January 29, 2009

A Physical Salvation

1 Corinthians 15:42-57

Just as we have borne the likeness of [Adam], so shall we bear the likeness of [Jesus].
1 Corinthians 15:49


When I served as a local church pastor, I often visited elderly members in the local retirement community. On her apartment door, one of my church members had hung this sign: “Growing Old Isn’t for Wimps!” In my visits, I grew to appreciate the difficult truth behind that humorous saying. It takes courage to deal with failing joints, cancer treatments, and the forgetfulness of advancing dementia.

But we seldom talked only of the aches and pains of growing old. We looked beyond the present to a gospel hope that was deeply physical. The elderly people I visited looked forward to the day when they would “bear the likeness of [Jesus] the man from heaven.”

In those words we find more than a promise of an open door to heaven after we die. Paul declares that our personal future holds a physical resurrection like Christ’s. Yes, we will be raised with what Paul calls “a spiritual body,” but that doesn’t mean a body made only of spirit—as if our resurrection body were ghostly. Remember, the risen Savior enjoyed a meal of fish with his friends (Luke 24:40-43). Paul is referring to a body empowered by the Spirit of God—a body like Christ’s that transcends the limitations of this present life.

There are no half-measures to salvation. Jesus will restore you—body and soul—for eternity with him.

Lord, forgive us for limiting the scope of your redemption. Grant us the delight of looking forward to a future in which we are restored completely to live with you forever. Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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