No Molecule Left Behind
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 8:9c (Holman) But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he
does not belong to Him.
Verses 9c-11 contain seven certainties: two sad, five glad. Sad certainty #1. If a person does not possess the Holy Spirit, he or she does not belong to Jesus. In salvation, the acid test is not wearing Jesus’ name, but having the Spirit of Christ.
In conversion, rites and ceremonies are inconsequential, as are doctrinal purity and church membership. All that counts is having the Holy Spirit within.
“Does not belong to Him” is a thunderclap, intended to induce trembling in the hearts of people. No epitaph can be sadder than this: “Does not belong to Him.”
These words wound the heart, but are given to heal us. When the Savior strikes a blow at sinners He only means to break their chains and set them free.
This verse is universal in its application. No exception is hinted at. It has a sobering tone of finality. If we do not belong to Jesus, whose are we? This is scary because it has but one possible answer. The only other proprietor of souls is Satan.
Romans 8:10a Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin.
Sad certainty #2. Though Christ dwells in us, our bodies are still perishable. “The body is dead” means it is under a sentence of death. We are born to die. “Your first breath is one of the last you will ever take!” (Lloyd-Jones). Our bodies are frail. This house of clay has its foundation in the dust and will soon fade away.
Because of Adam’s sin, we have all been crippled physically. All of us were born with seeds of sickness, tiredness, weakness, and decay inside us, in our DNA. We are subject to accidents and other problems that make life burdensome.
The body, a major source of conflict and disappointment, is the battleground between good and evil. Sin wants to express itself in the body, and ever seeks opportunity there. Guard your body. Sin wants to muscle its entrance at that point.
Paul blamed sin for our mortality. Sin is the villain, our enemy. We should hate sin, if for no other reason, for the problems it causes in the body. I have a dear friend dying of cancer too young. When I first learned the extent of his sickness, I was shaken. I cried out to God, wept until I had no tears left, and almost questioned Him. Waves of ingratitude swept over me. After a week or so of prayer, I entered the study of our text. The timing was of God. He had prepared me to understand this verse better. The culprit is not God, but sin. Evil ravishes. Do not disparage God; denigrate sin. Hate it with all our heart, and fight it with all our might.
Romans 8:10b The Spirit gives you life because you have been made right
Glad certainty #1. Spiritual life has been planted in the believer’s spirit. The Holy Spirit was able to make our spirits alive because of the righteousness Jesus imputed to us. Before conversion, our spirits were dead. We had no life-connection with God. But now we are assured of everlasting life. However difficult the struggles in our bodies become, we can never enter condemnation again (RM 8:1).
Even physical death cannot thwart us. It merely frees us. My body will die, but the essential “me” will never cease to exist. Our spirits are alive to God forever. The seed of life planted in us will never cease to grow and blossom.
Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in
you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your
mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.
Glad certainty #2. Our present bodies must die, but will not remain under the power of death forever. Life remains for our battered bodies. They will be set aside for a while, but God will finally call them from the dust. No molecule will be lost.
The body will die but can never be ultimately destroyed. It may be blown to bits, burned to ashes, or buried at sea, but each particle shall someday be retrieved.
Our bodies were not originally meant to die. They are mortal due to the Fall of humanity in Adam’s sin. Christ came to deliver us from every consequence of the Fall. Hence, He must undo our bodies’ death. If our bodies are not resurrected, Satan can claim victory over God in that area of creation. But God will not let Satan, sin, and death have the final word—not even with regard to our corpses.
Our resurrected bodies will break the last link in Satan’s chain of corruption. God begins His work in us by first releasing our spirits, and then finally frees the body from sin’s fatal grasp. This is a sure thing. There is no possibility of failure.
Glad certainty #3: The Administrators overseeing the resurrection always succeed. God the Father and God the Holy Spirit will raise us up, and God the Son promised us He would raise up on the last day all who believe in Him (JN 6:40).
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all working together on this project. Their success rate is impressive—to be exact, 100%.
This means the resurrection of our bodies can never fail. Any one of the three members of the Trinity alone would assure success. The three working together gives triple assurance. God the Father made our bodies from dust at the first; He can retrieve us from dust. God the Son restored the decomposing body of Lazarus; He can do the same for us. God the Holy Spirit quickened our dead spirits; it will require no greater miracle to quicken our dead bodies.
Glad certainty #4: The dead body of Jesus was raised to life. His bodily resurrection guarantees our bodily resurrection. He, as the Head of the body, led the way. We, as His members, will follow.
Christ’s body was placed in the grave, having died after the load of our sin had been placed on it. His body became the receptacle of sin, but when He rose, sin was left behind. He came forth with a glorified body, freed from any taint of sin.
The same will happen to our bodies. Death is the means whereby God will purge our bodies of contamination. The scattering of our elements will be like purifying them through a filter. When God recalls those elements in the Resurrection, they will return clean and whole. Jesus “will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).
What if we are alive when Jesus comes? This cleansing transformation will take place instantly, in the twinkling of an eye, with no need for the filter of death.
Eventually, every Christ-follower will be completely delivered: spirit and body. We will stand whole before God. When all is said and done, sin will have nothing of me but its own self. This will be a good riddance. I hope the worms that eat my body get indigestion. I want to share the misery this body has caused me.
Glad certainty #5: The Spirit that raised Jesus’ body now lives in us. The resurrection of our bodies is a sure thing, because the Holy Spirit resides in us now. He did this for Jesus, and will someday do it for us!
Our bodies will be planted like a seed. Life will spring from them again. Our old bodies will be transformed and absorbed into new bodies. All will be glorified then. Our bodies will be the same bodies, yet different. They will be free from sin and all its evil side effects.
The decaying corpse is a fit reminder of illness, pain, and suffering. Our glorified bodies will never decay. There will be no more sickness or sorrow.
Our bodies here often shame us due to our sins. The Resurrection will cleanse them of all evil. They will never again be a source of embarrassment.
When death is cast into the lake of fire (RV 20:14), I want to catch its attention and yell, “Death! Listen to me! Answer this question: O death, where is your victory? Where is your sting?” After my eyes watch death sink into the abyss, I want to turn toward the Father and proclaim, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:57).