(Article for publication week of 9-17- AD 2015)
"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Philippians 3:20-21).
In the last several articles we have been dealing with the subject of the death of a Christian, the intermediate state of the Christian's soul, and the resurrection of the body. This week we want to show a little of the Christian's body after it is raised from the dead. The scriptures do not give us much specific details on the subject, but enough for us to know that it will be a vast improvement of our present condition. Our resurrected bodies will be like the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. This present body is said in our text to be "vile", not because there is anything in the human body that is evil per se, but rather it is vile because of our fallen and sinful nature, and the many infirmities that result from it. The Lord Jesus Christ died and was buried and was raised the third day to save His people from their sins, and His redemptive work includes and will be complete with the resurrection of our bodies.
The first thing that we immediately see in the scriptures is that our resurrection bodies will be completely glorified in such a way as we shall no more be plagued with sin, nor the tendency to sin, nor the temptation to sin. Believers on earth have been given a new nature that loves Christ and hates sin, and so we are always striving not to sin (I John 2:1), but yet coming short all the time (Romans 3:23; 7:14-25). We are presently being sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit, but we have not reached sinless perfection in this present state (although some vainly imagine they have). Saints in heaven have reached sinless perfection (Hebrews 12:23). They are much happier than we who are still on earth, though not safer, for all the Lord's sheep on earth as well as those in heaven are safe in His sovereign Hand (John 10:27-30). At the Last Day when the Lord shall awaken the bodies of His people that are sleeping in the dust of the earth, our vile bodies that were subject to indwelling sin shall be raised incorruptible (I Corinthians 15:53) and we shall be like our Lord Jesus Christ (I John 3:2). This will be the fruition of God's eternal purpose to glorify us in our whole person and conform us to the Image of His Eternal Son (Romans 8:28-30).
The next thing that we see about our resurrection bodies is that they shall be able to worship Christ in perfection. I shall not try to cite passages here, but would invite you all to read the Book of Revelation with this in view. The Book of Revelation is the "revelation of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:1). Next time you read the Book of Revelation note well all that it says about Christ and the activity of the saints in heaven. I think you will begin to see what I mean that in our resurrection bodies we will be able to worship Christ in perfection. In this present time state our worship is very imperfect, but in glory, we shall see Christ as He is and worship Him in perfection and give Him His glory that He is due.
Thirdly, I want to emphasize that our resurrection bodies will be these very same bodies. Job says in Job 19:26-27, "and though my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and not another." We shall see God with these same eyes. Our bodies shall be changed, not exchanged.
Fourthly, although our resurrected bodies will be these very same bodies, they will be drastically changed. Now I do not claim to know all about this, but I think we can say with confidence that our resurrected bodies will be similar in nature to our Lord's resurrected body. Our text here in Philippians 3:20-21 says that our bodies will be fashioned like that of our Lord's. The accounts of our Lord's activities on earth between His resurrection and His ascension indicate that our resurrected bodies will have capabilities beyond our present state. For example John 20:26 tells us that Jesus entered the upper room without opening the door, and Acts 1:9 tells us that he ascended to heaven unaided by mechanical device. More next week, Lord willing. Until then may the Lord keep you by His grace and smile upon you.