God has committed himself to preserving our individuality, personality, and character. Paul’s usage of the Greek word for body is “soma”. Soma is not something external to a person themselves, something they have, it is what they are. Indeed, soma is the nearest equivalent to our word personality. To believe in the resurrection of the body “soma”, means to believe that my human self, the human being that “I” am, will be restored to life again. We will not be someone different from who we are now, but we will be exclusively ourselves.
The term body “soma” is simply a synonym for “person”. The goal of God’s redemption is not the destruction of his first creation, but its restoration to its original perfection. This is why the Scripture speaks of the resurrection of the body “soma” rather than of the creation of new beings. Both death and resurrection affect the total person “soma”. The resurrected persons “soma” will be the same individuals as those who existed previously on earth.
We can rejoice and we can give all the glory and the praise to God and to our savior Jesus Christ for the fact that God does not see us in our flesh from his judicial perspective. God no longer views us in our human flesh, he views us in our position in the second Adam (Jesus Christ), he views us in our glorified identity. In our position in Christ, now we can bear fruit unto God, but it is only in our position in Christ, not through this fleshly body in which we dwell.
Those hearing this message of Paul, might believe this good news and become the instantaneous recipients of a new identity by being placed into Jesus Christ, the one who reconciled them to God. New identity in God’s son comes only by way of being placed into God’s son; the miraculous judicial transaction called sanctification. You are identified with every aspect of the one to whom you are joined at the point of your belief.
When Christ died, it is just as though you died from the judicial viewpoint of God. When Christ was buried, it is just as though you were buried right alongside Christ from God’s viewpoint, that is how intricate is your union. When Christ was raised from among the dead, you was raised from among the dead from God’s perspective, this is what being in Christ is all about.
You are join-heirs with Jesus Christ, what is his is yours. This is how intricate, this is how intimate is our union with our savior, this is your new identity and has been your new identity from the very instant you believed Paul’s good news. Every believer is standing in the gift decree of righteousness, the very perfect righteousness as God’s perfectly righteous son. Believers are placed into the son, so that when God views them, he no longer views them in do’s or don’ts, he views them in the do’s and don’ts accomplished by our savior.
People have a difficult time separating their performance in the flesh from their position in Christ and it was the question from the religiously minded people of Paul’s day that remains the question from the religiously minded people in our day. Most people think in those terms because most people fail to properly understand justification, the cornerstone that comes prior to sanctification.
If we misunderstand justification, we are going to have a difficult time understanding sanctification. Since people link a justified standing before God with performance of their own, they also link a sanctified standing before God with their own performance. And as a result, they believe the degree to which they stand sanctified in God’s eyes depends entirely upon the degree to which they remain holy in behavior. If they do not see themselves as being holy in conduct, they do not believe that God sees them as being holy, either.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, Christ will be able to judge, not only what is seen by the eye, but also the motivations of the heart, not only what was done, but why it was done in connection with each believer’s work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope. But understand, it is the value of the work itself that will be judged at the Bema, not the believer. People have a difficult time separating their performance in the flesh from their position in Christ. Paul told us in this sanctification cornerstone how God perfected us, made us as equally righteous as God himself. God has set every believer apart by placing them into his son. Based upon the fact that we are already sanctified, already in Jesus Christ, there is now no condemnation for us.
God has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation, to tell the world God is not imputing their trespasses unto them; so we see the world still thinks he is. This ministry of reconciliation is not to the saved, we know we are reconciled, but now all have access to God, a change in status for the entire world. Does this mean the entire world is save? No. We have to have an individual change of status and that takes place when we accept what God’s son accomplished for us.
Paul wants us to agree with God to reckon our identity with our flesh as dead and gone, but the sin nature has not died. Do we need to change our minds about the seriousness of sin and God’s answer to that serious dilemma we find ourselves in? Yes, we do. God has been long-suffering in holding back his wrath because he hopes that we will consider his goodness through his son, his goodness on our behalf and flee to his grace. God wants us to change our mind about who we are from fleshly perspective apart from Christ. God is not patiently waiting for us to change our mind about what we do; many have done that, thinking it gains salvation.
We are justified through our sanctified position in Christ; we have a new identity. It is impossible for a believer to lose his salvation, but a believer can die physically. If that believer decided every morning before eating cereal, that they are going to coat their cereal not with milk, but with a fifth of whiskey, what is the believer going to do to their body? A believer can die functionally in that they can serve no further useful purpose here on earth, no heavenly purpose on earth to those to whom they become an ambassador.