Thought for the Week - 28th OctoberPastor Gareth Watkins
1 Corinthians 15:45-49
45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.”
But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.
46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later.
47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth,
while Christ, the second man, came from heaven.
48 Earthly people are like the earthly man,
and heavenly people are like the heavenly man.
49 Just as we are now like the earthly man,
we will someday be like the heavenly man.
My dog is a bit of a character. It’s amazing how much sway she has in our house. First she refuses to go outside, even though she’s barked to go out. Then, when she’s outside and is barking to come in, she won’t come in even though you’ve opened the door. It’s a standoff, and you can find yourself standing by the door for ages, until she decides to come back in.
Sometimes we can be like that in spiritual things. We can be in and out, in and out. We don’t know where we are – whether we’re in or out. Where exactly are we? Some people alternate between thinking they’re going to heaven and thinking they’re not. Their confidence comes and goes. The door is shut, is open, is shut etc. This standoff is there depending on how they feel on the day.
So, today I want to write about heaven. Is heaven a reality for us, and can we make it there?
In Genesis 2: 7 we read:
7 Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground.
He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils,
and the man became a living person.
God made man and He breathed life into him. We suddenly become different and apart from animals. Only humans are formed in this way, in God’s image. God makes us a person and then He breathes something spiritual into that person. It doesn’t just mean being physically alive, it means being spiritually alive.
In Job 32:8 we read: “But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent.” There is a spirit within people that the breath of the Almighty has given them. God has breathed into us something of His spirit. We’re not just bits of books, paper, wood, stone, or anything else. We are special to God because we have something of His spirit within us. Something of God is in us. That is what God has made for humans, His created people, and those people become alive unto God. It’s not just alive, it’s alive unto God.
We were created with a spirit in us, made from the dust of the ground. That earth – the human part, the physical part – has a soul as well. We’re are of three parts: a body, a soul and a spirit. A person, when God breathes a spirit into him, then has a soul as well.
Who are we? Are we just people? Or are we people with a spirit that can connect to God and can feel and understand the anointing of God and the relationship with God, and a soul that is you on the inside, with a body on the outside? We are different from the animals. We are made. We are with spirit that God breathed into us. We are with soul that is the inner man. We have the physical outer body. We are triune beings. Who else do we know who is a triune being? God Himself. We’re made a lower than God and a little lower than the angels. But we are made of three parts that define us.
God has made a union between Him and man. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit make a union for us to be part of Him. That’s the assurance that we get that we are made special, because of that union He’s given us to know we are part of Him. He has made us able to connect with Him in a way that other animals and things can’t do. We are made spiritual beings. As we connect with the life of God with the spirit He’s put into us, we can sense and feel and know our connection with God.
The soul afterwards can live on. The part that is you will live on. The body will die. But that bit that is you will live on. That personality is God’s.
But what happens to man? Sin comes in. Unregenerated man – where man has not been changed, where man has allowed sin to come in, where man is not willing to put it right – what is the effect of that? We read of the state of the unregenerated soul in Genesis 2: 16-17:
16 But the Lord God warned him,
“You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden –
17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit,
you are sure to die.”
What is the state of the man that sins? He will die. Man is made, the spirit of God is within him, and if he is rebellious, a type of death comes on him. He starts to die spiritually – his connection with God changes. His feelings towards God changes and his feeling of God changes. The whole substance of his being feels different. The being is cutting things through his sins – and those cuts are to do with the sense of God, the feeling of God spiritually, the knowledge of who he is in his own self and his own soul, because all he’s doing is feeding the body.
God put the life into us, and the effect of deliberate sin. We know when we’re sinning against God. Disobedience to God is called rebellion. Everyone one of us have things that we know are right under God, and that when we don’t do them it becomes rebellion. It might not be wrong as of itself, but not doing what God wants is of itself a wrong action. There is an effect and that effect is unregenerated sin. The result for Adam was that he died. Man dies because of his rebellion.
We’re given life, with the breath of God giving us spirit and soul. And yet we’re rebelling and so will die. Death comes. All we live for is the outer man, which takes us to the grave. But then we see the Son of God at work:
In John 3: 3-7 we read:
3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,
you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus.
“How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God
without being born of water and the Spirit.
6 Humans can reproduce only human life,
but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.
7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
Man needs to be born again because he’s messed around with sin. We need to start again. The man at the beginning of time is given the breath of God. His spirit and soul are affected because of his sin. Then, in years to come (as far as Adam was concerned), there’s another chance – an action of God again. The action of God in the first instance was to make man a spiritual son or daughter. Then another chance for him to be born again. Where the Spirit of God can come back into him. Where the spirit of God can give him life again, and that eternal position in heaven.
God’s spirit connects again that which is disconnected. God put our spirit in us to rule over our bodies. However we make our body rule over our spirit. We do what our body says. What we can feel, touch, or taste is far more important than what the spirit of God is telling us. There lies the land of the rebellion. We need to be born again and changed spiritually.
God brings the miracle of rebirth. A person who’s been changed from one sort of person spiritually into another person spiritually, because of the Son of God. It’s not what you know, what you’ve read, or how many times you’ve been to church. It’s whether that action of reconnection to God has occurred. If the action occurs, you reconnect to God something that was broken. God gives that miracle of rebirth. Jesus Himself speaks of it. There needs to be a rebirth and renewal through Jesus Christ.
Jesus was the first man to know this, having been resurrected from the dead. It was our sin and rebellion that took Him to the grave and caused Him to die on our behalf. He was the first one to be risen as a resurrected person with this new life and this new connection within Him. He was dead. God had departed from Him. He cries out and you see the Spirit of God leaving Him. Here He is now, reconnected. He’s the first resurrected person with this spiritual connection back in Him.
So, are we going to go to heaven and can we make it there?
In Corinthians above we read there are two men. There is Adam from the days of Genesis. The first living human being. Then we have Jesus, the new type of Adam, being called the life giving spirit. He’s the first person ever to be born with this life giving spirit, and He gives us life.
Some people think that all roads lead to God. There is no other than Christ who can give us this spiritual life back from our sin and rebellion. Jesus has this life giving spirit. He is the one that God has imparted as the Son, who He sent to deliver this miracle on earth. God Himself created the miracle of the creation of the earth. This is the son of God, a miracle of the other part of God, who comes as a life giving spirit.
This passage shows our eternal position. As we’re born again, our eternal life starts. Why? Because Jesus, who we get born again through, brings to us a life giving spirit. That spiritual life that we find, isn’t an accident of God. It’s God reconnecting with us because we’ve been born again.
It affects our spiritual body. We have a spiritual body within us. We have those three parts: the bit on outside, the bit on inside, and our spirit that connects with God. Our spirits are meant to reign over the mortal body, but our natural man rules in the wrong way. But when this reconnection occurs, we start to think about things differently, feel things differently, and know things differently etc.
If we know that we’ve been reconnected with God, do we know we’re on course to go to heaven? The answer is yes.
The heavenly man is being formed now. The life spirit in you will see you through the darkest days, the troubles that befall you, right to the day where you go into eternity with God. The old man, the earthly man, wasn’t part of that at all. The heavenly man inside you reconnected with God. That heavenly man is progressing unto the day when you go to heaven. It starts now. That connection is now. That is what being born again is all about – a reconnection is made. An assurance is made in a deep way. We know it in our spirits. Therefore, the assurance is with you as you believe, as you’re born again, as you connect with the one that is called the life giving Spirit, the Son of God.
A miracle of God at the beginning to create man. And a miracle of God, through Jesus Christ, to reconnect to man. That is your security. When everything’s coming against you and when the turmoil is around you, that is your security. Your security is there. You’re connected with the heavenly man.
Someday you’ll become like that heavenly man, who is Jesus Christ Himself. Someday we’re being made into His likeness, it’s starting now but will be perfected that day when we move into glory. One day, all the things we do wrong, think wrong and the rebellion within us will just stop. We’re being perfected now. We are being perfected unto the day when we become like the heavenly man Himself.
That connection is between you and God.
We were formed from the dust. We rebelled. We’ve experienced the death of our spirit and our soul. Trust that Christ has brought the truth. Trust that God has sent that miracle a second time, to give us that life, life that will last. It’s not a temporary fix. God has done it once and for all.
We can’t do anything to give ourselves eternal life. We can’t do anything to fix our own souls. We can’t do anything to give ourselves that life giving spirit that God has given us. God has done it all. We’re no longer in or out. If we’re born again, we’re created and being created into the image and likeness of this heavenly man.
When those thoughts come, doubts come, or anxiety rises, read these verses again. Inside you there’s the life giving spirit of Christ. We’re no longer defined by who we were but who we’re becoming in Christ. That new person we’ve become is the ultimate definition of you. Your old sins have passed away. You’re being defined now by the image of Christ who gives you His spiritual life. That’s the bit that last forever.
We are sons and daughters of the Most High God.
Have confidence in who your Saviour is. Have confidence in the God that made those miracles in creation that brought Christ and let Him deliver this life bringing spirit. Have confidence.