Not only are we spirit beings who live in material bodies; we are also members of a larger spiritual body—the body of Christ. Are you used to thinking of this as merely a figure of speech? I know that I used to look at it in this way. But this is not just an analogy; it is a spiritual reality. We really are the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
The apostle isn’t saying that we are like a body. This is a straight-out “as-is” declaration. As a body is, so also is Christ. This is a deep, mystic reality, but it is a reality nonetheless. Whether I recognize it or not, when somebody else is hurting in the body of Christ, I hurt as well. And if I am hurting, whether anyone else in the body of Christ recognizes it or not, they hurt also. What happens to you affects me and what happens to me affects you. We are connected because we have all been made to drink of the same Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:26
And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
It matters not one bit whether we believe this verse, because it is a statement of reality. What happens to you will influence me. It is the nature of how things really are. It is not an analogy used to teach us correct ethical behavior (though if we do believe it, it will dramatically impact how we treat each other). It is a statement of fact. If I take a hammer and beat my thumb with it, my entire being will experience discomfort. My thumb will be injured, but my entire body will throb with the pain. Telling myself that my thumb isn’t part of my body will do nothing to stop the pain. It is the same in the body of Christ. Not believing or recognizing it changes nothing. I will feel pain from your hurt whether I acknowledge it or not.
A Life-giving Spirit
1 Corinthians 15:45
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
The first man was made a living soul. This takes us all the way back to Genesis 2:7 where God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and “man became a living soul.” This statement in 1 Corinthians is beyond me. Every time I think that I have taken full stock and measure of its import, the Lord reveals a deeper reality that leaves me breathless. Though the context is the resurrection, verses 44-49 are an explanation of how we will arrive to a fully spiritual body. The primary reason given is that the last Adam is a life-giving spirit.
For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
The Lord declared this not as a future promise but as a present reality. “I can bring to life anybody I want,” He said. This is a far greater glory than Adam ever had. God had fashioned a body out of a lump of clay and breathed life into it and man became a living soul. God gave Adam the power to procreate; this was the only life-giving power that Adam had. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that Adam never raised anyone from the dead. Jesus did, and Jesus will. Everybody who has ever died will one day hear His voice and rise. Jesus Christ wasn’t Adam returned or restored. The Last Adam is the full antitype to the shadow of the first.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Adam was a figure, a type, of He who was to come, who is Christ. Adam as he was originally created was a man who could walk in the spirit realm and the physical realm with equal facility. He could tend a garden larger than the size of Texas without his brow breaking into a sweat. He could classify and name all the different types of animals on planet earth in less than a day. And even at that, he was but a pale shadow of the Son who was to come. In Adam, God created the spirit of man and he became a living soul. But the spirit of man isn’t what animated Jesus of Nazareth. It was the Spirit of the Son who said, “Lo, I come, to do Thy will O God.” The life that gave motion to the flesh of the child of Mary was divine and eternal; He is a life-giving spirit.
Adam was the progenitor of the human race; he had life within himself. Because of this, children can be born by the will of man. Jesus Christ is a life-giving Spirit. As the Resurrection and the Life, He is the progenitor of an entirely new race: the Church of God. When we were saved, we didn’t go through an ideological transformation (that is usually a life-long process!); we went through a transformation of being. Prior to the new birth, we were children of Adam, children of disobedience born of blood and flesh and the will of man. Through faith in Christ, we have been born into the household of God. We have now what we didn’t have before: the very nature of God birthed within us by His Spirit. A new blood type has defined our being. Because of the new birth we will bear the heavenly image of the Last Adam.
1 Corinthians 15:48-49
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
“As is the heavenly, such are they that are heavenly.” We are like our heavenly Lord because we have been born again. The term “born again” literally means “born from above.” In the physical realm, the generation of a new life is imparted by an infusion and conjunction of genetic material. The combination of genes from father and mother germinates into an independent life form that bears resemblance to its parents. God tells us that we have been reborn; we have been regenerated from above by His Spirit. We now belong to a different race, a race that is as different from mortal man as angels are.