Faith in the Resurrection
of the Body
No matter who, everyone dislikes hardships,
is averse to illnesses, laments aging, and are scared of death that
would approach them at their end. This is because sufferings, illnesses,
and death, which were not supposed to have come to mankind, nevertheless
sprung up as the wages of sin.
Fundamentally speaking, because of
the sin of the father of mankind, human beings have been driven
away from everlasting happiness. This is why people endlessly seek
after their lost eternal life and yet are unable to reach it because
of their sheer incapacity, looking at it as if it were an unattainable
picture and ultimately succumbing to their death in the end. This
is why all human beings come to seek after their salvation from
someone other than themselves, confessing, “O wretched man that
I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans
7:24) The answer to this cry is the last part of the Apostles’ Creed—that
is, it is the confession of faith in the resurrection of the body
and the life everlasting.
Matthew 16:26 says, “For what profit
is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
Given this, the issue of the resurrection of the body and the life
everlasting cannot but be much more important than any other issues
of politics, economy, education, sports, diplomacy, military, or
modernization. Why? Because these things are earthly issues of a
lifetime that lasts no more than a hundred years, and they cease
to be issues as soon as one departs from this world. Therefore,
it is the resurrection and the everlasting life that are the greatest
issue of our lives.
Before we consider this issue, let
us first address the problem of death for a while.
Those who seek the final answer to
the problem of death are the wise, for without knowing the last
direction of life, no one can find the way to the true life.
The dead do not move. The dead can
neither hear nor see. For them, their knowledge, wisdom, fame, wealth,
power, as well as everything else, no longer have any meaning—that
is, such things become nothing to them. If cremated, their bodies
turn into ashes, and if buried, they rot away under the ground.
Death is the most horrible event that everyone faces. But the horror
of death disappears in the power of salvation that Jesus has given
us. This truth is found in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
In Luke 8:52, Jesus said, “Do not
weep; she is not dead, but sleeping,” and He then raised Jairus’
daughter. Jesus saw the death of the chosen—that is, of the believers—as
their separation from God physically and for a while. However, He
declared that they would live again by believing in the gospel of
the water and the Spirit.
In the first half of Matthew 10:28,
Jesus also said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but
cannot kill the soul,” telling us about the immortality of human
souls. As such, Jesus Himself entrust His own soul to the Father
when He passed away, and all the saints that preceded us have also
done so when they left this world behind (Acts 7:59).
In What Kind of Body Do We Live Again?
Life is everlasting. Since the creation
of the universe, life has never ceased to exist but has continued
to live. Life has neither volume nor weight, but it has a great
strength. A tree’s roots can break through rocks and turn it into
a great tree. Its life draws water from the ground and makes leaves
and fruits, for life is the strength itself. Although death is strong
and it seems invincible, what is even stronger than death is life.
The believers have received the Spirit
of Jesus into their hearts when they believed in His baptism and
blood as their salvation from their sins. As such, 1 Peter 1:23
states, “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but
incorruptible.” When the time comes, this seed of life will
most certainly perform the work of resurrection. Romans 8:11 therefore
says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead
dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give
life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
What, then, is the nature of the resurrected
body? The Bible speaks about this in several places, but the clearest
and most detailed explanation is provided in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44:
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in
corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor,
it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There
is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
The nature of the resurrected body,
therefore, is fundamentally different from the nature of the earthly
body, for it will be like the resurrected body of Jesus Himself.
This is why Philippians 3:21 tells us that Christ “will transform
our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.”
That is exactly right! The salvation
spoken of by Christianity is not only of our souls, but it is also
of our bodies. Let’s now examine this fact in more detail.
Our bodies will be transformed
into incorruptible bodies. The nature of our earthly bodies
is corruptible. As 1 Peter 1:24 states, “All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers,
And its flower falls away.” It is also said in 2 Corinthians
4:16, “our outward man is perishing,” and Proverbs 31:30
states, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing.” No matter
how youthful and beautiful our bodies may be, they will all eventually
But the resurrected body is transformed
into an incorruptible body. As Jesus ate in His resurrected body,
so shall we. Some may question, then, whether or not we would have
to deal with waste, since we would be eating in our resurrected
bodies. But there would be no waste, for our bodies would have been
made new, so would everything in the entire universe have been renewed,
and therefore nothing would be corruptible anymore. Therefore, in
the immortal realm of Heaven, where we will be living in our resurrected
bodies, we will enjoy food, but there will be no decay, no stench,
and no pollution whatsoever—a world, in short, that is perfectly
clear and clean.
Our bodies will be transformed
into strong bodies. It is often said that depression, no matter
how severe, never hits hospitals, pharmacies, and funeral homes.
This is a frank expression that reveals the sheer weakness of human
beings. We die from our illnesses ravaged by unseen germs, or from
our injuries suffered in accidents.
But the resurrected body is the indestructible
body that suffers from neither illnesses, nor injuries, nor even
from death. As the three saints of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego
who emerged unscathed from the fiery furnace burning seven times
hotter than it was usually heated (Daniel 3:19-26), our resurrected
bodies will be utterly strong. Like this, the lives of the saints
in Heaven will see no illness, nor injury, nor death, for they will
be living in a paradise filled with healthy joy and happiness.
Our bodies will be transformed
into spiritual bodies. This does not mean that our bodies will
be changed into spirits, but that they will be liberated like our
spirits. While in this world, our bodies are slow and inconvenient.
But the resurrected body is limited neither by time nor by space.
It will be freed, as the resurrected Jesus appeared before His disciples
with no temporal or spatial constraints, going through closed doors,
appearing and disappearing all of a sudden. This is the spiritual
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Who, then, are the ones who will receive
this blessing? They are the ones who believe in Jesus as the Savior
within the gospel of the water and the Spirit. John 11:25-26 therefore
states, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever
lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”
And John 20:29 also says, “Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because
you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have
not seen and yet have believed.’”
Death is tragic and horrible. But
if we believe in the atonement of the baptism and blood of Jesus,
then we will all be saved from our sins, freed from the fear of
death. We will become the ones who live in this hope, preaching
this gospel directly and indirectly.