Regeneration to Resurrection and Holiness in the Middle

I find it tragically easy to dislocate my pursuit of daily holiness (spiritual disciplines and progressive sanctification) from the broader picture of God’s redemptive plan over my life in Christ. Our hope of future resurrection must not negate the value of our daily progress, just as our daily progress must not diminish our hope for the incredible transformation that must happen to us in resurrection. Murray J. Harris explains this well in his textual notes on 2 Corinthians 4:16 in his excellent commentary (page 360):

For Paul, the spiritual body was not simply the state of the renewed “inner self” at the time of the believer’s death, but it seems a priori likely that he saw a relationship between the two, that he regarded resurrection not as a creatio ex nihilo, a sudden divine operation unrelated to the past, but as the fulfillment of a spiritual process begun at regeneration.

The daily renewal of the “inward person” (4:16) contributed toward the progressive transformation of the believer into the image of Christ (3:18) in a process that would be accelerated and completed by resurrection. Paul does not explicitly say that his ἔσω ἄνθρωπος [inner being] is the embryo of the spiritual body or bears its undeveloped image, but the natural transition of his thought from 4:16 to 5:1–4 shows that this sentiment would have been congenial to him.

As a result of the final convulsion of resurrection, the butterfly of the spiritual body will emerge from the chrysalis of the renewed “inner person.”

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