Transformation and Eternal Life by J C Friend
Paul cries out:
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
And one question that was put to Jesus more than once is:
‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
For me that selfsame question started with this very familiar verse:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
“should not perish” => “shall not die” (and indeed it is translated as “shall not die” in other versions) and yet we quite happily believe and accept that we have to die in order to receive the gift of eternal life that is being offered ie that we only receive the benefits of eternal life after we are dead, a thought that has always seemed to me more than a bit odd. Especially when you read this verse:
Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent.
The next verse that came sharply to my attention was:
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”
It puzzled me that IF we are born again and received the Spirit of God then we have been adopted as Sons of God, which Paul knew and wrote about:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
So why did he write that creation was still WAITING for the revealing of the Sons of God. There is a clear implication that there was something more that Paul was referring to that had not yet been revealed.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”
These words were written to people who were born again ie saved so what more concerning salvation did they have to work out? An easy answer is plainly the conflict between the nature of sin at work in the body versus the life of the spirit and being conformed to the person of Jesus Christ BUT
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed”
(1 Cor 15:51).
A ‘mystery’ from the original Greek is a hidden truth about God.
The Bible also says:
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are ALIVE AND REMAIN unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.”
(1 Thess 4:15)
WHAT JESUS HAD TO SAY ABOUT DEATH AND ETERNAL LIFE (THE PROMISE):
““You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he (Jesus) said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” ”
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Now for me that last verse is pretty clear and plain in what it is saying with very little ambiguity. But what is the problem and how do we overcome it? Essentially the problem is sin and finding our way back into the Garden of Eden, in a spiritual sense because it no longer exists in a physical sense.
THE ORIGIN OF SIN:
We all know the story of Adam and Eve and the ‘apple’, but one aspect of the fall that we rarely think of is this:
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Is it possible to get back to the tree of life?
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
Here those who ‘wash their robes’ are given access to the tree of life and this has two meanings – one we are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb so on one level it refers to salvation however there is also the process of sanctification whereby we are ‘refined by the fire’ into pure gold, having resolved all our issues, healed all hurts, and are fully submitted to God.
But first let us just take a look at some other examples to establish the fullness of this revelation.
LONGEVITY AND ETERNAL LIFE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT:
“Therefore you people shall be watchful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord you God has commanded, that you may live and that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land which you shall possess.”
Intimacy with God brings about life. We are conditioned to thinking about this Eternal Life we are promised as something that happens after we die, that only upon our death does our spirit ascend to heaven and enjoy an eternal existence with our creator. But we have two important examples that would indicate the possibility of another alternative. Neither Enoch nor Elijah actually died. Both of them experienced a level of intimacy with God that enabled them both to be translated directly to heaven without dying. In Genesis chapter 5, we read a list of the descendents of Adam and we see a list of people living for nine hundred years and more. Even after the flood longevity amongst individuals who enjoyed a close relationship with God was common.
(Pre-Flood) AGE AT DEATH
Enoch Translated at 365
(Post-Flood) AGE AT DEATH
(died in full health)
Although people steadily lived shorter and shorter lives after the flood there is a very reasonable explanation for this. The more successive generations there were from Adam the more sin there was in the world and the more time death had to establish itself in the genetic pattern of man.
However there is ANOTHER message for us in the scriptures about this.
“And if you and your descendants want to live a long time, you must always worship the LORD and obey his laws.”
“If you stop sinning and start doing right, you will keep living and be secure forever.”
“God’s people will own the land and live here forever.”
“The Lord says, ‘If you love me and truly know who I am, I will rescue you and keep you safe. When you are in trouble, call out to me. I will answer and be there to protect and honor you. You will live a long life and see my saving power.’ ”
“Follow the road to life, and you won’t be bothered by death.”
“Obey the Lord’s teachings and you will live– disobey and you will die.”
This scripture could not possibly put it more succinctly – the options are very clear.
REMEMBER THE TREE OF LIFE THAT WE ARE BARRED FROM:
“In her right hand Wisdom holds a long life, and in her left hand are wealth and honour. Wisdom makes life pleasant and leads us safely along. Wisdom is a life-giving tree, the source of happiness for all who hold on to her.”
“Live right, and you will eat from the life-giving tree. And if you act wisely, others will follow.”
This particular scripture is the most interesting as it is a promise to be able to eat again from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden – the way to which has been barred to man in his sinful state! And not only that but other’s will follow our example.
Death is the consequence of sin and surely Life is the consequence of Grace and forgiveness of sin working in us. Jesus Himself said,
“A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.”
And there many other scriptures in the New Testament referring to the Life that is available to those who believe.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There is always John 3:16 for the promise of Life but here are a few, perhaps less familiar passages:
“I tell you for certain that everyone who hears my message and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life.”
I find this passage in John particularly interesting as it shows that we already transferred from death to life when we became born-again. It is a reality of freedom from sin which we received when we accepted Jesus substitutionary act on the cross.
“Jesus then said, ‘I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even (G2579) if they die.’ ”
The Greek word translated here as ‘even’ is extremely interesting as it is a word that is created by joining two particles to create the meaning ‘and (or even) if (Strong’s G2579). The one root word used (Strong’s G1437) has a strong sense of indefiniteness and uncertainty by which we can conclude that death is not a forgone conclusion and that even if you fail to understand this truth and physically die then you will continue to have eternal life in heaven.
JESUS IS THE EXAMPLE SET BEFORE US:
Firstly Christ is the second Adam come to give Life where the first Adam brought death – Romans 5:14 “Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] as Adam did. Adam was a type [prefigure] of the One Who was to come [in reverse, the former destructive, the Latter saving].” (AMP)
I just want to say something about Adam and Eve at this point. Many people believe that Adam and Eve were not real individuals but were a metaphorical representation of a group of ‘first’ people. This is plain nonsense. God works to patterns. If ONE man brought Death through sin then ONE man Jesus could bring atonement and Life. The entire Old Testament is about establishing patterns for salvation. Some very quick examples.
1. One man, brought sin into the world, therefore one man, Jesus, could redeem the world.
2. Clean blood could cleanse man of sin (system of sacrificial offerings, more specifically the sacrificial lamb). Also seen through the blood at Passover.
3. Faith leads to righteousness as seen with Abraham. This establishes the pattern by which we are saved today. It is not through some act or works that we are saved. It is by faith.
THE WORK OF THE CROSS
Through the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross God made a way for not only us, but all of creation to be reconciled back to Himself, redeeming us from the curse.
“And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention) of Him [the Son] all things should be reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of the cross
Jesus is expecting a perfect bride. When Adam failed, God had to make a way for us to be restored. The Cross was the Way, Jesus was the Way. His life and death made it possible for us to be restored back into a right relationship with God, to be set free from the curse, and through a growing intimacy be obedient to the Will of God and through growing obedience and intimacy prepare ourselves and the earth for the return of Christ for His bride and to prepare His inheritance, in which we will share.
The blood of Christ is an eternal atonement for all sin. The covenant meal that Christ established through the last supper refers to His shed blood which ratifies the New Covenant established by God whereby we come into a right relationship with God through Grace. In Leviticus Chapter 25 the Lord gives His rules of good land management and, most importantly, in verse 25 establishes the principal of a kinsman redeeming the land that has been sold. Christ became a man so that this rule of redemption was kept, so that we can re-acquire all that was lost through Adam’s sin.
JESUS AS THE SECOND ADAM
When Adam failed and sinned death entered the world. The solution had to be the opposite of the problem –
Adam disobeyed => sin => loss of intimacy and authority => death.
Jesus’ obedience => sinlessness => regained intimacy & authority => life.
Jesus had to be everything Adam was not, pay the price for the sin of man, and fulfil every letter of the Law God had established. This is the Doctrine of Redemption which we all know as the Gospel Message as John puts it so well “For God so loved world that He sent His only son that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” But there is so much more to the story of Jesus, particularly as the Second Adam.
Before Christ died on the cross there was no way for man to redeem himself in the sight of God and the law demanded a perfect sacrifice therefore Christ had to be born without sin in order to fulfil the law. Secondly he had to live a life completely without sin until sin was poured out on him at the crucifixion.
However to solve the problem of the curse for us Jesus had to die on the cross. Everyone who is hung on a tree becomes a curse
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”
“And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God.
– Jesus took on the curse head on and solved it – we can sing and dance for joy because we are no longer under a curse. Death no longer binds us. Lack of authority no longer hinders us. Intimacy no longer eludes us. The veil is torn for all time and we are able to enter into the Holy of Holies – the place of intimacy without fear of death and speak directly with God through the Holy Spirit. We no longer have any excuse!
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:2 (ESV)
In other words the Law that the wages of sin is death is no longer active and effective in us.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
We must ‘work out our salvation’ by overcoming the demands of the flesh – the self-life and become sanctified.
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
1 Cor 15:21-23
and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
2 Tim 1:10
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Jesus ‘tasted death for everyone’ so that we don’t have to! Praise the Lord for this perfect plan of redemption from the effects of sin. We are free even of the fear of death and certainly of death itself.
I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
“God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”
Jesus could not be held by death because he was without sin. Although he had to die in order to pay the price for sin as death is the price that is demanded. He died to redeem us but by being resurrected from the dead in a changed but nonetheless real physical body that ate, still held the wounds of his crucifixion and was physically real and touchable. These stories of the physical reality of resurrected Christ are not just to prove he rose from the dead but to illustrate a reality of a transformed being restored to the fullness of life. Life that was lost by Adam was now restored in Christ. The resurrection of Christ as a physical being is profoundly important. Nothing is in the Bible by chance. If proof that Jesus was physically resurrected is there, it is there for a purpose.
Jesus appears to the Disciples and shows them His wounds proving it is physically really Him:
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Thomas not only sees that Jesus is physically resurrected but touches His body as well.
Jesus appears to His disciples and eats:
But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND IDENTIFICATION WITH CHRIST
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Righteous is a legal term used in a court of law. It means ‘not guilty’. So if we are made righteous ie not guilty then we are not only free from sin but it is as if we had never sinned. There is nothing to condemn us. It is not that God chooses not to judge us but that we are already judged and found innocent because of the cross. This is a very important point to remember.
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Here Paul makes it clear that we are to share in the resurrection life of Christ, but I say, which Paul only hinted at, is that we do not have die physically in order to do so. Christ already died for us so that we do not have to. We are identified with the death of Christ through baptism, in baptism we are raised from the state of death in sin into life. It is a done deal – all we have to do is understand and accept the truth as reality in our lives.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.”
If we have been baptised into Christ we also died, if we died then we were resurrected from death. Death cannot hold us any more than it can hold Jesus. He paid the price for our sins, and we are fully identified with him in his death AND resurrection. Therefore we should be able to participate in the example of the resurrected life Jesus showed.
In Acts we have two examples of resurrected life shown to us. One is the translation of Philip
And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
And the other is …..
Now if the good news says that Christ came back from the dead, how do some of you say that there is no coming back from the dead? But if there is no coming back from the dead, then Christ has not come back from the dead: And if Christ did not come again from the dead, then our good news and your faith in it are of no effect. Yes, and we are seen to be false witnesses of God; because we gave witness of God that by his power Christ came again from the dead: which is not true if there is no coming back from the dead. For if it is not possible for the dead to come to life again, then Christ has not come to life again: And if that is so, your faith is of no effect; you are still in your sins. And, in addition, the dead in Christ have gone to destruction. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most unhappy. But now Christ has truly come back from the dead, the first-fruits of those who are sleeping. For as by man came death, so by man there is a coming back from the dead. For as in Adam death comes to all, so in Christ will all come back to life. But every man in his right order: Christ the first-fruits; then those who are Christ’s at his coming. Then comes the end, when he will give up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have put an end to all rule and to all authority and power. For his rule will go on till he has put all those who are against him under his feet. The last power to come to an end is death. For, as it says, He has put all things under his feet. But when he says, All things are put under him, it is clear that it is not said about him who put all things under him. And when all things have been put under him, then will the Son himself be under him who put all things under him, so that God may be all in all. Again, what will they do who are given baptism for the dead? if the dead do not come back at all, why are people given baptism for them? And why are we in danger every hour? Yes, truly, by your pride in me, my brothers in Christ Jesus our Lord, my life is one long death. If, after the way of men, I was fighting with beasts at Ephesus, what profit is it to me? If the dead do not come to life again, let us take our pleasure in feasting, for tomorrow we come to an end.
1 Cor 15:12-32
And thus Paul restored a young man who had fallen to his death:
“And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.”
I know that we are taught that eternal life is a state of spiritual being that occurs after physical death, but as I said right at the beginning, this has never made any sense to me whatsoever. God made man a physical being into whom He breathed His Spirit to bring life.
Please bear with me through one more word study from Genesis.
Man is created to be similar to God and to be a representative of God, who is Spirit, in a material or physical form to interact with a material or physical world. This is further evidenced by the fact that Adam is a unique combination of literally the earth and the Spirit of God.
“The Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man and the man started breathing.”
The word we transliterate as ‘Adam’ is ‘âdâm’ (H120) in Hebrew. Earth is ‘Adâmah’ (H126) and both words derive from the same root word ‘âdam’ (H19 ) which means to be reddish in colour. Adam was so closely identified with the very soil that both he and the ground derive their names from the same root word. Red soil, by the way, is the richest, most fertile, most life-giving soil in the world.
But after the fall God pronounces a curse on Adam.
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Here God uses the word ‘aphar’ to describe Adam’s physical nature. Aphar means ‘grey’. Grey soil is the least fertile, lacking in nutrients and can be termed ‘dead’ as it is not capable of supporting life. So we see that Adam’s own nature has changed. He is no longer formed of ‘adamah’ the red or fertile life-giving soil but of ‘aphar’ infertile dead grey dust. Adam’s physical being has changed – it is no longer alive and death has entered into the world, both spiritual death through separation from God and physical death has entered Adam’s body as God changed Adam’s physical characteristics through the curse.
Now if we believe Christ came to redeem us from the curse then we must believe that Christ came to redeem us from ALL the effects of the curse. Physical and spiritual.
And just in case you doubt the power of God to change our mortal bodies:
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Further we have the example that with the resurrection of Christ others were also raised with Him.
“and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep [died] were raised; and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many.”
So the last question remains – how do we appropriate the fullness of the cross and the fullness of the resurrection?
1. Appropriating the truth by faith.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.
If faith in God resulted in Enoch’s translation and escape from death BEFORE the cross how much easier is it for us WITH the cross.
“Therefore, since the children have flesh and blood, he himself also shared the same things, so that by his death he might destroy the one who has the power of death (that is, the devil)”
Hebrews 2;14 (ISV).
2. Accepting the truth applies to us.
Understanding and knowing truth is of no good until we take it and apply it.
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?
James 2:14 (KJV)
That which we believe must be made manifest in us otherwise it is of no profit.
The garden of Eden no longer exists in the physical realm until such time as we see the return of the Christ and the establishment of the New Earth and the New Jerusalem. However it still exists in the spiritual realm. Jesus, Wisdom, stands with the branch of the tree of life in Hand waiting to give you life. The cross is both the bridge and the password. The cross bridges the divide between life and death. We must cross over and fully realise all our salvation. We must pass the cherubim with the flaming sword by knowing that we know that we know that we are free from sin, and free from the Law of sin and death. We have the right to pass because of the cross, because of salvation, because of baptism, because of the blood of the Lamb, because of Jesus.
Enter in to the Promise, enter in to the garden and partake of Life.
This isn’t just about death being swallowed up. It is about receiving ALL the promise of the cross and entering into the fullness of salvation. This is what it means to be fully transformed into the image or likeness of Christ. This is what Paul spoke about when he said ‘work out your salvation’. God is not just present in you, but you are truly one with God. It changes everything in how we relate to God because finally that curtain between us and God is fully pulled down in us.