… we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.
Philippians 3:20-21 (ESV)
We await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ… One reason why Christians eagerly await the coming of Christ is that on that day the dead bodies of the saints will be resurrected and completely changed (together with the bodies of the believers who are still alive). What can we know about this change? What will our new bodies look like? The Bible does not tell us too much, but there are a number of verses, like ours, that give us some insight.
… who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body… From Christ’s resurrection and the state of His glorious body we can draw some conclusions about what we can expect.
- As it was with Jesus’ body, the resurrection of believers will be a literal resurrection of their bodies. The essence or identity of our earthly body will remain in the new body. We will still recognize each other (cp. Luke 24:39).
- We will again have a physical body, though very different from our present body.
- Our new body will be imperishable (1 Cor. 15:52). It will not grow weary or old anymore. We don’t have to worry that our physical or our mental abilities will ever decrease. Our new body will stay strong in every respect (1 Cor. 15:43).
- It will be as immortal as Christ’s is (1 Cor. 15:52). All the signs of sin and the fall will be taken away at the moment of that glorious transformation.
- The new body will be characterized by an undefiled and unfading beauty (1 Peter 1:4). It will be like the glorious body of Jesus, perhaps as radiant and glorious as His in the transfiguration (Mt 17:2).
- But most of all it will be a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:44). This term however does not only refer to our body, but to our whole being. What regeneration and sanctification could only do in part, will then become full reality. We will perfectly obey the directions of the Holy Spirit and our body will do what we want it to do. We will become perfectly spiritual people.
- Finally, this new body will be fit for heaven. There is no way that our present body could enter that beautiful place (1 Cor. 15:50). But our glorious body will be perfectly adapted for life in the presence of a holy God.
We cannot really imagine how excellent our new body will be. But we can say that this transformation will exceed by far all our expectations. What no eye has seen, … God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor. 2:9).
… by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to himself. We may ask the question how a literal resurrection of the body can happen? Have not most of the bodies of the saints decayed completely? Have not some been burned and their ashes scattered to the four winds? How can they be resurrected and then transformed in such a marvelous way? The answer to this question is that Jesus has the power that enables Him to do these things. This divine power was able to raise Christ from the dead and it can and will do the same with regard to us!