New Bodies for Old!
We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8: 23)
Remember the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp that was inadvertently given to his evil uncle, disguised as a trader offering "new lamps for old"? The Princess swapped Aladdin’s old lamp, much to his dismay, for it wasn’t a good deal at all. But there is an exchange coming that will be amazingly good: the exchange of our old bodies for new ones when Jesus returns!
The Jewish concept of the "afterlife" had been very limited. At death everyone, good and bad alike, simply went to Sheol (in Greek, "Hades" – not the same as "hell"). Sheol was a gloomy half-life; a place of darkness and lack of knowledge of God. Only occasionally were there glimpses of real hope, as when Job declared, "After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God" (Job 19:26). What a contrast, then, when we come to the New Testament! For Jesus confidently proclaimed, not some vague immortality, but the resurrection of the body - and then proved it in His own life! Don’t forget: Our ultimate destiny is not to "go to heaven" – for us heaven is but a glorious "waiting room" – but to be given a resurrection body, like that of the resurrected Jesus Himself – "physical" (for He could walk and eat), but transformed and so gloriously "spiritual" that His disciples didn’t recognize Him at first.
But why the need for such a transformation? Simple: A new environment demands a new kind of body, as Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15. Our bodies are going to be transformed! For our more youthful readers, that may not sound very exciting; but for those of us who are getting older, with the increasing aches and pains this brings, this is a fantastic promise! Today, if your body is not as sprightly as once it was, if you are sick or incapacitated, then rejoice in this wonderful promise: You’re getting a new body one day!
Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised they will be full of glory ... full of power. (1 Corinthians 15:42-43, NLT)
© Copyright 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont