Resurrection and the body



Your body has a future. Value it in the present.


This was part of Paul’s message to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. He proved the body’s value and God’s authority over the body by discussing the resurrection.

Resurrection is rising again, with reembodiment, after death. The resurrection of believers is their glorification, the final mighty act of God in their salvation.

Gregg Allison, 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith

(Incidentally, I highly recommend this book. Fifty Christian doctrines are summarized with biblical support in less than 10 pages. The brevity is extremely helpful, and included with each doctrinal explanation are the major errors associated with it, plus a teaching outline. You can check this book out at the bottom of this post.)

Belief in the resurrection is pivotal to the Christian faith, for if Christ was not raised then believers are still in their sin (1 Cor 15:17). In essence, Christianity would be a farce because, without Christ’s resurrection, hope for the believer is lost (1 Cor 15:19). However, just as the Father raised the Son from the dead, so his followers will also be raised (Galatians 1:1, 1 Cor 6:14, Romans 8:11). After being disembodied for a time in the intermediate state, the redemption of believers will be completed through bodily resurrection and glorification (Rom 8:23, 1 Cor 15:23, 42-44). You can read about the intermediate state here.


Paul cited the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 to confirm that the body matters. It was extremely important to him that the Corinthians knew the resurrection is a real event, not a mere spiritual occurrence (1 Cor 15:12, 35). Because they thought physical things were wicked, such was their conception of a physical resurrection. (As a side note, Gnosticism was the reason for the Corinthians’ misconception. Basically, Gnostics believed evil dwelt in the material realm so the devout focused on the immaterial realm. Spiritual pursuits were deemed far more important than physical ones. As a result, the soul was elevated and the body was debased. I wrote more about this here.)


The Corinthians lacked motivation for moral living because they thought only spiritual things mattered. So, committing ungodly, perverse acts of sexual immorality seemed justifiable because they believed the physical body was disposable. Essentially, the Corinthians denigrated the body, were quick to misuse it, and thus completely neglected an integral aspect of Christianity. This is why Paul discussed the resurrection. Because in this event, God validates the body by raising and glorifying it. In order to correct a delusion that promoted a lifestyle that harmed the body, the believers needed to rightly understand the body and its future.


In the same way, this is the call to believers today - to view and treat the body differently than the world. While we may not behave like the Corinthians, we can still treat our body as though it has no present or future value. Engaging in immoral behavior, sinfully indulging in food, or neglecting bodily care are some ways the body gets forsaken. Go here to read more about the forsaken body.


What will the resurrected body be like?


- Our present, embodied form foreshadows future, embodied form. Our lowly bodies will be transformed to be like Christ’s glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).


- Christians will experience a new state of embodiment that is unaffected by the presence of sin (Rom 8:23-24).


- Paul explains the future body will be raised: imperishable, in glory, in power, and a spiritual body in the image of the man of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 49).


- The imperishable body means we will not age or get sick (v. 42). We will no longer experience physical deformity, cognitive impairment, and all other bodily abnormalities that disrupt functioning. The body will be in perfect condition without limitation.


- For the body to be raised in glory means we will be radiant, glorious, and beautiful (v. 43). Reembodied, glorified believers will shine like the sun (Matthew 13:43).


- The body will be raised in power, which means we will be strong like God intended us to be prior to the Fall (v. 43). Weakness will no longer characterize our bodies.


- The body will be raised a spiritual body, which implies its connection to the Holy Spirit. Resurrected believers will be completely in step with and ruled by the Holy Spirit.


- Believers will also be raised bearing the image of the man of heaven (v. 49). This means we look to Christ’s resurrected body to understand more about our resurrected body.


After Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples sometimes had a hard time recognizing him (Luke 24:13-32). At other times, they didn’t (John 20:19-20, 26-28). This suggests similarity between Christ’s former and resurrected body, but there was also enough difference because his transformed, glorified body wasn’t always immediately recognized.


Also, Jesus’ resurrected body was undoubtedly physical. He was around his followers for forty days after the resurrection, and many of them touched his body. His crucifixion scars were also visible on it. He walked around, sat, made food, and ate with his followers (Lk 24:30, Jn 20:27). One time, Christ even pointed out that his body was made of flesh and bones (Lk 24:39). It seems it was important for Christ to show that his resurrected body was physical and not just some spiritual manifestation.


Believers and unbelievers alike will receive a resurrected body. The only difference is that believers will experience a resurrection of everlasting life and unbelievers a resurrection of judgment and everlasting contempt (Jn 5:28-29, Daniel 12:2). If you have not repented of your sin and placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can do that at any time. Only then will you experience a resurrected radiant, glorified body that dwells with Christ forever.


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