Friday, October 6, 2017

The Body and the Spirit

"And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Romans 8:10–11 NKJV).

In these verses Paul refers to the body. Up to now, he has been speaking of the flesh (sarx), by which he means our sinful, fallen natures. In these verses, however, he speaks of the body (soma), by which he means our physical bodies. These verses discuss the relationship of the Holy Spirit to our bodies.

Paul begins by saying that though the body is dead because of sin, yet if Christ is in us, then the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Our bodies are still doomed to die. We must still pay the temporal punishment for sin. The decay of our dying bodies reminds us of this.

The apostle Paul is not speaking here of the wickedness of our sinful flesh, which we still carry with us and which still afflicts us. Rather, he is speaking of the consequences of that sinful nature, which is death to our mortal bodies. We carry this death with us at all times, but we also carry something else, something more powerful than death.

Paul elaborates in verse 11. He tells us that it was the Holy Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead. Just so, he says, our dead bodies will someday be raised from the dead as well. Life will triumph over death. Beyond this, the same power that God used to raise the corpse of Jesus is indwelling us right now. Our bodies will still die because of sin, but even as they die, the Spirit of Life is dwelling within us. He is making us essentially alive even now, and His presence guarantees us bodily resurrection in the future.

Since the entrance of sin into the world, death is a painful and distressing fact of life. Death is “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26). The decaying of our bodies is a reminder of the gravity of sin, but for the Christian it is also a reminder of eternal life. In heaven we will have bodies, fit for eternity and free of the effects of the Fall. Imagine the shouts of praise that will echo throughout heaven as the lame leap for joy, the blind see, and the handicapped are restored.