Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Life!

In the spring we look at new life, bursting from everything around us -- the trees, the grass, squirrels, birds and early flowers, even bugs. It seems irresistable; a little more sunshine and some warmth, and here it comes. That's how the creation is -- life is so strong it can't be held down.

God has included tremendous symbolism within his creation to reflect his wisdom and his plan of salvation. For instance, the resurrection of Jesus to eternal life -- which brings us the promise of new life now and eternal life with God forever -- didn't happen just anytime. It occurred in the spring, when new life was springing out of the soil in the Judean hills. God was doing something in the spring, twenty centuries ago, that was a much larger reality than the mere picture of new plants, new animals and so forth, springing (oops, there it goes again) to life from the earth after a cold, drab winter.

When Jesus stepped out of the tomb, he also came out of the earth; he moved into new life. And his new life looked different from the one he had before, just like a plant doesn't look like the seed. Paul uses this idea in 1 Cor 15 --
37. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body...
42. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43. it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44. it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
And speaking of Jesus, he says:
45. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

That new life has a future promise -- the promise of a new, spiritual existence -- but also a present context. Most of what Paul talks about in I Corinthians 15 is the future, the resurrection promised to all believers. But in another way we're already there -- a new life now, that gives power and peace and hope and joy and confidence. Here's some more from Paul:

Romans 6:4 -- Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

What's that new life look like? Oh, there's a lot more to say on that. Stay tuned!

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