Salvation: Sector 7

What is salvation?

In my first post in this series I proposed the below chart as a way of answering that important question. In this post I will comment on the seventh sector (7).

  Past
Justification
Present
Sanctification
Future
Glorification
Personal Forgiveness of Sins and Relationship with God (1) Moral (Inner and Outer)  Transformation (2) Resurrection of the Body (3)
Communal One Body of Christ: One New Society (4) Reconciliation and Social Transformation (5) The Fullness of the Kingdom of God (6)
Cosmic Resurrection and Exaltation of Jesus (7) Redemptive Emergence of New Creation (8) New Heaven and New Earth (9)

Sector 7 identifies salvation as the beginning of the new creation in the new humanity of Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus, resurrected from the dead and exalted to the right hand of the Father, is the fountainhead of new humanity. He is new humanity and thus the ground of new creation.

Jesus was not resuscitated from the dead, but transformed from an Adamic to a glorious humanity.  Born within the Adamic world and thus bound over to death, he was raised from the dead to live in a new world. His resurrection is the beginning of the triumphant renewal of creation–it is new creation.

The body of Jesus, just as our bodies, is deeply entangled with the creation. Our bodies are from the dust of the earth. We, as flesh and bones, are part of the creation. We are the material imagers of God within the material creation. But within the present age–this present evil age, as Paul calls–our bodies are degenerating, declining and dying.

The resurrection of Jesus, however, is the reversal of this decay. It is a new creation through the transformation of that broken, dying body into a glorious body. It is not the creation of something new, however. Rather, it is the renewal of something old. Through the resurrection, the Father by the power of the Spirit made the body of Jesus new. It is regenerated, renewed and living–never to die again.

The resurrection of Jesus has injected a regenerating virus into the comos. The newness and glory of the resurrected body of Jesus is the beginning of the newness and glory of the new creation which will remake, renew and regenerate the cosmos itself. Jesus is “firstborn from the dead” not only in the sense that he is the first, but he is “firstborn” because he has the preeminence as the one who sustains, grounds and empowers the new creation itself.

Just as resurrection is new creation, so also the exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of the Father is the reign of Christ over the old creation until all things become new again. Jesus will reign until the last enemy–which is death–is destroyed, and the death Jesus will destroy is that power of death that reigns not only over humanity but over the creation itself.

The exaltation of Jesus is the assured word of God that death will be defeated, the creation will be redeemed, and humanity will be restored to its co-regency with God in the cosmos. Humanity will sit on the throne with Jesus to reign over the new creation as humanity, along with Jesus, shares in the materiality of that new creation with resurrected bodies.

Eden–with all the symbolism attached to that name–will be restored, but more than that….Eden will be glorified as new creation just as the body of Jesus was glorified.

The resurrection and exaltation of Jesus are the “already” of our “not yet” future and the future of the creation. God has accomplished redemption in Jesus. The act of God in Jesus, this eschatological act of resurrection within history, is the assurance of the future. And the Spirit of God bears witness to this assurance as the eschatological gift that is the presence of the future in our hearts.



12 Responses to “Salvation: Sector 7”

  1.   Terrell Lee Says:

    I keep trying to grasp what this is going to be like through use of my eschatological imagination and just keep coming up short. I preached the funeral of a 51-year-old female last week–a friend for over 20 years–who died of cancer. Now there’s a widower of 50, two sons about 22 and 19 who’ll live on. It is the prototypical resurrection of Jesus that made it possible to endure this heartache. So, this is real stuff you’re writing about in this series, something that truly makes all the difference. Can’t wait for sectors 8 and 9.

  2.   Tim Archer Says:

    I thought I’d mention that I presented your chart to my students this semester, giving you full credit. I thought it was a healthy way for them to think about salvation, seeing it as more than a “sins forgiven, going to heaven” transaction. Thanks for the good material.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  3.   rich constant Says:

    ya know john mark you could put these words to music,they do read like a song of joyous praise…

    i would go into that reflection stuff about how words ah you know….
    any way i will walk around to day with a

  4.   rich constant Says:

    continuing…..
    … bunch more words from this blog,that continually brightens my day and those god happens to allow me to bump into that would like to know about the HOPE that resides in the saints of the most high…..

    blessings

  5.   K. Rex Butts Says:

    I always loved how Moltmann spoke of Jesus’ resurrection as our future being present to us.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  6.   rich constant Says:

    hey rex,
    have you visited Richard beck’s blog lately,by the way thanks decent human bring,anyway he is reviewing a neat book by Douglas Campbell:Deliverance of God.
    which i feel in a lot of ways compliments this study by john mark…

    anyway bet you would enjoy it.
    even Douglas Campbell is monitoring and commenting…

  7.   K. Rex Butts Says:

    Rich,

    I will check that out. Thanks for the lead.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  8.   Randall Says:

    Great post John Mark. Thanks for doing this. When I contemplate Christology I always come up a little short. I suppose that contemplating a being who is fully human and fully God can be difficult for one who is only human to comprehend. In your post you said: “Born within the Adamic world and thus bound over to death, he was raised from the dead to live in a new world.” I take it you are of the opinion Jesus had the potential to grow old and die of a worn out body or some disease. Is this correct? Guess I am trying to understand things better.
    Peace,
    Randall

  9.   eirenetheou Says:

    “If anyone is in Christ, [there is] a new creation — the old has passed away; would you believe, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:16)

    When we are baptized into Christ, we have “put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). This is not an eschatological hope; it happens now, or it never happens at all. “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Rom 8:1) If Christ be in us, we have life in our mortal, decaying, dying bodies through the Spirit of God that dwells in us (Rom 8:10-11). Therefore “we know no one according to the flesh” (2 Cor 5:16). In the “new creation” — that is, “in Christ” — all of the barriers of the flesh — race, sex, class — are broken down; we are to be reconciled to one another just as we are to God; if we are not reconciled to one another, we are not yet reconciled to God. If we “live according to the flesh,” with our minds “fixed on the things of the flesh” (Rom 8:5), then we are still trapped in this body of death. If the the Spirit of God dwells in us, because we are “in Christ,” then the evidence is our reconciliation — we are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). This is “the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19) who are “led by the Spirit of God” (Rom 8:14) and make peace (Matt 5:8). We are sons of God not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. This is the ministry to which we are called — now, not later — with the gifts that God gives us.

    God’s Peace to you.

    d

    • Avatar of johnmarkhicks  John Mark Hicks Says:

      Indeed, Don, the new creation has already began. The new reality is present in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus, and we sit with Christ in the heavenlies as participants, through the Spirit, in that reality. It is here and now, and we partner with God towards the consumation of all things which all things will be made new.

      Thanks, brother.
      John Mark

  10.   rich constant Says:

    yep…
    the faith,hope, and love….of col.1:3-7
    in by and through…
    rom:15:1-6
    blessings rich

  11.   Joey Tilton Says:

    This is crazy talk. I suppose the next thing you’ll have us believe is that WE are going to be resurrected to still be humans. Everybody knows that we are going to be Casper-like spirits – you know, like God is. :o)

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