Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller


The Resurrection - Part 2 - Are you Ready?

1Corinthians 15:35-58

My granddaughter got a cool 4 wheeled toy vehicle for her 1st birthday that she can ride and it?s battery powered. But what is that compared to a big 4 wheel Pickup truck? That?s sort of like comparing this body with the resurrection body. The body we have in this age is like one of those battery powered trucks. It drives pretty slow, doesn?t have many features, and won?t go at all once the battery runs out. But in the resurrection, we receive new bodies that never run out of juice and have some pretty cool options. The problem many of us face is that we are stuck on the toy version, either because we think it?s pretty cool or because we can?t see past it to the new body.

As we get into the latter half of 1st Corinthians 15 I think we might get a hint of why the Corinthians had given up on the idea of the resurrection. Either they had begun to fall back to the Greek idea that the body is not resurrected at all but just a disembodied spirit?so what happens in the body doesn?t matter

-Or-

They looked around and saw the effects of aging and disease on the human body and thought ?What is the resurrection going to be like?just preserving for all of eternity this body that is in a constant state of decay?? That?s actually more of a description of hell then heaven. Jesus spoke of hell as a place ?where their worm never dies and the fire is never quenched? (Mark 9:44). Fire is a process of continual oxidation or the breaking down of a substance, yet even a fire goes out when the fuel is expended. But Jesus says that fuel, the worm, never dies.

No. Heaven and the resurrected body is not like that, and so Paul uses verses 35 through 58 to described 1) that there is a distinct difference between this body and the one we get in the resurrection, 2) some of the qualities of that body and 3) a hint at the timing of when we get those new bodies.

35 ? 36

Right away Paul wants them to know that this body they possess now will be put aside to receive a new one. It is transformation, not preservation.

Paul will say to these same people later on:

2 Corinthians 5:1For we know that if our earthly house, a tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 

So point 1: you don?t get a new body until the old one is dead.

37 ? 38

Next he points out that the new body is related to the old, in the same way that a seed is related to the plant that grows from it. So you will be recognizable in your new body, but better. You?ll be the ?you? you always wanted to be.

Point 2: The new body is related to the old, but is not the same.

39 ? 44

Paul uses two analogies to demonstrate what he?s talking about. Everyone knows that there is a distinct difference between animal life and human life. Humans can reason, for the most part, are self aware, and have vastly higher thinking powers than animals.

Secondly he uses the distinction between a physical body on earth and a heavenly body like the sun, moon, or stars. Each is made of different materials and is governed by different laws of physics. So too, the resurrected body will be fundamentally different because it is made to live in a different environment?God?s environment, which is fundamentally different than living on earth only where we depend on an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere and the constant influx of water and fuel.

So in verses 42 through 44 he makes four comparisons of the old body to the new:

  1. Corruption vs incorruption: in the end for the flesh, gravity wins. But our resurrected bodies will never corrupt and fall apart?ever!

  1. Dishonor vs honor: There is nothing honorable about a corpse. But we are not going to be zombies in heaven. Our new bodies will be glorious in that they will more fully reflect the character, or glory, of the Father.

  1. Weakness vs power: in the flesh we cannot maintain life, but the resurrected body will not need to be constantly replenished, it will always live because the life we are getting comes spiritually from the Lord, and not just physically (more on that in verse 45).

  1. Natural vs spiritual: As I already mentioned, the old body was suited for this environment, but the new body will be suited for the heavenly environment of God?s kingdom.

45 ? 49

This is such a great comparison here. God gave life to the dust, the very substance of the earth, to Adam, by breathing. Jesus, the second and last Adam, wasn?t given life?He Himself gives life. There is such a great picture of Jesus breathing on His disciples in John 20:22 ?And He breathed on them and said ?Receive the Holy Spirit.??

Just as in this body we are like Adam, with all of the physical and spiritual weaknesses and corruption, so too we will be like Jesus with NONE of the physical OR spiritual weaknesses.

Again I quote the Apostle John:

1 John 3:2-3 Dear friends, we are God\'s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.  

50

As if to emphasize the point Paul lays it out: your current fleshly body cannot live in the environment of heaven. A change is coming. Here is what the writer of Hebrews said:

Hebrews 1:10-12 In the beginning, Lord, You established the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; 11 they will perish, but You remain. They will all wear out like clothing; 12 You will roll them up like a cloak, and they will be changed like a robe. But You are the same, and Your years will never end.  

The change is coming. Will your body be fit for the new heavens? It can only come from a resurrected body given to you by the Lord Jesus. So when does that happen?

51 ? 53

This is such a cool section. Paul is revealing to the Corinthians something heretofore unknown?a mystery?that not everyone will die physical death but will be transformed instantly from a fleshly body into a resurrected body. We call this the rapture.

We get that concept from 1st Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord\'s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel\'s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 

The words ?caught up? is the Greek harpazo which means to snatch away violently as in picking a ripe fruit. The Latin raptus is where we get the English rapture.

Paul says it will happen ?in the twinkling of an eye?. ?Twinkling? comes from the Greek word that means ?a sudden motion?. It won?t be like the transformation of the Incredible Hulk, one of those movie slo-mo dissolves. It will be instantaneous.

At that same moment, when that trumpet sounds, all of those who have ?fallen asleep? in the Lord will rise and also be given incorruptible bodies. Right now, the dead in Christ are in what theologians call ?the intermediate state.? We don?t know much about it, but we do know that at one instant, we all get brand new models. If you think you like ?new car smell? you will LOVE the new model of you.

What that will also mean is that the degradation of the fleshly body that eventually leads to failure and death, will be no more!

54 ? 57

We were not designed to die. Death came about because of Adam and Eve?s sin, and our inheriting of their rebellion and continuing that rebellion by nature. God told Adam in the garden ?In the day you eat of it you will surely die? (Genesis 2:15). When they ate, they died spiritually instantly?the interface between heaven and earth was ripped away. But they also began to degrade physically. This undoes that process forever.

Now that?s victory people!

58

What is verse 58 for? Paul is telling them not to get sidetracked by useless philosophical discussions that draw them away from the pure gospel. It had become such a distraction that they were not doing the work God had lined out for them of being witnesses for the gospel and so Paul says ?get back to work? and know that in the end, it isn?t death and destruction that awaits you but a new more powerful you that will last forever.

Conclusions 

The resurrection helps you make it through the hard times now knowing a new indestructible body is coming. It also helps us not hold to good times here in this age so tightly knowing we?re going to fold up these tents for new ones.

Are you trapped into ?this age? thinking?

Don?t be discouraged, a better body and better life is coming

What you are, is related to what you will become

The person you are and are becoming, the relationships you have, and the things you do or choose not to do is creating a legacy that will follow you into eternity. I don?t mean sin, but if you have focused your life solely with the self in mind, you will miss relationships and opportunities that can build into treasure in heaven.

Are you ready for the new environment that?s coming?

Flesh and blood as it is in this age cannot enter God?s environment. The only way to get ready is for Jesus to give you His life.