Bob Dylan sang, “For the times they are a-changin’.” The Bible promises that at Jesus’ Second Coming, every Christian — both dead and alive — will be a-changin’ in the twinkling of an eye.
Our perishable, earthly bodies will be transformed into imperishable, heavenly bodies ready for eternity.
What details does the Bible supply about these new, spiritual bodies? What will they look like? We don’t have tons of information, but we have some (Please read 1 Corinthians 15:35-50). The apostle Paul wrote that our new spiritual bodies will be different from our physical bodies, yet somehow related.
Consider, if I were to hold up a 14-inch-long cylindrical object, which was filled with long rows of yellow, hardened kernels, you’d know it was corn. But if I phoned you and said I was driving by fields filled with rows of 8-foot tall plants, with long, wide leaves, and there were tassels at the top of each stalk, you’d realize it was a field of corn.
Which description of corn is correct? Both. It’s corn at different stages of life.
In our physical bodies, we are who we are. However, at Christ’s Second Coming, we’re going to leave these physical bodies behind. We’ll be given our new glorified, resurrection bodies, and yet we’ll still be us. Different yes, but just at a different stage of life.
The apostle Paul gives several comparisons between our present, physical, earthly bodies and our future, spiritual, glorified resurrection bodies.
- Earthly bodies — temporary and mortal; Heavenly bodies — raised to live forever, immortal.
Every earthly body is slowly falling apart. Many of us creak and groan with aches and pains. We’ve watched loved ones age and pass away. Physical death is inevitable.
However, the Scriptures promise our new resurrection bodies will be immortal. They won’t wear out. We may get 80-90 years out of our physical bodies, but our new spiritual bodies are going to last forever, with no surgeries, replacement parts, tune-ups, or expensive medications needed!
- Earthly bodies — buried in brokenness and weakness; Heavenly bodies — raised in glory and strength
Paul described our earthly bodies as broken and weak. Things break, we get sick, we fight disease and genetic disorders, and accidents happen. But our new bodies will be raised in glory and strength, reflecting the immortal glory of the resurrected Jesus Christ.
- Earthly bodies — buried as natural human bodies; Heavenly bodies — raised as spiritual bodies
Paul said we’re buried as natural human bodies and raised as spiritual bodies. Jesus Christ will transform us. Flesh and blood can’t inherit the Kingdom of God. We must all be changed. We shouldn’t fear it; we should welcome it as the next stage in our lives.
- Earthly bodies — like the first Adam; Heavenly bodies — like the second Adam (Jesus)
Paul said that in our earthly bodies, we’re like the first Adam, the physical Adam, the Adam of the Garden of Eden; the Adam who was burdened with the effects of sin, lived by the sweat of his brow, and eventually died.
But in our recreation, we’re like the second Adam, Jesus Christ. We’re glorified and prepared to be in God’s presence and to enjoy the fruits of Heaven forever.
As Revelation 21:4 (ESV) says, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The apostle Paul provided some characteristics and details, but nothing concrete concerning our transformed appearance. Will we look something like we do now? Perhaps, but Scripture hints that we’ll recognize one another.
The key to everything we’ve talked about today is being “in Christ.” If you want to experience eternity in Heaven with God, the Scripture says you’ve got to be “in Christ.” There’s no other way to be “in Christ” than by believing in Jesus Christ, acknowledging Him as Lord and Savior, and finally by being baptized into Him.
When we’re baptized into Christ, we’re united with His death, burial and resurrection, and clothed with His righteousness.
Are you “in Christ?”