As we should all know very well, “death” is something that we inherited from our father Adam. When Adam acted independently from God by use of the rational carnal mind (the very fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), no sooner were his eyes opened to the outer natural realm than they closed to the inner spiritual realm (the Tree of Life). This blindness to the inner realm (the Life of God) and gross awareness to the natural realm is what is referred to as “death” in the scriptures… spiritual death.
Beloved, we’ve been taught in many Christian circles that death will be “eternal” for the majority of God’s creation, but the bible makes no such claim. As a matter of fact, the bible makes it very clear that death has no eternal qualities whatsoever, for even death itself will have an end. The bible also makes it very clear that as ALL have died in Adam, even so in Christ shall ALL be made ALIVE … but each in their own rank and order.
Physical death is not what God sees as “death.” Physical death is the effect that the realm of death has on the corruptible physical body. When you are “born again,” your spirit is resurrected from the realm of death, yet your soul and body are still under death’s influences awaiting resurrection. This is why Paul referred to salvation as threefold, in spirit (a free gift), in soul (a salvation that must be worked out), and in body (a redemption we yet hope for).
It is important for Christian’s to break free from the “rapture mentality” (the idea of being made instantaneously perfect) if they are to gain understanding into God’s true plan for the total and complete redemption of man in spirit, soul, and body. Bodily resurrection and glorification must be preceded by a process of transfiguration in the area of the soul and the spirit. Those saints who will attain to the “blessed and holy” first resurrection will be those whose self-life is completely brought to death (“conformed to His death”) by the inwrought work of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the Philippians about his hope of attaining to this place in Christ when he said;
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I might attain to the resurrection out from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)
The prominent teaching in the church today of a substitutional “death” without the participatory process of being “conformed to His death” has brought about a pernicious and seriously wrong concept of Christ’s work at Calvary. To know Him merely and only as a substitute implies a release from the guilt of sin but not a release from sin’s power. This has left many in a state of bondage to sin indefinitely with little hope of ever getting free from it. This is not only immoral, but is degrading to that sacrifice of which Christ said, “It is finished.”
This, unhappily, is the case for many in the American Church today. Even those who have been exhorted to “die to self” and to “lead a crucified life” have had this message preached to them by men who are not actually living the message that they preach, therefore the message they bring carries no weight and this has caused insensitivity to the message.
The unavoidable truth is that there is no way out of any life or realm except by a death, and no way of entering into another realm except by a birth. Death must be fully wrought out in our adamic self-life if Christ is to be fully formed in us. In a sense, God brings LIFE by bringing to death that which is bound to the realm of death. Death to death. This process of bringing death to death is referred to in scripture as “the second death – something which comes by baptism in the FIRE of God. Only when this death is fully wrought out in us will Christ in us be fully formed and brought to birth. This is when “Christ in us, the hope of glory” becomes the glory of Christ made manifest in us! This is what it really means to be “born again.”
Unfortunately, even the traditional Christian concept of what it means to be “born again” is incorrect, for a more accurate rendering of the words translated as “born again” is “begotten from above.” This better conveys the idea of conception rather than birth, when the spiritual seed of God (Christ) is quickened and then is planted in the womb of one’s soul. This is only the beginning of the formation of Christ within the believer, not the full birthing, and only the beginning of the second death process which leads to full salvation and resurrection life.
We have a prophetic picture drawn for us in Revelation chapter 12 of a time when a remnant shall corporately be brought to full birth and caught up to the very throne of God in the spirit (beloved, this is the real “rapture” – and that which you should be preparing for). This remnant is referred to by many as “The Manchild,” or as one who is birthed into full maturity- Sons come into their glorious inheritance in Christ Jesus – a “firstfruit” company.
Perhaps there will be an opportunity to share more about this at another time.
Blessings to you all in Christ Jesus.