Sunday, March 17, 2013

What Resurrection Means

"But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior, from there, The Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious." -Philippians 3:20-21

I remember the first time I heard someone speak on the reality that the people of God would be resurrected and have physical bodies in the New Heavens and the New Earth.  I was shocked.  For years I had believed that when I died, my spirit would go to heaven and that was it.  I had no understanding of the scriptures that spoke of our final glorification in Christ.  That Christ would return and we would be raised from our graves and be physical beings.  I had apparently missed out on this crucial truth which is a key to the Easter celebration.  Christ rose from the dead and had a glorious, physical body.  
At the time, I was not only shocked but also dismayed by this information.  As a young woman in the entertainment industry, I had battled self hatred of my body for years.  My body never felt good enough and I wanted to be free of it.  Having a physical body seemed less glorious to me and more an annoyance.
Recently however, the beauty of a physical presence in the afterlife became real to me. I watched my father-in-law battle Lou Gehrig's Disease.  It is a disease where all of the muscles slowly deteriorate and it has no cure.  My father-in-law was one of the most Christ-like and loving people I had ever encountered and for him to lose control of his limbs, speech and breathing was devastating for all who loved him.  When he died, I began to understand why the resurrection provided such hope and truth.  To know that my father-in-law would have a body that was "glorious" beyond anything he had in this life was a remarkable assurance.  He would not only physically live again but would embrace again, speak again, eat and drink again, run again, laugh again.  And in a body that was like the one Christ has which had no deficiency.  It would be a glorious body.
What a truth for us to realize!  Disease, aging, and death would not prevent us from having a physical reality in the future that was glorious.  That is was the resurrection is truly about. "O death where is thy victory? O death where is thy sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55)
John Murray, in his book Redemption Accomplished and Applied, says "The biblical doctrine of 'immortality', if we may use that term, is the doctrine of glorification.  And glorification is resurrection.  Without resurrection of the body from the grave and the restoration of human nature to its completeness after the pattern of Christ's resurrection on the third day and according to the likeness of the glorified human nature in which he will appear on the clouds of heaven with great power and glory there is no glorification."
When we celebrate Easter in two weeks, we celebrate Christ having died for our sins.  But that is not all. We celebrate the end of all death that we know will come because he rose from the dead in human form on the third day.  We will not exist only in a spiritual form but body and spirit will be a glorious reality. And so it shall be for all of the people of God.  That is worthy of great celebration.


Brian Stevens said...

This is nice. Thanks for sharing.

Brian Stevens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.