Already, Not Yet

Human nature finds its origin in the first man, Adam (Gen 2). Adam was part of God’s “very good” creation, before the fall into sin (Gen 1:31). When sin entered the world through Adam’s transgression, it took dominion (Gen 3). Sin’s reign over natural man renders the soul of man dead from conception (Ps 51:5; Eph 2:1–3). Sin is also working the death of each body of flesh (Rom 6:23; 2 Cor 4:16).

The nature of Adam’s posterity possesses the same instincts as Adam before the fall. The difference is sin’s pollution. Every person, except Jesus Christ, was conceived with a sin nature (Eph 2:3). Whereas Adam was balanced and proper with his human instincts, sin nature distorts sex, hunger, rest, and every other urge in man.

When God chooses to send His Spirit (Jn 15:26), to regenerate one of His elect (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3), the old man is said to be crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20). The old man is the Adamic nature, distinguished from sin nature. At conversion, there is a death, burial, resurrection, ascension and positioned union, seating the saint with Christ (Eph 2:6). That is the old man.

Union with Christ is a mutual indwelling (Jn 17:21, 26; 1 Cor 15:19; Col 1:27; 1 Jn 4:13). Christ indwells the born again soul, by the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Cor 3:16). This is the newness of life (Rom 6:4), for the new creation (Gal 6:15), a new creature, in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:17). The death of the old man (Adam-like) is replaced by the life of the new man (Christ-like), giving us a new name (Rev 2:17).

The regenerate soul of the Christian is renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16). The Christian is growing in grace and knowledge of the truth (2 Pet 3:18). In her progressive maturity (Eph 4:15), she is becoming more Christ-like, a work of conformity to the image of the Son of God, by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:29; 1 Pet 1:2).

The body of flesh, housing the regenerated soul, is a temporary embassy in the world. This body is called, “body of sin” (Rom 6:6) and “body of death” (Rom 7:24). It is wearing out like an old garment (Heb 1:11), and it will soon return to the dust from whence it came (Gen 3:19).

Grace reigns over the new man (Rom 5:17, 21), and sin no longer has dominion over the Christian (Ps 19:13; Rom 6:14). The body of the Christian, however, has not undergone its transformation, in the manner of the old man, seated in the heavenlies (Eph 2:6). The Christian’s body must undergo death (Heb 9:27) and wait for the promise of the bodily resurrection to life (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Cor 15).

The foretaste of heaven in the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 1:22), builds hope for the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:2). On that final day in world history, the old man will come with Christ, on the clouds to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1). With the resurrection to life comes an ascension of the Christian’s glorified body to meet Christ in the air (1 Thess 4:16–17).

In a twinkling of an eye, the believer’s departed soul will be reunited with his resurrected and glorified body (1 Cor 15:52). Each member of Christ’s body will be in Him, at His glorious appearing (1 Thess 4:16–17). Naturally, there will be a separation of those who belong to Christ (1 Cor 3:23), from those He never knew (Mt 7:21–23), who will be resurrected for judgment, body and soul (Jn 5:25–29).

Like an orphan, having heard the good news of her adoption papers being signed, she waits for the arrival of those who bought her for a price (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Cor 7:23). Adoption is completed in the redemption of the body (Rom 8:23).

Here is the conflict raging in the Christian, between his flesh and the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:17). The Holy Spirit, who lives in the Christian, is greater than the devil (1 Jn 4:4), who prowls to destroy (1 Pet 5:8). Sin’s powerful grip on the Christian is weakening, as the Spirit sanctifies Christ’s redeemed people (Jn 17:17; 1 Thess 4:3, 7; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2).

The error of perfectionism is to miss that sin nature remains in a Christian’s body. Sinning only ends with the death of the body, on the day appointed by God. Thus, one death has already occurred for the saint. One death, the death of the body of sin, awaits its day of emancipation from sin’s ravages.

In summary, we have seen the old man (Adamic nature) fly away to glory, safe in Christ, who reigns on His throne of glory in heaven (Ex 15:18; Mt 28:18; 1 Cor 15:25; Rev 7:17). We are seated with Him (Eph 2:6). It is obvious that part of us remains. This body of flesh is our body of death. It must die because of sins.

The Christian maintains hope because of this reality of transformation (Col 1:27). Salvation has already come. It is a done deal for our old man (Rom 6:1–11). Christ living in you teaches you the life to be lived in His eternal kingdom. You have His redemption already, but not yet fully realized. The Christian is a house divided, but the promise of God is that He who began this good work in you, will complete it (Phil 1:6). You have His Word on it!

When all of you, that is, soul and body, has traversed death, burial, resurrection, ascension to Christ at His coming…sin will be no more (1 Cor 15:54–55). With our bodies glorified, we will see Him face to face (Rev 22:4). We will be like Him. We will be with our exalted Head, as members of His glorified body, forever (1 Thess 4:17; Rev 22:5).

Be encouraged, therefore, brethren. Your remaining life in the body of sin, your body of death, is like a vapor, here today, gone tomorrow (Jas 4:14). Therefore, redeem the time, in these evil days, in this evil world (Eph 5:16). Learn Christ. Serve Christ. Love Christ, for He is your reality, already, in the Spirit, and very soon, your reality in the redemption of your body, in the resurrection (1 Cor 15), with His glorious appearing, at His second coming.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

July 17, 2022

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher