1 Corinthians 15:42-44. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
OK, so I believe there is a resurrection. But what does that mean for me? What is the nature of this resurrection? Is it bodily? Or is it just a spiritual resurrection? If there’s a body, what is it like? These are the questions Paul is addressing for the Corinthians and for you and me in this part of the letter.
Because we are in Christ we will see our bodies transformed from a natural body to a spiritual body. This language can be quite confusing. It can make us think that we are going to be turned into ghosts or angels. But that is not what Paul means at all. Our body will be changed, but it will still be physical.
Think about Jesus’ resurrected body. Was it still physical? Yes. Was he a ghost? No. He still ate fish, and he could still be touched and hugged, and high fived. He still had the wounds from his death. And yet his body was changed. It was different and supernatural.
When Paul says we will have a spiritual body he means that our re-created body will be fully controlled by the Spirit. No more indwelling sin. No more physical suffering. No more sensory temptation. No more corruption, shame and weakness, only immortality, honor, and power.
And at the same time, our spiritual body is not a completely new body. It is still our body.
1 Corinthians 15:36-38. What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.
Kernels become stalks, wheat seeds become grain. They’re the same thing but better. Your body also goes into the ground like a seed and is transformed into something even more beautiful and glorious. Yet you are still the same person. Jesus was still Jesus, but his body was better. The ones you love will still be themselves, only better. You will still be you, only better, much better.
What Paul is describing is the reversal of everything bad:
- Your current physical body is perishable; your spiritual body will be imperishable – The process of decay will be reversed. All of our bodies are in the process of dying. But the spiritual body will be in the process of growing more and more glorious throughout eternity.
- Your current physical body is dishonorable; your spiritual body will be glorious – Your body will no longer be used for dishonorable sinning. Rather, it will be filled with the radiant joy of purity and light.
- Your current physical body is weak; your spiritual body will be powerful. – Subjection to injury, disease, and even the limitations of space and time will be no more. The new body will supply no limits to becoming like Christ himself, with the power to carry out God’s will fully forever.
“To live is Christ” is the hope of this new spiritual body. Because Christ lives in you, your current body is the seed that will be planted in death and then burst forth in glorious life, transformed into Christ’s beauty and glory. No more decay, no more sin, no more limitations. The same, only better. Forever.
Does all this seem too good to be true? Do you believe that God can raise you to transformation as he did Jesus himself? How does it encourage you that you and those you love will be the same only better forever? How does your union with Christ allow this future glory to be yours even starting today?