Our Resurrection

The biblical faith is forward-looking. Foundational to it is the resurrection and gathering of the Elect when Jesus returns on the Last Day. Our future resurrection is based on his past resurrection, and our salvation remains incomplete until he raises us from the dead, transforms believers who are still alive when he arrives, and “gathers” us all to Himself (“He will send his angels to assemble his elect from the ends of the Earth to the ends of the heavens”).

Writing to the assemblies of Rome, Paul declared that if the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, He that “raised Christ Jesus from among the dead will quicken even our death-doomed bodies” - (Romans 8:9-11).

Iris flowers - Photo by Matthew Lancaster on Unsplash
[Photo by Matthew Lancaster on Unsplash]

We have “
death-doomed bodies” because we have been condemned to bondage, decay, and death by our sins. Even though the Spirit of God now dwells in us, we remain subject to death because of Adam’s sin. If God is to redeem us and recover all that was lost by Adam, salvation must include the human body and the physical creation.

The biblical doctrine of salvation is about redemption. The Creator of all things will not abandon what He created and called “very good!” He will rescue and transform it, and bodily resurrection will be an act of new creation.

The Spirit of God confirms we are “coheirs” with His Son. We, therefore, will be “glorified together with him.” Even the creation is “ardently awaiting” that day since it also has been subjected to “vanity” and longs for deliverance.

When Jesus returns and raises the dead, the “creation itself will be freed from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.” The possession of the Spirit is the foretaste and guarantee of our future resurrection life, therefore, we also “ardently await the adoption, namely, the redemption of our body.

In Romans, Paul wrote about the bodily resurrection of believers and the appearance of the New Creation, two connected events that he elsewhere linked to the “arrival” or ‘Parousia’ of Jesus and the “Day of the Lord” – (Romans 8:15-23, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:1).


In Corinth, some believers denied the future resurrection. Paul responded by pointing to the Gospel that he first delivered to the Assembly, “How that Christ died for our sins, and was buried, and that he has been raised on the third day.” If there was no future resurrection, then “even Christ has not been raised,” and if not, then the Gospel is void, the Apostles lied, and we remain dead “in our sins.” However, just as God raised His Son from the dead, He will raise us at His Son’s “arrival” - (1 Corinthians 15:1-20).

The resurrection of Jesus was the “first fruits of them who have fallen asleep.” Just as death came through Adam, so the “raising of the dead came through one man, and in Christ, all will be made alive.” This will occur at the “arrival” of Jesus when he will consummate the Kingdom and subjugate all his enemies, including death-  (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).

Resurrection will not mean the resuscitation of “death-doomed bodies” or corpses. Our present body is “sown in corruption but will be raised incorruptible.” It will be a body fitted for everlasting life in the Spirit, and we will exchange mortality for immortality.

Paul did not see the physical body as incompatible with the Spirit. The difference is the kind of body one has, whether a “body of the soul” or a “body of the spirit.” Just as we now bear the “image of the man of the earth,” Adam, so we will “bear the image of the man of heaven,” Jesus.

When he does “arrive,” those who remain alive will be transformed, and we who have died will be raised from the dead. Then together, we will receive “immortality…for whenever this mortal will clothe itself with immortality, then will be brought to pass the saying, ‘Death has been swallowed up victoriously’.” – (1 Corinthians 15:50-57).

When the Thessalonians expressed grief over the deaths of fellow believers, Paul reminded them that they were not without hope, unlike unbelievers. If we “believe that Jesus died and rose again, so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.” He will descend from Heaven and the “dead in Christ will rise first.” Then the living and newly resurrected saints together will “meet” him as he descends from Heaven.

Rainbow farm - Photo by Ryan Milrad on Unsplash
[Photo by Ryan Milrad on Unsplash]

As in Corinth, so in Thessalonica, Paul connected the future resurrection to the past raising of Jesus and his future “
arrival.” This will be a collective event - ALL believers will be raised and transformed when Jesus appears “on the clouds of Heaven.”

In his Letter to the Philippians, Paul demonstrated just how foundational the resurrection hope is. Having counted all things as loss for the sake of Christ, his life became centered on pursuing Jesus - “If by any means I may attain to the resurrection from among the dead.” If God did not raise from the dead, his salvation would remain incomplete – (Philippians 3:10-11).

The completion of our salvation lies in the future. While upon repentance our sins are forgiven and we become “heirs with Christ,” the full realization of that promise will remain incomplete until his return. With the resurrection of the dead, the everlasting “New Creation” will dawn.

  • Abolishing Death - (Paul reminds Timothy of Christ’s resurrection and victory over death since false teachers are denying the resurrection of believers)
  • Christianity's Vanishing Hope? - (Central to the hope of the apostolic church was the bodily resurrection of the dead at the end of the age when Jesus returns)
  • The Death of Death - (The arrival of Jesus at the end of the age will mean the end of the Last Enemy, namely, Death - 1 Corinthians 15:24-28)



The Word Made Flesh

Language of the New Testament