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. Just like Jesus Himself also entrusted His own soul to the Father when He passed away, 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. 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. 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 decay away.
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 body.
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.