estiny Newsletter   
Christian Destiny Christian Destiny
Waiting for the Adoption
Waiting for the Adoption

By Dave Breese

One of the important pieces of knowledge for the Christian is to have a proper understanding of the order of things. Much mischief has been wrought by teachers who produce in the minds of people a hopeless jumble as to an understanding of the Word of God. Many believers, therefore, have a general sense that they are Christians, but are nearly devoid of specific knowledge as to the way of salvation, the developing Christian life and the promises of God for the future. Some, in both the pulpit and the pew, therefore reflect the warning of the Apostle Paul who said, “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is passed already; and overthrow the faith of some” (II Tim. 2:18). He was speaking, of course, about false teachers and vulnerable saints.

Paul gave us this description of some immediately after he had said, “Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). Paul even expanded on this by saying, “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness” (II Tim. 2:16). As a result of this spiritual confusion, there were those who fell into error, particularly concerning the resurrection. They said that the resurrection was passed already. Can we learn something from this for our time? Are there those within the Christian cause who also say that the promised resurrection has already happened, it is passed already?

To answer this, let us consider what happens on the occasion of the resurrection. Paul is referring, of course, to what is called in Scripture, “the first resurrection.” The first resurrection consists of a number of stages, one of which we call “the Rapture of the Church.” On that occasion, Paul says, “the dead in Christ shall rise first” (I Thess. 4:16). There are a number of things that will happen in connection with this resurrection. One is that we will receive a glorified body. Speaking of Jesus Christ, the Scripture says, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to His glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). About this, Paul says, “We shall all be changed” (I Cor. 15:51).

The resurrection, therefore, means that we will be in a mode of existence, a glorified body that is no longer subject to pain, disease, sickness or death. What a wonderful condition that will be! However, out of this promise grows one of the errors in our churches today.

We have in our world those who say that the Christian even now should never be subject to pain, sickness or death. They are in effect saying that the resurrection is passed already and the postresurrection conditions apply to us today. They are overthrowing the faith of some. We should beware of a second error that comes from this untimely view of the resurrection. Following the resurrection, the Bible additionally says that we, the saints, shall live and reign with Christ (Rev. 20:4). We will be imbued with kingdom authority when we live in our glorified bodies.

With this in mind, let us note regretfully that there is a strong “kingdom now” theology running in the Church of our time. It promises kingdom authority to those who are Christians. They are then promised that they can heal the sick, raise the dead and cure any disease. How sad that this theology, alleging that the resurrection has passed already, should be believed by so many undiscerning Christians.

There is a third error that grows out of this as well. Following the first resurrection will also come to pass on earth a condition in which the Devil is bound and prevented from doing his dreadful work in the world (Rev. 20:2). Until then, Satan will be most active.

However, even in our time there are those who say that they can bind Satan with their prayers and render his activity virtually nonexistent. With this groundless presumption, they forget to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). To think that satanic activity can be neutralized with our present “authority” is grossly presumptuous. The capabilities of the kingdom are not yet. God’s great gift to us is not kingdom authority, it is a lovely provision called, “sufficient grace” (II Cor. 12:9).

What is the problem in all of this? The problem is the failure to distinguish between salvation of the soul and salvation of the body. The soul is saved the instant I believe the Gospel of Christ. In a soulish sense, I become a new creature and old things are passed away.

This is not, however, true about the body. Paul says, “The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now … waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:21-23).

So, we see that we Christians are waiting for the adoption, we are anticipating the coming resurrection. Because this has not yet taken place, we are saved by hope, by patience, by anticipation in these constricting days.

In these days before the redemption of the body, we must, therefore, walk by faith and not by sight. There is, however, coming a glorious day, the day of the adoption, the resurrection of the body. In the light of that day, we can live these days with bright anticipation.

Destiny Newsletter continued