LIFE, DEATH AND SOUL Part XVI
Continuing on in II Corinthians 4 with verse 11, Paul wrote For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. Paul used the word thanatos--pronounced: than'-at-os for death and thnetos--pronounced: thnay-tos' (G2288) for mortal. He links death with mortal which identifies the kind of body (sarx--pronounced: sarx flesh (G4561) that humans possess. The Hebrew corresponding word is basar-- pronounced: baw-sawr' (H1320) used for a body, person and humans. (The word body translates the Greek word soma--pronounced: so'-mah (G4983) which means the whole of an entity that has many parts as opposed to the flesh, a human body in a given context.) Paulís point is that even though the apostles face constant death, they continue to show the life of Christ in the face of the death that will come to their flesh. Due to the work of the apostles, the believers have life in Christ though the apostles are facing death, verse 12. In verse 13 he wrote, We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; The apostles never claimed to be any better than other believers and wrote that everyone who believed would be treated the same at the resurrection, verse 13 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. (See I Corinthians 15: 47-58 and I Thessalonians and 4:14.) He then wrote in verse 16, which is often misunderstood: For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. He knows that he cannot stop the march of death on his body.
Paul is not speaking of a soul but the inward man that is the mind turned toward God. (See II Corinthians 9:5 bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Those verses speak to the renewing of the inward man.) Verse 18 conveys the faith that the apostles held: While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. Hebrews11:1-3 expresses the same teaching: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:13 sums up the subject of faith in those who died: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. The emphasis is always on having eternal life which, until Jesus returns, is by faith. Jesus is eternal life, not an immortal soul that will reside in heaven at death and the men of old knew it.
Jesus said during his ministry, John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas asked a question verse 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If a soul goes to heaven, what is the reason Jesus said he would return for the believers when they were already there? The answer is they arenít there; not until Jesus resurrects the believers and takes them away.
Chapter 5 of II Corinthians is a continuation of Paulís teaching in chapter 4. Verse one follows and expands the thought in 4:18. Verse 1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The verse is similar to Paulís teaching in I Corinthians 15. Verse 2 continues his thoughts of desiring to be clothed with the eternal body incorruptible. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: The word translated from is the Greek EX a form of EK--EX means out of, from a place of origin. The new clothing or house will originate from heaven and which will be given to the believers when Christ returns. The Verse 3-4 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. The teaching in the verse 3 is one of being in Christ at the resurrection which results in eternal life rather than being out of Christ which will make the second death final when Christ returns.
Though life is a burden, Paul will not leave Christ and is not worried about being never found out of Christ. He says in verse 4 that he wants be clothed so that mortality will be changed to life-immortality. The preposition in verse 4, hupo--pronounced: hoop-o' (G5259) would be better translated by due to the case, syntax and Greek grammatical rules. Correctly, Paul wrote that the mortal would be devoured by eternal life, with which Christ shall reward each of the faithful upon his return. (See I Corinthians 15:51-54
Verse 5 states a truth that is found elsewhere. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. The word earnest is a reference to the Spirit that is also found in Ephesians 1:13-14 where Paul wrote to the Ephesians of what happened when they trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. The Holy Spirit sealed them; a down payment from God to secure the inheritance of eternal life promised to them in the gospel. They were purchased by Christ and by faith they had eternal life until salvation became an empirical reality when Christ returned to make eternal life the reward for faithfulness. The teaching holds for all who are in Christ in this day and age. All in Christ will be rewarded with eternal life. Paul wrote in Romans 8:10-11 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. What dwells in the believer? It is the Holy Spirit, not an immortal soul or soul of any kind.
By having the earnest of the Spirit, Paul had confidence that even though still in the body and absent from the Lord, he was sure of the promised salvation. Verse 6 is the conclusion to verse 5. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) Even though in the earthly body and absent from the Lord, he has fellowship with Jesus by faith. John called it walking in the light, I John 1:7.
Part XVII has two Parts, A and B. It will begin with II Corinthians 5:8 in which Paul does not say what is commonly believed.
© 06-11-2012 DEC