We are fortunate that the church in Corinth had so many problems. We have learned so much from Paul’s corrections of their issues.
To answer questions about resurrection life, Paul engaged in a set of contrasts.
I have divided the material to emphasize how different resurrected life is from our current existence.
— 1 Corinthians 15.42-44 – So it is with the resurrection of the dead.
— What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.
— It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.
— It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
— It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.
— If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.
Words to describe the physical body are perishable, dishonorable, and weak.
Words to describe the spiritual body are imperishable, glorious, and powerful.
Because of the love and grace of God, one day we will shed the limitations of the physical body and begin to live in the abundant goodness of the spiritual body.
The First and Second Man
Another way to explain how resurrected life is different from our current existence is to examine the first and second man.
— 1 Corinthians 15.45-49 – Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven.
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
We resemble the “man from the earth,” Adam.
Our destiny is to be like the “man of heaven.”
God fashioned humans to live in his image.
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1.27)
The image of God is expressed by the power God has given humans over creation.
— Genesis 1.28 – God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
From the beginning, humans have abused the power God has given us. Instead of responsibly exercising our dominion, we have used our God-given power for ourselves.
War, slavery, oppression, abuse, and so much more is the result of the misuse of people who were created in God’s image.
This is what happens when we follow the one who Paul calls, the “man of dust.”
Resurrected life will restore the proper image of God to Jesus’ followers. There we will bear the image of the “Man of heaven,” Jesus Christ.
If then, why not now?
One thing that will make heaven “heaven,” is that we will become like Jesus.
There is no one who has all of the qualities of a full and abundant life like Jesus. He reigns supreme in the “best life possible” business.
To bear the image of Jesus is to be like him. Paul gives us a glimpse of the kind of personality we will have when this life is ours.
— Galatians 5.22-23 – The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Think of each of these nine words as being personality traits. Our future personality will embrace each of these qualities to the highest level.
The question we need to ask ourselves is if being like Jesus is going to be so good for all of eternity, why not try to live like Jesus today?
Why not make living a Jesus-kind-of-life our daily goal?
If we believe heaven will be so good, why not adopt the attitudes and actions of heaven right now?
Rudy Ross and I have produced a YouTube video on this passage. It can be seen on the Bob Spradling channel.
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