Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.


Going to Jesus

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The Nature and the Body

Notes taken from my teaching series on 1Corinthians

Not all flesh is the same flesh; there is one kind for humans, another flesh for land animals, another for fish, and another for birds. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one sort, and that of the earthly, another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.

The resurrection from the dead is the same way. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption; 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. There is a physical body, and there is a spiritual body.

As also it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living soul’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual was not first, but the physical; then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, made of dirt; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are of heaven, and as we have borne the likeness of the earthy, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly.

1Corinthians 15:39–49

Paul continues in this chapter to explain that the resurrected body will be different in nature from the human body, pointing to nature itself, which shows that there are many different types of flesh, or bodies, each having its own nature. The nature of a dog is different from the nature of a fish because their bodies were made different in Creation. The nature of angels is different from the nature of men because their bodies were made different. The nature of the sun differs from the nature of the moon because those celestial bodies were created different by God. All of creation tells us that the body determines the nature of a creature. Therefore, we may say that the resurrected body will be different in nature from our corruptible, fleshly bodies. We wouldn’t really want this fleshly body to be raised up again, even if we had a choice. We would prefer a different body, one that is free from sorrow, sickness, and death. And that is precisely what God has promised.

Paul calls the first Adam a living soul, quoting Genesis 11:7. God breathed into the man whom He had created the breath of life, and man “became a living soul.” But Jesus, the “second Adam”, is the father of another race of beings, new creatures. Paul said, “If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature.” Jesus is the first of those new creatures, who are people in a corruptible body with a holy spirit on the inside. Further, Paul said that this second Adam “became a life-giving spirit.” That means that Jesus has become a spiritual being like his Father (see Jn. 4:24) and that he gives us life.

Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, where he was “glorified”; that is, he was blessed by the Father with a glorious, spiritual body like the glory he had before the foundation of the world. This is according to Jesus’ own words in John 17:5, where Jesus prayed that his Father would glorify him with the glory that he had before the foundation of the world. We know that in John 4:24, Jesus told the woman at the well that God is a spirit. Many people have misunderstood that to mean that God is just a nebulas, divine Blob, more or less. Just a being that doesn’t have a body or form. But God’s body does have form. In form, our bodies are like His. But His is a spiritual body. And when Jesus said, “God is a spirit”, he meant that God is a spiritual being instead of a physical being. He was making a comparison between a physical father and a spiritual one – his Father in heaven.

Note this in relation to the context of 1Corinthians 15. A creature’s nature is determined by the type of body it has. Our nature is determined by our flesh, and it was by taking on a body like ours that the Son of God partook of our nature. Those who are descendant from Adam share his human nature because they have a body like his. Those who are of Christ share, by the Spirit, his holy nature within, and they are promised a glorified body like his when they are resurrected. As Paul says here in verse 49, “As we have borne the likeness of the earthy, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly.” Jesus’ body is distinct from the Father’s body, but it is like his Father’s body, made of spiritual substance, not natural substance. But it is real, shaped like ours, for we were made in God’s image; we were built like Him.

The Bible mentions a number of individual body parts when talking about the Father in heaven. It mentions His head and His hair, His eyes, His eyelids, His ears, His nose, His nostrils, His mouth, His tongue, His lips, His breath, His voice, His face, His countenance, His arm, His hands, His finger, His back, His feet, and His heart, soul, and spirit. (I have made a list of God’s body parts found in the Bible which can be found at the end of this Thought.) God has a body just as you have a body, and it is in the same shape. We were made in God’s image and that means we are built, physically, to reflect the way His spiritual body looks.

In verse 50, we read, “This I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.” By that, Paul is simply reminding us that as long as you are in this body of flesh and blood, you have not received your eternal inheritance, which is salvation. In other words, as long as you are living in this wicked world, you are not yet saved. Salvation is glorification; it is the receiving of a new, spiritual body. When Jesus Christ returns, and if you are judged worthy to be glorified with him, you will receive your reward, your eternal inheritance, the salvation of your souls, as the scripture says, “His reward is with him.” In those new, glorified bodies, we will forever be beyond all death and sorrow.

Body PartsScriptures
head & hair Dan. 7:9
eyes Prov. 15:3; Dt. 11:12; Ps. 34:15
eyelids Ps. 11:4
ears (hear) Ps. 17:6; 34:15; 5:3
nose (smell) Lev. 26:31; Amos 5:21; Phip. 4:18
nostrils Ex. 15:8; Job 4:9; Ps. 18:8, 15
mouth Dt. 8:3
tongue Isa. 30:27
lips Job 11:5; 23:12; Isa. 30:27
breath Ps. 33:6
voice Gen. 3:8; Dt. 4:12; Isa. 6:8; 30:30
face /countenanceEx. 33:20; Ps. 13:1; Num. 6:26; Ps. 4:6
arm Dt. 33:27; Isa. 51:5
hands Gen. 49:24; Ex. 15:17; Isa. 5:12
finger Ex. 8:19; 31:18; Lk. 11:20; Ps. 8:3
back Ex. 33:23
feet Ex. 24:10; 2Sam. 22:10; Isa. 60:13; Nah.
general bodily form “image”Num. 12:8; Jas. 3:9; Rev. 4:3; Gen. 1:26–27 with 5:3
heart Gen. 6:6; 8:1; Hos. 11:8
spirit Gen. 1:2; 1Cor. 2:11
soul Isa. 1:14; 42:1; Jer. 5:9, 29

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