Click here to read the passage.
In this delightful passage Paul lays out a simple explanation for understanding how resurrection – that strangest of ideas – could possibly work. In reality, we see resurrection around us every day, when dead seeds become live plants. We should be used to seeing things that are different, just as animals and birds and fish are different; we can see that the sun and the moon and the stars differ in splendor, even that different stars have different intensities. Why should we be surprised, then, that there are less and more glorious versions of bodies? The difference in bodies is two-fold: corruptible – that is, the body that breaks down and decays with which many of us are only too familiar – and incorruptible; or in other words, physical and spiritual. The first is weak, the second is powerful.
Paul focuses his example by looking at Adam – corruptible, mortal, dishonorable, weak, physical – and the resurrected Jesus Christ – incorruptible, glorious, powerful, spiritual. Adam came from the dust of the earth (cf Gen 2:7); Jesus came from heaven (cf John 13:3). We are all like Adam, and those who follow Jesus will be like Jesus too. Our own bodies will change, whether we pass through physical death or not, to be like his, so that as spiritual and incorruptible beings we may inherit the kingdom of God, which can only be possessed by the incorruptible. What is mortal must put on immortality, so that Isaiah’s prophecy may come to pass: that death may be swallowed up in victory, so that every tear is wiped away (25:8). As Hosea also proclaimed, death has no power over God’s people (13:14).
What caused death was sin, and sin’s power to kill came from the Mosaic law. But Jesus’ death on the cross has cancelled this power by taking the punishment for sin (cf Col 2:14). We therefore give thanks to God for giving us victory over sin and death, as undeserving as we may be. And the resulting application is that we continue to steadfast and immovable, not disturbed by the distracting controversies or temptations. Instead, Paul urges, let us abound in the work of the Lord, always knowing that our labour in him is not in vain.
Prayer: Lord God, my heavenly Father, help me not to be distracted by all the arguments against what I believe, nor by the temptations to live for the present life alone. Help me to trust your word, that there is a life to come, where my own body will be seen as glorious and powerful. Thank you for rescuing me from sin and death, and please continue to remind me to serve the Lord Jesus faithfully.