Series: Maintaining this Hope
Sown a natural body, Raised a Spiritual Body
We are finally at the end of 1Corinthians 15 where Paul has been teaching us about the certainty of our resurrection with Christ to new life, not only in our hearts and character conformity to His likeness – but also a very real and future bodily resurrection.
Paul likens the earthly body of Cod’s children that die before His return to a seed being sown into the ground. In seeds there isn’t even an outward hint at the majesty and gradeur of the resulting plant. So it is in the resurrection. Though without doubt, regardless of how marred or broken our earthly body has been, it has a glory and dignity unsurpassed in all of nature. Yet, for the child of God, that is just a seed that will result in a everlasting body…a glorious & incorruptable body which is immortal and like His, while at the same time uniquely and personally crafted by God for each of us.
Our God is most loving and kind! His promise to us is that if we will treat with measured respect this earthly life, serving Him rather than seeking our own ways or pleasures – God WILL honor us! One of the countless manifestations of that honor is a new and lasting body in which no sickness, death or decay will ever be known and with which we will be well equipped to enjoy to the fullest all God has in store for us!
But let’s begin by reading our foundation text found in 1Jn. 3:1-3,
“(1) See what marvellous love the Father has bestowed upon us–that we should be called God’s children: and that is what we are.
For this reason the world does not recognize us–because it has not known Him.
(2) Dear friends, we are now God’s children, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been fully revealed. We know that when whenChrist reappears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. (3) And every man who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself so as to be as pure as He is.”
We’ve been working through 1 Cor. 15 where Paul clarifies the Gospel in regard to the resurrection from the dead of both Jesus and the church.
Today we are going to finish the later part of that chapter in which Paul conducts a bit of a Q&A session regarding the future redemption of our bodies…
“(35) But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come?”
“(36) Foolish one! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. (37) And as for what you sow–you are not sowing the future body, but only a seed, perhaps of wheat or another grain. (38) But God gives it a body as He wants, and to each of the seeds its own body.”
This is true for all of God’s creation and it was profoundly true of the body God created for Jesus to inhabit and shed it’s blood for the remission of all our sins.
The bible makes MUCH of the body and the blood of the Lord and some of the language scripture uses regarding the body and blood of the Lord only makes sense in light of the pre-existence of Christ and the immaculate conception.
The writer of Hebrews is very helpful along this line. He tells us in Heb. 2:14-18,
“(14) Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, He also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil– (15) and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. (16) For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. (17) Therefore He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (18) For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.”
and in Heb. 10:5,
“Therefore, when Jesus came into the world, He said: “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU DID NOT DESIRE, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME.”
As Christians it is my belief that we have not spent enough time contemplating the body of our Lord.
1Cor. 11:23-26, “(23) For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: on the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, (24) gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” (25) In the same way He also took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (26) For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
He goes on to say in verse 29,
“For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
And in 1Peter 2:24,
“The burden of our sins He Himself carried in His own body to the Cross and bore it there, so that we, having died so far as our sins are concerned, may live righteous lives. By His wounds yours have been healed.”
“(39) Not all flesh is the same flesh; there is one flesh for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.”
“(40) There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is different from that of the earthly ones.”
“(41) There is a splendor of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; for star differs from star in splendor.”
“(42) So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; (43) sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; (44) sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.”
Paul here uses one of the all time favorite examples of spiritual truths in the scriptures and that is of seed, time & harvest.
Jesus also made use of this metaphor in regard to His Own death, but also of the spiritual life that springs from the right kind of physical death. When we die IN HIM, SERVING HIM – God will honor us. One of the ways that is manifested is in a new, immortal Spiritual body.
John 12:23-26, “(23) His answer was, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (24) In most solemn truth I tell you that unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains what it was–a single grain; but that if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. (25) He who holds his life dear, is destroying it; and he who makes his life of no account in this world shall keep it to the Life of the Ages. (26) If a man wishes to be My servant, let him follow Me; and where I am, there too shall My servant be. If a man wishes to be My servant, the Father will honour him.”
We have no real idea what it means to be truly honored by God, and yet, we know so little else from Him.
He has honored us in creation with His likeness, in life with His provisions and kindness, but if we will but forsake our own self-governed, self-focused lives and devote our lives in love, trust and surrender to serve His Son – the honor awaiting us is beyond all that could be told!
The scriptures say in 1Corinthians 2, that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it even entered into the heart of man all that God has and keeps ready for those who love Him. That is those who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He bestows.”
This passage is taken from the ministry of Isaiah. In chapter 64 of his book of prophecy Isaiah pronounces this promise. I am bringing this up not only because I want you to see the continuity of scripture which as I’ve told you, the New Testament is completely based upon the old, but also because:
- it broadens your understanding of scripture
- Sometimes the original context helps clarify its use in the New Testament
- It causes you to see how prophecies under the Old Covenant and often under the New often have more than one fulfillment. One is literal and regard immediate issues, the other is often messianic and reveal the future.
Also, in this case, I reference it because it places things into a historical context.
On Wednesday nights, we are of course going ‘Thru the Bible’ and we have recently seen the reigns of Uzziah, Ahaz, Jotham and we are about to read about Hezekiah king of Judah. All of these events took place during the life and ministry of Isaiah, who in the book of his prophecies deals with the Assyrian captivity of Israel and the Babilonian captivity of Judah in the first 40 chapters. In the last 24 chapters, God comforts them with foretellings of a future no eye has seen nor ear heard…and while some of that has already been realized by those of us in Christ, there is still much to come that NONE of us have yet seen nor heard!
Let’s read Isaiah’s words from which Paul drew upon to address the reward of the faithful in his letter to the Corinthian saints.
“(1) If only You would tear the heavens open and come down, so that mountains would quake at Your presence– (2) as fire kindles the brushwood, and fire causes water to boil–to make Your name known to Your enemies, so that nations will tremble at Your presence!”
“(3) When You did awesome deeds that we did not expect, You came down, and the mountains quaked at Your presence.”
“(4) From ancient times no one has heard, no one has listened, no eye has seen any God except You, Who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him.”
“(5) You welcome the one who joyfully does what is right; they remember You in Your ways. But we have sinned, and You were angry; we will remain in Your ways and be saved. (6) All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.”
“(7) No one calls on Your name, striving to take hold of You. For You have hidden Your face from us and made us melt because of our iniquity. (8) Yet LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our Potter; we all are the work of Your hands. (9) LORD, do not be terribly angry or remember our iniquity forever. Please look–all of us are Your people!”
Of course some of those words have to be taken differently in light of the New Covenant, but ALL of the words are still true!
Paul goes on in referring to the seed of our body being buried in death to await new life in the resurrection, when our bodies are redeemed… they will be made 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; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.’
“(46) However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.”
“(47) The first man was from the earth and made of dust; the second man is from heaven.”
“(48) Like the man made of dust, so are those who are made of dust; like the heavenly man, so are those who are heavenly.”
“(49) And just as we have borne the image of the man made of dust, we will also bear the image of the heavenly man.”
Paul made mention of this back in Rom. 8:22-29,
“(22) For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. (23) And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits–we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. (24) Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? (25) But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience. “(26) In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. (27) And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (28) We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. (29) For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.”
Picking back up in 1 Cor. 15:50,
” (50) Brothers, I tell you this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and corruption cannot inherit incorruption.”
“(51) Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed,”
“(52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.”
“(53) Because this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality.”
“(54) Now when this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:
‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. (55) O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?’”
You hear the words of Paul? Flesh and blood CANNOT inherit the Kingdom of God, but a spiritual body is different. A Spiritual body is incorruptable and eternal just like its Lord!
“(6) The LORD of Hosts will prepare a feast for all the peoples on this mountain–a feast of aged wine, choice meat, finely aged wine. (7) On this mountain He will destroy the burial shroud, the shroud over all the peoples, the sheet covering all the nations; (8) He will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face and remove His people’s disgrace from the whole earth, for the LORD has spoken. (9) On that day it will be said, “Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
“(56) Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
“(58) Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
And here we have our third reason for maintaining our Hope and keeping it fixed upon the return of the Lord Jesus.
He says our labor is not in vain!
This proves that the reward provides incentive and motivation and keeps your heart from fainting in the work of the Lord until he returns.
As always our hopes and encouragements are found in Him…
“(1) Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, (2) keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. (3) For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.”
So this hope purifies and keeps us busy in the work of the Lord until our Lord returns at which point we will be rewarded for our service and loyalty to Him in this life during which we could have chosen to serve ourselves.
“(30) And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. (31) What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32) He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? (33) Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. (34) Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. (35) Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (36) As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. (37) No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. (38) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
At the end of the message, Teri shared the lyrics of a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called, “Glorious Unfolding”. To watch the video with lyrics simply follow this link – Glorious Unfolding