Sunday, January 20, 2013

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Traditionally this verse has been understood to mean that flesh and blood here are biology referring to our physical individual bodies. In other words in this verse Paul is referring to the flesh and blood of individuals. But, unfortunately that contradict the contexts in which the term is used.

Paul refers to the old covenant of the law in many different way. It requires a close study because it has a number of meanings in scripture. For example in Romans 7:5 we read, For when WE WERE IN THE FLESH, the passions of sins which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. (emphasis added.) Paul here is speaking to his Jewish brethren who know the law. We see this in Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

In modern thinking, “flesh,” normally implies to biological body of an individuals. But lest look a little closely at the way Paul uses the work flesh in this verse. Romans 7:5, Paul speaks of being “in the flesh” as a past experience. ( WE WERE IN THE FLESH). If Paul were speaking of the flesh of individuals (which he does elsewhere) then his statement would be foolish. Why? Because these Jews were living individuals still in a flesh and blood body. Paul is not writing with an individualistic.

He is thus providing a grammatical means of indicating that the event being referred to took place in the past.

In the days of the covenantal eclipse, a man was determined by the covenant he lived under. Christians were not in the flesh but in the Spirit. Romans 8:9 But you are NOT IN THE FLESH but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.

As Jewish Christians they were no longer bound by the old covenant of fleshy works that could not give life. Paul speaks of “flesh” here as a covenantal identity. This is made clear with Paul’s statements concerning “flesh” and “Spirit”. The Mosaic law was powerless in that it was “weakened by the “fleshly works” of mans which could not to please God.

Paul acted “in the flesh” when he violently persecuted God's church and tried to destroy it. Galatians 1:13 For you have heard about my earlier life in Judaism—how I kept violently persecuting God's church and was trying to destroy it. Hatred jealousy, selfish ambition, and fits of rage” are all acts of the “flesh,” and were evidence that Paul was in the wrong covenant, i.e., that he was “in the flesh.”

This is supported by the text “No one (flesh) will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law” (Romans 3:20)

After Paul’s conversion he makes it clear that he puts no confidence in the (flesh) the (works of the law) despite his own pedigree and achievements as a Jew. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the ‘flesh’ – though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:3-7).

Paul is not saying that his background and ambition to be a faultless Jews were sinful in themselves. Rather he is saying now that he is in Christ, he recognizes that before his conversion, he had been (in the flesh) and living outside of God’s relationship. Everything he did, including the meticulous practice of his religion, was an expression of his separation from God.

Now that you have a good grasp on how Paul used flesh as a covenantal identity. Paul uses the very same metaphor when he says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Here Paul is also using flesh and blood as covenantal identity. He is not referring to flesh and blood of physical individual bodies. The Jewish saints that believed in Christ were still living in individually flesh and blood bodies when they were receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since (we are receiving a kingdom) which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (emphasis added.)

Receiving a kingdom here in Hebrews 12:28 and inheriting the kingdom of God in1 Corinthians 15:50 are synonymous. Can one receiving without inheriting? No they are synonymous. Then neither can there be a inheriting into the kingdom without receiving. These saints were individually living in a flesh and blood body when they were receiving the kingdom at that time. Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Then what did Paul mean by flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God? Acting in “flesh and blood” the (works of the law) causes man to trust in his own abilities and to secure his salvation without God. Thus “flesh and blood” could not inherit the kingdom of God.

These Christians are not in “flesh and blood as a covenantal sense of the law. Their were under another covenant of the Spirit.. Those in the flesh or flesh and blood could not please God. Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Anyone that was in flesh and blood or the fleshly Mosaic covenant brought forth fruit unto death. Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. Again Paul uses the term when we were in the flesh as past tense. In languages which have a past tense. So we see how Paul uses the metaphor of flesh and flesh and blood to describe covenants.

We have been traditionally taught by the modern Church to bring ideas to scripture without stopping and thinking about it. Are we not alive individuals today living in the kingdom of God in these flesh and blood bodies? Christians are already in the kingdom; it now exists.

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