One of the beauties I have found in the scriptures is the principle that everything spiritual has a physical or natural expression. The physical is inferior to the spiritual though, it is always the physical first before the spiritual 1 Cor 15:46. Man was first created from the physical or natural substance and then made spiritual by God’s breath Gen 2:7.
God’s breath gave man life and spirit and His dealings with man always start in the spirit. For this reason, given man’s fall (man’s spiritual death because of Adam and Eve’s sin), spiritual resurrection must of a necessity first happen to man before man can experience physical or bodily resurrection to life. Everyone will resurrect bodily to the state they had while living in their mortal body. This accounts for why Christ came to give us life in its abundance now John 10:10, 5:24, 40.
What is spiritual resurrection
In John 3:1-10, we’re told a Pharisee (person schooled in the laws of God), ruler of the Jews—not necessarily a political leader but, obviously a religious guru or teacher named Nicodemus came secretly by night to Jesus to commend Him and interact with Him as a fellow religious teacher. He failed to realize that Jesus was not a religious man or a theologian. Jesus, being the resurrection and life, saw that Nicodemus was not resurrected though he was a sincere teacher of God’s people. So, in verse 3, Jesus told him of his need to see the kingdom of God and the only way by which it could happen is to be “born again”—spiritually resurrected. Apparently, he was confounded because he had not experienced what it means to be spiritually resurrected or born again.
In verse 5, Jesus proceeded to explain the concept of “born again” and the further benefits to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”.
To be born again is a miraculous deliverance by which, Christ comes to indwell a person. The person is spiritually resurrected by Christ into Christ. A person dead in the Kingdom of darkness is forcefully rescued by the Word and Spirit (the stronger Man) and brought into the Kingdom of Light Col 1:13, Luke 11:22, 1 Pet 2:9.
Paul the Apostle explains it as a gift of God that cannot be worked for—it’s only to be received by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on behalf of mankind by faith Eph 2:8-9. It is a gift which the love and grace or power of God makes available to whoever believes in His only Son John 3:16. This powerful action of Water–the Word (Christ) and the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) resurrects sinners from a spiritually dead life to God’s spiritual life which, Jesus described as, to see the kingdom.
Furthermore in v6, He accentuated the difference between those who’re spiritually resurrected or born again and those who are not. All these was daunting for Nicodemus as it is today for anyone who has not received this grace of God (Jesus) that has appeared for the salvation of all mankind. Therefore, in verse 7, Jesus encouraged Nicodemus and extends the same to you today if you’re not born again, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again”. It’s not to be figured out—it’s to be believed! Believe in Christ then, the understanding comes 1 Cor 2:14.
Core Benefits of Spiritual Resurrection
Seeing the Kingdom: It is only as we’re born again that we can see the Kingdom of God. God is Spirit and His Kingdom is spiritual not intellectual John 3:3, Luke 17:20.
Entering the Kingdom: Those who’re born again enter His Kingdom—to enter, is to possess it. Being spiritually resurrected entitles us to take firm hold of the Kingdom or eternal life 1 Tim 6:12. This practically affects the quality of life of those engaging in this pursuit. It impacts their spirit, soul and body and consequently, everyone that comes in contact with them because of the fruit the Spirit bears out from them.
Sleep not death: Death for those who are born again is but sleep. They sleep in the Lord of life. They sleep waiting for their Saviour’s voice to invite their corruptible bodies to put on the incorruptible, to be clothed like the angles of God having no selfish ambition but to please God consistently Luke 20:35-36. Indeed, the creator of the heavens and earth is the God of only the living though they may temporally sleep Matt 22:32.
Physical or bodily resurrection: Most crucial, all who are resurrected spiritually (regenerated) will, without fail experience bodily resurrection to life 1 Tim 6:19. This privilege and hope of resurrecting to life makes those who have it to surrender totally to God. It creates a heavenly mindedness, Christ centeredness and a hunger for God’s will to be done on the earth (in us and among the world) that nothing on earth or from the pit of hell can dissuade Isa 45:8, Heb 6:7. Paul the Apostle and others had it as their vision and drive. It accounted a great deal for their devotion to pursue diligently and sincerely after the Spirit of grace (mercy and power) unending Heb 4:16, 1 Pet 1:13, 2 Pet 3:18.
What is bodily resurrection
God created angles that worship and serve Him ceaselessly in Heaven. Out of His sovereignty, He chose to create man that will worship, praise and serve Him on the physical earth realm perpetually. By so doing, man will look after His creation on the earth declaring His praise and glory. But, death through sin came to interrupt His plan.
But, the plan of the Almighty cannot be thwarted by a fallen angel. So, God has promised that a new earth shall come down wherein righteousness (His will) and His alone will be done to replace the present 2 Pet 3:13, Isa 65:17. To achieve it, He has promised bodily resurrection to those who will dwell in it. They will dwell as humans not spirits so that His original plan stands! A righteous earth inhabited by a new creation created new in Christ 1 Thess 4:13-18, 2 Cor 5:17.
To complete His plan, His Word by which all things were created came—praise God. Immanuel even our Christ came Col 1:16. Now, He has destroyed both the god of sin and death and all who believe in Him are restored and being restored to the former glory that God ordained for man. Praise be to God, our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus accomplished the task by shedding His Blood and His bodily resurrection by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the unfathomable privilege awaiting all who receive Christ and live or abide in Him.
In Matthew 27:50-54, a definition and description of bodily resurrection was given to all mankind so that no one will have an excuse to disbelieve. Christ rose from the dead after three days as He said John 2:19. The news that must be told clearly about His resurrection is this; many godly men and women who had died and buried came out of their graves along with Him. It was an actual event and the scriptures tell us it will happen again 1 Thess 4:14. Selah!
What are we saying, is it that spirits came out from their graves? No! Mortal men and women who worshipped and feared or reverenced God while in their mortal bodies before they slept, came out of their graves again as humans clothed with gloried or immortal bodies 1 Cor 15:44. This is the definition of bodily resurrection. Consequently, the devil will have no dust to feed on. Hell and the lake of fire will be his doom.
It is imperative that we note, all those who rose followed Christ to everywhere He went. People who knew them could see and hear them. I suspect that Simon who the Holy Spirit told that he will not see death before he had seen the baby Jesus was among them Luke 2:25-32. And probably, he would have told the people, “You all can now understand why I was excited to see the Baby at the temple on that fateful day. In Him lays the salvation of mankind”! Having this blessed hope actively affects one’s present livestyle to Holiness, Patience, Love, consistent Prayer, forgiving others etc Matt 10:16.
All who believe or accept Christ, follow or live in and for Him will resurrect to life, beauty and glory. While, all who reject Him and live for self and for the devil will resurrect to condemnation. Meaning, humans who reject Christ now are presently being enveloped with the spirit and life of the anti-Christ and consequently will suffer the same fate with the devil, demons and the prophet he used to deceive.
The implication of bodily resurrection
John 5:28 states that everyone will rise from the dead and Luke 24:36-43, makes it clear that after resurrection, we will still be humans not spirits. We will have flesh, bone and be able to eat natural food. This truth generates unspeakable joy for those in Christ because in this state, they will have the life of God in them. While those who rejected Christ’s atonement, practiced wickedness and evil will face and experience unimaginable anguish because they are cut off from His life John 5:29. Being cut off from God’s life while clothed with immortality is total darkness and irreversible doom. It is not comparable to lacking God’s life while clothed with mortality. Selah!
Mortals who reject Christ still enjoy the grace of His atonement somewhat; because they are around people with the Spirit of Christ (the body of Christ) full of life and grace who call on God through the power of the Holy Spirit consistently.
Without ambiguity, on the earth, there are two kinds of people. The first are those born of the flesh and so, are fleshly or belong to the first Adam. The second are those born of the flesh, but have become born also of the Spirit making them spiritual or belonging to Christ (the last Adam) 1 Cor 15:45.
Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” Now, He is risen! He is alive today and forever—and drawing all peoples to Himself. This gospel of the Kingdom is the message of His body to the world today!
Have you responded to His call to be resurrected or born again? Don’t delay further! Answer His call today John 20:31. He is full of mercy, grace—inexhaustible grace and generosity! Even those who have responded, that is, the many membered body, He is still ever drawing her to experience more of His grace to enable her participate in all His length, width, depth and height (the stature of His fullness) Eph 4:13, 5:17.
Therefore, marvel not, “That I say to you, except you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” even if you are a Bible scholar, a leader of religious people and sincere teacher who can theologically authenticate why Jesus is a teacher sent from God.
We must receive Christ’s sacrifice, enjoy it and suffer for it now as ordained by God; then, we shall truly, very truly resurrect to eternal life with God. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s Rom 14:8. Amen!