The Resurrection & The Eternal Kingdom (Kingdom Salvation #12)

In a previous post we pointed out that it is the responsibility of the convicted sinner to be converted through repentance, faith and baptism. We then looked at what God promises for those who are converted to Him. He promises to regenerate them, that is, to give them new life. We discussed the first two aspects of this re-birth, namely, adoption as God’s children and renewal of the heart by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We now want to look at the final two aspects of God’s salvation, the resurrection of our bodies and the inheriting of God’s kingdom as His royal family.

The Redemption of Our Bodies

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. 

– Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV

28 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 “and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 

– John 5:28-29 NKJV

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming

– 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NKJV

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 

– Romans 8:22-25 NKJV

36 “nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection

– Luke 20:36 NKJV

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come

– Hebrews 6:4-5 NKJV

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. 

– Ephesians 1:13-14 NKJV

When people think of eternal life they often think of “going to heaven when they die.” They know that when a Christian dies his spirit leaves his body and goes to be with Christ. They imagine that this is the goal of the Christian faith. But they are very wrong. God did not send Christ to save human spirits, but to save humans. This includes their bodies.

Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden after they were created. They were commanded to tend the garden and to be fruitful and to multiply. The Garden of Eden was supposed to spread throughout the whole earth as they tended the garden and grew their family. 

In the Garden God placed the tree of life. They were created mortal, but God gave them access to immortality by means of the fruit of that tree. Before they ate the tree and became immortal they rebelled against God. God punished them by separating them from the tree of life. They were condemned to die for their sin. This consequence of mortality was passed down to their descendants. The race of man had fallen in Adam; mankind was condemned to death. 

Jesus came to reverse this curse. He was sinless, but suffered death so that those who join themselves to Him could share in His resurrection even as He shared in their condemnation and death. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, He is the Tree of Life to all who abide in Him.

When Jesus Christ returns He will raise those who have died from the dead, and after that He will transform the bodies of those who are still alive and waiting for Him into new and eternal bodies just like His resurrected body. This is the hope of the Christian. Not that his spirit will go to heaven when he dies, but that he will be physically resurrected from the dead at the return of Christ. Jesus came to redeem us, body and spirit. 

Romans chapter 8 tells us that when we were converted we were “saved in hope.” This means that we were forgiven of our past sins, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit which was a downpayment of our future inheritance. But it was only a down payment. The full inheritance is something that the Christian is waiting for with perseverance. We received the promise of eternal life and tasted of its power when we were converted, but we will not experience eternal life in its fullness until we are resurrected at the return of Jesus Christ.

Creation Renewed

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells

– 2 Peter 3:10-13 NKJV

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God

– Romans 8:19-21 NKJV

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. … 4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son

– Revelation 21:1, 4-7 NKJV

This Scripture says man was created in the image of God. He was created to rule over God’s creation. Because of our first parents we were born mortal, separated from eternal life. The universe itself also suffered the consequences of human sin. All of creation was handed over to corruption and decay, that is, death. The whole universe fell with Adam and Eve into a state of disarray and ever increasing chaos. Creation was “subjected to futility.” 

Christ came not only to redeem mankind, but to redeem everything that man was given authority over. The resurrection of Jesus Christ foreshadows the resurrection of all of His people, but it also foreshadows the resurrection of the entire physical universe. Jesus has not only been given authority to bring eternal life to our spirits and bodies, but also to bring redemption the original creation of God. This world, and the entire cosmos (i.e. the heavens), will be recreated through Jesus Christ. The Word of God that created all things in the beginning, is the same One Who will recreate all things (John 1:1-3).

In 1 Corinthians chapter 15 Paul discusses the difference between the mortal bodies that suffer death and the resurrected bodies that will live forever. He teaches that the bodies that we bury in the ground at death are like a seed that will be recreated and made fruitful at the resurrection. In the same way, this old dying creation will be made new. All corruption, death and wickedness will be removed from it. There will be no more curse, but only life, blessing and abundance. 

The creation will at once be the old creation redeemed, and at the same time a brand new creation. It will be like the acorn becoming a massive oak tree. In one way the oak tree is totally different from the acorn, in another way we can say the tree is the acorn in a different form. This principle applies both to our future resurrected bodies and the future redeemed creation. 

Risen to Reign

26 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’–as I also have received from My Father

– Revelation 2:26-27 NKJV

21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 

– Revelation 3:21 NKJV

12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 

– 2 Timothy 2:12 NKJV

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him

– James 1:12 NKJV

2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 

– 1 John 3:2-3 NKJV

4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, 7 All sheep and oxen–Even the beasts of the field, 8 The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. 

– Psalm 8:4-8 NKJV

We will not be departed spirits floating around on clouds playing harps for all eternity. We will be living with God and His Son for all eternity in a redeemed universe. What will we be doing in this new creation? We will be reigning with God and Christ forever and ever!

The new heavens and earth will be the capital city of all of God’s future creations. Christ’s bride, the New Jerusalem, the Church, will rule over all the works of God’s hands. We do not now know exactly what God has planned for all of eternity, but we know that whatever He creates, we will be with Christ, we will be like Christ and we will rule with Christ! We were not just forgiven so that we could go to heaven, we were redeemed from sin and death so that we could rule and reign as God’s royal family forever!

Adam was created to rule over the first creation, but he fell and all of creation fell with him. Christ came to redeem mankind and all the works of God that were placed under mankind’s dominion. But Christ did not come to restore us to the same situation that Adam had at the beginning. Instead, Christ came to make a greater heavens and earth, and to raise mankind to immortality. We will not merely rule over the beasts of the field, but over all the works of God for all eternity. We will be risen to reign, just as Christ was risen to reign!

The Cross & The Crown

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us

– Romans 8:18 NKJV

22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 

– Acts 14:22 NKJV

10 “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life

– Revelation 2:10 NKJV

5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 

– Revelation 3:5 NKJV

11 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown

– Revelation 3:11 NKJV

21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 

– Revelation 3:21 NKJV

12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 

– 2 Timothy 2:12 NKJV

26 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. 

– Luke 9:26 NKJV

26 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’–as I also have received from My Father; 

– Revelation 2:26-27 NKJV

7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 

– Revelation 21:7 NKJV

10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death

– Revelation 12:10-11 NKJV

In a previous post we have covered the fact that it is not enough that one is converted, forgiven of their past sins and receives the Holy Spirit. As the master in Jesus’ parable gave talents to his servants and expected them to faithfully produce an increase from what they were given, so we are expected to live faithful lives of devotion to Jesus Christ after we are forgiven and indwelt by God’s Spirit. We will only inherit the eternal kingdom if we are faithful until the end. 

The time from Jesus first coming to His second is illustrated in the life of king David. While Saul was still king, God anointed David as the true king of Israel. After he was anointed by God, he was not immediately recognized as king. Saul, in his jealousy, chased him in the wilderness seeking to kill him. David had to run from place to place, hiding in caves. He was king, but Israel didn’t recognize him as such.

But there was a small group of ragtag men who threw their lot in with David. They had nothing to lose, so they put their hope in the future king. They were loyal to him through every danger and peril. They talked with him over the campfire every night and served him faithfully everywhere he went. They suffered with David. When David was finally recognized as king, David remembered these men. They became his mighty men who shared his kingdom with him. 

Jesus Christ was crowned as king, with a crown of thorns, 2,000 years ago. After His death, God raised Him to the highest place. Though Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth, human history seems to go on in its rebellion against the Lord and His Anointed. But there is coming a Day when every eye will see Him Whom they have pierced. On that Day Jesus Christ will remember those who have suffered with Him, living lives of loyal devotion, faithfully confessing His name unto death. He will tell them, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:23).

Laying the Foundation of God’s Eternal Kingdom

6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus

– Ephesians 2:6-7 NKJV

9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him. 

– Ephesians 1:9-10 NKJV

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. … 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 

– Colossians 1:15-16, 19-20 NKJV

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 

– Romans 9:22-23 NKJV

God created the world through His Son and for His Son. His purpose in creation was to glorify His grace and His Son by creating a royal family. He did this by giving His Son an eternal kingdom. Christ won this kingdom by serving the Father all the way to death on a bloody and shameful cross. It was through this cross that Christ defeated sin, satan and death, and purchased an eternal kingdom for those that would forsake all in order to cling to Him. Through Jesus Christ the grace and kindness of God has been magnified. Rebel sinners who will trust in Christ and serve Him all the way to death will inherit an eternal kingdom. In this way God establishes a royal family, glorifies His Son and magnifies His grace! Oh, the depth of God’s wisdom!

A royal family made up of redeemed sinners, led by God’s own dear Son, their Redeemer, was the eternal purpose of creation. In this sense, creation is not yet completed. God created the world in 6 days and then rested from His work on the 7th. And yet later Jesus tells us that He and His Father are still working (John 5:17). God is still building His kingdom. The suffering of this age is the means of building free creatures, once dead in sin, into a royal family that will faithfully rule and reign with Christ forever. All of history is the foundation of God’s eternal kingdom. Creation, the eternal creation of a renewed heavens and earth, is still in the works. God is not yet finished with creation. The true sabbath rest is yet to come in the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

How does God create an eternal kingdom that glorifies His grace and His Son? How does God create free creatures that can be given the authority to rule as His royal family forever, representing Him to all of His future creatures? Genesis to Revelation is our answer! The Gospel of Christ and the endurance of the suffering saints is the answer! Those who come through many tribulations into the kingdom will be faithful and true just like their Master. And they will be trophies of God’s grace for all future creatures to behold and wonder at. And Christ, the slain Lamb, will be at the head of this royal priesthood which will rule over heaven, earth and all that will be for all eternity!

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God

6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. 

– Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV

6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” 7 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” 10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. 

– Psalm 2:6-12 NKJV

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, … 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 

– 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 21-26 NKJV

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the primary message of the Scriptures. God has sent His Son to rule with Him over God’s eternal Kingdom. And God has offered peace to all His earthly enemies if they will submit to the lordship of His exalted and anointed Son. 

At the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15 we read about the Gospel message: Jesus died for sins and rose on the third day. But this is not the whole of the Gospel. It is the defining moment of the life of Christ. But what comes before is part of the message as well. God’s eternal Son was born as king in Bethlehem. He was born to rule the nations with a rod of iron and deliver His people from their sins. Because He died for sin, God gave Him the authority to forgive sins, He has been made Savior (Acts 5:31). He has been given the keys of Hades and death (Revelation 1:18). 

But the Gospel message does not end there, and neither does 1 Corinthians chapter 15. It goes on to describe what happens after His resurrection from the dead. He was not merely made alive again, but He was exalted to the highest place, seated on the right hand of God’s throne to rule with His Father forever and ever. He was given the key of David; He has been made Lord of All (Revelation 3:7)! He will bring all of God’s enemies into subjection. People will either bow in repentance, trust and love, or they will bow in terror on the Day when Jesus Christ judges the living and the dead.

The Gospel of the kingdom of God is the good news that God has made His Son the Lord of All and the Savior of those who bow before Him in humble submission and walk with Him in hopeful trust. They will not only be forgiven and filled with the Holy Spirit. But if they are faithful unto death, even as their Master was, they will be seated with Christ to reign with Him forever as God’s children. 

This is the Good News!

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