The Resurrection

God Created Life

We can deduce several stages of God’s Creation. First, He created the universe and light. Second, He created the expanse. Third, God created the Earth and separated the water from the land. Fourth, He brought forth vegetative and animal life. Fifth, He formed man and breathed into him the breath of life. Sixth, He put His Spirit into believers and made them into a new creation. And, Seventh, He will resurrect believers and give them an upgraded body that would live forever.

Death Came into the World

Yet, with the superfluity of life, even plankton beneath tons of Arctic ice, people still choose to live lives leading to death.

Gen. 2:16-17 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Why would a person choose death instead of life? If a person could be convinced that the Person making the rules need not to be listened to for a variety of reasons, then the death tree would look benign and contained an alleged promise of knowledge and wisdom

Gen. 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

God allowed Adam and Eve to be tested, a test they failed, which brought death into the human race. They made a grave mistake, a fatal mistake. However, there would be a way out of the death spiral, a long and difficult way.

Gen. 3:19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

God even made the tree of life, which could negate the death penalty if the fruit were eaten, out of reach of the two miscreants and parents of the human race.

Gen. 3:22, 24 ¶ Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The Destruction of Death

While the Tree of Life became unattainable for humans, at that time, God gave people hope of a resurrection from the dead, if they would believe Him and keep His Laws.

Is. 25:8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.

As I have noted elsewhere that one of the great deceptions of Satan is that people will never die. Yet, God’s Word says that the wages of sin is death, i.e., having no life, therefore, cease to exist. The Truth is that God can and will raise the dead and bring them back to life. The Bible does not explain how God does this or where He keeps the kathra of the dead. Nonetheless, He will restore a dead person, with all his memories and characteristics, to life. The saints will be resurrected at Jesus’ coming and all others will receive life again for a hundred years or forever if they repent and believe. Those who do not repent and believe will cease to exist, period.

However, the resurrection holds much more importance to believers than the basic understanding that there will be a resurrection as explained above.

Resurrection of the Righteous

In Luke as well as other places, God reiterates His plan to resurrect the righteous, those who do right by God’s standards and Commandments.

Luke 14:14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

However, a person must learn about God’s Laws and believe that these should be obeyed wholeheartedly. The easy part might be reading the Bible and finding the Commandments throughout the Book. The hard part might be resisting all the people against and theories about not believing in all the Commandments, much less keeping them. For example, how many people would give up working and shopping on the Sabbath just because a book says so. Besides only a few would even bother to read the Book, much less with an unbiased view.

How Does One Become Righteous?

Keeping God’s Word is not easy with all the temptations about and all the inertia from living by the old standards. In order to overcome all the pressure to wander from God’s Way, a person keeps God’s Word close by reading it often, speaking it to himself and lets the Word fill his heart by the above.

Deut. 30:14 “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

The creation gives certain people all the evidence of God’s existence and His trustworthiness, and His Word furthers their understanding and appreciation of God’s goodness and lovingkindness.

Gen. 15:6 Then he believed [in] the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Hab. 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Besides looking at the Creation and God’s perfect keeping of His promises to give people faith, God found a person to make him His Son to give the greatest promise of all. He endowed people, who would believe in His Son, with the promise of life and life eternal. The very resurrection of Jesus proves God’s perfect promises of eternal life, first in Jesus and then in all believers.

Heb. 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live even if he dies,
John 11:26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Die to All Manner of Unrighteousness

What a person believes must result in words and actions demonstrating that faith. God always helps His believers to talk and walk in the ways of faith. Like Abraham, who proved his faith by attempting to sacrifice his Son of promise, God guides His believers to accepting Him and eternal life by teaching them and goading them into love and life.

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Mark 10:21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Believers must learn that loving God must be their paramount love and that no one must be loved beyond Him. After the love of God is assured, His love permeates believers into loving all else in the same manner God loves.

Matt. 10:37 ¶ “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Several contradictions seem to follow a believer’s agreeing to live only for God. He must follow Jesus as he wended his way to Calvary. He must learn in his inner most being that life as is must be rejected for a life beyond this life.

Matt. 10:38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
Matt. 10:39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
Matt. 10:40 ¶ “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

Jesus Gives Believers These Powerful Examples

Following a believer’s spurning normal life, Jesus gives him a powerful example from creation. Life arises from death, either physically in nature or spiritually in the inner man.

John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

Born Again

When the seed dies or begins to sprout, the plant is born again, but not exactly the same as before. Life cannot continue unless it is born anew. The body, for example, is constantly being renewed. The body replaces the blood every month. Cells are replaced as needed. Each breath expels carbon dioxide and inhales oxygen. Renewal is part of God’s creation. The spirit world agrees with the physical.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:7 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
1Pet. 1:3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pet. 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

Baptism

God expects actions to follow beliefs. If a believer believes he is born again, he must translate that faith into a deed. Jesus died to all worldly concepts and deeds and was born again when John baptized him, buried him in the Jordon River. Later Jesus died physically for mankind’s sins since he had none of his own, and was interred in a grave.

Matt. 3:15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *permitted Him.
Matt. 3:16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,
Matt. 3:17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Just being born again does not complete being born again. A believer must practice the ways of the new life by withstanding the winds of demons and deception in order to be able to handle the ways of the world with skill and love.

Matt. 4:1 ¶ Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Matt. 4:2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.

Maturing

Only maturity can fully hone a person’s prowess. A ten year old cannot hit a home run; he is too small with underdeveloped muscles. Only age can fully mature a person; it goes without saying. It often takes a person decades to reach physical maturity and dozens of years to reach mental and emotional maturity. Until a believer experiences life and ages, he cannot become mature. Naturally, some mature younger than others.

Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Eph. 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
Eph. 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Eph. 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Eph. 4:25 ¶ Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.
Eph. 4:26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
Eph. 4:27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Eph. 4:28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
Eph. 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Eph. 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Eph. 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Testing

As Jesus was tempted, we must also. Believers innermost weaknesses must be brought to the surface and faced; not only faced but answered by God’s Word found firmly in the inner person.

Two examples follow:

Matt. 4:3-10 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

Matt. 13:20-23 “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Resurrection

Finally, all must be planted like the seed and rise up with a new body.

386. ajna¿stasiß anastasis, an-as´-tas-is; from 450; a standing up again, i.e. (literally) a resurrection from death (individual, genitive case or by implication, (its author)), or (figuratively) a (moral) recovery (of spiritual truth): Strong’s.

God shows how the resurrected believer will look, never to die again.

Mark 9:2-3 Six days later, Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John, and *brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

Believers and others will be resurrected when the time is right.

1Cor. 15:20-22 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

1Cor. 15:35-50 ¶ But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Conclusion

Only the resurrect believers who learn the word, become baptized and tested and mature into righteousness, can be assured of being with God for eternity.

Amen.

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