The kingdom promise of a glorious resurrection can be a confusing one. It is hard to imagine a world where believers are raised in glory and power—their natural, earthly bodies having been transformed (1Corinthians 15:40, 42–44). The promise of glory stands in contrast to just about everything that we experience on a day-to-day basis here on earth.
The natural bodies that will be transformed in the final resurrection are the same bodies that endure all sorts of affliction here on earth. Similar to God’s promise to make everything new, His promise to make us glorious is the reimagination of biological life itself—a body without pain or hardship (Revelation 21). Inherent in this promise is an acknowledgement of the physical struggles we often experience on earth and a reminder that the pain and fatigue we experience will not last forever. The bodies of believers in this life battle sickness, heartache, and brokenness; in the new heaven and new earth, those things will be no more. Our bodies will “bear the image of the man of heaven” (1Corinthians 15:49), Jesus Christ. We will shine “like the stars” (Daniel 12:3), taking on a measure of beauty beyond what is possible in this age.
Living with this promise in view is an example of what it looks like to experience the already-not-yet nature of God’s kingdom. We have already been given the glory of having the Spirit of God reside within us (Ephesians 1:14), but have not yet experienced the glory of the new bodies we will one day inherit. That day may seem far off, but because of Christ, it is also a guarantee.