Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | March 3, 2008

Forever With Us Part 3

The gospel is the good news that the Son of God has forged a permanent connection between the Trinity and Humanity by remaining forever incarnate.

Here’s part 1 and part 2 in this series, if you haven’t read them.

During the sermon yesterday someone asked a good question: “what about 1 Cor. 15:50 where Paul says ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’?”

In Luke 24:39 Jesus says that he has flesh. The greek word is the same in both verses: “sarx”. So, if Paul means that you cannot inherit the kingdom if you are flesh (sarx) then the risen Jesus has not inherited the Kingdom and we are not saved because the risen Jesus has “sarx”.

When Paul uses the word “sarx” he doesn’t mean the glorified flesh and blood of the resurrected body, the imperishable and transformed humanity in which the Son dwells in his eternal incarnation. Paul in this passage is using “sarx” as a synonym for our fallen, sinful human nature – our carnality. He is explaining that our human nature, our flesh and blood bodies, must be transformed from perishable to imperishable, from dishonorable to glorified and powerful so that we can live forever in the fullness of the Kingdom. (Paul explains this transformation earlier in 1 Cor. 15:42-44.)

So, regular, sinful “adamic” humanity – what Paul calls “flesh” – cannot inherit the Kingdom. That sinful humanity must be put to death (and it was, in Christ’s cross, 2 Cor. 5:14) and raised imperishable and glorified in order to inherit the Kingdom (and it was, in Christ’ resurrection, Luke 24:39, Eph. 2:6, 1 Cor. 15:42-44.)

The Father’s plan was not to destroy the physical creation, including our bodies, but to renew the creation, make all things new, and raise it up in Christ to be tranformed and glorified in him (Rev. 21:1-5.)

If the Son of God is raised without his humanity then Jesus no longer exists because Jesus is the Son of God as Man.

If the Son has ascended back to heaven without remaining in the flesh then we have not ascended with him, the creation is not renewed, and we are not raised with Christ.

The gospel (good news) is that we have ascended with Christ (Eph. 2:6) that creation has been reconciled and renewed (Col. 1:20, Rev. 21:5) and we have been raised in Christ (Eph. 2:6).


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Responses

  1. There are other synonyms for mortal humans

    Job 14:1:
    “A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble,

    Job 15:14:
    14 What are mortals, that they can be clean? Or those born of woman, that they can be righteous?

    Job 25:4:
    4 How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?

    Matthew 11:11 (See also Luke 7:28):
    11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist…

    Paul could just as easily have said ‘Nobody born of a woman can inherit the kingdom of God’.

    It would mean exactly the same as ‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’

    Jesus was born of a woman, of course.

    ‘Paul in this passage is using “sarx” as a synonym for our fallen, sinful human nature…’

    This is indeed what happened to Jesus at the resurrection. His fallen , sinful human nature was transformed.


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