1 Corinthians 15:51-53. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
Is eternal life a glorious thought to you? I hope so. If it isn’t, it may be possible that you are still thinking of eternal life as this life going on forever. And of course, you would be right- that is not a glorious thought.
But the truth is this great mystery: we will all be changed! All of us who are in Christ will experience this same transformation, instantly. A transfiguration into the spiritual body. A body incapable of decay or death. Do you remember Jesus’ transfigured self?
Matthew 17:1-2. And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
There’s not a lot of detail in the transfiguration story, but it still sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it? Changed from glory to glory. That is our future and hope.
This change is also our necessity. We have to be changed physically. Yes, because we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, we are spiritually heaven ready. No need for any further transformation of our spirit. But our bodies are a different story. They are still corruptible material. Our bodies must be changed in order for them to overcome death. The mortal body must put on immortality.
Paul is describing what everything in the Bible has pointed to- the great day of final victory for God. The trumpet sounds and he wins! We go to be with God forever. Every enemy is finally crushed by the heel of Christ. This is God’s redemptive plan fulfilled forever in Christ and in us.
How do you view death? Is it defeat? Or is it victory? Is it an ending to you? Or is it a beginning? Will our eternity be static? Or is it a reversal? Rather than a march toward entropy and death, could it be an ongoing march toward greater and greater glory?
“To live is Christ” makes this march toward glory an eternal reality. And death is the doorway to this incorruptible life. The life God has planned for us since the beginning.
Are you able to see death as glory? How does your union with Christ allow us to re-think how we see death for ourselves and those who are in Christ? Are you able to get excited about an eternity of moving into great and greater glory? How can this truth impact how you live today? Think about how we try to gain glory now in this life- all the ways that are really unnecessary and possibly even harmful.