When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54) Here’s death, and death is the great devourer of the human race. One-by- one, death swallows every one of...
Our bodies run rife with limitations.
We age, get slower, need more rest, and are not able to keep up with our loved ones and the responsibilities of a physical life. We suffer from aches and pains. We can sense darkness around us, and struggle to get even the smallest hint of God’s holy light.
But for those who trust in Christ, it will not always be this way. Having bound ourselves to him, we are no longer citizens of this world, “but our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).
So what can we expect from these glorious bodies that Jesus will give us?
Our Bodies, Transformed
And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. (Luke 24:31a)
While in some cases it took a moment, like with the men in Luke 24 who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, eventually the resurrected Christ was recognized. The wording in Luke 24 is clear—the people saw him and recognized him with their eyes. They physically saw him, and he looked like himself.
Also, remember that Jesus’s tomb was empty. He didn’t make a new body and leave the old behind. Jesus’s earthly body was transformed from its lowly state into a glorious one, just as the apostle Paul tells us ours shall be.
Paul also tells us that “just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:42-49), and John tells us that “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2b).
These verses paint a clear picture: Our earthly bodies will be fully purified by Christ’s coming, becoming like him and yet still recognizably ourselves—the best version of ourselves.
Our Limitations, Removed
Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26b-28)
Unlike us, Jesus’ body was never his master. While he showed this even before his resurrection—never succumbing to any temptation to sin—his resurrection body showed this truth fully. No longer bound by the limitations of the lowly body, Jesus’ glorified body now completely obeys his will. He can be where he wishes when he wishes, without concern for barricades or boundaries. Having conquered death, the pains of the body cannot stop him or slow him, and he wears the wounds of his service as badges of honor.
We will still have physical bodies, but they will be completely obedient to our Christ-perfected will. Paul describes it well in 1 Corinthians 15:
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (vv. 42-44)
Our lowly body was ruled by natural laws, but our glorified body is ruled by the Spirit; and our spirit will be totally purified and bound to Jesus through his life-giving Spirit on that day.
Our Pleasures, Celebrated
And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:41-43)
Some believe we will spend eternity as spirits, free from the bonds and pleasures of the body, but Jesus proved to his disciples that he still had flesh. A spirit has no reason to eat, but a body does. Jesus chose to eat with his disciples, proving that the resurrection body can still enjoy physical sensations.
Revelation 19 tells of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, a grand banquet that all believers will partake in after we have received our resurrection bodies. Jesus means to celebrate with us, enjoying all the pleasures of the spirit and the body.
Our Eternity, Ensured
Our present, lowly bodies can make it difficult to remember what God has in store for us, but he “has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 5:5b). This is why Jesus came: to free us from sin through his death, to defeat death for us through his resurrection, to prepare a place—and a party—for us in heaven through his ascendance, and to guarantee what he promises through the work of his Holy Spirit in us.
And when Jesus returns, he will transform us, body and soul, and we will stand justified and pure before the Father. Will you rely on Christ, persevering in your present, lowly body until that glorious day?