The Transformation of our Lowly Bodies.

We are continuing our meditation on 1 Corinthians 15, the topic of the resurrection body and what it will be like to have a glorious, incorruptible body. When that Day comes, what God has been shaping us to be will be revealed. It won’t be the same as our old nature; Paul said that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). Our bodies will no longer be perishable but imperishable (v. 53). We won’t all sleep; those believers who are still alive at the coming of Christ will be transformed instantly without going through the experience of death. When Christ comes, in a flash, in the blink of an eye’s time, we will be changed from having a perishable body to being clothed with an imperishable body (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Paul, the apostle, writes in a different place about this transformation of our bodies:

…the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).

The Greek word translated into English as transform is the word metaschēmatizō. It is a construction of two Greek words, meta meaning a change of place or condition, and schēma is the word for shape or outward form. It means to transform, change the outward form or appearance of something, refashion, reshape.[1]

An imperishable body means that it won’t age or get sick. Our new bodies will be glorious all of the time. Believers in Christ will always have youthful strength and be radiantly beautiful with God's glory upon them. Just as Jesus walked through walls into the upper room where the door was locked for fear of the Jews (John 20:19), we will also be able to pass through walls and travel instantaneously, not bound by the physical realm. Our new bodies will not be limited to only one sphere of existence. We cannot comprehend this now, as we are limited to this dimension on earth, but just as a vast, sprawling oak tree could not be compared to the acorn seed from which it grows, our spiritual bodies will transcend what we can imagine. We do not have anything to compare with it.

Paul says that our new body will be like Christ's glorious body (Philippians 3:20). This radiance upon us will be both authoritative and beautiful. Jesus said that “the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father” (Matthew 13:43. Emphasis mine). It will also be a powerful body (1 Corinthians 15:43). I don't think this speaks only of strength, although that certainly will be part of it; there will be a power and authority to work the miraculous just as Jesus did and still does. We will participate with Him to do His will. Our bodies will be raised, and we will see His face and be transformed into His image. Daniel the prophet spoke of that time in this way:

1"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:1-3).

Daniel wrote that this will happen during a time of distress such as the world has never seen before. But at that time everyone whose name is written in God’s book–will be delivered (v. 1). The prophet is talking about the rapture of the saints at some time during the tribulation or time of distress. Daniel says that those who invest their lives to touch others for Christ will be like the stars for ever and ever. I cannot comprehend what it means to shine like a star, but it sure sounds like a reward that will be wonderful and worth our sacrifice, effort, and devotion to Christ in this life. That which God has been doing on the inside of you and through you will be made known, and it will be glorious, the chrysalis of this old decaying body will put on an immortal body, just like our Lord's. It will be time to go home! Graduation day at last! Far from being the end we see when we look at the death of an earthly body, there will be a glorious new beginning, for He is the First Fruit, and we shall be like Him. May you be found in Him in that day and worship with us. Keith Thomas

Taken from the series Insights into Eternity. Click on study 3 or the link: The Resurrection Body

[1] Key Word Study Bible, AMG Publishers, Page 1651.