Earnest Of The Spirit

Here is further positive proof that Paul was referring to the resurrection as the TIME to put on that eternal house. To both the Corinthians and the Romans, Paul emphasized that the Spirit was a pledge that they would be clothed with immortality. What did he mean? Of what is the Holy Spirit in our hearts and earnest or pledge? Is it a proof or assurance that we have immortal souls that will live on when the body is dead? Is that what Paul meant? No. The apostle makes it abundantly clear that the Spirit is a pledge of the redemption of our bodies at the resurrection. "... ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the EARNEST of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13,14.

Do not miss the point Paul makes that the "earnest of the Spirit" points to the time when our inheritance is received in full and the bodily redemption takes place. Paul used the same expression in 2 Corinthians 5:5 when talking about putting on the house from heaven, "God hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." That Spirit is the pledge of the resurrection of the body. Another text removes all doubt: "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." Romans 8:11. This verse provides undeniable proof that the indwelling Spirit is a guarantee that our mortal bodies will be quickened at the resurrection.

Swallowed Up When?

Now let us take note that Paul used an argument that forever precludes the doctrine of the soul going to heaven at death. In one simple statement, Paul shattered the popular argument for natural immortality. He said, "we... do groan that mortality might be swallowed up of life." 2 Corinthians 5:4. Obviously, mortality can only be swallowed up by immortality, or eternal life. Is this the passing of the soul from the mortal body at the hour of death? Let us look at it. What is there about man, according to the common view, which is mortal? The body. In addition, what is immortal? The soul. Assuming for a moment that this is true, then what happens at death? At death the body, which is mortal, does not become immortal, but loses all its life and crumbles back to dust in the grave. Moreover, the soul, which was immortal before, is no more than immortal afterwards. Is there any "swallowing up of mortality by life" here? Just the reverse! Mortality, or the mortal part, is swallowed up by death! There is not as much life afterward as there was before, because after death only the soul lives, while the body, which was alive before, is now dead. That view is in contradiction to what the Word of God actually says. We must reject it.

Paul knew the Corinthians would not be confused by his language in 2 Corinthians 5 about mortality being swallowed up by immortality, because he had already written his first epistle to them explaining when that immortality would be put on."... in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump... this mortal must put on immortality. THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." 1 Corinthians 15:52-54. When would death or mortality be "swallowed up?" "THEN," Paul said. When is THEN? "In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." How can anyone stumble over the plain language of these verses?

Paul was longing for that change from the earthly mortal body to the glorious immortal body He stated that the change would take place on the resur-rection-translation day His chief hope seemed to center upon being translated without ever being "unclothed" in death. He yearned to "be clothed upon" by translation at the coming of Jesus, so that he be not found "naked" (in the grave). Translation would mean that mortality would be "swallowed up of life."

Nevertheless, he hastened to express confidence, as we have just pointed out, in the certainty of a resurrection when death would be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54). In either case, whether by translation or resurrection, he would be "clothed upon" with the immortal body. Either mortality would be "swallowed up" by being translated, or death would be "swallowed up" by being resurrected.

Paul does not linger over the "unclothed" state, because his hopes rested in the new body to be received at Christy s coming. He could not be "forever with the Lord" until that change took place "in the twinkling of an eye." The interim sleep of death in the grave held no appeal for Paul, since it would seem but a fractional second of utter oblivion to the one who died. Looking beyond the uninviting nakedness of death to the land of life, Paul ruled out any possibility of a state between death and the resurrection when disembodied spirits could be present with the Lord.

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