The Resurrection (part 2)
- These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Heb. 11:13-16)
As we noted last week, when speaking of the resurrection, we are moving into uncharted and unseen territory. It is very difficult to move from “seeing them afar off” to “embracing them.” Since “it has not yet been revealed what we shall be” (1Jn. 3:2), there is nothing in this life that can directly give us a clear understanding of our resurrected body. Hence, when speaking of the resurrection, God has revealed that Jesus’ own body will be the pattern for ours: “When He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Jesus will “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (1Jn. 3:2; Phil. 3:21). Are we assured of this to the point where we have embraced it?
This gives us the scope and magnitude of our new body. “As we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” (1Cor. 15:49). It is simple for us to understand that we look exactly as Adam did when God formed him from the dust (Gen. 2:7). The “image of the heavenly man” is afar off, but the promises that “we see Him as he is,” “we will be like him,” and “our lowly body” will be “conformed to His glorious body,” need to be embraced.
Yet no one has ever seen God. How can we see this unseen thing? The Holy Spirit used the bodies God made in the first creation to help us embrace this. God’s creative genius is revealed in seeds and vegetation, fish, birds, animals, man, sun, moon, stars, and the earth. These are all illustrations of the amazing body God has designed for our spirit and soul in the city and country God will build for us. Each body illustrates God’s power, insight and wisdom. As we meditate on the glory and majesty of the seeds that change into trees, grains, flowers and shrubs, we get a glimpse of the resurrection. When we consider the different flesh of fish, birds, animals and man and how they are perfectly suited for the environment God created for them to live in, we move them from being afar off to embracing and confessing we are pilgrims. When we see the complexity of the earth and the majesty of the sun, moon, and stars, they will assure us that God has something far greater in store for us, for “so also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1Cor. 15:42).
As our body of flesh enters the dark days leading to death (Ecc. 12:1-8), our “seen” future is listed on the left.
- sown in corruption | raised in incorruption
- sown in dishonor | raised in glory
- sown in weakness | raised in power
- sown a natural body | raised a spiritual body
- There is a natural body | there is a spiritual body
- first Adam a living being | last Adam a life-giving spirit
We all know firsthand of the corruption, dishonor, and weakness that will occur in a natural body for we have all witnessed death. But God has countered each of these with the “unseen” reality of the resurrection! We will be raised in incorruption, glory, and power with a spiritual body conformed to Jesus' glorious body. Have we embraced this? Are we truly pilgrims because the promises on the right are more real to us than the physical realities on the left? Paul did this... so can we!
- Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Cor. 4:16-18)
In all of this, we must “walk by faith and not by sight.” Because “the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man." (1Cor. 15:46-49)
This is our “exceeding and eternal weight of glory!” We know that “the first man was of the earth, made of dust” and was “fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (Ps. 139:14). We are promised that our second man will be Jesus, the “Lord from heaven” “who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body,” and “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Conclusion. God will not be ashamed to be called our God if we can accept without question that “the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1Cor. 15:52-53).