His Resurrection and Ours
His Resurrection and Ours (1 Corinthians 15:35-44)
Easter has three dimensions in time. In the past Easter demonstrated a risen Lord. In the present Easter makes possible a relationship with the risen Lord. But in the future Easter touches each of us at the point of our ultimate and greatest need—the resurrection of our body at the last day. The resurrection of Christ means that you will be given a resurrected body like His glorious body.
Very early, cynical questions were asked about bodily resurrection. Some asked, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" (v. 35). Paul answers both of those questions. The omnipotent power of God is able to give you a body suitable for life in an eternal world.
The Power of God Will Provide a Resurrection Body
To doubt that God can bring life out of death is foolish. The evidence is there to see that life comes out of death. It is part of your own observation of all life.
Look at God's power in plant life (vv. 37-38). Every time you sow a seed you demonstrate that life comes out of decomposition. There is a disorganization of the seed followed by a reorganization of new life. Jesus recognized this principle in both the spiritual and natural worlds: "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24). You are aware that the bare, naked seed you put into the ground is not the living plant that comes out of the ground (1 Cor. 15:37). The same is true of the lifeless body of a believer. What we deposit into the ground bears no relationship to what God will bring out of the ground. Would God do more for acorns and pansies than He would for His own redeemed children? Resurrection will be a creative gift of God's own power (v. 38).
Look at God's power in animal life (v. 39). The power of God has provided a body suitable to every level of physical life on earth. Paul lists the four great divisions of animal creation. God has demonstrated His power to provide a body for life on the earth, in the water, and in the air. He has given a body appropriate to every level of creation and every environment. The God who has done this in the visible known world also has the power to do so in the invisible unknown world of eternal life. There may be more difference between our present body and our resurrection body than between a man and a fish.
Look at God's power on the astronomical level (vv. 40-41). Paul turns from the inanimate body of a seed and the animate body of living things to the "heavenly bodies." Out of the same basic materials of creation God has crafted the infinite variety of stars, galaxies, and planets. The same hydrogen and carbon in your body is part of the enormous energy and size of the astronomical universe. Whereas earthly bodies have color and shape, heavenly bodies radiate light and heat. The same God who can organize the same atoms into either living people or a burning star has the power to provide a body suitable for resurrected life.
The Resurrection Body Will Be Appropriate for Eternal Life
It will be an incorruptible body (v. 42). The resurrection body will not be capable of decay. The most obvious truth about our present body is its subjection to deterioration, decomposition, and dissolution. The resurrection body not only will not decay, there will be nothing in it capable of decay. It will be beyond the power of deterioration. Most of our time and energy on earth relates to the decay of the body. We feed, house, clothe, medicate, and exercise our bodies to keep them from decay. That will not be necessary in the life to come.
It will be a sinless body (v. 43). Our present bodies are dishonored because of sin. Sin is an intruder that invades, occupies, and uses our physical bodies. All of life is a battle with indwelling sin. The resurrection body will not be capable of sin in any form. Never again by word, deed, act, or attitude will the risen Christian sin against God. The eternal heavenly day will not end with a night that calls for sad confession of failure. There will be endless celebration of endless obedience.
It will be an unlimited body (v. 43). The body will soar as high as the spirit can lead. On earth we are thwarted by our bodies. The thinker's mind tires with thought, the runner's legs ache with the race, the musician can imagine music that no one can play and the artist can conceive paintings that no one can paint. Our creative spirits are bounded and circumscribed by our physical weakness. This will not be so in the resurrection body. The engineer will never conceive a project, the architect will never dream of a building, the manager will never imagine an organization, and the preacher will never aspire to a sermon that is beyond realization. Every talent and ability of your life will find full and unhindered expression.
It will be a body for the eternal world: "it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" (v. 44). What is placed in the grave was adequate for life in this kind of world. What comes out of the grave will be more than adequate for life in an eternal order. Our natural body was formed to be the organ of life in the natural world. Our spiritual body will be formed as an organ of life in the higher spiritual world.
Resurrection life begins now as you acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord of life. He gives you that eternal life now which will inhabit an eternal, spiritual body then. The time to start is now.