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Incorruptible Life

By David A. DePra

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever. (1 Pet 1:23)

Everyone born IN ADAM Ė and thatís all of us Ė are born of, "corruptible seed." But everyone born again IN CHRIST, is born of, "incorruptible seed."

The Greek word for, "corruptible," means, "to bring into a worse state or condition." Thus, "incorruptible," means to NOT be subject to such deterioration. Corruption clearly speaks of death Ė but in a process. Like decay. Most of us havenít thought of death in that way. But there is more to death than the physical. Just as life grows, so does death deteriorate to a worse and worse condition.

Peter says that we are born again of incorruptible seed. What this means is that if you are IN CHRIST, you have a life Ė HIS life in you Ė that is not subject to corruption. In other words, there is nothing which can bring the life of Christ down into a lower condition, a decayed state. In short, nothing can hurt His life in us.

What does this mean in a practical sense? We know that eternal life doesnít decay when our body is buried and begins to decay. But there is much more to this. Peter means that the life of Christ in you is not subject to corruption of ANY KIND Ė physical, spiritual, emotional, or moral.

Have you noticed that your physical body is in the process of decay? It is if you are getting older. And even though you may not be falling apart emotionally, your emotions never did work quite right, did they? They just wonít behave as you would like. Thatís a sign of corruption. And certainly the same can be said, to one degree or another, of our human spirit and moral condition. All of these aspects of the person we are are subject to decay and corruption. They are in that condition when we are born.

The sin nature is that of corruption. It is the nature of it. Thus, we see that death, as the inheritance of the human race because of sin, is not simply a matter of physically dying. It is a matter of the whole being existed UNDER a law of corruption. That is now the kind of creature man is Ė a creature whose nature is corruption.

Peter indicates this when he uses the word, "seed." In other words, the very SEED of what we are in Adam is corruptible. Indeed, corruption is so normal for all of us in Adam, that we donít even imagine that it is ABNORMAL in the eyes of God, and never what He intended. God made man to be incorruptible.

While our life in Adam is in a condition of corruption, the opposite is true with regards to new life in Christ. It is not subject to corruption? How can this be? Because the life of Christ Ė eternal life Ė is not of this world or realm. Furthermore, it is life which has VICTORY over death. Get that. Not merely a life that cannot die. But a life that has VICTORY over death. And corruption is always of death, isnít it? Thus, the new creation in Christ Jesus has victory over all corruption.

Trials and Tribulations

Trials are a normal part of life for every human being. But for a Christian, there are other issues involved Ė eternal issues. And it is important for us to understand them, or we are not going to make any sense of what God is doing with us.

Often, we think that the goal of a trial is to find the solution. So we spend much time and energy, often to our frustration, asking God to tell us what to do, how to solve the problem, or we ask Him WHY such things have happened to us. This is normal and quite human. I donít think it offends God, or in any way surprises Him. But if you havenít noticed, God usually doesnít respond. He just doesnít. And there is a good reason. None of those approaches we take is the approach of God. Heíll get to the solving of our problems. But first, He wants to accomplish something else.

God wants to conform us to the image of Christ through our trials. But this cannot happen, and will not happen, unless we respond to Him through the trial by faith. Yet we must understand what that phrase, "conform us to the image of Christ," really means. Many of us think that God wants to get us to the place where we can act like Jesus, obey like Jesus, believe like Jesus, and sort of mimic Jesus. It is almost as if we think that Jesus is the blueprint, and we are the project. We think God wants to grab our life, our soul, and our character, and make us look like Jesus.

So what do we do? Well, we try to be like Jesus. Some of think we have achieved that. We are deluded and self-righteous. Others of us give up in defeat. We are also deluded and self-righteous. But just frustrated where the others are satisfied. But in the end, there isnít any way for us to be like Jesus. And the fact is, God isnít trying to make us like Jesus. And you will not find one verse in the Bible that says He wants to.

Yet the Bible does say that it is Godís purpose to conform us to Christ. (see Romans 8:26-29) How then does God do this? Well, first, we are born again IN CHRIST. Or, to say it another way, we have Christ in us. The goal then becomes one: Crucify our flesh so that the Christ who is in us might shine through us.

Can we see how different this is than saying that we have to become LIKE Jesus? No, we donít become LIKE Jesus. We have Jesus in us. Jesus must be made manifest in and through us Ė and this means getting our flesh out of the way.

The life of Christ, is, of course, incorruptible. But His life is sort of all, "covered up," with OUR old patterns, and our flesh, and our ways, isnít He? Thus, what we need, is not MORE of Jesus. We need LESS of us! Thus, the work of the Cross. Paul said:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you. (2 Cor 4:7-12)

Now, this does apply directly to the subject at hand. For all that is of us Ė our outer man Ė is corruptible. That is why it is called an earthen vessel, and must bear the dying of the Lord Jesus. But that which is of Christ is not corruptible. Therefore, that which is corruptible must waste away, and be put to the work of the Cross. Then Jesus comes shining through.

Donít think of this in terms of merely something that God DOES to us. We do have to believe, obey, surrender, and the like. But most of that amounts to surrender to the Cross. The life of Christ is already in us Ė and we cannot add to Him. No. We just have to surrender to God for His work of dealing with our flesh.

Flesh, of course, isnít merely sin or immoral in nature. Flesh is often SELF. And more often than not, flesh is quite religious in character. Thus, what must be gotten out of the way is OUR attempts to do for God what only He can do.

The whole point is this: There is nothing that the Devil can do, and nothing a trial can do, that can corrupt the incorruptible. There is nothing that can kill His life in us. Now, we can neglect the will of God and refuse to be set free from the corruptible. But the incorruptible remains.

Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you suffer, and even wish you could give up, that there is something in you, when everything is said and done, that wonít let you give up? Have you noticed that there is something inside of you that keeps surviving and getting stronger, even if your humanity seems to be getting weaker? That is the incorruptible life of Christ emerging. There is nothing that can touch it. In fact, there is nothing the life of Christ, if we hang in, wonít overcome.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

What Iím saying is that the, "giving up," attitude is corruptive in nature. But we somehow canít give up. Throwing in the towel is corruptive in nature. But we canít do it. There is something so real about the life of Christ in us, something so incorruptible, that even if we allow ourselves to get into the worst attitude towards God imaginable, in the end, His life wins out.

Incorruption cannot be hurt, defiled, or defeated. This doesnít mean we cannot sin and defile our flesh. But the life of Christ in us has already overcome all of those things through His resurrection.

The good news is that eventually we will be free from ALL corruption. All of it. And all that will be left is that which is born of the incorruptible seed which is of new life in Jesus Christ.

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. (2 Cor 5:1-5)

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