Having not shared about immortality recently, I was trying to figure out what to write for this blog post, but wasn’t sure what to say. I asked Holy Spirit what his favorite verse was on the subject, and He told me it was 2 Corinthians 5:17. Not knowing offhand what the verse said, I looked it up. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” I’ll be honest, while the Bible has a vast number of verses that reference this promise from Heaven that we can be set free from the curse of death, this is not one of the ones that has ever come to mind, so I asked Holy Spirit, “What is it about this verse that you like so much?”
“I like how it reveals the Son.” He said. And while that verse doesn’t seem at first glance to do that, verses 17-21 do. They speak about how Jesus was reconciling the world to the Father, not counting our sins against us and making us the righteousness of God in Jesus. So what does revealing Jesus as the Reconciler that have to do with immortality? Everything.
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” Romans 1:17 quoting Habakkuk 2:4 says, “The righteous shall live by faith.” The payment for sin is death, so what is the payment for righteousness? If one goes throughout scripture, righteousness and life are integrally connected. Eternal life comes through faith in Jesus, and the righteous shall live by that same faith. This ultimately means that as 2 Corinthians 5 tells us, because Jesus has made us righteous in Him, that we shall live and not die. All of Romans actually addresses this issue–that we have already died with Christ and the law of sin no longer applies to us. If sin no longer applies, then we no longer are to reap the payment for sin, which is death.
The biggest struggle I find people have with this idea, in spite of the fact that the scriptures clearly say otherwise, is that we have grown accustomed to this idea that we are all fated to die. Jesus died to do away with sin, and as a result do away with the penalty, which is death. John 3:16 states this plainly, saying that God did not want us to die but instead, live forever. We have for centuries interpreted this to mean “everlasting life in heaven after we die” but the verse doesn’t actually say that–it very clearly states that God didn’t want us to die and to accomplish this He sent His Son.
If we go back to Genesis we have to remember the warning God gave Adam: “. . . you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17). The very FIRST warning God ever gave to His children was to prevent them from dying. We have been incredibly sin-focused as the Church, but God is focused on life and death. The reason Jesus set us free from sin was BECAUSE it kills us and God loves us so much He doesn’t want us to die.
The Church is entering a new period of theological revolution. Much like Martin Luther redefined our understanding of salvation, God is yet again re-revealing who He is and what His purposes are in the earth, not so much doing a new thing, but bringing deeper revelation on what He has always been doing. As this occurs, we will discover experientially what Holy Spirit’s favorite verse on immortality says: that we who are in Jesus Christ have been made into new creations because the old, sinful, mortal version has passed away and the new version has been clothed with immortality. Even as Paul said in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” The apostle Paul pressed forward to attain to this gift of immortality which is in Christ Jesus, having been appointed an apostle and teacher and preacher of the gospel that speaks of that very gift (2 Timothy 1:10-11). The practical revelation of how to walk in this reality is even now being released from Heaven and pulled down into the earth through men and women who have become convinced of what the scriptures say–that we will live and not die. I pray that even as God brings clarity to this plan for immortality, the only plan He has ever had, that you will grasp hold of this revelation and make it your own.