In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes:
45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
From the context of these verses, we glean several facts:
1. There are two "Adams." One, literally named Adam, was created by God as the crown of His work. The second Man is the "Lord from heaven," and from the context, we understand that this is Jesus Christ.
2. The first man was made from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7), and God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.
3. The nature of the first man ties him to the earth. He is made of dust. All his concepts, ideas, thoughts, practices are for this life--job, money, food, family, sex, love, children, entertainment, fun, walks in the woods and on the seashore--man was created to be on the earth, and to enjoy the bounty of the life here. He was also created to rule over the earth, and to fill it. This is man's original purpose.
4. The purpose of the "heavenly man," the Lord from heaven (Jesus Christ), is to give a new kind of life to the earthly man (woman, child, and so on). This He did, when He opened the door into everlasting life with God, in heaven. In fact, the "last Adam" is now the head of His own, completed race of humanity, humanity on steroids, humanity with ties to heaven as well as earth.
This brings us to the final point I want to discuss today. Because you and I are tied to earth and heaven at the same time, our lives are in constant change, conflict, and turmoil. We live here. We have to have money, food, jobs, shelter. We need friends, lovers, companions. We shower, we bathe, we clothe ourselves, we go to the doctor, we take vitamins--all to maintain this life. We should do all these things, and many more.
On the other hand, we who have believed in Jesus Christ are also tied to heaven, to God, to the Spirit, and the life we have that will last forever.
This set of realities creates blessing, worship--and conflict. Our spiritual lives are sometimes at war with our earthly lives.
We are tied both to heaven and to earth, and we are literally "in the middle," so that we are pulled both ways.
Paul promises that someday, we will "bear the image of the heavenly..." that is, the internal conflict we have because of our divided nature will someday be resolved in favor of our heavenly lives. We will not hate, be angry, lust, covet, kill, use drugs, struggle with denying ourselves those things, fall away from God, come back to him, and so on then, because we are fully and completely "of heaven."
The thing is, that this future is certain. Paul says, "Just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we WILL also bear the image of the heavenly.
We will not fail. More importantly HE will not fail us. We are His, for all eternity, and we will be fitted for heaven, with each of us who believe standing there before Him, "Changed in a moment, Like Him forever."
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