Those who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ are saved unto a treasure trove of covenant blessings, not the least of which is the kingly inheritance, which Christ alone deserves but which is nevertheless shared with those who have been united to Him. Jesus alone has secured that prize by His own energies, but He gives it freely to those who believe. On one hand, this is an alien inheritance that comes to us through Christ, while on the other hand, it is a true inheritance, meaning that we can boldly come to the Father as true sons merely and only on the basis of our union with Christ (Rom. 8:15–17; Gal. 4:1–7).
The Father has already disbursed this inheritance to all Christians, even if we are not yet able to enjoy its benefits to their fullest extent. For instance, our inheritance in Christ includes, but is not limited to, resurrection unto everlasting life. Resurrection is a benefit that we wait for eagerly during our current death-stained lives, but we should not think that resurrection is merely a future blessing. After all, we have already seen the resurrection in human history in the event of Christ’s resurrection. He is the first of what we might call “the eschatological man,” the citizen, indeed the King, of the world to come (1 Cor. 15:22–24). As Christ emerges from the tomb, we get our first glimpse of the hope that awaits us in the new heavens and new earth.
Christians, however, also experience their resurrection in a more existential or personal way. When the spirit of the risen Christ gives life to the heart of the believer, the result is that the believer is drawn irresistibly into saving faith (1 Cor. 12:3). But the regeneration of the heart is not merely the basis of faith; it is, in fact, the beginning of the work of resurrection, a kind of resurrection of the inner person. Paul’s description of this inner resurrection could not be clearer: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17; cf. Gal. 6:15). The resurrection is brought to bear in the regenerate hearts of the followers of Jesus so that Christians can now breathe the fresh air of the new heavens and new earth.
As we might expect, a tension arises between the re-created heart and the perishable body (Rom. 7:15–25). This tension will not be resolved until the body is likewise remade imperishable. But the tension is a sign of our hope. The expectant waiting, the yearning to be free from this “body of sin,” is a necessary vital sign of spiritual life. We have tasted the resurrection, and that taste should appetize us for the full feast.
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