JULY WEEK ONE

The Holy Spirit and New Creation

The certain hope of new creation is that, when Christ returns, Holy Spirit will raise the physical bodies of God’s people from the dead and transform them to be incorruptible (Rom. 8:11). These new physical bodies will be empowered and sustained solely by the power of the Spirit of God.  At the final resurrection, heaven and earth will also be reunited and creation renewed. God’s people will reign with him for eternity.

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DAILY READING

DAY 1 - 7/1

The Holy Spirit’s role is not simply limited to the past and present. The Spirit has a crucial role at the return of Christ and the consummation of the new heavens and new earth. In order for us to understand how the Holy Spirit will minister in the new creation, we must start by understanding how he provides life in the first place.

Genesis 2 gives a detailed account of the creation of man and woman. Here, YHWH is described as having created Adam from the dust of the ground. After he formed this lifeless body, the Bible states that God breathed his Spirit into Adam and it was then that Adam was said to have been given life. The breath of life that brought humankind into existence was the life-giving, life-sustaining work of the Holy Spirit himself.[1] 

[1] K. A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:26, vol. 1a, The New American Commentary(Nashville: B&H Publishers, 1996), 196.

 

Genesis 2:1-24 (ESV) 

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. 

These are the generationsof the heavens and the earth when they were created,in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. When no bush of the fieldwas yet in the landand no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 

then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 

13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eatof it you shall surely die.”

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit forhim.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formedevery beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 

20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adamthere was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 

23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

To read more about the Spirit of God in breath, see Ezek. 37, Gen. 1, and John 16.

DAY 2 - 7/2
 

It is important to understand that the Spirit of God not only gavelife to humanity, but that he also sustains life in humanity. Ezekiel chapters 36-37 give insight into the relationship between the Holy Spirit and humankind’s capacity for life.  

The underlying principle in these two chapters is that the Spirit functions not only to sustain life but also to transform the lives of his people so that they might have abundantlife in God’s kingdom (John 10:10). This abundant life culminates in the Holy Spirit’s work in raising the dead and transforming the bodies of God’s people into incorruptible physical bodies at the final resurrection (cf. Rom. 8:11-13; 1 Thess. 4:16).

 

Ezekiel 36:22-38 (ESV)

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you.

30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

33 “Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt.34 And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by.

35 And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ 36 Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.

37 “Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. 38 Like the flock for sacrifices,like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

To read more about the Holy Spirit in new creation, see Ezek. 36 and 2 Cor. 5.

DAY 3 - 7/3

1 Corinthians 15 is one of the most theologically-significant chapters in all of the Bible. It begins by outlining the gospel message Paul preached in his ministry. In the second half of the chapter, Paul describes the role of the Holy Spirit in the final resurrection. To Paul and the early Christians, the resurrection of Jesus was the lynchpin of the Christian faith. Everything depended upon the bodily resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:16-19). 

Many Western Christians wrongly assume that the resurrection is a “bodiless”, metaphorical resurrection. But eminent New Testament scholar N.T. Wright notes that, “if the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus the Messiah, dwells in you, Paul says, then the One who raised the Messiah from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies as well… God will give life, not to a disembodied spirit, not to what many people have thought of as a spiritual body in the sense of a non-physical one, but to your mortal bodies.”[1]

Wright notes that Paul’s discussion in 1 Corinthians 15:35-40 between a “heavenly” body and an “earthly” body does not refer to what the body is made of(whether a flesh and bone or disembodied existence) but rather what empowersthe body. Now, human bodies are powered by the earth––what we eat and drink, taken from the ground. At the resurrection, Christian bodies will be empowered from heaven, by the Holy Spirit himself.

 

[1]N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and Mission of the Church(New York, NY: Harper One, 2008.), 149.

 

1 Corinthians 15:12-58 (ESV)

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 

16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hopein this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.  

25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.  

28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 

32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.  

38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.  

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  

45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shallalso bear the image of the man of heaven.

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

 

To read more about the resurrected body, see Rom. 8 and Phil. 3.

 

 

DAY 4 - 7/4

Jesus’ recorded actions after his resurrection give us an understanding of the nature of the Spirit-empowered resurrected bodies that God’s people will have in new creation. John 20 describes Jesus’ interaction with his disciples in such a way that clearly demonstrates that his resurrected body was a physical one, not a mere apparition or disembodied spirit.

The resurrected Jesus ate a meal (Luke 24:30-32) and also retained the ability to walk through walls and lock doors. He was not always recognized and was capable of disappearing between God’s supernatural realm and our natural one.[1]This sort of body, no longer subject to the disease of death and empowered by the Spirit of God, is the same sort of body God’s people will possess in new creation.

[1]N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and Mission of the Church(New York, NY: Harper One, 2008.), 55.

 

John 20:1-31 (ESV) 

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 

 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. 

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believethat Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

To read more about Jesus’ glorified body, see Matt. 16 and Luke 24.

DAY 5 - 7/5

The Scriptures describe the work of the Holy Spirit throughout every time in human history. At creation, the Holy Spirit created order out of chaos. The Holy Spirit spoke through men and women to guide and direct Israel in the Old Testament. He poured himself out upon the infant church at Pentecost and continues his work of guiding and empowering God’s people to participate in mission with God.

In eternity, the Spirit will be the very means by which the dead saints will be raised to new life and will perform his transfiguring work on all of creation, establishing a “New Eden” in fulfillment of God’s original creation plan.

Revelation 22 describes the end of the age where the re-creating work begun by Christ in his resurrection will be fulfilled in his second coming. Just as Jesus was raised by the Holy Spirit, so too the Spirit will raise God’s people from the dead (Rom. 8:11) and the call to bear Gods image will be brought to its highest expression in God’s new creation. The Spirit’s work will not be only to raise believers to new life but to renew all of creation, reuniting heaven and earth where we will reign with God for eternity.

Revelation 22:1-21 (ESV)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” 

10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” 

12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. 

To read more about the Holy Spirit in eternity, see Ps. 139 and 1 Cor. 2.

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