This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
Please believe that God has a provision for your body. God has not omitted your body from His provision. It is really important that as believers we get to know the nature of our body, God’s purpose for our body and God’s provision for our body.
At the beginning of our study we went to the account given in Genesis 2:7 of the initial creation of man which is one of the most crucial passages of Scripture because until we understand our origin we really don’t understand ourselves. I am simple-minded enough to believe it happened the way the Bible describes it. I’ve been a professor at Britain’s largest university for 9 years. I hold various degrees and various academic distinctions. I feel in many ways I’m quite sophisticated intellectually but I don’t feel in any way intellectually inferior when I say that I believe the Bible record of creation. Prior to believing the Bible I had studied many other attempts to explain man’s origin and found them all unsatisfying and, in many cases, contradictory. I turned to study the Bible as a professional philosopher, not as a believer. I commented to myself, “At least it can’t be any sillier than some of the other things I’ve heard.” To my astonishment, I discovered it had the answer.
In Genesis 2:7 we read this. I think it’s good to read it. It’s a very short, simple statement.
“The LORD God ...”
Jehovah God. It’s God’s personal name that’s used there. A personal God formed a personal man for personal fellowship between them.
“The LORD God formed [or molded] man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
I have pointed out there is the union of God’s divine, eternal breath from above with the body of clay from beneath molded by the hands of the Creator. The union of spirit from above and clay from beneath produced a living human personality.
In our studies during the week we dealt essentially with the inner personality of man: spirit and soul. But let us not be blind to the fact that man’s body is also a miraculous and marvelous creation of God. Most believers do not sufficiently value or care for their own bodies. Until the breath of God entered that clay form it was just clay, that’s all it was. It became a living, functioning physical body with all its organisms, with all its parts, with all its members through the miraculous operation of the Spirit of God.
Take just one human eye. I was watching one Sunday morning a telecast and the American Society of Ophthalmologists presented some information on the human eye. It was fascinating. If I remember rightly, they said one human eye contains more than 3 million working parts. What brought that into being? The breath of God. All our muscles, our nerves, our glands, every function in our physical bodies owes its origin to the inbreathed breath of God. That’s what transformed the clay into this marvelous physical organism.
When you grasp that the miracles of healing are logical. Divine healing is the most logical thing. Who can better repair and restore and, if need be, recreate the body than the same agent who initially formed it? The Spirit of God.
In recent years I’ve been privileged to witness many creative miracles of God where bones that were not there were restored. I’ve been asking prayer through the week for a little girl in San Jose, California. Her elder sister was born without a bone in each upper leg. As a result of prayer God has created the bones. I don’t say it’s simple, but it’s very understandable when you understand the origin of the human body. It was just clay till the Spirit of God moved upon it and worked upon it and produced these organisms.
Turn to the book of Job for a moment. Job 10. There are tremendous revelations in the book of Job and there’s a wonderful interrelationship between Genesis and Job in many ways. Job 10:8–12. It’s a beautiful summation of God’s creative work in our bodies.
“Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about ... ”
As in Genesis where the word form indicates a very careful, skillful work, so Job also emphasizes the immense skill and care that God devoted to forming the human body.
“Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?”
What a vivid expression, isn’t it?
“Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.”
What a beautiful picture of the interrelationship of the various main parts of the body.
“Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.”
Then in Job 32:8 we have the other aspect of man’s nature, the spiritual aspect.
“There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration [or the inbreathed breath] of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”
Job is in perfect accord with Genesis. It’s the union of the breath of God from above with the clay from beneath that brings into being a total personality.
Then we turn to the words of David in Psalm 139 and read there from verse 13. Psalm 139, David’s own recognition of the miracle of his physical body. I do wish to emphasize that in my observation, the majority of Christian believers do not sufficiently appreciate their own bodies. If you had to pay for the equipment you got in your body, first of all, you couldn’t pay for it. Secondly, believe me, you’d take a lot more care of it. Psalm 139:13:
“For thou hast possessed [or formed] my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ... And I believe that to be true. When I consider the physical body it fills me with a sense of awe.”
“... I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance [or my bones] was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
That tells me that the substance that eventually became my body was planned and formed by God in the earth long before it ever entered my body. God had appointed the substance that was one day to constitute my body. Verse 16:
“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect ...”
God had a blueprint for my body and your body before it ever came into being. No things happen by chance.
“... and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
So, God brought my body, your body, into being on a blueprint and there’s a number for every member. Every member is written up in God’s book.
Compare that with the statement of Jesus in Luke 12:7. He said, “Fear not: you are of more value than many sparrows. Even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” That’s the detail of God’s concern for our physical body. He has the number of the hairs on our head.
I believe when we realize this we must realize also that God has a purpose for this marvelous workmanship which is our body. I believe the purpose is revealed in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20.
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price ...”
And we know that 1 Peter 1:18–19 tells us we were indeed bought not with corruptible things as with silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. The redemptive price that was paid for us was the blood of Christ shed on the cross. Please note that Christ redeemed total man: spirit, soul and body. The body was not omitted when the redemptive price was paid. Paul says in verse 20:
“Ye are bought with a price: therefore ...”
Notice that therefore.
“... glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Jesus paid the price to redeem spirit, soul and body. Your body belongs to God. Therefore, it is to be used for God’s glory. Because Jesus had paid for you, you do not belong to yourself. He owns you. The purpose for which He redeemed your body was to be the temple, the dwelling place, of the Holy Spirit. When God first fashioned that first body in the Garden, it was His purpose that in the fullness of time the redeemed body of the believer in Jesus Christ should become the dwelling place, the temple, of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 7:48 Stephen told the Jewish people:
“The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands.”
You can build any church, any synagogue, any temple, any building you like. When God’s people meet there, God will meet with them. God does not dwell in any building that’s made by human hands. God has one appointed temple; it’s the body of the redeemed believer.
And, there’s a particular area in that body which is set apart for the Holy Spirit. John 7:37–39.
“Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst; let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Verse 39 is given in parenthesis, the explanation.
“This he spake of the Holy Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
There was a time to come when those who believed on Jesus were to receive the Holy Spirit as a Person to indwell the physical temple of their body. The first time this happened in human history was on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came down to earth as a person, took up His dwelling in the church of Jesus Christ collectively but took His individual dwelling in the body of each believer. I personally believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit when it’s scripturally expounded and scripturally experienced is the precise moment at which every believer yields to the Holy Spirit that area of his body to be His temple. The Holy Spirit is at work in the life of the believer from conviction through conversion through regeneration. But, as I understand Scripture—and I’ve studied this very, very carefully—I have no doctrinal or denominational axe to grind. As I understand, it’s at the baptism in the Holy Spirit that the believer’s body actually becomes the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. When I lead people in prayer to receive the baptism I invite them to come forward. In my prayer I cause them to say these words: “I present to You my body to be a temple of Your Spirit.” I believe that is the moment at which the plan of God is consummated in your life and in your body. I just wonder whether believers really appreciate, whether we can talk so casually, about things like this. To me it’s breathtaking that Almighty God, the Holy Spirit, who is God, desires to indwell my physical body. To me, this is the climax of the whole process of redemption. The cross is not the climax. Pentecost is the climax. The cross made Pentecost possible. The whole thrust of the gospels is to the coming of the Comforter.
I believe there’s an individual transaction between every believer and the Lord whereby that believer actually offers to the Holy Spirit that place which has been set apart from creation to be the dwelling place of the Spirit of God. Out of his belly. I believe there is an actual area in your physical body below the diaphragm and above the pelvis which is set apart and destined to be the place where God the Holy Spirit dwells. This is the supreme purpose of the human body, to be the temple of Almighty God the Holy Spirit. It is only possible through redemption. The body must first be redeemed by the blood of Jesus from the dominion of Satan, from the defilement of sin, sanctified and made holy by the blood of Jesus and then becomes a fit and worthy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.
Jesus on the cross not merely dealt with man’s spiritual needs, He dealt with man’s physical needs. He not merely bore our sins in His own body but Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses and with His wounds we were healed. It was a total, redemptive work. Nothing in me now belongs to the devil. The devil has no legal rights or claims over anything of me: spirit, soul and body. My testimony is I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus out of the hand of the devil. We’ve already had quoted here that beautiful verse, Psalm 107:2:
“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed out of the hand of the enemy.”
It’s a very good thing to say so because your redemption is not fully effective till you say it. With the heart man believeth unto righteousness but with the mouth confession is made unto full salvation. My testimony is this, and I make it over and over again. “Through the blood of Jesus I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil. Spirit, soul and body I belong to Jesus Christ. Sanctified and set apart to God by the blood of Jesus.”
How important it is to understand that your body is holy. The apostle Paul in certain passages and writings uses the word “body” or “flesh”—not to denote the physical body but to denote the old Adamic nature which is rebellious and corrupt. Without rightly dividing the Word of God many Christians reading such passages have wrongly understood that Paul was suggesting that the physical body is unholy. That’s ridiculous. The physical body is the masterpiece of God’s physical creation. It was created specifically to be a temple for the Holy Spirit. How could the Holy Spirit ever contemplate indwelling something that couldn’t be made holy and worthy of His presence?
I want to make it clear that the redemption of our body is not yet complete. If I taught that, I would be teaching error. Some do teach this error. They teach that they have already received their resurrection body. It’s strange, but they can persuade people to believe it. My comment on that is always just stick a pin into them and see.
I want to deal briefly with what God will do for your body in this life and what will take place at the completion of the redemption of your body at the resurrection or the translation.
In this life, first of all, turn to Romans 12 if you will. Romans 12:1. This verse, like so many of the verses before, contains the word “therefore.” Let me offer you the little comment I made before. When you find a therefore, you want to find out what it’s there for. Actually, if you observe the structure of Romans—and I’m going to be teaching on Romans this coming week in Houston—the first 8 chapters of Romans are the presentation of the gospel. Nine, ten and eleven are an excursus that deal with God’s dealings with Israel. Chapter 12 links really on logically with chapter 8. Paul says in the light of all that God has done for us, what is our logical and reasonable response? He expresses it in this first verse of Romans 12. That’s why the therefore is there.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [in the light of all that God has done on our behalf], that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy [notice it’s the body that’s holy] acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Under the Mosaic law the sacrifice was killed whether it was a sheep or a bullock or whatever it might be. It was killed and laid dead on the altar. Paul says you are to present your bodies just as really on God’s altar as that sheep or that bullock who laid on the altar. There’s only one difference. It’s living. That’s very, very vivid because the man who offered a sacrifice—let us say it was a sheep—killed it, placed it on the altar and he no longer owned it. From that moment onwards that sheep from the moment it was laid on the altar belonged to God and not to the man. God said in the light of what he has done for us there’s only one logical, reasonable response. That each one of us place our physical body on the altar of God in service in precisely the same measure and degree as the Old Testament believer placed the body of the sheep or the bullock on the altar.
Before this service closes I’m going to challenge you if you’ve never done that to do it here this morning. It is a deliberate, definite, scriptural transaction that every believer should make to present his body a living sacrifice on God’s altar. The Scripture tells us in Matthew 23:19 it is the altar that sanctifies the gift. When you place your body on God’s altar the contact with the altar sanctifies the body that you give. Your body becomes holy by its contact with the altar. Then it is truly set apart to God.
When you have set your body apart to God in this way God says there are further things you need to do. Romans 6:12–13. And there’s another “therefore” here which relates to the first part of Romans 6. We can’t go into it except to explain that when Christ died, we died. The old nature died. When we were baptized, the old nature was buried. When we came up out of the water we were resurrected to walk in newness of life. We are to reckon ourselves dead to the old nature and to sin just as really as Christ died on the cross. The therefore follows on from that in verse 12:
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body [notice it’s the body that he’s talking about] that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your physical members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin ...”
But what are you to do with your physical members?
“... but yield yourselves unto God as those who are alive from the dead [your will, your ego, your personality], and your members [your physical members] as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
God asks that you yield the physical members of your body to Him for Him to control as if they were His members. Your hands become His hands, your feet become His feet.
Reading on in Romans 6 a little further, verse 19. Paul returns to this. I feel so few Christians really understand the emphasis that’s placed in the New Testament on what we do with our bodies. Romans 6:19:
“I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your [physical] members slaves to uncleanness and to iniquity; even so now yield your [physical] members slaves to righteousness unto holiness.”
That’s the way to holiness, to yield your physical members as servants or instruments to the Holy Spirit for Him to control, for His purposes for the glory of God.
Then in 1 Thessalonians 4 we have a Scripture that we looked at earlier but we’ll come back to.
1 Thessalonians 4:3–4:
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification [that you be holy, that you be set apart to God], that ye should abstain from fornication [from sexual impurity and uncleanness]: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.”
What does it mean when it says “your vessel,” what’s it referring to? Your physical body. Notice you’re to possess it in holiness and honor. You’re to honor your body. Why? Because it’s the temple of the Holy Spirit. See, it grieves me when I see how careless and casual Christians are with their bodies. I don’t believe I would really be alive and able to preach today if God hadn’t taught me to take care of my body. Why? Because it’s His instrument. I’ve consecrated my body to the Lord, I’ve given to God specifically my vocal organs for Him to use. I told Him, “Lord, they don’t belong to me any longer, they belong to You.”
And I like that word “know,” that you should know how to possess. I believe a Christian should really take some time to study what and how to eat, drink and sleep. No one is more guilty than preachers of failing to exercise their bodies. Most preachers pay for it sooner or later. I believe in a reasonable amount of physical exercise to keep my body in a condition that glorifies God.
You know, I have a criticism of modern doctors—there may be some here today. I hope you’ll not get offended. To me, the medical profession today, let me compare it to people training pilots to fly airplanes. All they ever train them in is crash landings and bailing out. We never get any instruction on how to live healthy. Practically never. Everything is what to do. And it’s not if you’re sick, please notice, it’s when you’re sick. The American public are subtly conditioned mentally to expect to be sick. You look at the advertisements for the pain killers. It’s not if you get a headache, it’s when you get a headache. How vivid and almost attractive they make it appear to have a headache. Sure! Do you know why? Because it’s a billion dollar industry. Let’s be rather realistic about that. There are very few industries in which there’s a bigger markup and a larger profit than the drug industry. What would happen if all Americans got well? There would be a whole chain of industries that would go bankrupt overnight.
We have to be careful we don’t become uncharitable or unkind, but really, actually, it is true the American public are conditioned to expect to need tranquilizers, painkillers, pep tablets, remedies for arthritis and all the rest. Your mental attitude makes a lot of difference; it makes a great deal of difference. I remember sitting with a precious brother in Denmark who was over 70 years old. He said, “I’ve never been sick a day in my life.” Everybody said, “Oh, isn’t that remarkable!” See, the implication is sickness is normal. That’s not scriptural. In the Scripture health is normal and sickness is abnormal. As I said the other day, you have to search the Bible to find a believer who died of sickness. Most of you couldn’t find one. I’ll tell you one, it was Elisha the prophet. I can’t offhand think of another sold-out
believer who died sick.
You don’t have to be sick to die, you know that? Brother Jim Brown, a Presbyterian preacher was preaching on this theme one day in church—of course, it wasn’t altogether acceptable to all his congregation. A lady met him in the foyer afterwards and said, “Brother Brown, I believe I’m going to die.” He said, “Well, sister, die well.” His own first wife did it. I don’t know whether you know about the death of Jim Brown’s first wife. She was miraculously raised up from a heart disease and she said, “Every breath I breathe is supernatural from this moment onwards.” He and she were out together on the West Coast preaching, she was writing a letter to a friend testifying of God’s goodness. The last word she wrote was “salvation.” She put the period and breathed her last. That’s how the believer should go. He taketh away their breath, they die and return to the earth.
Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed if you’re sick. I thank God for doctors. If I need a doctor I’ll go to a doctor. But I’m not mentally conditioned to expect to be sick. I’m mentally conditioned to expect to be well, because I believe it’s the will of God for me.
Turn on to 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly ... ”
Entirely. Everything in you should be entirely sanctified. Let’s get away from doctrinal quarrels about sinless perfection and just get down to the fact that every part of me is holy and should be kept that way.
“... and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless ...”
That’s a challenging thought. What does it mean for your body to be preserved blameless? I think it means that every part of your body is consecrated to God. Satan doesn’t have any control over any area of your body. I believe that’s the revealed will of God. I believe by His redemptive work on the cross by the gift of the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ has made it possible. That’s the level I want to live on. I don’t want to come lower down.
God has provided the means for believers to stay well. The two great means are the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Let us look at the part of each for a moment, not dwelling on either. Proverbs 4— anybody that hears me preach long will always hear me turn to Proverbs 4:20–22 because these are the words that got me out of the hospital. After a year in hospital when doctors were not able to heal me Proverbs 4:20–22 got me out of the hospital and I’m eternally grateful for them. I’ll pass them on to anybody who will receive them because God showed me one thing. When I got out of the hospital He said, “I’ve put you through this so that you can tell others what I’ve done for you and reveal to them the principles that I’ve taught you.” Actually, when I came out of the hospital, the day I came out of the hospital—I’m going back to Proverbs 4 in a moment. The verse that God gave me was Proverbs 22:17 and following. After exactly 12 months in the hospital, it took me one year to learn the lesson. This is the verse that He gave me. Proverbs 22:17:
“Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.”
And I can say sincerely I have done so. That was 1943 and it’s nearly 40 years. I have applied my heart to God’s knowledge. I’ve made a good investment. If I had to go back and do it again I’d do the same and more.
“For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them [God’s Word] within thee; they shall withal be fitted [together] on thy lips. That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.”
That was the day I came out of hospital. I still trust in the Lord.
“Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth ...”
God’s Word is absolute certainty, the certainty of the words of truth.
“... that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee.”
God said, “You have a responsibility to teach others what I’ve taught you.”
Now turn to Proverbs 4:20–22 and find God’s provision for upholding your body in physical health.
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.”
Notice, it’s God’s words and God’s sayings.
“Let them [the words and the sayings of God] not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”
“My son” is addressed to every child of God. Here is God’s Word to you, His child. He’s given you that which if you rightly take it according to the directions will be life to you and health to all your flesh.
In Romans 8:11 we have the other aspect of the provision of God for the believer’s body. Romans 8:11:
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Quicken in modern English means “give life to.” Do you realize that you have dwelling in your physical body through the baptism in the Holy Spirit the same power that raised the body of Jesus out of the tomb? That’s a breathtaking thought. Can you imagine any physical need in your body that would be greater than the physical need of Jesus’ body after He’d been scourged, lacerated, hung on the cross and laid away in the tomb for three days and three nights? The Spirit of God entered that body and gave Him perfect life and health. The same power is now indwelling your physical body to quicken it, to make it alive, to impart unto it divine resurrection life. That’s an inexhaustible reservoir of divine life inside you. The trouble is believers don’t know how to draw on it.
Turn to 2 Corinthians 4 and read some very beautiful words with me there. There is an exchange of life. Jesus took the corrupt life that we had and terminated it on the cross. Now we’re invited to share His divine, eternal resurrection life. Second Corinthians 4:10–11. This is the testimony of the apostle Paul.
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
There can be no doubt about the meaning of those words. Because of the exchange that took place at the cross, because Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness, because He bore our sicknesses and our infirmities, because He died our death we are invited to participate of the resurrection life of Jesus and it is to be made manifest—please notice that—visibly demonstrated in our mortal flesh. That’s divine healing and divine health. That’s the great basic principle. The same power that created your body in resurrection life is now to be made manifest in your physical body. Please note you do not yet have your resurrection body. Be very, very careful and never misquote me on that. What you have now is resurrection life in a mortal body. You’ve got to learn to draw on that reservoir of resurrection life to maintain your mortal body.
I believe we should look also at verse 16 of that chapter.
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man is continually perishing [the body is still corruptible, it’s still mortal], yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.“
Our outward man depends on the life that comes through the inward man. We draw on the reservoir of divine life that comes into us through our spirit by the Spirit of God. That resurrection life is sufficient for all the needs of my mortal body as long as I have a work to do for God. God is able to keep me.
Now let’s look on in closing as quickly as we can to the change which will take place when the redemption of our body is complete. Romans 8:18–23:
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
There’s a glory that’s going to be revealed in us.
“For the earnest expectation of creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
All creation is waiting for something. And it is the manifestation of the sons of God.
“Not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body.”
My body is already God’s property but it is still a mortal, corruptible body. The final phase of redemption takes place at resurrection or translation.
Now we turn to 1 Corinthians 15 for the account given to Paul by divine revelation of how this will take place. I am going to point out to you that there will be five specific changes in our bodies. I’ll read 1 Corinthians 15:42 and following.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead.”
He’s talking about the body. He’s not talking about the spirit and the soul. At this point he’s talking about the resurrection of the body. In fact, it’s only the body that is resurrected. The spirit and the soul are already in God’s keeping. He tells us the changes that are going to take place and I’d like you to follow them with me. I’ll not be longer than is necessary.
“It [the body] is sown [buried] in corruption; it is raised in incorruption ...”
That’s the first change from corruption to incorruption.
“... it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory ...”
That’s the second change from dishonor to glory.
“... it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power ...”
That’s the third change from weakness to power. The fourth is one that requires explanation. We dealt with it during the week, we can’t go back to it in detail.
“... it is sown a natural [or a soulish] body; it is raised a spiritual body.”
We spoke about this, we can’t go into it in detail. But Jesus, after resurrection, had a body that was spiritual, not soulish. Apparently it was devoid of blood. He had flesh and bone but not blood. His blood was the propitiatory sacrifice that He had entered into the presence of God with. And He was not subject to the limits of space and time as we are in our natural bodies. The Scripture promises that we will have a body just like His at resurrection. Reading on a little further in 1 Corinthians 15, starting again at verse 50:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ...”
The kind of body we have now cannot survive in God’s kingdom. See, it’s very interesting. Man can be projected into the moon but he has to take earth’s atmosphere with him. He cannot live outside the atmosphere of earth with the kind of body that he has now. He’s still a slave to the atmosphere of earth; he’s still bound within that limit because it’s a body of flesh and blood. The Scripture says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
“... neither doth corruption inherit incorruption ...”
Therefore, there has to be a change. This is the reasoning of Paul.
“Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep [in death], but we shall all be changed ...”
Some will be changed by resurrection out of death, others will be changed without dying. You get that?
“... in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump ...”
The twinkling of an eye means as long as it takes you to close your eye and open it. So, one moment we’ll be sitting looking at one another like this, there will be a tremendous trumpet sound, a blinding flash of light, we’ll all blink and when we open our eyes again we’ll all be in resurrection glorified bodies. Just that long, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.
“...for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible...”
And remember in 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul says “we who are alive shall not go before those who sleep in death for the dead shall be raised first; then we who are alive shall be changed.” You notice this eliminates the possibility of your getting a resurrection body before the general resurrection of the dead. That’s why any other teaching is in error. The dead shall be raised first, then we who are alive shall be changed.
Now going back to 1 Corinthians 15:
“...for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
There’s the fifth change that was not mentioned before, from mortal to immortal.
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
That will be the climax.
Let me just for the sake of your understanding repeat once more the five changes that will take place. Five is the number of the senses, these are changes that are perceptible to the senses. The changes that will take place not in the spirit or the soul but in the physical body of every redeemed believer at the coming of the Lord.
The first change from corruption to incorruption.
The second, from dishonor to glory.
The third, from weakness to power.
The fourth, from soulish to spiritual.
The fifth, from mortal to immortal.
There’s one further passage of Scripture we’ll look at to complete this study, that’s Philippians 3:20–21.
“For our conversation...”
But you remember last night those of you who were here, we saw the real word is citizenship. Our citizenship is in heaven. We may be on earth but we’ve got heaven’s passport. Praise the Lord. Make sure you’ve got your passport because when you go on a journey it’s frustrating to find you don’t have your passport. You hang around, miss the plane and never get there. When the rapture takes place, friend, it’s going to be too late getting your passport then. You’ve got to have it all in order. Stamped, up to date, with a visa for the heavenly garden.
“For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ ...”
I love to give Him His complete title, Lord Jesus Christ.
“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body ...”
Now, this is a little free. The more literal translation is “he shall change the body of our humiliation, that it may be formed like the body of his glory.” This is the same change that Paul says from dishonor to glory.
“... according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Since man fell he’s had a body of humiliation, a humiliating body. It’s God’s punishment for our fall. So, no matter how rich you may be and no matter what beautiful clothes you may wear, you begin to move around a little quick and you perspire. You get in plain language, smelly. No matter what food you eat on, you go to the finest of restaurants, eat and drink the best; you still have to go to the bathroom. You’ve got a body of humiliation.
Much salesmanship in America today is trying to kid you into the fact that you don’t have a body of humiliation. You notice, everything is getting nicely covered over and you have this and that kind of thing. It’s designed to make you think that your body really is all right the way it is. But it isn’t. It’s a body of humiliation.
It’s a humiliating body because we’re under judgment for sin. But there’s going to come a day when we’ll be liberated from this body of humiliation and we’ll have a body of glory just like the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the climax of redemption. It concludes with the change in our body.
Praise God there’s one thing sure, there’s going to be a resurrection. I always think—and I’ll close with this. I remember and my wife will remember this, in Kenya in East Africa one of our student’s mother died. We felt we ought to go comfort her and the family and without planning it we arrived at just the time the funeral was to take place. I’ve never seen anything so pathetic and poor in all my life. The hut was built of grass and the roof had been partly damaged by fire. According to African custom the grave was dug about 50 feet in front of the front entrance to the hut. There was this big gaping hole. The younger children were running around without anybody to care for them or show any interest in them. The body of the woman was clad in a kind of white dress, white nightdress. But everything in East Africa, when it gets in contact with that red mud gets muddied and cannot be made white again. So, it looked dirty. The casket was just a rough box nailed together out of planks. The woman herself was a believer and as I stood there and looked at that body and looked around I was just gripped with an overwhelming sense of poverty. And an unequal struggle against odds that had been too great for her. There came such a realization: There’s got to be a resurrection. It isn’t fair that it ends that way. And there came such a conviction in my heart that there’s going to be a resurrection. That’s not the end, there’s something more to follow. When the trumpet sounds that body will rise free from sickness, free from pain, glorified, shining and be gathered together with millions to meet the Lord in the air.
The Bible says when you believe that, comfort one another with these words. Glory to God. The Lord bless you, it’s good to be with you. If we don’t meet you before, we’ll meet you there.