Monday, April 17, 2017

Two Great Eternal Victories

Two Great Eternal Victories

It seems apparent that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday (possibly Thursday) and then resurrected on Sunday morning.  The significance of the importance of the days is merely the fact that they fulfill specific prophecies regarding the timing between His death and resurrection.  Therefore, although the timing of things has biblical significance, the greatest significance is the spiritual accomplishments of the death, burial, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus. 

Although the Blood offering of Jesus at Calvary is essential to the body of the doctrine of salvation, the resurrection and glorification of Jesus is the crown upon the Head of that body.  The significance and spiritual ramifications of these accomplished realities pertain to the wondrous gift of salvation provided “by grace through faith” to the repentant believing sinner.  I Corinthians chapter fifteen is the substance of the lengthiest explanation of the resurrection of Jesus in the Bible.  Here, Paul begins with a basic explanation of the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4) going into considerable detail about the ramifications of what the death, burial, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus provides to the believing sinner in the gift of salvation going far beyond mere eternal life.  Here Paul explains a completely new and perhaps unfathomable new spiritual existence extending into a radically different kind of new body.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written {Isaiah 25:8}, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:51-58).

          The fifty-eight verses of Scripture in I Corinthians chapter fifteen fully define and describe the scope of the doctrine of redemption through the Blood of Jesus Christ.  All of this was already settled in the mind of God before God ever spoke time and matter into existence.  The believer’s pathway to the surety of this new existence began before the foundation of the world in God’s plan and promise of His own incarnation to substitutionally die to pay His own penalty for the sin nature of humanity introduced into Creation through Adam’s sin.  God’s plan for humanity was a new spiritual/physical eternal existence lived in harmony and fellowship with Him.


          Sin entered the Creation first through the fall of Satan due to pride.  After God created Adam, God gave to humanity, represented in Adam, sovereignty over God’s Creation.  This included sovereignty over the angels, which are also created beings.  God had decreed that the angels were to be the servants of humanity.  Satan rebelled against God’s sovereign decree due to pride.  The prophet Isaiah gives us the details of the fall of Satan.

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15).

Sin entered Creation in the “I will” declaration of Satan’s heart already fallen in the sin of pride.  It was in the heart also where Adam failed.  Satan created a situation through the deception of Eve and Adam’s love for Eve where Adam put his desires above God’s desires.  Adam put his will above God’s will.  Satan’s sting of sin was the sting of pride and it brought God’s curse upon the whole of God’s creation. 

Sin, any sin, is the infection of death.  Death is more than mere physical death.  Death is eternal separation from God.  The lost of this world do not understand the depth to which sin has infected their souls.  Sin has spiritually ruined every person descending from Adam. 

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed {seminally} upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21)
Herein lays the necessity of the statement of Jesus to Dr. Nicodemus – “ye must be born again” (John 3:7).  The fallen nature of all humanity is infected with eternal death, which means eternal separation from God and eternal life.  That infection complete and cannot be healed.  The infection cannot be stopped.  The corrupted sinner needs a new nature that is available only through regeneration, or being spiritually “born again.”  The sinner needs to become a new creation

“45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (I Corinthians 15:45-50).

The phrase “last Adam” is unique to I Corinthians 15:45. The phrase “last Adam” refers to the Person of Jesus as the “firstborn” of the New Genesis; particularly to the humanity of Jesus.  The point of the text is that God planned for Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) before Adam ever fell into sin bringing God’s curse upon His creation.  The birth of Jesus is the crown of humanity.  In Jesus, humanity was eternally united with the Creator through the Theanthropic union of the eternal Son of God and the humanity of Jesus through the virgin birth.  In uniting the Creator with the humanity of Jesus, then Jesus became the “last Adam” with the Divine power of both redemption and regeneration. 

This is expanded upon in Romans 5:12-19 providing a juxtaposition of generation between the first Adam and the “last Adam,” i.e. Jesus as the firstborn of the regeneration (the New Genesis).  This is the significance of the phrase “the last Adam was made a quickening {life giving} spirit” (I Corinthians 15:45).  The gift of life here is not just a new life like the old life a sinner had before he was saved from Hell and regenerated.  This is a new kind of life like the kind of life that Jesus had on earth.  Eventually this new life will be put into a new body just as Jesus was resurrected and glorified into a new body.  A new place of existence will be created for this new manner of existence “in Christ” and the Christ-life through the filling of the Holy Spirit Who indwells the believer when the believer is “born again.”

It is critically important to understand that a new resurrected/glorified body will only be given to those who have been saved from Hell and received the gift of redemption from eternal prison of death that is offered by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:6-21).


          What does this phrase mean?  The point is that God is perfectly holy and righteous.  The Law defines sin and pronounces all men guilty as sinners.  The Law of God is the righteousness of God shining upon our lives revealing us for what we are in the sight of God.  The wrath of God’s eternal judgment on sin MUST be satisfied (propitiated).  God cannot be righteous if the penalty of the curse is not satisfied.  Therefore, the binding power of sin is the righteousness of God manifested in the Law.  The Law cannot redeem.  In fact, it has no desire to redeem.  The Law demands adjudication of the penalties prescribed by breaching its commands from God.  There can be NO pardon apart from propitiation.  The Law merely reveals to the sinner that he is ALREADY bound and imprisoned awaiting the day of God’s Great White Throne judgment where he will be cast into eternal Hell.  This cursed world is nothing more than a prison cell for the lost until the Great White Throne.

19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19-20).

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18).

          No sinner can truly be grateful to God until he realizes just how lost he really is.  No sinner will ever truly worship God until he understands the miracle of the grace of God that rescued his wretched, depraved, and sin soaked soul from a deserved destiny of eternal torment.  Paul makes the exclamation of his understanding of his own depravity in Romans chapter seven as he teaches on the warfare of the believer for practical sanctification against his own carnal nature.  This spiritual war with our own carnal nature will not end until the day of our resurrection/glorification.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).


          Complete victory over sin and over the binding power of condemnation and death was once for all won upon the death and resurrection of Jesus.  This victory was such a surety that the victory march was held a week earlier on what we commonly call Palm Sunday. 

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:51-57).

The Truth communicated to us in this simple text is so overwhelming and comprehensive it almost unfathomable to the human mind.  In Matthew 26:39, Jesus said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”  Jesus was speaking of substitutionally drinking the poison of humanity’s death and condemnation to satisfy (propitiate) the wrath of God’s judgment upon sin.  Jesus took our sin penalty in His body (I Peter 2:24) that “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).  What wondrous, marvelous grace!

10 By the which will we are sanctified {perfect, passive, participle; refers to positional sanctification} through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected {perfect, active, indicative} for ever them that are sanctified {of vs. 10}. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:10-18).

These few verses of Scripture in Hebrews 10:10-18 are an explanation and expansion upon the simple declaration of Christ in His last Words on the Cross of Calvary; “It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison {‘Abraham’s bosom’ or ‘paradise’}; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism {with the Spirit into the New Genesis in the body of Christ} doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ {Jesus is the ‘firstborn’ of the regeneration}: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (I Peter 3:18-22).


          Although God has not unconditionally chosen anyone to be saved, everyone that chooses to receive the God’s gift of salvation is predestined to be resurrected/glorified.  The “blessed hope” is a surety- a sure thing! 

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

“Foreknow” in Romans 8:29 is an aorist, active indicative.  The word “predestinate” in both verses 29 and 30 is also in the aorist, active indicative as well as the words “called,” “justified,” and “glorified” in verse 30.  What this all means is that these events in believer’s lives refer to something God incorporated into His eternal plan of redemption in eternity past (before time; before the “foundation of the world”) that are being fulfilled in time (actually) or will be fulfilled in the future (actually).  George Bryson says:

“Paul tells us what is destined to be true for those whom God foreknows.  Inevitably they will be called, justified, and glorified.  Moreover they will be called according to His purpose.  What is His purpose for those He foreknows?  It is that ultimately and inevitably they will be glorified.  Justification represents the predestined work of God in time while glorification represents the predestined work of God in eternity.  From a temporal perspective justification must come first.  From an eternal perspective if a person is justified in time, that person is also predestined to be glorified when time meets eternity for the believer.[1]”  (Bolding added)

There is a divine order to the unfolding nature of “the regeneration” as defined by Romans chapter eight.  The central idea of the chapter is the absolute surety of God bringing the promise of “the regeneration” into a complete fulfillment.  Although the price of redemption has been fully paid and accepted by God (God is propitiated), the full benefits of redemption are not yet fully realized.

          Part of the “revelation of Jesus Christ” in His glorified state is His revelation as the last Adam and the restored Federal Head over the fallen creation.  This is the same “creation” referred to in Romans 8:19 that watches and waits for this historical event.  Included in the second coming, is the revelation of “the sons of God” who are “joint heirs with Christ.”

2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:2-3).

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Anchor2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Anchor3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Anchor4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-3).

          Paul’s further expansion on his argument for giving believer’s motivation for looking beyond the “sufferings of this present time” is found in Romans 8:20-21 in his personification of “the creation.”  “20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”  Literally it reads, “the creation became subordinate (hupotasso, hoop-ot-as'-so) to uselessness (mataiotes, mat-ah-yot'-ace).”  After the fall, the creation became subservient to depravity and could no longer bring glory to God, although not voluntarily (“willingly”).  God initiated this subjection intent upon a higher and nobler outcome; i.e., “hope.” 

          The word “hope” in Romans 8:24 is translated from the Greek word elpis (el-pece') and refers to the confident anticipation or expectation of something good or pleasant.  The creation could then look forward in confident expectation to the time God would deliver the “creation itself . . . from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty [Thayer: “liberty of glory”] of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21); referring to “the regeneration” or the creation of the new Heaven/Earth.  When the “children of God” by regeneration are finally glorified, they will be fully and finally liberated from the subservience to the depravity of the fallen creation and once again be able to fully glorify God.  This will not happen until the “redemption of the body” (Romans 8:23; resurrection/translation/glorification).  Although this has not yet taken place historically, the believer can be sure that it will.  The “redemption of the body” is what is predestinated.  Because Jesus has been resurrected/glorified, we can be sure of the same happening to us in the reality of the miraculous unfolding of God’s redemptive plan.

[1] George Bryson; The Dark Side of Calvinism: The Calvinist Caste System; Calvary Chapel Publishing, 2004; Page 209

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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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