Saturday, August 1, 2009

Devotional - The Perfect Body

Good morning everyone and welcome to August. We are continuing with 1 Corinthians 15, but we will conclude with it today.

It is funny that I call these devotionals but they are really tiny snippets of a greater teaching. I find teaching a little more important than devotionals although there is a place for devotionals as well. It is just hard to take such serious subjects as what we find in these chapters and apply them in a traditional devotional style. We have spent so much time on this chapter because this subject is vital for us as the children of our Father. He has laid out a plan for us so that we can take back our purpose which was lost in the garden and that involves the eternal life we had also lost. Paul explains in this last part of the chapter that eternity requires a change.

The change involves us receiving a resurrection body. Paul outlines that there are various forms of flesh and various forms of splendor. I like his comparison of the splendor of the sun, moon and stars to illustrate his point. The fact is that eternity requires us to have a different type of body. We can see this in the body Jesus received after the resurrection. Paul describes the differences:

There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised 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 natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. vv. 40-44

That is no excuse for us to despise what we have now. This is what we were given and we have the responsibility of looking after it. Perhaps that realization of good stewardship would cause us to think twice about what we do with these current bodies.

Paul continues with his explanation of the reason for the change. He takes us back to Adam and shows us why we are now considered a new creation. The old model failed and we are in the midst of the transformation to the new. It is how it works in the Kingdom. The Father declares it and we walk in it even if it is not complete yet. He has declared our salvation and we walk in it but we will not fully receive it until Jesus' return. We have been declared a new creation and we walk in it but the transformation will not be complete until we have our new bodies and we have been made perfect with Jesus' return:

So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. vv. 45-49

Jesus gives us some clues by what he did with his resurrection body. Take a read through his actions after the empty tomb. It is important for us to understand this difference between the perishable and the imperishable:

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." vv. 50-54

On that day the curse put on Adam and Eve will have been completely lifted and the final tool of the enemy, death, will be no more. The transformation will be complete spiritually as well as physically. Paul concludes with his reason for including this teaching on the resurrection; encouragement.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. v. 58

It is okay for the enemy to do whatever he wants against this body because we are getting new ones. We do not need to fear anything when we understand the complete promise and we should not permit anything to persuade us to move away from this teaching. We can take the "risks" that faith demands of us. We can be bold in proclaiming the good news. We can be daring with our visions. We can give ourselves fully to the work because nothing we do will be wasted. Regardless of what happens our future is secure. We can trust and we can encourage others to trust because it is all being worked out. Now stop laying around and get out there. Do something and work at it with everything you have to give.

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