Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Raised in Glory (1 Corinthians 15)

"The body is … sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory" (1 Cor. 15:42–43).

The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” God created the world for His glory and for the happiness of His chosen people. Where will this happiness and this manifestation of God’s glory be more realized than in heaven? There the saints will glorify God and enjoy Him, not for a lifetime, not for a moment of bliss, but for eternity. We will untiringly and unceasingly worship and adore God in the company of the heavenly host.

While the concept of eternity is incomprehensible to finite beings, it is not entirely unknown to us—even in our fallen condition. Eternity has been stamped upon our nature. All people are made in the image of God, and while we are not eternal like God is eternal, we are immortal, and we have a sense of the immortality (Eccl. 3:11).

Jonathan Edwards urged his hearers to spend eternity in heaven, to take it by storm, and never to rest until it is a secure inheritance. Like Edwards, every Christian in every age should be urging others to seek the kingdom of heaven instead of foolishly living it up in this world. Human beings are not mortal creatures placed in this world to have fun, or to gut it out, and then to face the inevitable. Death will come, but that is not the end of your existence. Human beings are immortal. Yes, this mortal shell is dying day by day, but our lives are a prelude either to heaven or hell. We will not cease to exist following death, but, if we are redeemed, we will enter a world beyond our greatest expectation.

Heaven will be an eternity filled with purity, happiness, harmony, and loving communion with our eternal Father. In heaven, the souls of the saints will be reunited with glorified bodies, bodies that will be fitted for the uses of a holy and glorified soul. Man is not simply a spirit, but a physical being—and that is how he will exist for an eternity. All the disease, decay, and decadence of this life will drop away at the gates of heaven. There, the saints will be clothed in righteousness in body and soul. In this state, the saints will glorify God. This is the ultimate purpose and destiny awaiting the elect—a destiny that will only be realized in heaven.

Are you afraid of dying? Do you become depressed as you watch your body age, as you face illness and feel the pains of old age? If so, meditate on 1 Corinthians 15. Thank God that one day you will have a glorious body that will live forever. Be encouraged. Live this life confident of the wonderful reality yet to come.