our bodies are raised incorruptible.
No, the bodily resurrection follows the spiritual resurrection, which happens when we first call upon the name of Yeshua as our Lord and Savior. When looked at this way, you could call the "second birth" (or being "born again") actually our "spiritual resurrection" from being dead IN sin to being dead TO sin.
You are literally starting a new life. In that moment, you have overcome death and given LIFE in Yeshua! You are spiritually reborn and remade. How amazing is that? God recreates you and births you again into a new being. Not by being bodily born again, as Nicodemus mistakenly thought, but in your spirit.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." ~~Ephesians 2:10
This is the only way the Holy Spirit of Yahweh can live within our hearts. God can only dwell in perfection. That can only happen when our sins are removed and the righteousness of Yeshua replaces them.
Through this "second birth", Paul says:
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." ~~Ephesians 2:4-6How can we "be raised" in the past tense if our physical bodies are still flesh and not glorified? Because our resurrection literally happened the moment we accepted and believed!
We are already alive. Forever. We will never taste the second death (Revelation 2:11). When we die, we are present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Our spirits have been resurrected.
It is only after this resurrection to spiritual life after being dead in our sins, then comes the resurrection of our physical bodies at the end of the age (John 14:1-3).