The Inheritance of the Saints

The possession of the land of Canaan by Israel was a preliminary stage in God’s redemptive plan, one that always envisioned something larger than Israel or a relatively small plot of land in the Middle East. With the arrival of the Messiah, the covenant promises find their fulfillment in the “true seed of Abraham,” namely, Jesus, and this includes the future bodily resurrection and the new creation.

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First Fruit of the Resurrection

Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of faith. God counted his faith as “righteousness” when he was yet uncircumcised, and that means He justified him apart from the “works of the Law.” Therefore, he became the father of all men who are also “from faith.” Circumcision was added after the promise as the “seal” of Abraham’s justifying faith.

Because of his faith, the patriarch became the “heir of the world,” the kosmos, a promise which from the beginning envisioned something far greater than the tiny territory of Palestine or the small nation of Israel.

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Redemption of Our Body

In Romans, Paul declares there is “now no condemnation” for anyone who is “in Jesus.” This happy condition now exists because the “law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set them free from the law of sin and of death.” And he also links the salvation of believers to the inheritance of Christ and the redemption of the creation itself.

The sin of Adam condemned the entire creation to bondage, sin, and death, not just humanity. Under the Mosaic law, humanity could not liberate itself from bondage to sin and death. That would take something, or, more accurately, SOMEONE else.

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Redemption or Abandonment?

Central to the doctrine of salvation is the promise of REDEMPTION. God will not abandon what He created. And “redemption” means recovering that which was enslaved by sin and sentenced to decay and death. And in His redemptive plans, the end state of the things and persons will be vastly superior even to their original state. This principle is epitomized in the promise of bodily resurrection.

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Final Events

In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul outlines the events that will occur at the “arrival” or ‘parousia’ of Jesus, one of several Greek terms applied by him to Christ’s return. But regardless of which term he employs, he always speaks of one “coming,” “revelation,” or “appearance” of the Lord at the end of the age.

In the New Testament, the resurrection of the righteous, the final judgment, and the New Creation are all linked to his return, and this is also the case in the Apostle’s first letter to the Corinthians:

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