Holding to Truth

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The Last Adam, Christ, Became a Life-giving Spirit

In 1 Corinthians 15:45 the Apostle Paul said, “The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.”

From the context of 1 Corinthians 15, it is clear that the “last Adam” is Christ. That’s because this “last Adam” is also the “second man” who is “out of heaven” in verse 47. Surely Christ is the unique man with the divine origin and the heavenly nature (John 1:1, 14).

The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit

But I’m afraid that few Christians would be so bold to affirm according to this clear word of the Bible that Christ today is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17).  Fear of being considered heretical might cause some believers to avoid declaring what the Bible plainly says.

However, if we have the proper understanding of Christ being the life-giving Spirit we’ll realize that it is neither heretical nor aberrant. It’s “biblical,”  and even more, it’s absolutely vital to our daily Christian life.

Without Christ being the life-giving Spirit in resurrection, He could never indwell our spirit to be our life (2 Tim. 4:22; Rom. 8:10)

But before we delve into this divine mystery, let’s make one point of clarification…

The Essential Trinity Remains Unchanged

To say that Christ today is the life-giving Spirit does not alter the essential and eternal coexistence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the Divine Trinity (Isa. 9:6; Heb. 7:3; Heb. 9:14). Just as God the Father is eternal, so also Christ the Son is  eternal and the Holy Spirit is also eternal.  The Three are forever coexisting and coinhering (existing within one another), always distinct but never separate.

We firmly hold such an orthodox Trinitarian understanding of the essential Trinity along with a multitude of other genuine believers of various persuasions.

However, at the same time we cannot argue with the economical operation of the divine Trinity in carrying out God’s eternal plan (2 Cor. 13:14).

So in this post, we’ll consider the Biblical truth of how Christ–the eternal Son (Heb. 7:3) who coexists with the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14)–can also be the life-giving Spirit in God’s economic move to dispense God into us.

How Christ became the life-giving Spirit

First, the Word, Who is the eternal God, became flesh—John 1:14

This is our Lord Jesus!

We cannot deny that the Triune God in His divine plan chose that the Son, the second of the Divinity Trinity, would be His physical embodiment. Colossians 2:9 clearly says,

“For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

So the entire Godhead was in Christ as the One with a physical body.  The lowly Man, Jesus of Nazareth, was the infinite God becoming a finite man. How marvelous!

John 1:14 tells us that,

“The Word [who was the complete God from eternity] became flesh.”

He put on something that the eternal God previously did not possess–humanity.

We treasure the fact that our Lord Jesus is our Emmanuel, “God with Us.” (Matt. 1:23)

“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail th’ incarnate Deity! “

Charles Wesley, the famed hymn writer of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” made this profound statement. In the second stanza of His famous hymn he declares:

Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.

We too should boldly declare, “Jesus is the Godhead veiled in flesh! Jesus is “the incarnate deity,” God come in the flesh to be “our Emmanuel.”

Christ’s deity is eternal and complete.  His humanity is genuine and perfect. So our Lord Jesus is both the complete God and the perfect man. He is divinity mingled with humanity with no third nature produced.

To believe that Jesus is God is essential to receiving God’s salvation. Jesus said in John 8:24 that “unless you believe that I AM [that is, the name of Jehovah, the name of God] you will die in your sins.”  If Jesus were not the “incarnate deity,” His death would be only the death of a martyr.  But because He is God incarnate, His sinless blood obtained an eternal redemption for all mankind–including you and me.

We need to tell the Lord,

“Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the eternal and complete God, who became a genuine and perfect man. Thank you that as a sinless man You shed Your precious blood that I might be redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. Lord, I believe into You and receive You as my Lord and Savior.”

Second, the last Adam [Christ in the flesh] became a life-giving Spirit—1 Cor. 15:45

Saving us from perdition is only the remedial step to bring us back to God’s original intention. That is, from the beginning, God purposed to enter into us to be our life (Gen. 2:9). God wanted to dispense His divine, eternal, uncreated life into our entire being (Rom. 8:10, 6, 11). In this way God could fill us with Himself that we might express Him (Eph. 3:19-21).

Dying to release His divine life, resurrecting to become the receivable Spirit

In order to accomplish this purpose Christ needed to die, not only to redeem us, but also to release the divine life that was concealed in the shell of His humanity. He  referred to Himself as the one “grain of wheat” that must fall into the ground and die to  produce “many grains” (us, His many brothers) in His resurrection (John 12:24; 20:17).

It was to carry out such an economical purpose that Christ had to pass through death and be transfigured into the life-giving Spirit in resurrection. It is by Christ’s becoming such a Spirit that He can be received by us and dwell in us.

Like a watermelon cut and becoming juice for our enjoyment

God is awesome. Yet as such a universally great One, He is not able to enter into us to mingle Himself with us. Such a great God might be likened to a beautiful and large watermelon. Yet God doesn’t want us simply to admire Him. He wants us to receive Him into us as our enjoyment and life supply.

To carry the analogy further, this “watermelon” [the incarnate God] needed to be “cut” on the cross and become “juice” [the Spirit] so  we could receive Him as our spiritual food and drink (John 7:37-39).

The life-giving Spirit being the living water gushing out of  Christ, the smitten rock, for God’s people to drink–Exodus 17:6; 1 Cor. 10:4

Rock, Bid the Waters Flow!

In 1 Corinthians 10:4 Paul told us that the smitten rock was Christ,

“All drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of a spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ.”

Out of the crucified Christ came such a drink! This “spiritual drink,” this living water, is the Spirit that was “not yet” before Jesus was crucified (John 7:39).  It was typified by the water that gushed out of the rock struck by Moses in the wilderness (Exo. 17:6).

Through His death, and in His resurrection, Jesus fulfilled His promise and gave us the Spirit as our drink! “The Spirit” is simply the resurrected Lord Jesus as the life-giving Spirit for our drinking.

Such a reality is not just for our understanding, but for our receiving, for our enjoyment.

But has your thirst been quenched by drinking of Christ as the life-giving Spirit?

How to receive Christ as the life-giving Spirit

First Corinthians 12:13 says that “were all given to drink one Spirit,” but verse 3 gives us the way. It says,

“No one can say, Jesus is Lord! [or Lord Jesus] except in the Holy Spirit.”

This is to call on the name of the Lord Jesus (Rom. 10:12-13). How wonderful! Whenever we call on the name of Jesus, we get the life-giving Spirit. That’s because in God’s economical move Christ became the Spirit so that we can receive Him (2 Cor. 3:17; John 1:12-13).

Try it! Cry out,

“Jesus is Lord! Lord Jesus! O Lord Jesus!  O Lord, I love You!”

Forget about trying to reconcile how Christ and the Holy Spirit are essentially distinct and yet how economically Christ is the life-giving Spirit. We can never fully understand this divine mystery. We simply need to believe what the Bible says and contact the Lord Jesus with our spirit, by calling on Him to drink of Him as the life-giving Spirit.

If you’ve enjoyed drinking of Christ as the life-giving Spirit, please share your enjoyment in a brief comment.

Further reading:

My appreciation and enjoyment of Christ as the life-giving Christ came from the numerous messages I’ve enjoyed by Witness Lee on this subject.

In particular, you may enjoy reading this excerpt on “Christ Becoming the All-inclusive Spirit” from his book The Subjective Experience of the Indwelling Christ.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

6 Replies

  1. David B Powell

    I was very touched by what you wrote brother Tom… David Powell Church in Memphis, Tn.

    1. Tom Smith

      David, how wonderful that Christ became the life-giving Spirit to be our life! May we enjoy this reality and share it with others so that they too can be filled with Christ in their spirit. “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” (2 Tim. 4:22) Thanks for the comment.

  2. Great presentation with so many important verses. Thanks.
    We cannot understand the inner being of the Triune God but praise Him that He has gone through a process to be the living water to us!

    1. Tom Smith

      Don, That’s right. We can appreciate from the Word that our Lord today is such a drinkable Spirit. We will never fully understand the mystery of the Triune God, but we can enjoy it. We can speak to the Rock [Christ] to bid the waters [the life-giving Spirit] flow for our spiritual drinking (Num. 20:8; 1 Cor. 10:4). What a mystery! We call on the name of the Lord Jesus, but we get the Spirit as our thirst-quenching drink (1 Cor. 12:3). Thanks for the encouraging comment.

  3. Didier Kirady

    It is wonderful to know that we have a spirit! It is also wondrous knowing that Christ is the life-giving Spirit in our regenerated spirit. I couldn’t help but drink in of the drinkable Spirit, while reading your presentation on, “The last Adam becoming a life-giving Spirit.” It is so enjoyable to drink to Lord into our being by the calling of His name. O Lord Jesus! You make our spirit strong, simply by drinking in of You as the life-giving Spirit, “our thirst-quenching drink.” O Lord Jesus! Thank You for the wondrous process You went threw, all to become to all who would call upon Your name, the life-giving Spirit, “our thirst-quenching drink.” Thank You Lord Jesus! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Amen.

    1. Tom Smith

      Didier, Contacting Christ as the life-giving Spirit was one of the greatest discoveries of my Christian life. When I first called on the name of Jesus from deep within, from my spirit, I really touched Him. I was in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3), and the Lord became more real, and rich to me than every before (Rom. 10:13). He was not only my Savior Who died on the cross for my sins (1 Cor. 15:3). Now He became the indwelling Spirit of Christ, in my spirit (Rom. 8:9-10). Knowing Christ as the life-giving Spirit with our spirit makes our Christian life so new and subjectively real in our daily experience (v.16). My prayer is that every genuine, reborn believer would make this awesome discovery and begin to call on the Lord Jesus moment by moment to receive Him as the “Holy Breath” (John 20:22) to become inwardly living and vital to fulfill God’s purpose in and through them. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

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