Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Resurrection of the Body (1 Corinthians 15

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed …" (1 Cor. 15:51).

Christianity stands alone in its unique teaching on the resurrection of the body. Some religions teach that the body and the soul will be annihilated. Others teach that the body will return to the dust and the soul will be absorbed into God, thus losing its personal identity. Many believe that the soul will be reincarnated in another form, but the original body will be lost forever. Some teach that the individual soul will be eternally separated from the body. Only Christianity teaches that the body and the soul will be reunited after death, that the bodies of believers will be raised from the dead and transformed into redeemed and perfected bodies in glory. We will not receive a newly created body, but our same flesh, these bodies that are now wasting away and burdened by the effects of sin, will be raised and transformed into glorious, incorruptible, imperishable bodies.

God created mankind as body and soul. When man fell, both his body and his soul were affected. Would it be right, then, to allow only the soul to be redeemed and not the body? Would it be true to God’s created order to separate man’s physical and spiritual natures, discarding his body as if it were evil? Certainly not. God, in His goodness and wisdom, has promised to redeem the whole man, not just our souls, but our bodies as well.

Jesus Christ is living proof of the resurrection: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:20–21). Here we see man treated in the fullness of his humanity. He died in his body and soul, so he will be made alive both spiritually and physically.

Paul tells us that we will be changed in a twinkling of an eye. We will maintain our personal distinctiveness, our full humanity, but we will be glorified. Only when the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable will death be finally swallowed up in victory. Paul, then, concludes that because we have this hope, we must stand firm as we suffer, and we must continue to serve the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Read 1 Corinthians 15 again. Describe one new insight about the Resurrection that you have gained from this study and Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians. Write a personal statement affirming the truth and relevancy of the Resurrection. Include why this doctrine is so important to you.