– – There is plenty of mystery for me surrounding this stage, but I believe Paul: “If we are united with him in the likeness of his death, surely we will be united in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Rom 6:5) A Christian who has gone on past these stages and has remained faithful to the end has passed from the Kingdom stage to the Victory stage. Even in victory and a new resurrected life, however, I think the book of Revelation and Genesis shows that there is still peril.
Toward the end of the Bible, the last threads of the knot of Satan’s twisting are being untied. As deception ruined the good world God made, even when the people were not themselves sinners, it could be that a person who claimed allegiance to God through all the previous stages might falter into the Evil one’s clutches.
It is tempting to think of Jesus’ death as the end of the story, since that’s where the natural mind ends. However, the story of the Bible goes through death to Resurrection! Jesus who endured to the end, was raised up by
- The Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11)
- God the Father (Romans 10:9)
- The Glory of the Father (Romans 6:4)
And his resurrected body was
- Flesh and Bone (Luke 24:39)
- Able to eat food (Luke 24:42-43)
- First-fruits of those who are raised (1 Corinthians 15:20)
He walked among us as a fully alive and restored human though he still carried the nail marks.
I believe I can confidently assert that as was Christ at his resurrection, so will the believer be. Consider 1 Corinthians 15:42-44,
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.
A Personal Difficulty
For a long time I thought that Christians would be only disembodied spirits, or having some kind of quasi-physical body when we die, but I believe the resurrection of Jesus’ body was evidence that the Believer’s resurrected body will be just like Jesus’: still distinctly human. Perhaps Gnostic influences have led me to seek some sort of abolition of the physical body. But since the end of the story is new Heaven and Earth, I still believe God’s plan is to redeem the whole believer, even their bodies.
The danger I see in this stage is the same danger that Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden: Deception. Matthew 24:24 speaks of some time in the future from Jesus’ day when false prophets would arise to deceive, even if possible God’s chosen ones. I see that this is a possibility as humanity will have the choice to heed the deception the Evil One even at the end of time during Christ’s reign of 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:8) It is the sin into which the first human fell, and it is also a sin into which the new human can fall, so he must take heed to obey God’s Word, or he too may be swept away in the Evil one’s last ditch effort to sway the nations against God.
- Walk with God. The Evil One can only deceive a believer as he is wandered away from His blessed presence. Stay before His face, and keep Him before your face so that you will never be shaken.
- Listen to His Word–When God speaks, do not harden your hearts, but humbly receive the gift of God’s goodness to you.
- Obey Him. “His commandments are His enablements” said a woman to a Pastor in Portland, Oregon named J. Carl Laney. When God gives a command, it is to be obeyed. To cause disobedience is the evil one’s aim, and his greatest method is to deceive. Until he is cast into the lake of fire, you must resist him, and remain faithful to obey God, or you too will fall with him.
- Represent God on earth. The restored image of humanity has the privilege of representing Him on earth. As He is, so are we in the world. Now all of Creation is set up as the Temple of the Goodness of God, and the resurrected human is the one built to image God in His delightful creation.
Hard to believe that there may be one more stage to cover. After all, the Evil One is defeated, death is defeated, what could possibly be left? Think with me. What was the last thing we have recorded of Jesus’ time on earth?