SanLo Community, an update for the week of July 8, 2018…
Thank you to Pastor Eric for bringing us the message, "Body Image," from 1 Corinthians 15:35-38
Have you ever been concerned about how you look? How you look or what your body is shaped like seems to matter so much -- whether male or female. Sadly, people will do anything to change their body type. So, what does the Bible have to say about this? How important is our body image to God? How does this even relate to the end times? The key is, our earthly body image matters far less compared to our heavenly body image. You can’t take the same body into heaven. This doesn’t mean that you give up exercising and taking care of yourself. God calls us to take care of our bodies. But it should NOT shape how you view yourself or how you ultimately live your life.
In our passage this morning, the Corinthians were wrestling with body image. They were uncertain about what would happen to their bodies. They had come under some false teaching telling them that their soul was good and their bodies were corrupt. They concluded that they would be resurrected with the same flawed body. The Apostle Paul corrects their thinking by teaching them that what will happen to their bodies and what will happen in the resurrection. God is going to do something far beyond their imagination.
1. We’ll see this in the first key word, Transformation. In the end, God will transform our bodies from imperfection to perfection. God will take our earthly bodies and turn them into heavenly ones. God will take our imperfect, corrupt, and sinful bodies and turn them into sinless, perfect, and glorious bodies. Look at 1 Corinthians 15:35 to 44 for this point on transformation.
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Paul raises the issue for the Corinthians with what was an obvious question. How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they get in Heaven? Once again, they are confused how a person’s corrupt body will make it into eternity. They do not understand how that is possible and they don’t understand the resurrection of Christ. Paul uses a farming illustration for help. Verse 37, “What you sow is not the body that is to be.” In other words, a seed does not bear the same shape and size as the fully grown plant. The seed doesn’t look anything like the plant into which it grows from. The same thing with the body. As God causes the dead seed to come to life as a plant, so He will shape our bodies in eternity. Our bodies will not be anything like what we have here on earth. (This flesh, body, and bones will become completely different!) In verses 39-41, Paul reveals how God has created different types of bodies on earth - bodies for man, animals, birds, fish even the bodies of the sun, moon, and stars. Each one different from the other. God doesn’t have any issue coming up with earthly bodies, so why would you think He’ll have an issue creating new heavenly bodies. Not only that but in verses 42-44, Paul points out He will have to because of our sin.Because your earthly body is perishable, it is mortal and subject to illness and death. In Heaven, God will transform it to live forever. Our new body will never perish or never get sick. Paul also says our bodies suffer weakness. They are limited and frail. Sin has caused them to breakdown and to eventually die. But in Heaven, God will transform our bodies from weakness to strength and power. Strength to never sin again and never to be hurt again.
2. How is it possible for God to transform our bodies? How can God do this? The second key word is The Resurrection. God will transform us because of His own resurrected body. God can transform our lowly bodies into heavenly ones because He has done it Himself. God did it through His Son, Jesus Christ, by dying on the cross, then raising him from the dead. Christ rose from the dead and that same resurrection power is available to all those who place their trust in Jesus Christ.
45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
Paul contrasts the 1st Adam and the 2nd Adam being Christ. He does so in order to show how Adam was God’s wonderful creature and he was the beginning of creation. He doesn’t compare to our wonderful Christ who is the one who gives life, specifically eternal life. This reference to Christ is anchored by what Paul just said previously in verse 42. It is the resurrection of this man, Jesus Christ, the Son of God who will bring us into heaven and give us a new and glorious body. It is because of the man of heaven, not any man on earth that we will be transformed into glory. Verse 49 says, we all bear his image of humanity which includes the image of God, but unfortunately, it includes the image of sin, corruption, and weakness. However, the most important image to bear is the image of the heavenly man, Christ. To bear, His image is the ultimate purpose of human existence. We are gifted and given His image when we enter into Heaven's gates. It is the final state of salvation to be conformed into His likeness.
Romans 8:29 says this so well, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
By God’s gracious gift of salvation and election, we will be conformed to God’s image, His Son. We can do nothing to earn this either, only by His grace, God has already predestined it for you. It is predetermined for those who are believers in Christ that they will have a secure and certain glorious future in Heaven. In Heaven, we will be given a whole new body with no needs. And it's all because He conquered sin and death on our behalf. The resurrection is God’s proof and power for our transformation in glory. The resurrection shows God’s power to change us from the first Adam to the last Adam.
3. The last question becomes then, why does God do this? For what reason. So what? I’ll just wait it out until Heaven, until I die to get my new body. I don’t have to do anything. NO! The final key word and answer is Perspiration. So that we might give God our ALL. We might give Him our lives, our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our everything to GOD. We might sweat, live, breathe, eat, and work for the glory of God. God saves us and transforms us so that we might live for Him.
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 imperishable, and we shall be changed.
Here Paul is talking about when Christ will come back again. He is explaining that not everyone will die before Christ comes back again. Some scholars believe He is talking about the rapture here. Other scholars and myself believe that this is the final point when Christ will come back to set up His millennial kingdom, His thousand year reign on earth at the end of time.
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where 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 beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
In our victory, verse 58, Paul urges the believers with this powerful list of words. Steadfast. Unwavering faith. Immovable. Unshaken trust in God. Always abounding in the work of the Lord. Excel for Jesus! Knowing your labor is not in vain. Nothing for Jesus is useless. The belief and truth of the resurrection causes us to work hard. Never give up. Be strong. Pushes us not to fall into false temptations and sinful practices. It’s better to have a right spirit than a right body. Is that true for you? Are you right with God? Not on your own merit but by the merits of Christ and His resurrection from the dead. One day we might enter into Heaven’s gates, and God will give us a perfect body, and we might each hear those precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Mission Moment: We were blessed to hear from Les and Lynne Ginoza. They serve with ZOE International in Thailand, that rescues children from human trafficking and shares the hope of Jesus. Last year ZOE built a child rescue center and became the first organization to do something like this that focuses on total victim-care. When the children come to ZOE, they become part of a family (something institutional care does not offer). The biggest difference is they hear the gospel and lives are transformed through the outpouring of God's love. Praise God for this wonderful ministry. Please pray for the Ginozas and for their son, Garrett, who will begin college at U.C. Irvine this fall. Please pray for their adjustment as Garrett leaves his parents in Thailand.