As the Lord led, I ended the August 4, 2019 post, Man No Freak Accident, under the category, Biblical Worldview, speaking of God’s eternal destiny for man. God’s originally planned eternal destiny for man is now for faithful followers of Jesus Christ and glorious beyond human words! Even so, we are given glimpses of man’s astounding eternal destiny in Christ through words He and His apostles spoke that were written down in Holy Scripture. These Scriptures were meant for us to understand through the illuminating agency of the Holy Spirit sent into the world for that very purpose among other of His responsibilities (John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16).
Truly, man is not only a creature, but God’s highest creation as the only of His creatures expressly made in the divine image and likeness! Let’s get it said right here as Scripture does that this amazing truth applies equally to man as male and female as God designed each respectively to function in serving His purposes in this present mortal age (Genesis 1:26-28, 5:1-2).1 Just because God did not initially speak of man’s eternal destiny as immortals, does not mean this was not His plan from the beginning; a plan postponed by God only after man’s fall as foreknown by Him since Christ as Savior was already set to come (Genesis 3:22-24; 2 Timothy 1:8-11)!
As I wrote in another place, the first stage of human existence is mortal.2 However, the second, last and ultimate end of mortal man is immortality whether as condemned rebels forever with fallen angels in Hell or redeemed by grace through faith in the Gospel of and standing with Christ in eternal glory (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, 25:31-46)! Those that stand with Christ fulfill with Him the spiritual end of God’s creation of man which is to be eternal sons to rule over all of His created works including angels (1 Corinthians 6:3; Hebrews 2:5-13).3 The creation of man from the dust in mortal, natural bodies begins with the original man, Adam (Genesis 2:7).
In a context explaining to the church at Corinth how essential the possibility of resurrection from the dead is and the reality of Christ’s (1 Corinthians 15:1-34), the apostle Paul presents the means of it and why it is necessary beginning with mortal Adam (1 Corinthians 15:35-58). Explaining the means of resurrection, Paul unapologetically points to God in power and wisdom! In accord with His mighty power and eternal plans prepared in advance, Paul teaches God makes the second, immortal stage of man possible by overcoming death through resurrection and metamorphosis as is commonly seen, for example, in the planting of a grain seed (1 Corinthians 15:35-44).
Adam introduced death to himself and “the world” in the instant of his disobedience to God as he had been warned would occur (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:6-11, 17-19; Romans 5:12, NKJV). Death has reigned from Adam--the first and federal head of mankind as well as “a type of Him who was to come” as Deliverer--through sin ever since even during the centuries without law from God (Genesis 3:15; Romans 5:13-14, NKJV). However, in God’s “grace” and perfect timing He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, from Heaven to earth “born of a woman” and “under the law” with the free gift of salvation, eternal life and “adoption as sons” through faith in Him (Romans 5:15-21; Galatians 4:4-6, NKJV)!4
Summarizing the apostle Paul’s teaching from 1 Corinthians 15:45-49, the first Adam is of the earth and was brought to life by God from its dust. Like him, all mankind is of the earth too, bears Adam’s fallen creature image and shares in his experience of death. But Jesus Christ the second and last Adam is from Heaven having eternally been God, the Son and Word of God (John 1:1-5, 14-18). Though in His incarnation a body was “prepared for” Him, He always “Am”; ready to give eternal life to all who believe on Him (Luke 1:26-35; John 8:51-58; Hebrews 10:5-7, NKJV)! Those who line up behind Christ as their Head by faith are made spiritual sons of Heaven and live forever bearing His glorious immortal image as planned before time by God (Romans 8:29-30).
Still limited by their earthbound thinking, many professed Christians refuse to believe God will do anything different with our bodies at the resurrection to immortality other than what we have now in form and function as male and female after the first Adam. However, Paul teaches that while these natural, mortal “flesh and blood” bodies do come first, they “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” and a metamorphosis is required (1 Corinthians 15:50-53, NKJV)!5 Because Christ’s former mortal body has already undergone the metamorphosis to immortality, Paul writes we no longer “know Him” after “the flesh” and are to already be enjoying in Him the “new” things He now enjoys to be fully revealed to and in us at His coming (2 Corinthians 5:16-17; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2, NKJV).6
1 As I write in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, although the female version of man bears the image and likeness of God as creature glory after the
man, Adam, that glory nevertheless, is fully the glory of the divine image and likeness (1 Corinthians 11:7)! You can get a print copy of the book on sale in the
Strong Man Store.
2 See the July 3, 2016 post, Man As God Designed Him, under the category, God’s Creatures.
3 See the June 19, 2016 post, Eternal Sons Of God, under the category, Instruction.
4 Read the three-part post beginning January 29, 2017, Jesus, Son Of Man, under the category, The Cause.
5 Read the two-part post beginning May 18, 21014, The Body Beautiful, under the category, God’s Creatures.
6 Read the three-part post beginning July 10, 2016, Raised To Immortal Glory, and the July 31, 2016 post, The Immortal Bodies Of God’s Eternal Sons, all under the
category, God’s Creatures.
After He had sent the disciples of John the Baptist back to him to report what they had heard and seen Him do (Matthew 11:1-6), the Lord Jesus Christ turned to the multitudes present and asked a question that would launch His only recorded eulogy in the New Testament. He asked them once, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see?” Then, he asked twice for a total of three times, “But what did you go out to see,” (Matthew 11:7-9, NKJV)? The first two times the Lord asks the question, He purposely provides an inaccurate description of what John was all about. However, the third time He provides the accurate divine answer--the only one that ever finally matters!
So, now, in providing this opening of His eulogy for John the Baptist as a template in answer to my prayer for how to salute and bid farewell to my retiring Portland, OR friend and mentor, Dr. James Martin, Pastor of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church for over thirty-two years, I now ask the church he served, the many who visited, heard him on the radio or saw him on television during his tenure: what did you go out to see? Certainly one will say this and another that, but I will tell you three important things I saw from a biblical worldview and intermingled with my personal experience with him for the last twenty-two years to the glory of God. I saw a Pastor/Teacher, Administrator and Visionary!
Dr. Martin is a God gifted and called Pastor/Teacher and Administrator (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-30; Ephesians 4:11-16). I sought him out within the first six months of arriving in Portland to serve as a pastor in 1997 after hearing him on the radio. I had been sent from Fort Worth, Texas with the sound counsel to seek out seasoned pastors with whom I could continue my personal growth and development as well as be benefitted as a pastor in being mentored by such experienced men. Like so many others in all of the Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area, I was blessed to my soul to hear Doc (my nickname for him) teach God’s Word with His power, clarity, directness and some humor.
As I have often reminded him over the years, God sent him here at the right time and for the right reason as a faithful teacher of His Word since this highly unchurched part of our nation was (and is) so needy spiritually. The proof is how Mt. Olivet grew from about 300 when Doc arrived in 1987 to the nearly 2,000 attending by the time I came to town. Doc made room in his very busy schedule to meet with and welcome me over lunch after I called his office to request an appointment. That first lunch led to us meeting monthly when he was in town over the next twenty years. It turns out, he had been seeking opportunities to help other willing pastors and I knew God was at work.
Besides being a caring shepherd with an emphasis on teaching God’s flock, Doc’s gift of administration was abundantly evident too. I watched him adapt and expand the church’s organizational units to accommodate its growing services, ministries and activities especially when it became “one church in two locations.” During this busy time of expansion, Doc also kept a place in his schedule for me and a couple of other pastors on occasion that met with us--most deeply missed now is the positive interactions he and I shared with Pastor Terry Treadwell who departed to the Lord. Doc also led Mt. Olivet to help our church with building repairs, finances, worship and pulpit supply.
Finally, as a God enabled Visionary, Doc led Mt. Olivet from their original typical church building to purchase an old store and wrestling arena in North Portland to transform into a functional worship, educational and fellowship campus; a suburban storefront into a combination worship center with education, office and recreation space as a second campus. While doing those things, he led the church to plant other churches and send out missionaries to fulfill his commitment to the Lord’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). To this end as well, with his leading the church supported this Ministry in conducting the Strong Man Of God Rally in Oregon and Washington men’s prisons and was the first church in 2011 to host a signing for my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.1
Though our relationship started professionally, Doc and I became friends in the process. We held each other accountable in our personal walk, family life, ministries and doctrine with only a few disagreements. His enduring legacy with me is having helped me to be a better husband and father which I acknowledge in my book. My wife, Mary, and I also enjoyed the fellowship we had with Doc and his wife, Lynetta, out to lunch or dinner in their home (we had some great Thanksgivings at the Martin’s). What did you go out to see? To the glory of God, I with heavy heart, love and gratitude salute and bid farewell to a gifted Pastor/Teacher, Administrator, Visionary, brother, mentor and dear friend in Christ; wishing him all of the best going into his retirement from Mt. Olivet.
1 Get a print copy or digital download of the book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can
also get a print copy of the book in the Strong Man Store.
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