1CORINTHIANS 15:35-58 (NIV – UK)
The resurrection body
35 But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’ 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: people have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendour of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendour of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendour, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendour.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’ [Genesis 2:7]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ [Isaiah 25:8]
55 ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ [Hosea 13:14]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.
IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE
The great Christian hope is that we will one day inherit the Kingdom of God – in other words, we will share with Jesus in his New Kingdom forever. And in order to do that, we must first be raised imperishable (v. 50) i.e. we must be resurrected with Jesus – receiving a new body that won’t perish, but will last forever. Sounds too good to be true, huh? Well it is true!
When Jesus comes again – that moment all his followers long for – the most amazing thing will happen – we will all be changed ‘in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye’ (v. 52). It’s beautifully poetic and wonderfully desirable. Those in Jesus will be immortal and death will be finally smashed to nothing by the victory of Jesus – ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’ (v. 54).
What a joyful hope we hold on to! What a glorious future laid out before those who love Jesus – an eternity of enjoying him.
Question: How does the idea of eternity with Jesus make you feel?