What will our future resurrection bodies be like?
by Marcelo A. Tolopilo ©
We have explored the believer’s journey to resurrection morning. Our first step to that great event is our exit from this life into the presence of our Lord Jesus.
Every Christian that has lived before us has clung to the hope that “to be absent from the body” (i.e., to be separated from our physical body, death) is “to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). While at home in heaven—as our spirits rest and glory in Christ’s presence—we will actively await the resurrection, that bright morning when the Lord will join our spirits to our eternal, glorified bodies.
What will our resurrection bodies be like?
Since resurrection/glorification is our certain destiny, we ask the question, “What will our glorified bodies, our resurrection bodies be like?” That’s an important question Christians have asked over the last two millennia. We will spend eternity in our resurrected form, so what will this form be like? Thankfully, the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives us the answer to our query in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.
Paul gives us four sets of contrasts between our present body and our future one that unveils our resurrection form.
Contrast #1: “sown a perishable body—raised an imperishable body”
First, Paul points out that our present body is breaking down. “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body” (1 Corinthians 15:42a). Paul reminds us that our present self is aging and subject to illness and eventually death. Our bodies are perishing. If I ever doubt that I’m perishing, all I have to do is look at my wedding album. By contrast, our resurrected bodies will be free of all decay and its consequences. Paul writes “it (our physical body) is raised an imperishable body” (15:42b), completely free of decay, immortal! Unlike the perishableness we are shocked to acknowledge every time we peruse our wedding albums, once glorified we will never change. I doubt we’ll have photo albums to look at in eternity, but if we do, our “entry to heaven” pictures would not differ from our appearance ten thousand years down the line…
“When we’ve been there 10,000 years…” we’ll look as dewy as when we arrived.
Contrast #2: “sown in dishonor—raised in glory”
Secondly, Paul tells us that while our present bodies are tainted by sin from cradle to grave, our future form will be free of sin and its shameful consequences. Our body “is sown in dishonor (marred by sin and its injurious effects), it is raised in glory” (15:43a). Our resurrected bodies will reflect the perfect glory of our Lord Jesus. The presence and effects of sin will be removed and so will our shame because of it. Only Christ’s glory will radiate in us and from us (Philippians 3:21).
Contrast #3: “sown in weakness—raised in power”
The term “weakness” in verse 43 is used to refer to physical frailty as well as spiritual weakness and contextually this passage speaks of both. In this text, I believe Paul is making reference to our over all human frailty, both physical and spiritual. As we grow older we lose strength, our endurance diminishes, we become less resistant to disease, and we become more susceptible to accidents and injury. But as we all know, our debility does not stop with the physical, does it? All our life we fight and struggle with temptation and sin. Let’s face it, we are born into, live, and perish in physical and spiritual weakness. That is our present reality. We are “sown in weakness.”
But thankfully, cheerfully, that is not the end of our story. In fact, our physical and spiritual frailty is merely transitory, and Paul mentions it to encourage us with the truth that our weakness—contained and summed up in our physical body—will one day be transformed, or “raised in power.” The word “power” is the Greek term “dunamis” from which we get our word “dynamite.” It speaks of great power that resides in the person exerting it, and as it often does in the New Testament, it is a reference to divine power, supernatural power.
At the resurrection, Jesus Christ Himself will raise us up by His divine power and imbue us with that same power. We will no longer struggle with physical frailty and spiritual weakness. We will be raised by and live in Christ’s inexhaustible power. Throughout eternity we will have the complete capacity to fully do whatever God puts in our hearts to do!
Contrast #4: “sown a natural body—raised a spiritual body”
The final contrast Paul draws for us highlights the physical and temporal limitlessness of our resurrection bodies. Presently we have a natural body: a body that, like any creature on this earth, is physical, material, nonspiritual, pertaining to the natural state. Put another way, our bodies are subject to the laws of physics that govern space and time. We can’t pass through a wall—although my grandson, Marcelo, has attempted that many times without success and at great cost to himself. We are limited in what we can do physically. We can’t ascend through the air unless we’re in a plane. We can’t disappear and travel to a distant location at will. Our physical bodies are governed and limited by fixed laws we cannot alter.
Yet Paul tells us that our current body will be “raised a spiritual body.” Paul is not saying our bodies will be immaterial. No! Rather our form will belong to the realm of the spirit, supernatural.
We will be like the Lord Jesus when He arose from the dead, flesh and blood, i.e., material, subject to touch (Luke 24:39, John 20:27), able to eat (Luke 24:41, 42), walking in fellowship for miles (Luke 24:13-35), etc. But like Jesus, we will not be bound by the limits of time and space. The Lord, for example, was able to vanish bodily from a location instantly (Luke 24:31); He could instantly appear in a room without having come through the door (Luke 24:36, John 20:19, 26); He could ascend physically to and through the clouds (Acts 1:11).
Our resurrection bodies will be tangible, physical, and yet possess certain properties of the spiritual realm that are currently a complete mystery to us. What a wonderful future awaits us! Doesn’t it?
One day soon, the Lord Jesus will exercise His divine power to resurrect us (if we are in the grave), or transform us (if we are alive at His coming). Then and there we will possess immortal bodies devoid of illness and decay, fully reflecting God’s glory, imbued with God’s power, free from the limitations of our present existence, fully capable of delighting in our God “and so we shall always be with the Lord”(1 Thessalonians 4:17). Are you ready for resurrection morning?
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.(Revelation 22:20)