Quicken Your Mortal Bodies.
QUES. Please give me your explanation of the text, "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth in you." Does it refer to the resurrection of the saints at the coming of Christ referred to in 1 Cor. 15. If so, how shall we harmonize this statement with the one there made, viz.: "It is sown a natural body; raised a spiritual body." "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption." Now, if God merely makes alive (quickens) the mortal body, would it be anything more than a living mortal body? Can it be properly termed "a spiritual body?"
ANS. Undoubtedly a living mortal body is not a spiritual body; and Paul is not in the text quoted referring to the same thing as in 1 Cor. 15. But before we explain, please read the text referred to, Rom. 8:11. Now read the ten preceding and the five succeeding verses.
Christians die literally and will have an actual resurrection, as mentioned in 1 Cor. 15, and elsewhere but they are frequently spoken of as dying in another sense, as in Rom. 6:11: "Reckon ye yourselves to be [R93 : page 7] dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let not sin, therefore, reign in (control) your mortal bodies,...but yield yourselves [while still mortal bodies] unto God, as those that are alive from the dead." So also in the text you quote. The preceding verse declares that "If Christ be in you, the body is dead," but the spirit is alive, and in this verse 11, he assures that the power of God, which was mighty enough to raise up Jesus, is able and "shall quicken our mortal bodies by His spirit which dwelleth in us." In other words, the same spirit, by which we crucify the flesh and reckon ourselves dead, is able to so subdue and control this mortal body, that it will be alive and active, in harmony with our new or spiritual nature. Would that more of God's children knew, experimentally, of this death and this quickening. We become alive toward God just in proportion as we become dead to sin.
QUES. Can the term church be properly applied to any but that company of saints who will have part in the first resurrection?
ANS. The term church signifies congregation. The Greek is ekklesia, and signifies the called-out ones. It would be, therefore, proper enough to apply it to any called-out company. In the New Testament use of the word, however, it is almost invariably used in reference to the first resurrection saints, of whom it is said: "God did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name." An exception to this rule occurs in Acts 7:38, where the word congregation--ekklesia--is applied to fleshly Israel.
QUES. Will dead saints be resurrected in their mortal bodies, and afterward changed along with the living?
ANS. We think not. Paul is our authority for saying "It is raised a spiritual body"--"raised in incorruption" --"power," and "glory." (1 Cor. 15:42-44.)