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Questions and Answers

Will everyone receive a new body when they die or just believers?

Believers have a sure hope that our bodies will be raised from the dead—that we will be clothed with “the imperishable” and “immortality” (1 Cor. 15:54). We look forward to the day in which we will enjoy humanity to the fullest, in the presence of God and without the presence of sin. In new, sinless, glorified bodies we will celebrate this joy forever!

Scripture also describes people in eternal judgment experiencing bodily punishment. Jesus spoke of dealing with lust so that one’s “whole body” would not be thrown into hell (Matt. 5:29–30). In Revelation 20:13, “the sea gave up the dead that were in it,” the sea houses bodies, not souls. Unbelievers who perished at sea will be raised physically and receive judgment.

The true substance of these eternal bodies is unknown to us. We only know that believers will gain completely righteous bodies and will be able to stand in the presence of God and know Him in His fullness (1 Cor. 13:12). Unbelievers will undergo the torment of the wrath of God in an eternal form of a sinful body. This should motivate us with zeal, boldness, courage, and love to have conversations with our unsaved loved ones, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, explaining the gospel with clarity and urgency.


What is the difference between being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit (as stated in Acts 8:16)?

 In Acts, Luke speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit in terms of baptism, filling, and receiving. These terms overlap in their experiences while retaining different meanings. When the believers gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost, they experienced the Spirit of God. The writer describes this as being filled (Acts 2:4). Yet, when Jesus commanded them to go to Jerusalem, he told them that they were to “wait for the gift [his] Father promised,” which was to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4–5).

When the promise was fulfilled in Acts 2, we believe this baptism and filling occurred simultaneously. The believers were baptized (or immersed) fully in the Spirit of God and united to Christ eternally (see also 1 Cor. 12:12–13). At the same time, the believers were filled with the Spirit and empowered to do the work of Christ in the grace of His strength. In John 20:22 we learn that this special event united and empowered the disciples until Pentecost.

The Apostle Paul, an unbeliever at Pentecost, experienced baptism and filling of the Spirit simultaneously (Acts 9:17). Those baptized in the Spirit once were filled repeatedly by the Spirit to do the work of God (Acts 4:8, 31; 13:9, 52). The word receive is seen in Acts 8 when Luke described the baptizing work as something one receives from God. In Acts 10 and 11 he describes the baptizing work as something that is poured out from God in heaven and falls onto believers (10:44–45; 11:15, 16).

I'm confused. Sometimes I hear believers refer to themselves as "sinners." Aren't we now considered "saints"? Why do Christians still call themselves sinners?

 I think believers have a partner in the Apostle Paul when it comes to recognizing ourselves as sinners, for he says, “I am . . . the worst of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15–16). The Apostle John also reminds us that Jesus is our Advocate before God the Father “if anybody does sin” (1 John 2:1). The call from the Apostle Peter for us to “be holy” reflects the fact that we have sins that we must overcome—that we are sinners (1 Peter 1:16). The father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, used the phrase “simul justus et peccator” to describe believers. Translated it means, “simultaneously righteous and sinner,” or at the same time we are both just in the sight of God and peccable in our actions before Him. Our righteous status before God rests solely on our identity with Christ: “in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ, our Advocate and Mediator, secures our salvation forever.

Presently, however, we walk before God in a relationship of daily thoughts, intentions, motives, goals, and choices. In this relationship we fight to put off and put to death sinful ways and to reckon ourselves dead to sin in our actions (Rom. 6:11; Eph. 4:22–24; Col. 3:5). We equally strive for holiness, seeking to put on the character of Christ (Col. 3:12–17; Heb. 12:14). We battle temptations, like fish being baited by an angler’s worm on a hook but resisting (James 1:13–15; 1 John 2:15–17). Yet we remain saints because Christ has provided redemption for us.

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his master of arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in the Chicagoland area.

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