Jesus declared, “The Spirit makes alive. The flesh profits nothing. The words which I have spoken to you, they are spirit, and they are life.” His statement echoes the principle that life and the Spirit of God are inextricably linked. The “flesh” is not inherently evil, but it has no lasting life apart from the Holy Spirit. This principle was demonstrated at the original creation, and now the same Spirit is essential for the bodily resurrection of believers and everlasting life in the age to come.
In Scripture, the Gift of the Spirit is linked to the New Covenant, everlasting life, and resurrection. It is the Spirit that places men in the covenant community, and the Gift is a foretaste of the resurrection life they will inherit. This promise is based on the past death and resurrection of Jesus.
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The Spirit was poured out on the Church on the Day of Pentecost in fulfillment of prophecy. Due to his righteousness and obedience, Jesus could not be held by the “throes of death,” therefore God raised him from the dead and seated him on the Messianic Throne - (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17-30).
This same Jesus now grants the Gift of the Spirit to his disciples, and both his past resurrection and the present possession of the Spirit by the Church guarantee the future resurrection of his followers - (Acts 2:36-39).
In John 6:63, the Greek word heard on the lips of Jesus or “makes alive” is zôopoieô, a combination of the noun zôon, a “living being,” and the verb poieô, “to make.” His “words” are “Spirit” because they are the source of “everlasting life.” Just as the word of his Father created life in Genesis, so his words impart life to believers – (John 12:49, Hebrews 12:9).
Likewise, just as God’s Spirit created all things and raised Jesus from the dead, so the Spirit will “quicken” believers and provide them with everlasting life when Jesus returns.
Because bodily resurrection is an act of creation – the restoration of life to the dead - the Spirit will be intimately involved in “quickening our mortal bodies” on the Last Day – (Romans 8:10-11, 1 Corinthians 15:51-57).
The Spirit of God is His creative and life-sustaining power in action. This idea is not unique to the New Testament - “By the word of Yahweh, the heavens were made, and by the spirit of his mouth, all their host” - (Psalm 33:6).
THE LAST ADAM
In the Book of Genesis, the Spirit of God “breathed” life into Adam, making him a “living soul.” This last term translates a Hebrew word that means, quite literally, a “breathing creature.” The stress is on the act of breathing. As Job wrote, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” – (Genesis 1:1-3, 2:7, Job 33:4).
The same passage from Genesis is cited by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians when explaining the resurrection body:
- (1 Corinthians 15:42-45) – “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam, a LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT.”
Paul contrasts the body of Adam with the resurrection bodies believers will receive. The first man’s body was weak, natural, and mortal, but the resurrection body will not decay or die. It will be raised in power.” It will be a “spiritual body,” a body animated and dominated by the Holy Spirit.
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The resurrection body will also be immortal, that is, deathless, the literal meaning of the Greek noun translated commonly as “immortal.” Following the resurrection, the “last enemy, death,” will be overthrown.
The resurrection will undo both the sentence and the reality of death; therefore, immortality will replace mortality, and death will be “swallowed up in victory.” Just like the “Lord of Glory,” the followers of Jesus will live forevermore in resurrected bodies.
He is the “Last Adam,” the forerunner of all resurrected saints, differing in one key aspect. Because of his resurrection, he is now the “Life-Giving Spirit.” He alone has the authority to impart life by bestowing the Spirit of God on his people, and he will impart immortality to them when he returns and raises the dead.
- Arrival of the Spirit - (The Gift of the Spirit is part of the New Covenant, and the first fruits of the New Creation and the gathering of the nations)
- Spirit and Resurrection - (The Gift of the Spirit is the guarantee and foretaste of the everlasting resurrection life we will enjoy in the New Creation)
- The Spirit Gives Life - (The Gift of the Spirit is the definitive evidence that God has accepted Gentiles into His Covenant without undergoing the rite of circumcision)