We have already seen in John 5:24-29 that the OT prophesied the last great resurrection as a one time event, but this is fulfilled in a staggered “now- not yet” fashion: believers spiritual resurrection in Christ to be followed by a physical resurrection. However, we must not underestimate the resurrection that we have been given in Christ. As Christ has been raised to a new reality so Christians united to Christ has been raised to a new reality and are to live their lives in terms of this Resurrection New Creational Kingdom (Col. 1:13f)
In I Cor. 15 Paul portrays another version of this staggered resurrection fulfillment; The Messiah is physically resurrected first, and then later his people are raise physically. Remembering that the OT appeared to prophesy that all of God’s people together were to be resurrected as part of one event, Paul views the prophecy of the end time resurrection to begin fulfillment in Christ’s physical resurrection, which necessitates that the saint’ subsequent physical resurrection had to happen. In other words the great event of the final resurrection had begun in Christ but since the event was not completed in the resurrection of others, the completion of that prophesied event had to come at some point in the future.
G. K. Beale
A New Testament Biblical Theology — pg.261
However, we must be careful of the “Spiritual” Resurrection that wherein we have been resurrected. There is a tendency for the Reformed to make “Spiritual” speak Plato as if to mean “non intrusive in our every day to day lives.”
We have been resurrected so that our relationship to the old Adam is superseded by our relationship to the new Adam. This explains why the expectation is that we would walk in “newness of life.” We are resurrected beings and though we are not yet all that we one day will be we are creatures who live in this present age as walking and living in the age to come. Like Legolas in Tolkien’s work we live in two worlds at the same time but the creational age in which we have been resurrected is impinging on all around us that has not yet been resurrected. In some sense then we, as the resurrected, are the bearers of resurrection life to all that we come in contact with.
This reality of having been NOW resurrected with Christ is why Paul can write about our now being seated in the Heavenlies with Christ. It is why he could write that we have been NOW translated to the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, whom He loves. It is why he could write that our citizenship is in heaven, keeping in mind that heaven is invading this present wicked age via His resurrected citizenry.
The “NOW” of our Resurrected status can not be hidden under the bushel of the “not yet.” The Kingdom as come and we are citizens of that future creational age Kingdom bringing the aroma of Christ and that Kingdom unto all we come in contact with.