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Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., explains Paul’s words to the Corinthians about the future glorification of our bodies.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51)
Today’s big question: will we all die?
Some believe death will be the end of their existence, while most people accept some sort of afterlife. As Christians, we know that all people will live for eternity either with God in the new heavens and new earth or separated from God in the lake of fire. A person’s eternal future depends solely on his relationship to Jesus Christ.
Paul often used the term “mystery” to refer to something hidden in the Old Testament but revealed in the New Testament (e.g., Romans 16:25). In today’s passage, he explained that not everyone will sleep—a common idiom for death. So not everyone will die, but all will be changed.
What will the nature of this change be? Since “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” our bodies must undergo a transformation (1 Corinthians 15:50). Paul explained that our corruptible bodies “must put on incorruption” and these mortal bodies “must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).
Many have wondered what our incorruptible and immortal bodies will be like. Philippians 3:21 states, “[Jesus] will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.” We are given a glimpse of our future glorified bodies when we look at the Lord’s resurrected body. He still had flesh, blood, and the nail scars (Luke 24:39–40), but it was a “glorious body.” The bodies of believers will be transformed into incorruptible and immortal bodies.
This wondrous future for Christians was secured for us by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). His body was glorified when He rose from the dead, and so believers will also receive glorified bodies in the resurrection.
As if the promise of a glorified body is not exciting enough, the Apostle Paul taught an astounding truth in our passage. We will not all die. Although Christians often disagree on the circumstances and timing of end times’ events, it is comforting to know that some believers will not die. Instead, we will be transformed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
The next devotional will focus on why believers do not need to fear death. However, in this passage the Holy Spirit has already given us cause to rejoice. Because of Christ’s Resurrection, we will not all die, and we will be made like Him. At that moment, we will never sin again, and our bodies will be incorruptible. We will dwell with Him for eternity in a place where there will be no more tears, sorrow, pain, or death (Revelation 21:4).
Today’s big idea: the Resurrection of Jesus guarantees an incorruptible and immortal future for believers.
What to pray: praise God for the hope He has given us by raising Christ from the dead.