Today in Paradise
Okay, Job “sees” the hope of a resurrection. Although, his thinking seems to go beyond a mere resurrection to something for radical: eternal life! Think about it, future resurrection is not enough for us. What we really want is life now. We don’t want to simply be raised from the dead but to bypass death altogether. After all, why should the righteous have to die at all? How can eternal life really be called eternal, if it doesn’t begin now, the moment we believe? How can it be eternal if there is a period of limbo? One moment you are alive, the next you are not, then you are. What good is a future resurrection of the body, if we have to face death first?
Hey, good news folks. Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die” (John 6:48-50). If we are willing to believe that, then the difference between the Old Promise and the New Promise becomes the differences of night and day. According to the gospel, to believe in Christ is to have died already; it is to have “crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). For the Christian, death is no longer an event to be feared but something already over and done with.
“. . . don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead . . . we too may live a new life.
“If we have been united with him in his death, we will certainly be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
“If we died with Christ . . . we also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him . . . In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin abut alive to God in Christ Jesus” —Romans 6
“We who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” —II Corinthians 4:11
“. . . we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” —Hebrews 10:10
We can look through every letter of the New Testament to show that His death, brought our life—here and now! It is not something we get in the great beyond, we don’t get it after all our years of toiling and struggling. No, we have it now! “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).
Yet, our carnal minds cannot accept this. We hear things like that and our minds go “tilt!” We scratch our head and ask how can this be, when Christians appear to go on dying just as regularly as everybody else? The only answer seems to lie in the brand-new approach to righteousness. This approach states that true life is not a matter of outward appearances but of the condition of our heart. It is on this basis that Jesus promises, “If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51).
We say so glibly that “Jesus died for me”—but do we really believe it? Do we understand that Jesus died in our place, so that we won’t have to die at all? For the believer in Christ there will be no imprisonment in Sheol, no Purgatory, no time of being “hidden in the grave” until God’s “anger has passed.” For those of us who have sworn our allegiance to Christ, God’s anger has already passed, and with it death. When you swore your allegiance to Him, He looked at you and said, “Today, you will be with me in paradise!”
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
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