Summary: #3 in Romans 8 - What a Way to Live! series. This speaks of having eternal life now, not just later in heaven. What does it mean to live?
Romans 8:10-11 – Heaven in the Here and Now
Let me tell you the life story of a certain man. All he ever really wanted in life was more. He wanted more money, so he invested his inherited wealth into a billion-dollar pile of assets. He wanted more fame, so he broke into the Hollywood scene and soon became a filmmaker and star. He wanted more sensual pleasures, so he paid handsome sums to indulge his every sexual urge. He wanted more thrills, so he designed, built, and piloted the fastest aircraft in the world. He wanted more power, so he secretly dealt political favors so skillfully that two U.S. presidents became his pawns. All he ever wanted was more. He was absolutely convinced that more would bring him true satisfaction. Unfortunately, history shows otherwise. This man concluded his life emaciated and colorless; with a sunken chest; fingernails in grotesque, inches-long corkscrews; rotting, black teeth; tumors; and innumerable needle marks from his drug addiction. This man, Howard Hughes, died in 1976 believing the myth of more. He died a billionaire junkie, insane by all reasonable standards.
There must be more. But what? And before you answer that question, let me ask you: do you really believe it? Do you really believe you know the answers of life? Do you really believe that you have found the thing that matters more than money, fame, pleasure, excitement or power? And if you really do think you have found it, are you making the most of it? The reason I’m asking these questions flows from our scripture passage today. Let’s read Romans 8:10-11.
Now, we began this paragraph last week. We looked at the truth just in passing that as believers, we have the Spirit of God, also called the Spirit of Christ, living inside of us – v9. V10 says the same thing in still another way: that Christ is in us. This is called our position. We will look more at our position next week, but it is simply a description of who we are by definition. Positionally, we have Christ inside us. We will continue to look at what that means practically, but positionally, we are off to a good start.
Now, because Christ is in us, even though our bodies might not be in the best of shapes, our spirits are much better off – v10. Because of sin, our bodies became subject to things like disease and old age. But now, because a believer is righteous, that is, made right with God, we are better off. Because Christ made a way for us to be considered alright in God’s eyes, because we can be forgiven, because God looks at us as if we had never sinned, our spirits are alive. We have life.
But that’s where I want to end up, so I’ll move on to v11. This carries the thought of things improving even further than v10 did. This says that God, who raised Jesus from the dead, will also raise our bodies from the dead as well. He will give us life through His Spirit by raising us from the grave, just as He did for Christ. Same God, same Spirit.
Now, I know this is basic theology for some of you, but it’s a great truth, no matter how many times it’s told. In God’s wonderful timing, Jesus will descend from heaven in the clouds. An angelic trumpet will sound, and Christians who have died will rise up out of the ground and the water and meet the Lord in the air. Then, those who are still alive to also join Jesus in the air. This is what the church has traditionally called the rapture, from the Latin word meaning “caught up”.
And in this whole process, we are going to get new bodies. I think of the song called New Body: “Crutches left on the ground, body parts lost are found, everybody gets to walk today. No more tears and we will feel no more pain. The sky splits, I’m moving, I let it freely take me. This must be the moment God chose to rearrange me. You and I will get a new body, you and I are gonna fly.”
The fact that God raised Jesus from the dead is a guarantee that the grave will not be the ultimate end for us either. Yes, we will face hard times. Yes, we will see death happen to our loved ones. And yes, unless Jesus comes back first, each of us will have our bodies laid in that casket or that urn and be placed away from sight.
But our hope is not found in escaping death. Our hope is found when faced with it. Our hope is Jesus, who Himself defeated the grave. He most certainly died, but He also, most certainly, did not stay there. On the third day, He rose as a victor from the dark domain, and He promises us that same victory. He promises that we as believers will have eternal life.