Resurrection was God’s solution to man’s wrong choices from the beginning. He reveals the resurrection life to us in both creation and in salvation.
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45)
I love rediscovering just how absolutely perfect God’s ways are. Everything He does is characterised by absolute attention to detail. Nothing is overlooked and the provision or solution is always a perfect fit to the problem. The main ‘issue’ we usually have with God is not so much the appropriateness of His solutions but that we have to wait. It’s not something human beings do well. Today’s verse invites us to take a step back and consider God’s perspective. He had the perfect solution to man’s fall even before it happened. But God had to wait thousands of years before He could implement it. The reason for is that He had to prepare man to receive a perfect solution. He had to show us ‘death’ before we could desire and appreciate resurrection.
Resurrection is God’s eternally perfect solution.
While we’re not given every single detail, we can make deductions from the facts of creation and the fall. The first is that it seems obvious that God never intended for mankind – that’s us – to be separated from Him. We were created by His own hands. Our creation was a ‘joint effort’ of a triune God – let us make man in our own image. When God created this universe and everything in it, He did so by speaking His commands. But with man, He got down in the dust and shaped him with His own hands. Then He breathed His Spirit into him and gave him life. This moment is a perfect type of the life, ministry, and death of Christ, and of His resurrection.
Consider the details for a moment. God got down in the earth – Jesus came down to the earth. Without God’s life-giving breath, man was simply a lump of clay, a dead, inanimate thing. Unless we receive the life-giving resurrection breath of Jesus, we’re dead in sin, incapable of spiritual life. Adam sinned and brought death to all men. Jesus did not sin and so brought life to all men. Adam was spirit trapped in the physical. Jesus is spiritual which releases us from the physical. I’ve just touched the surface here, but Genesis gives us an incredibly detailed picture of salvation and its purpose.
Resurrection is the ‘destination’ of salvation.
To understand better, we need to first move past a common confusion. Pre-knowledge does not mean pre-ordained. God knew the choices man would make and their consequences. Not only that, He knew at the foundation of the world. In other words, before man or the universe had been created. Knowing it doesn’t mean He planned it that way. Breathing His life into man at creation clearly reveals that His intention was for man to live spiritually. But free will led man to make wrong choices, and God knew what would happen. For this reason, creation itself speaks of resurrection and salvation, pointing to Christ.
Again, believers often seem confused by the resurrection and being reborn. Our spiritual rebirth in Christ is simply a type of our perfect resurrection in Christ in eternity. It took thousands of years for mankind to really understand his need for spiritual life. It has also taken thousands of years for us to see that spiritual life is possible in Christ. Humanity learns slowly. We need practical ‘for instances’ to really understand. Being reborn – salvation – and living as believers is a revelation of the spiritual life we will enjoy after the resurrection. This means we live a taste of eternity while in the world.
We must live the ‘resurrection life’ while on earth.
Spiritual rebirth is the ‘visible’ evidence that God has made the way to restore what was destroyed in Eden. He created man to worship Him and enjoy intimacy with Him. That was destroyed by the first Adam. In the last Adam – Jesus – God shows us that His original plan is still in place. Most believers will agree that we’d much prefer full resurrection at salvation. It would spare us having to endure and learn in this world. But it took generations of ‘first Adams’ to reveal to humanity what was lost. It will also take generations of ‘last Adams’ – born-again believers – to reveal that what was lost is now regained.
If all believers were immediately resurrected at salvation, how would that help humanity? It took Jesus to come and live, die, and be resurrected for mankind to see the truth. If God snatched us away, our purpose in this world – to manifest the life of Christ – would be snatched away as well. Between salvation and resurrection, we live the truth so others will see and learn. At the same time, God is growing us into eternal life with Him. From the moment of salvation, we move closer and closer to eternal resurrection in Him.
Resurrection is man’s spiritual life restored.
Again, Genesis points out this critical truth. God did not create us to be ‘physical’ beings. Our physical existence is merely a ‘vehicle’ for the real life that defines us. This is true, even of non-believers. Man is, first and foremost, a ‘spirit’ being. This is because it is the life of God breathed into us that makes us ‘alive.’ Without that, we’re hunks of flesh. Eternity is a reality for every single human being. The only difference is where we will spend it. Believers will be resurrected into spiritual life, and non-believers will endure spiritual death. Both are forever.
Our bodies, emotions, and intellects are purely ‘bonus’ – additional dimensions given to man to broaden His interaction with the world. From the beginning, spiritual man was the focus and had control. Through Adam, that was subverted and physical man took control, subjugating the spirit. Through Jesus, God enables the resurrection of the spirit man and puts it back in control. It’s important to remember that our salvation is a testimony to resurrection life. The very basis of our faith lies in the resurrection of Christ. Learning to live our resurrection life is evidence that what was lost is now restored. To do this, it was necessary for Jesus to live as the ‘Son of Man.’ A last Adam – a man – had to restore what the first Adam destroyed. That is the perfection of God’s solutions. They are immaculately aligned to the problem. Every detail is included.
Resurrection life is a celebration of eternity.
Back at creation, God created a perfect world. He had perfect intimacy with and received perfect worship from man. The resurrection will see a perfect world once again because the Bible tells us that He will destroy this fallen world and create a new one. We will dwell with Him in perfect intimacy and worship. It’s a full, complete, and perfect restoration of His original intention. When we live the resurrection life we celebrate what is to come. We reveal God’s perfect will to the world. Yes, we have to wait for that to fully manifest. But each day, we are able to ‘taste’ the reality of it. God has once again breathed His life-giving Spirit into us, and we can live as He intended, drawing closer to Him each day.
Lord, we praise You this morning and draw near in worship. The perfection of Your plans leaves us breathless, and we rejoice that You attend to every tiny detail. Thank You for Your grace that made a way, and which empowers us every day to draw closer to the glorious resurrection in Christ for eternity. Help us to celebrate this wonderful truth in all we do and say, and to live each moment in the present assurance of this promise as You teach us the truth of resurrection life.