The Resurrection: Christ’s and the Believers: Part I
The First Truth: The Gospel
What is your view of the Resurrection – yours and Christ’s? What resurrection truth do you hold for the now and eternally? Is Easter Sunday simply another Sunday, another Sabbath Day, and another Easter day?
It is a fact that Easter does not receive the attention that Christmas does. This is evident in both the secular and religious worlds. In contrast to Christmas, when faced with Easter, some may complain that they don’t have any holidays or that it is over so quickly. Others may approach Easter with a ho-hum mindset or just another holiday to get.
How would you answer the question: what is the big deal about Easter? is there resurrection truth that you should hold to for life now and eternally? Would you include the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in your answer? If you did, what is the significance of the resurrection? Is it just another event, even a miraculous one in the life of Jesus? Is your thinking in line with the Holy Spirit who deemed the resurrection of Christ so important that He had Paul devote a whole chapter to it in the first letter to the Corinthians (chapter 15). It is an understatement to say that the resurrection is essential for all believers in every age. It is a necessary and foundational truth of Christianity.
The Corinthian congregation had multiple problems. In his first letter to them, Paul addressed a number of serious problems that resulted from self-serving, self-grasping, and self-exalting individualism (1 Corinthians 1:10-17). They were convinced of their spiritual vitality. They were proud people. The result of their approach to God and each other was factionalism, division, and strife. Paul wrote to help resolve the problems God’s way for His glory and the good of the congregation and individual believers.
Paul’s teaching in regard to the resurrection was designed to help the congregation properly respond to God and to each other in the midst of their problems. Apparently resurrection truth for now – this life – and eternally had no impact on them. Their problem-filled world was a result of bad theology. They had a wrong view of God and His providence, Christ, self, and others. The truth of a resurrected Christ was one key in helping them get victory. It remains the same for believers and churches throughout the ages.
What follows are several thoughts (five over the next several blogs) regarding the importance of the resurrection. These thoughts are pump primers to help every believer focus on the magnificent and monumental significance and blessings of a resurrected Savior. Christianity is a religion of exclusives: a Triune God who saves His people by becoming one of them; a crucified Savior who lived and died unlike the King He was; a resurrected Savior Who returned to the Father the people He purchased; and the presence of the Holy Spirit in believers and His church. There is no other religion like Christianity. Easter highlights these facts. See what you think.
First, consider the gospel and the necessity of the resurrection. Without the resurrection there is no gospel (15:12-19). Paul began the chapter 15 with the words: I want to remind you of the gospel which I preached to you, which you received, and on which you have taken your stand (15:1). Apparently, the congregation had made an about-face (see 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 for an outline of the problem). The congregation was changing. Previously, the people had addressed problems selfishly. Now they were beginning to examine themselves first and then move out to the problem and to others (Matthew 7:1-6). Relational issues were being addressed. They began to think vertically (Godward) in order to solve problems. They came to realize that their relationship with God was through Christ by the Holy Spirit. As a result they were able to move horizontally – toward each other – in a God-honoring way.
Paul knew that Christ was both a crucified and resurrected Savior. He is the living God and the God of the living (Exodus 3:6; Matthew 22:29-32; Acts 7:52). However, death, physical and spiritual, was and is a reality. Then what? Paul encouraged the congregation by teaching resurrection truth for now and eternally: the reality of the bodily resurrection of Christ, the reality of the bodily resurrection of believers, the movement into God’s presence by union with Christ, and the fact that resurrection life starts now (Romans 6:9-10 1 Corinthians 15:54-57). His teaching was to serve as a catalyst for them to continue to solve problems God’s way as they grew in Christlikeness. The Holy Spirit knew that resurrection truth was for now and eternally and for problem-solving!
In verses 3-4, Paul wrote that the gospel message was more than a crucified, dead Savior. Other men had died via crucifixion and they were buried. But the Corinthians’ Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, was a resurrected Savior who did all things well according to Scripture (Mark 7:37): He died for believers as their Substitute, was buried, was raised, and appeared post-resurrection before He ascended. A resurrected Christ made all the difference to Paul. Paul emphasized that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection were linked and were accomplished according to Scripture. They occurred on God’s timetable. This resurrection truth was for now and eternally and was vital to proper congregational and individual life.
The resurrection points to the good, powerful, and purposeful God. It affirms that the Father accepted Jesus as the true Sacrifice, the ransom price God required and deserved (Romans 4:25). The debt was paid in full (Romans 8:1). The penalty God demanded as a Just judge had been made (Romans 3:21-26). Christ died for sins (its penalty), to sin (its power), and for undeserving sinners. The resurrection was and is God’s well done good and faithful Servant to the Son for us. It is an acknowledgement of the truthfulness of Father’s words in Matthew 3:17 and 17:5 and of Jesus’ words in John 19:30. Christ’s work was finished as the perfect Sacrifice but Christ’s resurrection initiated the believer’s resurrection life which began at regeneration and continues as the believer grows in Christlikeness (Rom. 6:9-11; 1 John 3:1-3).
1. What is your view of the resurrection and what significance does it have in your life?
2. Read Chapter 15 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and write down at least five truths that grip you.
3. The supernatural and miracles is a major feature of Christianity. How do you bring together reason and faith when you consider Christianity?
The Resurrection: Christ’s and the Believers: Part II
The Second Truth: Redemption Accomplished and Applied
In this blog, I continue to spell out resurrection truth for now and eternally. In the previous blog, I began with the gospel as given in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. The resurrection is an integral part of the gospel and God’s redemptive story. The resurrection is a testimony to God’s trustworthiness and His supernatural divine power and purpose. Those facts help highlight the beauty and magnificence of a resurrected Christ. Without a resurrected Savior, the believer has no savior. He relies only on self. Without redemption accomplished in and by Christ, there will be no redemption applied by the Holy Spirit. The work of Christ and the work of the Spirit are linked and coessential. There is no redemption without a crucified and risen Savior. There is no redemption without the work of the Holy Spirit.
Once redemption is accomplished through Christ’s perfect life and death, there is also redemption applied through the Holy Spirit. The term redemption accomplished refers to Christ’s atoning work before and on the cross. Redemption applied speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit who indwells believers so that what Christ has accomplished as the Messiah becomes a reality to and in the believer.
Resurrection life begins the moment of regeneration. At regeneration, the Holy Spirit implants a new principle of life within the believer (John 3:3-8). The believer is joined to Christ. That union, bought with the blood of Christ, is unbreakable and effective through the work of the Holy Spirit. As a result of the union, the believer is in Christ and only then shares in the saving benefits of Christ’s redemptive work. Union with Christ is the vehicle by which Christ’s saving works become a reality in an individual believer. Union points to the necessity of the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit. Union with Christ is effectively produced by the Holy Spirit as He indwells the believer. Every spiritual blessing which believers receive flows out of Christ and is due to union with Christ by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians1:3-14).
One spiritual blessing is resurrection life. The believer has been raised with Christ who wants believers – His brothers – with Him in heaven (Romans 6:5-10; John 17:24-25). Therefore resurrection life begins now. It does not await heaven although its fullness does. Post-regeneration, the Holy Spirit makes the benefits of salvation alive in the now-believer through union with Christ and the Spirit’s indwelling. The blessings and benefits include:
• Justification: The believer has been declared right before God such that there is no condemnation for those in Christ’s Jesus (Romans 8:1);
• Adoption: The believer has been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the family and kingdom of God and is given all the privileges and duties that belong to God’s children (Colossians 1:13-14; Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5);
• Sanctification: the believer has positional holiness before God as a saint and will grow in progressive holiness he grows in Christlikeness (Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 5:9, 14-15);
• Glorification: this awaits the fullness of being in God’s presence (Romans 6:9-10; 1 John 3:1-3). For the believer, there is excitement in this life as he anticipates the fullness of his union with Christ.
Christ’s resurrection means that Christ lived, died, and was buried. Consider this resurrection truth for now and eternally: 1. Jesus ascended into heaven as the exalted Lord of lords and Kings of kings; 2. He is in session interceding for His people (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). He continues the priestly function for His people; 3. He is awaiting the Triune God’s fullness of time when He will return to judge the universe and receive what is rightfully His (Philippians 2:9-11). In this way the Triune God will be fully glorified.
Christ’s return will verify and testify before the entire universe that God is trustworthy. God plans and He brings to pass what He plans. He planned for a people to be in His presence eternally. Christ’s return will usher in the new heavens and new earth which is pictured in Revelation 21-22. One reality of the magnificence of redemptive history is progressive movement from creation, to redemption, to the second coming, and to the new heavens and earth. All of these facts far surpass human comprehension and are revealed in Scripture. The second coming of Christ will be the concluding, consummating event in all redemptive history and the fulfillment of the promise to Adam and Eve given in Genesis 3:15 but ordained in eternity past (John 6:37-43). By definition, the believer is enamored by God’s covenantal faithfulness. Therefore he looks forward to what God has in store for himself, fellow believers, and the Church. He prays with a joyful heart: O Lord God, please come quickly.
Resurrection life begins now – the moment after regeneration. One result for the believer is given in Philippians 3:12-14. Paul looked forward as he lived in the now and the already. The now propelled him to live with one foot in heaven and one foot on this earth. He enjoyed earth in spite of his hardships because he looked forward to heaven (Heb. 12:1-3). Resurrection life is a reality and a blessing for every believer. The believer has the privilege of living as one saved and as one resurrected because he is (Rom.ans6:5-10).
1. Explain redemption accomplished. What was accomplished?
2. Explain the role and work of Christ in redemption accomplished?
3. Explain resurrection life as given in Romans 6:5-10 and its significance.
The Resurrection: Christ’s and the Believers: Part III
The Second Truth Continued, Already-Not Yet
Yet, Christ has not returned. Resurrection truth for now and eternally applies all the more! Therefore believers must live with the reality that Christ’s return is an already but not yet state. Many grow weary and wonder how they can “put up” with God’s providence. They may be experiencing any number of troubles. They picture the now as a burden and the already as to esoteric.
The already refers to the fact that Christ purchased resurrection for the believer. His death meant life for His people, individually and corporately. His resurrection meant life for His people which began at salvation. Union with Christ means that what Christ has gained for Himself is the believer’s and where Christ is so is the believer (Colossians 3:1-3; 1 John 3:1-3). The believer is something in Christ but those outside of Christ are in serious trouble (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Resurrection life on this earth means that the believer is perfected in principle but not in practice. This is part of the already and not yet. Not yet means that there is more to come, but it only gets better! The believer awaits the full consummation of the identity and majesty of the Triune God as well as his status as a perfected saint. He is not yet, but he is moving toward the not yet which heaven is. On earth, he is enjoying the move even though feelings and others may say otherwise.
Glorification began at regeneration but it is not complete on earth. The not yet means that the believer is not consummated to be all he can and will be in Christ. Perfection awaits heaven. There are some theologians who believe that saints in heaven will grow in their perfected state.
Contemplate the picture of the gospel and redemption and resurrection truth for now and eternally. Redemption was accomplished through the active obedience of Christ – His perfect lawkeeping. The Law is a manifestation of the will of God and demands perfection – perfect lawkeeping. Without it a perfect death would be useless. God’s wrath demanded perfection before AND on the cross as the perfect sacrifice. Christ the perfect Lamb of God lived a perfect life and died a perfect death. The penalty was paid in full. The wrath of God was propitiated. The perfect payment for the penalty of sin was achieved at the cross. Further, a crucified and buried Savior only is not a savior. Rather, Jesus is the resurrected, ascended, and interceding Savior. Jesus accomplished salvation according to Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). That is resurrection truth for now and eternally!
Redemption applied is via the work of the Holy Spirit who united the believer to Christ and Christ to the believer. This, too, is supernatural, eternal, and occurred at a point in time for the believer (John 3:3-8; 6:60-64; Eph. 1:4). The benefits of that union include not only regeneration but justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification as discussed above. The gospel as given in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 summarized the truths of redemption with an emphasis on the fulfillment of Scripture and a resurrected Christ. Each of the above doctrinal truths is for the pleasure and use of the believer as he experiences resurrection life and growth in Christlikeness. The believer knows the beginning and the end. This knowledge applied enables him to be of earthly good between salvation and resurrection.
Believers are to remember that because Jesus is the crucified and resurrected Savior, there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). The condemnation and guilt due the now-believer is no more. Jesus went to hell on the cross in his place. Jesus was considered and treated as an undeserving sinner by God (Romans3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
Redemption accomplished and applied focuses on and magnifies the greatness and glory of the Triune God. They proclaim the truth that God is the Being who must be considered and that sin and hell are big deals. It is a matter of life and death and one’s eternal destiny. They are monumental realities. There is a destiny for every person. In this context, the Son was resurrected. The resurrection is God’s testimony that the Triune God’s wrath has been satisfied completely. God condemned the believer in Christ. Jesus, as the believer’s substitute, took his place. The now-believer is free from hell, guilt, condemnation, the penalty and the power of sin. He is freed from self to serve the living God. He is now equipped and motivated to please God.
In a real sense, there is no longer a mark of death on the believer. The bounty that was on the head of the now-believer has been paid by Christ in a supernatural transaction. Christ took the death penalty demanded by God and the Law. The now-believer has been sealed by the Holy Spirit as further testimony to resurrection life (2 Corinthians1:5; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13; Revelation 7:2-3).
Moreover, the believer’s justification (right standing before God) is made secure in Christ’s resurrection (Romans 4:25). He has a right standing before the just Judge of the entire world. God considers him not guilty because He judged Christ in the believer’s place, as his substitute. Therefore setting up one’s own standard (lawmaking) to keep in one’s own strength (lawkeeping) is competing with God. It denies the reality of the perfect Messiah. Doing and thinking things to earn and gain status is actually an attempt to indebt God to the person. These are an affront to God. Trying to do what Christ has done is sheer folly and futility. Christ’s resurrection confirms the utter sinfulness of man and the greatness of God.
1. Explain the now/already and the not yet. What is their significance?
2. Explain redemption applied.
3. What is the role and work of the Holy Spirit in redemption applied?
The Resurrection: Christ’s and the Believers: Part IV
Third, Fourth and Fifth Truths
A third resurrection truth for now and eternally to consider is the fact Christ’s first coming ushered in the new age, the new creation and the already. With Christ’s coming, believers are new creatures in Christ in a new creation. They are partakers of resurrection life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:9-10). Union with Christ unites believers to Christ. The believer has a personal relationship with Christ by the Holy Spirit. What Christ has done and where Christ is, the believer is representatively and functionally. The believer is to function as a child of the King and Father with Christ as his brother. Only the believer can and does enjoy the fruits of Christ’s labors. Union with Christ is an unbreakable union. Growth in Christlikeness is being realized in the life of every believer. This growth fulfills God’s original design for believers (Ephesians 1:4). Growth in Christlikeness is a foretaste of heaven on earth through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
A fourth resurrection truth for now and eternally to consider is the obvious fact that there is a resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). Everyone has a destiny. There is life to come in heaven or hell. All people will reside in one place or the other. Paul wrote that those who hope in Christ only for this life are to be pitied (v.19). There is more to come at death. For the believer it is the presence of God. For the unbeliever it is the reality of continued misery, anguish, and utter failure which cannot be denied. Don’t misunderstand Paul. Hope in Christ is fundamental for this life as well as the life to come. That was one of Paul’s messages in Philippians 1:21. To live is Christ and to die is gain. Paul’s words indicate that either in life or death, he is a winner in Christ. Those are staggering words. Feel their weight. Paul knew that he was living a resurrection life. He looked forward to heaven as he rejoiced in the journey.
The fifth resurrection truth for now and eternally to consider is the fact that the removal of the curse of sin on the body is not complete in this life. Salvation does not usher in a new body for the believer. Certainly the proper application of biblical principles in all areas of life leads to good stewardship of the whole person (thoughts, desires, and actions) including the body. Good stewardship often leads to improved physical well-being. But a child of God is not guaranteed a healthy body in this life.
He is promised a completely new body, a glorified one in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:35-49; Philippians 3:20-21). Good physical health is not promised by God and it is not a redemptive right on the earth. However, good stewardship is a fruit of godly living. God expects his people to return their body to Him as a fragrant sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians. 5:2).
What is promised the believer is the capacity and desire to use and care for his body as a means of pleasing God. Using bodily problems for growth in Christ is a fundamental aspect of Christina living (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:9). Moreover, believers are to eagerly anticipate the reality of a transformed, glorious, resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). This picture helps believers to think eternally and vertically. Being spiritually-minded helps them to be of the utmost earthly good (Colossians 3:1-3; 1 John 3:1-3; Hebrews 12:1-3).
1. Continue to reread 1 Corinthians 15 and record five different truths that gripped you.
2. What significance has the resurrection in your life now?
3. How will you rethink Easter given the truths of the resurrection?
4. Define resurrection life (Romans 6:9-11). It begins now. What does it look like in you?
Resurrection: Christ’s and the Believer’s Part V
Application by way of A Story
For some, death is a distant subject. Their approach is “out of sight, out of mind.” However, iife in a fallen world makes death a reality. People die. Death is a fact of living in God’s world. Sometimes those with failing bodies claim they would prefer death. Sin, misery, and death are linked and are ever present (Romans 5:12-14; 6:23). But everyone wonders: what is on the “other side”? A proper understanding of resurrection truth for now and eternally is vital for a person to life the joyful, abundant fruit-bearing life (John 10:10-11).
Many times people – both patients and non-patients – have initially presented with complaints of aches and pains and the desire, even the demand, for them to be gone. They want, even demand, relief. For non-Christians and even Christians, it makes sense to approach the body in that way. Often people as described in the above paragraph live by a creed that resembles the following in some form: I have a life to live now, people to help, things to do, and no time for this kind of body. It seems reasonable to demand and pursue relief or something comparable. Sometimes that comparable something is the desire and demand of the person to be heard and understood. The person may or may not have resurrection truth for now and eternally at his disposal. He may acknowledge his and Christ’s but he considers both unsatisfactory for him in the present life.
For the Christian the truth of a failing body is a reality that must be understood in light of the redemptive story. The Christian and only the Christian has a choice which some may call a dilemma. The believer’s choice is one of pleasing God or pleasing self with the body that God has given him whether it is defective or not. Only the Christian is truly confronted with the choice of sinfulness by grumbling and complaining in contrast to the call for contentment and thankfulness in all situations (Philippians 2:14-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Romans 8:28-29). What is a believer to do? He must rely on resurrections truth for now and eternally.
Theology, knowledge, wisdom, and fear of the Lord trump feelings, demands, and seemingly impossible “odds.” Stay with me as I elaborate by way of a story. One person who complained of pain and his body told me he understood that he was complaining against God. This was not his initial reaction. He reached the conclusion after he and I had spent time listening, evaluating, and bringing truth to bear on him and his problem. He said he understood that God was in control and that he did not like that control. He did not like his body and the fact that he hurt. Seemingly, his confession was a major breakthrough. I thought we may be able to move on to greater victory. he needed to know resurrection truth for now and eternally.
Victory had not been a friendly or familiar term for him. I wondered if it would be. He complained of pain and a “bad body” but his complaint (and maybe yours) could have been about spouse, boss, parents, child, etc. He told me he was convinced that he was actually complaining against God. However, he did not acknowledge God’s control or goodness according to Roman 8:28-29. He felt and envisioned only trouble and not relief. He knew he was not a happy camper. Importantly and tragically, he did not think that his approach to God, to himself, to his body, and to others had any connection with his complaints. He had no interest in repenting. He had no interest in resurrection truth for now and eternally.
He never did repent. He saw no need. He had not learned the lesson that Job did when faced with the living God (Job 38-42). Eventually Job repented (42:2-6). The cross drives the believer to his knees and the resurrection drives him off of them. The resurrection puts Christ life and death in prospective and helps the believer focus on the new life in Christ now. Christ’s new life is now and forever for Him and it is the believer’s now to be finalized at the second coming. Resurrection truth for now and eternally is the believer’s blessing and privilege (Colossians 3:1-3; 1 John 3:1-3).
The man told me he realized that he was “on God’s case.” He articulated his complaint: God had given him the body that he had. Seemingly, he acknowledged God’s sovereignty. However, he had sought relief from any number sources for its own sake not as good steward. He said he must have relief in order to be productive. He was faced with the reality of a failing body, He was stuck with his body, his complaints, and a God who would not give him relief. The relief that he wanted and thought he deserved had not come. To him, God had let him down. Resurrection truth for the now and eternally were not considered a viable choice and motivator. He was on the merry-go-round, even the rat race, of relief. Apparently, he thought that God owed him better care than God gave His Son. Needlessly to say he continued to complain – not only about pain but about God. He only wanted relief from God. Salvation was not high on his list as a good gift. In his thinking, it certainly paled in light of the body he had.
1. How does our man view God?
2. What is salvation to him?
3. What is his driving goal and how does fit with Romans 8:28-29?
4. What resurrection truths for now and eternally can you give him? See Romans 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
5. What comfort can you offer him (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 8-10)?
Resurrection: Christ’s and the Believer’s: Part VI
Conclusions and Further Application
Earlier, I recalled the story of a man who sought relief from pain and a body he did not like or want. He had agreed that he was grumbling and complaining against God being the unhappy camper that he was. He said he understood but he did not repent (Philippians 2:14-17). He did not agree that he wanted better treatment than God gave Jesus. But he did say that the cross was Jesus’ job. God was supposed to heal people (Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:3-6). He did not understand resurrection truth for his present now and eternally.
He also told me that he understood another truth. Heaven was a wonderful place mostly because he would have a completely different body. We had looked at portions of 1 Corinthians 15. After doing so, he said he was on the horns of dilemma: he couldn’t complain against God and heaven would “cure him of his bad body.” In response to these realities, he told me that he was unable and unwilling to live with the body he had. The expectation of heaven and the present reality of resurrection life now were not helpful. His dilemma was summarized as: how could he live – go on – with the body that he had. He did not seem fazed that he was a grumbler and complainer against God which is quite serious (Numbers 11 and 21). The seriousness of his activity was never articulated. For him, his situation was so terrible and unbearable. He thought he was at a theological standstill. Relief was more important than pleasing God in the problem. He had no desire to use the problem as a tool to grow in Christlikeness. The contentment and satisfaction that comes from pleasing God and thereby imitating Christ was not a consideration. His only standard for a good life was the subjectivity of better feelings.
He had set himself up for failure. Life was viewed only through one set of glasses: no body problems as he described it. Better feelings were his only grid and lens to view himself, God, and God’s providence. He thought he could sit in judgment on God. The creature had turned on the Creator. In his case the more he wanted, even demanded, relief, the less it came and the more complaints he had.
How does the beauty of resurrection life now fit this person or any believer in a similar situation? How did it fit Christ as the God-man? The man did not learn one of the lessons of the cross which was death for life. The new life that he had in Christ was resurrection life. He had been set free from the tyranny of self-pleasing but he rejected that release. He remained in bondage to himself. For him, the new life meant no body problems and especially no pain or heartaches. Apparently, he wanted heaven – the good life – without the cross. He wanted heaven now. For him, the joys of heaven were expressed as no body problems now.
Sadly, he did not acknowledge that he had the better life in Christ. He did not connect godly living with the goal to please God as victory. Resurrection life is a gift beginning at salvation. Because Christ died and rose, the believer lives and rose. Resurrection life means a new orientation and a new mindset. It means viewing his providence from God’s perspective. It means using the unpleasantness of life as God’s tool to be more like Jesus Christ. That is one of the lessons of the cross. Christ made it His priority to please His Father so He would gain for the Triune God a people for himself and his own former glory (John 6:37-43; Hebrews 12:1-3).
While on earth the church and individual believers are to imitate Christ and follow in his footsteps. Becoming God-pleasers in thought, desire, and action is the essence of progressive sanctification. It is one of the greatest activities the believer is to be engaged. It is a foretaste of heaven. The man never took this truth seriously. He lived for the now, the physical, and the material. He lived the lie. He lived as a loser. In effect, he denied God’s design from eternity past. Using irritations and hard times did not fit his idea of godliness.
Perhaps this man was not a believer. He said he was. Perhaps he was one of those who little faith in God and His grace. Perhaps he considered the cost of pleasing God too high. The fact remained: the reality of resurrection life frees the believer from what ifs, why me, I must have, and I deserve. By focusing eternally and heavenward, the believer lives as a victor. Relief must be spelled God’s way and it will come. That takes effort that focuses on pleasing God and not relief. When that happens, the believer will come to realize that pleasing God in all situations brings its own rewards now and eternally.
1. Whatever your situations or situations study through Romans 8:28-29 and write five truths that affect you now.
2. How have you been a good steward given you situation?
3. How have you responded to God’s answer: no or wait?
4. What is your view of God and self and how should they be changed?