We Will Be Transformed - Living for a Greater Future - 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
1 Cor. 15:35-58
1. We are created to live forever
◦ Nature shows that God created a universe with diverse kinds of "bodies"
◦ The principle of death and resurrection is in the world today.
◦ Jesus didn't just come to represent us, he came to recreate us.
2. We will be transformed
◦ A spiritual body is a supernatural body, recreated for life in a world renewed by God's Spirit.
◦ A life where God himself will set us free to live in his joy, purpose and glory with no limits, no frustrations and no pain.
3. Celebrate the victory and live like you mean it.
◦ Bath in the victory of Jesus today
◦ Through our daily struggles we are renewed.
◦ Every single day and every moment is so much more worth it than we realize.
• 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
• Mark 12:24
• 2 Cor. 4:16-17
• 2 Corinthians 4:8-11
We are in a series on the resurrection as we make our way through 1 Corinthians 15
Those of you who have been with us, you know that Paul is seeking to correct a misunderstanding in the church in Corinth about what happens after death.
The Corinthians seemed to have assumed that after death we go into some spiritual existence that does not include a physical world or a physical body.
Paul is correcting this idea on a number of levels as we have seen in the last few weeks. A physical future resurrection and renewal of our own bodies, as well as all of creation - is a central point of hope for christians from the very start.
Today he brings this truth to home stretch and zeros in on the main question he has been trying to get to this whole time.
How exactly does the resurrection work for us? What does this mean for us personally?
This is a very personal issue for all of us, even if you have NEVER thought about the idea of resurrection after death.
What we have all thought about is our struggle to live in the midst of the corrupting and broken effects of our world.
"Live up to your full potential"
"Transcend your limitations"
These are words that fill the vocabulary today.
The writer of Ecclesiastes says that God has put eternity in our hearts.
There is something within us that is trying to break out of the limiting and corrupting effects of our life.
There is an awareness that we are created to live in a way that is more full and more powerful than anything that we see in the world around us.
maybe this is why we love to tell stories about super powers. These are stories of individuals transcending thier small human frail state so something so much greater and more powerful.
A few years ago, a co worker shared a music video on facebook from Eminem where he is singing about his commitment to pull out of the drug addictions and failures he has created in his life.
The song has him going through a sort of death and resurrection experience where he rises up with a supernatural strength and flies on top of a building.
"And I just can't keep living this way
"So starting today
I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, I'ma face my demons
I'm manning up, I'ma hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now (now)"
We struggle with the weight of this broken world, with strained relationships, with our own sin, with physical pain and illness
with a deep sense of unrealized potential.
The deep mistake is that we respond to this by digging into ourselves - I AM THE ONE to make this happen. This is the mantra of the world.
IT is true we are created for greater things. but the KEY to experiencing and discovering those things is to know the ONE who both created us and came into the world to REDEEM us.
Read Text - 1 Corinthians 15: 35-58
1. We are created to live forever
The first thing that Paul does is to show in plain examples and logic that the idea of resurrection and the idea of different kinds of bodies is built into the whole story of creation.
proofs that death is not that end.
"35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come?”
36 You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies."
Is that a bit extreme?
It shows that the questions is not being asked in seriousness - rather in a skeptical way.
Sometimes people ask questions in a way that doesn't show real desire to get answers but to mock.
The idea of bodily resurrection was ridiculous to the intellectual greek world. Just like it may be today. or many other aspects of christianity.
Paul's response calls these people fools. A fool in the Bible is not just a dumb person, it is a person who denies God and his power and looks at the world from a purely human perspective.
"24 Jesus spoke to them, “Isn’t this the reason why you’re mistaken: you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God?"
If there is a God who created all things, what is so irrational or crazy about the idea that God has the power to raise people from the dead to a new kind of life after death?
• Nature shows that God created a universe with diverse kinds of "bodies"
39 Not all flesh is the same flesh; there is one flesh for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is different from that of the earthly ones.
41 There is a splendor of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; in fact, one star differs from another star in splendor.
God's created world is diverse - there are different kinds of bodies, different forms of creation.
There is diversity in on the earth - humans, animals and plants
There is diversity in the heavens - sun, moon and stars
there is great variety - and all of it is good and glorious - according to God's amazing design.
With this argument he is laying the ground work for the idea he will give later - which states the fact that there is a body that we have for life in this present world, characterized by death and decay - and there is a different kind of body God has designed for the world that is to come.
• The principle of death and resurrection is in the world today.
37 And as for what you sow—you are not sowing the body that will be, but only a seed, perhaps of wheat or another grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he wants, and to each of the seeds its own body.
Paul continues this theme of God's creative power and brings the analogy of a seed.
Although now we have many scientific explanations about how seeds grow into plants - at the end of the day it is still an amazing miracle.
A little tiny seed is buried in the dirt. All it needs is time, sunlight and water - and it brings forth something COMPLETELY different, something hundreds of times bigger and more beautiful.
"God gives it a body as he wants"
God is intimately present in this world giving, creating and REcreating life.
this shows the idea of both continuity and discontinuity in resurrection. The same life in the seed and the plant - though the body is changed.
• Jesus didn't just come to represent us, he came to recreate us.
45 So it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.
47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 Like the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; like the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
Paul returns to the Adam - Christ parallel.
Jesus and Adam stand as two key figures in history, two representatives of humanity.
Adam, in his rebellion against God, brought with him all humanity into a life of sin, rebellion against God's ways, and death.
Jesus, as the second Adam, comes to face all the trials and tests of life, standing perfectly in our place without sin - and then taking the debt of all our sin on himself and paying for it by suffering death on the cross.
But here Paul takes it one step further - just as we inherit our mortal and dying bodies from Adam - so we inherit a new kind of life and body from Jesus.
He calls Adam a "man of the dust" and Jesus the "man of heaven".
He's not as much talking about their origin as he is talking about their nature.
the resurrected body of Jesus was of a different nature - not just the mortal, dying body we receive in this life which leads to death.
Jesus doesn't just represent us, not only does he conquer death - he becomes the life giver of a new humanity.
it is in the resurrected body of Jesus that we see the fountainhead of all the new creation - especially our resurrected and glorified bodies.
If you follow Adam, you get what Adam has.
If you follow Jesus, you get what Jesus has.
"The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit."
Why life giving spirit?
It is not saying that Jesus is a spirit - rather its hight lighting the life giving role Jesus has through the power of the Holy Spirit.
"49 And just as we have borne the image of the m
an of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven."
Paul is sort of poking at the corinthians here, because THEY thought they were already very spiritual, too spiritual to even think that the physical body matters very much.
Paul is saying, you are still incomplete in your spirituality until you get a new body, a body patterned after the Savior that you follow.
2. We will be transformed
50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53 For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality.
The essential question in this whole section is "what kind of body?"
"we will be transformed...."
Transformed into WHAT??
And it is this passage that has lead to so many incorrect conclusions for christians
People read without carefully paying attention to Paul's argument here.
They see vs 44 where Paul says we are raised in a "spiritual body"
they see the comparison of dust and heaven in 47-48
and 50 - "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.."
and they think - oh yeah, so its not going to a be physical. its going to be just spiritual - that means we just float around in the clouds somewhere.
(and that does not sound very interesting or appealing at all...)
This entire passage is about the RESURRECTION BODY. It is about the idea that a physical resurrection is essential to our understanding of the future - and the prime source of this resurrection life is Jesus.
Jesus himself said, "I am not a ghost. Give me some fish to each and I will show you." He said feel my scars on my hands.
And yet he could disappear and reappear.
It was a body that obviously physical - and yet his body had abilities that went far beyond what the original natural human body could do.
• A spiritual body is a supernatural body, recreated for life in a world renewed by God's Spirit.
So when speaks of a spiritual body - he does NOT MEAN it is non physical. He means it is a SUPERNATURAL body.
"flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption"
by flesh and blood he doesn't just mean a physical body - he means a corrupt body.
"What Paul means by a spiritual body is a body empowered and animated by the Holy Spirit; the body is physical but, in contrast to one’s earthly body, it lives in a whole new realm, for now it is a body enlivened by the Holy Spirit." Thomas Schreiner
transformed into what?
The best example we can see is in the post resurrection appearances of Jesus. It is a body that is like our original human body, but it can do so much more. Jesus ate breakfast and walked with his disciples. But he could also disappear and reappear in places hundreds of miles apart.
But I don't think its even the point to think about WHAT kind of powers will we have at the resurrection.
I think its important to pay close attention to Paul's words here.
Notice his clear sense of wonder, beauty, and excitement.
51 Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
The last trumpet is a common reference in Jewish literature to the last moment, to the end, when God himself arrives to judge the world.
"we will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed"
Some will be transformed after they die. But some will be alive when Jesus returns and therefore will skip the resurrection piece and jump straight to transformation.
Paul clearly believed that Jesus was coming back in his day. And that is how he lived.
Ok so honestly I think that up to this point a lot of us are still like - yeah, interesting, super natural body, but honestly - this sounds kind of foreign or distant from me now.
It doesn't sound personal or dear or desirable right now. It doesn't sound like it speaks into my experience right now.
This is where we need to pay attention to the words Paul uses.
• A life where God himself will set us free to live in his joy, purpose and glory with no limits, no frustrations and no pain.
"53 For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. "
Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
Notice first of all here the language of ADDITION, not subtraction. We will PUT ON, we will be CLOTHED. What he is saying is the life that is to come is MORE not less than this life.
More of what?
Glory, goodness, beauty - incorruptibility.
Here's how C. S. Lewis puts it: take all the most beautiful and good experiences of your life. Everything that makes life so wonderful. Everything that brings joy to your heart. Everything that brings you excitement and energy to LIVE LIFE to the fullest!
THAT is only a whisper of what is to come.
That is only just a faint scent of the goodness, the joy, the fulfillment of the life to come.
Incorruptibility - a life completely free from any sort of anything spoiled or ruined.
Do you think about what this means?
So much of life is dealing with the effects of corruption. We have a goal in mind, we see some potential, we work towards it, and just before we reach it it slips away.
• Some of us are constantly plagued by health struggles
• Some by painful relationships - family and others
• Some my addictions or tendencies in our sinful desires that seem so hard to shake off
So much of life is just dealing with corruption, frustration, reaching, striving, falling short.
Jesus himself will come to release us into a life of perfect, unrestricted joy and fulfillment.
Revelation tells us the new creation is like a city coming down out of heaven to merge with the world - a life of nations, a life of cities, a life of purpose - all in the perfect presence and glory of God.
A life of more, not less.
3. Celebrate the victory and live like you mean it.
54 When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:
Death has been swallowed up in victory.
55 Where, death, is your victory?
Where, death, is your sting?
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
What do we do with this truth of resurrection?
• Bath in the victory of Jesus today
Paul is taunting death here.
There is a an air of victory, of realization.
Even though the end has not come, the end is as certain as Jesus is alive.
Notice the certainty Paul brings here.
55 Where, death, is your victory?
Where, death, is your sting?
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
We were sinners headed for death and destruction.
Jesus came to set us free from guilt and but in us a new heart to know and follow him.
This means that in the future we will be completely redeemed from all our brokenness.
But it also means today we live in the victory and power of his grace.
When we are surrounded on all sides with failure, weakness, pain and discouragement - it is so tempting to think this whole life is just defeat.
What are you anxious about these days?
• Making people like you
• making your life worth it
• making up for all the mistakes you made
• not messing up with the responsibilities God has given you
Paul says, "Do you think about this truth? Jesus set you free from sin and death!!!"
Today, you are free. Today you can rest. Today you are accepted by God.
• Through our daily struggles we are renewed.
What are you struggling TOWARDS in your life?
What is that goal?
Is there a goal?
Jesus sets up free from the chains of sin, guilt and death - he invites us to follow him daily by taking up our cross - into a life that is challenging - but this struggle is into glory.
Is Jesus, God has come to work on your heart every day. Resurrection is not just some far off idea in the future.
He has begun the work of resurrection today.
Life works in cycles of death and resurrection every day.
We follow the pattern of Jesus. We love others. We give ourselves up. We serve. We labor. lay our lives down.
Parenting. Sin struggles. Marriage.
I need this every day as a dad, as a husband. I need this every day as a provider of the home - worrying about the economy - what will happen?
2 Corinthians 4:8-11
8 We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9 we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that Jesus’s life may also be displayed in our mortal flesh.
• Every single day and every moment is so much more worth it than we realize.
Is it going to be me on the other end?
YES. More of you than you even realize.
There is continuity between this life and the next.
One of the temptations of sin is to downplay the significance of our daily moments.
Whatever man - just a little anger, just some bitterness, just some lust - you deserve it. No one is looking and no one cares.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
This struggle is MEANINGFUL. in fact, SO MUCH MORE MEANINGFUL than we realize.
EVERY DAY with Jesus is significant, every act of obedience and love - is leading us in struggle and in victory to our ultimate moment of victory.
Jesus tells us in the parables that our life on the other side of death is everything we did here - compounded with exponential interest.
You know what this means?
You don't need a million followers on instagram to tell you your worth it.
You don't need lights or a stage.
You don't need all the things that this world counts as significant - reputation, money, lots of friends - to be counted as successful.
You have the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He has given his life on the cross to be present in your daily moments to teach you to walk in him, to follow him in faithfulness.
"Glory is coming. Victory is coming. Today I am going to prepare you for that by teaching you to follow me through the trenches of life."
Every single struggle we face here is teaching us to turn to him, to depend on him and to welcome his power to enable us to fight sin and death in our lives today.