1 Corinthians 15:35-58, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
One summer day several years back, our family went with my friend Ryan and his family to the pool. I had just finished my master’s degree, and Ryan was wrapping up his Ph.D. That’s not important except to say that we were both bookish graduate students… with the physiques to match.
Just as I dipped into the pool, a young, strapping lifeguard with a barrel chest walked right up to the water’s edge. Ryan nudged me, gestured back toward the young man, and said, “That’s what I’ll look like in the resurrection.”
I doubled over. I’m so grateful for witty friends.
As Christians, we have an incredible and certain hope in our returning Savior. Scripture tells us that one day, “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). On that day we will all be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51). The world will be renewed. And, as Ryan reminded me, we will receive new, resurrected bodies.
The false teachers Paul addresses in today’s passage may have been influenced by the pagan philosophy of dualism—a belief system that taught that material things are bad and immaterial things are good. They denied the resurrection, in part, because they despised the human body.
If we’re honest, it can be easy for us to despise our bodies as well. We only know fallen bodies—bodies that store fat in the wrong places, take work to keep in shape, and then get sore after exercise. We wrinkle and age, many of us suffering from viruses and persistent conditions like high blood pressure. And ultimately, one day our bodies will die.
As Christians, there’s no need to be jaded about our bodies. Our Lord Jesus Christ offers us hope even for the weakness and brokenness of our physical frames. He was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday, and when He returns, we will be raised like Him!
For now, our bodies break down and die. They are corruptible. But when we are raised, our bodies will no longer break down. We will be incorruptible. Now we experience shame and dishonor over the shape of our physical bodies, as well as the diseases that infect them. But when we are raised from the dead, we will be raised in power and glory (1 Corinthians 15:42–43).
And perhaps most importantly, our bodies now are natural. Our living souls belong to Adam’s dust and this present evil age. We are sinners, and as a result, we will perish; death has a claim upon our earthly bodies. But when Christ returns and we are raised, our bodies will be made new. We will be citizens of heaven—without sin, experiencing life eternal, and living in such a way that our presence is always life-giving to others (vv. 44-49).
Death will be swallowed up with victory. Are you ready for that day? Come, Lord Jesus, and make us new!
Written by Jared Kennedy