At the last trumpet – 1 Corinthians 15.35-58. RBT Notes, 29th November

Death is a certainty, but equally certain is the resurrection of the body. And what a body that will be! We bring our questions and our struggle to figure out just what this resurrection will be like (vv.34-41). Paul knows no more than anyone else when it comes to the details, but his convictions are thrilling, and for you and me (vv.42-44): our future is one of imperishability (no more suffering, decay or death), glory (none of the shame which is our experience in this life), and power (no more aches, pains or diseases).
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Still, we naturally strive for answers. Well, Paul continues, we will have a “spiritual body” (v.44). Don’t misunderstand Paul as implying that our body in the new state is anything less than real and physical: his contrast is with the body we have now. We have the body of our forefather Adam, a body from the dust, and bearing the marks of our fallen condition. We will one day shed the likeness of Adam, and instead “we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (v.49). We shall enjoy Jesus’ sinlessness, with minds and bodies which can never sin, at home in the home of righteousness.
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For this to happen, we will one day face the most massive transformation. At the trumpet’s sound as Christ comes the dead will be raised, and we, His elect, will go to be with Christ (vv.51-52). The change will overwhelming, and astounding, as death will be destroyed and we shall live with Christ forever (vv.53-54). There is just no way we can prepare for that great day. All we know is that it will be the end of death, and the beginning of the universal victory of Jesus (vv.55-57). And that is more than enough for us to lose ourselves in worship now, before the praise of heaven to come.
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What does the resurrection mean? In a word, everything. Jesus is raised, and there is therefore not a single person who will not be raised, also. For those of us who believe, the resurrection of Christ will bring us into God’s Presence for our everlasting joy. And in the here and now, the resurrection is the great incentive to our living a devoted, hope-filled life: “always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord”. In a fallen world and a struggling church that work might not always be appreciated or be rewarded, but because of the resurrection of Jesus, “that labour is not in vain” (v.58).
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Lewis Allen

Pastor, Hope Church Huddersfield, Director of Gospel Yorkshire, husband, father of five, football follower and dreaming fly-fisherman, Daily Reading the Bible Together blogger.

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