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Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
I want to thank the regular visitors for their faithfulness and welcome you all to HBS.
We’re going to jump right into the Bible study, this time around and forego the announcements and such. If you’ll please open your Bible to the book of Romans, at chapter 8, we’ll commence.
Romans 8 highlights the ministry of the Holy Spirit to Believers.
Prior to this chapter, the Spirit is mentioned only once in Romans (Romans 5:5).
But in the 8th chapter of Romans the Holy Spirit is referred to nearly 20 times.
This is why I’ve said and many others refer to this chapter as a “treasure trove” for Believers…and a refuge for the weary, when life seems to be an uphill climb.
We spent some time at verse 10 in the previous lesson but there’s one more item I want to cover before we press on. Let’s review.
10: If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
Paul states a double-fact concerning those in whom Christ, by His Spirit is alive.
First, the body is dead.
In the previous lesson Paul taught us that our bodies (our flesh) are hopelessly lost (Romans 7:18-25). We must understand that even though we are Believers, and Jesus Christ dwells within us, our bodies are not redeemed yet. This is why the vast majority of us will face death in this life.
In our present state, our bodies cannot enter heaven. They must be changed.
22: For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23: And not only this, but also we ourselves, having (what) the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our (what) adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
The body is dead as regards to anything God-ward and this due to sin.
But the day is coming when our bodies will be “changed.”
Let’s go to Scripture.
1 Corinthians 15
51: Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep (pass away), but we will all be (what) changed,
52: in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53: For this perishable (body – whether awake or asleep) must put on the imperishable, and this mortal (the word mortal means: subject to physical death) must put on immortality.
The Bible verses above are referencing the rapture of the church which could occur at any time (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The second stated fact from verse 10 is this: the Spirit is life because of (Christ’s) righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5
21: He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteous of God in Him (through faith alone).
There are few things in this life that are certain, but we all have an appointment with death and that is a certainty. The countless cemeteries across this land provide a silent testimony to this truth.
Federal Adam’s transgression brought sin and death into this world (Romans 5:12).
Like the rest of humanity, you entered the world as a sinner, but because you made a decision to believe, Jesus Christ lives in you. Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.” (John 11:25)
Scripture says that even though these bodies, which were once “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the hands of God, are consigned to death and destruction because of sin. But for those who are in Christ Jesus they will be raised in glory.
1 Corinthians 15
43: it (our sinful body) is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
Our decaying bodies are described here as being “sown (buried) in dishonor” because they have been ravaged by sin.
Picture, if you will the lungs of someone who has turned them black as coal and ruined their health due to smoking, or a human brain that is no longer able to form a complete thought because of substance abuse. In much the same way, the human body is decaying as a direct result of one’s sinfulness. If there had been no sin, there would be no decay and no death (1 Corinthians 15:56). But God, through Christ’s regenerating power, is able to raise His children with new glorious bodies.
1 Corinthians 15
44: it (our body) is sown (buried) a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45: So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam (Jesus Christ) became a life-giving Spirit.
The “soul” was the basis of life for the first Adam but the “Sprit” is the basis of life for the last Adam, Jesus Christ, and for all those who believe.
Let’s move on to the next verse.
11: But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give (what) life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
If the Spirit dwells in you, you have the assurance of God the Father that He will raise you from the dead just as certainly as He raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead.
I prefer to let the Bible “speak” as much as possible. I have another verse in mind that says the same thing – only clearer. Please turn to 1 Corinthians, chapter 15.
I Corinthians 15
22: For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made (what) alive.
23: But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,
God, through His written Word, has promised to raise your earthly body from the dead (if that’s necessary) and He’s promised you a “glorified body.” If you were regenerated spiritually, you will be regenerated physically as well.
As I said earlier, these bodies were not made for heaven. They must be altered (changed). Please turn to the book of Philippians, chapter 3.
20: For our citizenship is (where) in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
21: who will (read carefully) transform (regenerate) the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has given to subject all things to Himself.
What does “transform the body of our humble state” mean exactly?
I’m glad you asked?
Verse 21 informs us that after our bodies have been regenerated they will be exactly like (conform to) Christ’s glorious body. The word conform means: to match -identically.
That’s difficult to wrap the thought processes around, after all we live in and we deal with the physical world 24/7. We’re ignorant of anything else. For most people the spiritual world is Ouija boards, vampire movies, and reality shows such as Ghost Hunters. But the truth is the Spiritual realm is in the future of every Believer.
Now I’m going to be honest with you. Scripture is silent as to what this means exactly and I’m not one to cite opinion in lieu of facts. For instance, we are not told what we’ll look like, how old we’ll be, whether well be slim and trim, or obese. I don’t know if I’ll suddenly have hair or if I’ll need hair…but you get the idea.
However, every diligent Bible student is aware that there are “Biblical hints” in Scripture that may give us some idea of what we could experience once our bodies have been transformed. You need look no further than that time period (40 days) after Jesus’ resurrection for these hints because Christ was the first fruits (1 Corinthians 15:23).
One thing is for certain we’re not going to be a bunch of ghosts, sitting around on puffy clouds, all the live-long day. After Jesus’ resurrection, He was all about taking care of His Father’s business here on earth. We’ll have responsibilities too. I get this from Jesus’ parable of Money Usage (Luke 19:11-27) for one, but there are other Scripture accounts that clearly teach this truth (1 Corinthians 6:2-3; 12).
Here are a few of those Biblical hints I spoke of earlier that each of us may experience after our bodies have been transformed:
- Jesus had a physical body. You could see Him, you could touch Him, and Jesus ate food (Luke 24:36-43).
- Jesus could come and go and travel great distances in a flash. He could also control people’s thoughts (Luke 24:13-31).
- Jesus was able to pass through solid objects (John 20:19).
- Remember, Jesus’ body still bore the visible wounds from His crucifixion. Whether these scars were for the disciples benefit, meaning - the eleven who remained may have required “a sign” before they would believe (1 Corinthians 1:22), or if these wounds were permanent Scripture is silent.
Our earthy (physical) bodies limit us in ways and in dimensions (like time) that our Spiritual bodies will not. The natural body is “fitted” for this life here on earth (this universe – we need to stop thinking small – do you not know that eternity exists in you now?). Our Spiritual bodies will equip us for the “eternal existence” which is our destiny as Believers.
Let’s go to verse 12.
12: So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh –
13: for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
The two words, “So then,” the Apostle Paul inserts here have all the great truths in mind from Romans 6:1 to this point. Believers are identified with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and our connection with Federal Adam, the first being, has been broken. Our “old self” was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with. Next we share Christ’s newness of life as being in Christ Risen.
Next the Holy Spirit, which is life, indwells all those who by faith believe, and we are set free from the law of sin and of death—because all rights of sin as connected with flesh were cancelled at the cross. Finally, although our body is still dead to God, yet the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus personally dwells within us, guaranteeing that He who raised Christ from the dead will also raise us from the dead when Christ returns. Meanwhile the indwelling Spirit becomes an “earnest” (down payment) of the coming redemption of our bodies.
“So then”—let the power of all these glorious truths direct our thoughts from here.
In consideration of these mighty truths expressed above, Believers are under obligation to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the indwelling Spirit. But, please note, this is not how verse 12 reads. Rather, it’s the denial of any debtorship whatever to the flesh instead!
Put in simpler terms, Paul is saying, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation,” (verse 12). That obligation is not to live according to the flesh, for if we do that, we will die - see verse 13.
Because the (carnal) mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so (Romans 8:7).
It is not that “the flesh” is, or ever will be, in any sense improved on.
I’ve heard people say, “How can you behave like that? You’re a Christian. Act like it.”
The thing most Christians don’t understand is that the flesh is hopelessly lost, whether you’re a Believer or not. Christians should not hold people to a standard that the Bible does not. Believers will have “those moments” when the “old Adam” within us makes his presence known and in that moment of weakness we’re going to fail to do the right thing. Sometimes the flesh wins out. But Believers, with the Spirit’s help, will overcome these momentary spiritual assaults by and by. They don’t hang around these “bad neighborhoods,” in other words.
Believers are aware of their mistakes, they confess them to their Savior, and the maturing process continues. They are attentive to the Spirit’s leading; they don’t tune the Spirit out. They don’t consistently fail to do the right thing. That’s the difference.
Due to this truth, all efforts to reform (or purify) the body are futile.
It is not that man or woman does not recognize right from wrong or knowing it is powerless to make the right choice at the right moment. To say this and leave it at that would be to declare that an individual is not a responsible person but is simply the “victim” of a cruel fate, living their life, succumbing to whatever happens along life’s journey.
All people are drawn towards wrongful activity because they are dominated by their flesh, to which they yield their members as instruments of unrighteousness, as we’ve seen in Romans, chapter six.
However, a Believer yields their members to unrighteousness less and less because they are no longer in the flesh they are in the Spirit; the Spirit of God dwells in them.
Believers are becoming more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).
The Spirit is the source of our power and it is this power that enables us to overcome these sinful impulses. Our body has no role to play in this. We get no help from the flesh. The body is dead because of sin. It must be considered thus, so far as its ability to produce “fruit” for God.
All must be of the Spirit – the Spirit is life because of (Christ’s) righteousness.
Since God has claimed us for this we owe nothing to the flesh. We are not its debtors to do its service (verse 12). To do so would only mean to die (we’ll spend a bit more time on verse 13 in the next lesson).
But, through the power of the indwelling Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body. The body is viewed as the vehicle through which the flesh acts. It incites the natural appetite to sinful indulgences. The Spirit-led person must be attentive and on their guard against these physical onslaughts. They have to put to death these unwanted and unlawful fleshly desires. It’s a process.
The Apostle Paul put it this way,
5: Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immortality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts (is equivalent) to idolatry.
6: For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,
7: and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
8: But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
9: Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
10: and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created Him -
(To be continued)
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