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.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Thy dead men shall live! Together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust, for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
From Pastor John’s Old Testament class: “Lessons from Isaiah”, No. 47.
One of the basic tenets of the faith of Christ is the hope of eternal life. “If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable”, wrote Paul (1Cor. 15:19 KJV). It is impossible to endure constant persecution and misunderstanding with the humility and compassion of Christ, without hope of a better life to come. The hope of eternal life that we have in Christ creates the strength in us to overcome evil with good. This hope is the promise of God for those who love Him. “If we suffer with him”, Paul stated, “we shall reign with him.”
There have been some teachers who claim that we will be raised from the dead in these natural, fleshly bodies. That was the position of many of the earliest Christian Church “fathers”. And this foolish notion of a physical, fleshly resurrection has made it easy for proud, unbelieving men to scoff at the whole idea of a resurrection from the dead. In 1975, Professor Archie Nations, scorned the foolishness of those who believed in such a resurrection in his New Testament class at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He told us that such a thing was impossible, that people’s dead bodies return to dirt, and that some dead people’s molecules had probably filtrated through the ground, descended into the subterranean water table from which we now drank, and were probably now a part of our bodies. And of the dead people’s molecules were not making up part of our bodies, how could they get those molecules back to be physically raised without tearing our bodies apart?
I should mention that Dr. Nations surprised the class one day when he stated (quite emphatically I might add), “We know that Jesus never walked on the water; science excludes that!” That unfortunate spasm of unbelief notwithstanding, the professor’s reasoning concerning the bodies of living people being possibly using molecules from dead people was sound. Fortunately, the truth about the resurrection solves the apparently problem.
There were those in Corinth who felt the way my professor thought. They rejected the whole idea of a resurrection because they did not see how dead and decayed bodies could rise. Paul answered them (1Cor. 15:36-49):
“Fool! What you sow . . . you do not sow with the body that shall be, but naked grain, whether of wheat or some other such seed, and then [when it rises from the ground], God gives it a body as it pleases Him. Not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind of flesh for humans, another flesh for animals, another flesh for birds, and another for fish. There are, as well, heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; but the glory of heavenly bodies is of one sort, and that of earthly bodies, another. There is a glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory for stars; indeed, star differs with 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 disgrace; 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 one. As it is also written, ”The first man Adam became a living soul“, but the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, that which was spiritual was not first, but the physical, then that which was spiritual. The first man was from the soil of the earth; the second man was from heaven. Those who are of earth are like the man of earth; those who are of heaven are like the man of heaven, and as we have borne the likeness of the man of earth, we shall also bear the likeness of the man from heaven.”
Even Professor Nations would agree that the dead in Christ being raised with spiritual bodies solves the problem of shared molecules. But the truth of the gospel is that the resurrection of God’s saints will solve every problem that we have ever had, whatever sort it may have been, from the problem of our body’s molecules to the problem of Black Holes in outer space. And it will solve them forever!