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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Romans 13:8-14 – The salvation that is nearer

Paul in verse 11 mentions an argument for holy living, and that is the passing of time which is taking us ever closer to the return of Jesus. This argument should be more effective in our lives than in those of the original readers because we are two thousand years closer to that event than they were.
What does Paul have in mind by the salvation that is nearer? He uses shorthand for the many blessings that will come to God’s people on that wonderful day of the return of Jesus. But since he uses the word salvation to describe it, he must have in mind negative and dangerous things that we will be delivered from then. So what are some of them?
One dangerous enemy that will be destroyed then will be death. Although Jesus has through his resurrection defeated death and turned it into a door through which his people enter heaven, it is still an enemy to our humanness because it separates our souls from our bodies. And we should not be fully delighted that is going to happen, even although our souls will be in heaven. Our souls going to heaven is better than them living here in sinful bodies, but it is not better than living hereafter in perfect bodies. So we join with the saints in heaven and look forward to the effects of death being removed from the experience of Christians.
On the day of Jesus’ return, we will receive our bodies made new. They will be capable of doing things that they cannot do now because they will then be in a world where such activities will be normal. I would say it is pointless trying to imagine what they are, mainly because we cannot do it. We can imagine what life is like in another country because even with its differences it is similar to ours. But the new heavens and new earth will not be like this world. So a better word for such imaginations is day-dreaming or speculating, neither of which is good. We should read what Paul says about our glorified bodies in 1 Corinthians 15 and rejoice that it will happen.

On that great day of future salvation we will receive the eternal inheritance, which we will share with the people of God who were saved from all periods of time and in a wide variety of places. On that day we will see that the gospel was the power of God unto salvation. And we will also see the power of God as he brings into existence the restored creation, the new heavens and new earth. Then God and his people will be together for ever. It is good to know that we are nearer to it than ever before.

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