It is a safe assumption that people, if given the opportunity, would opt for a perfect body that was fit, free from injury and disease, and full of energy and stamina. People dedicate a lot of time, energy, and money to achieving the goal of improving their body’s condition. We concern ourselves with what we eat, activities we do, and medicine and supplements we take all based on what the effect will be on our body.
And why not? Our body’s physical condition plays a large part in our quality of life. God gave us a body to exist in and it is a good thing to take good care of it. On the flip side of this, however, is that the body we have right now is just a temporary form of what our body will be like after the resurrection.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. (1 Cor. 15:42-44)
So while it is a good thing to take care of our “perishable, dishonorable, weak, and natural” body, we need to recognize that our eternal existence will be in a transformed “imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual” body.
Paul also wrote,
Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Phil. 3:20-21)
John echoes this in one of his letters,
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
While we don’t have a full knowledge of what our eternal and perfect body will be like, we at least know that it will be like Jesus’ resurrected body. And we know from the accounts of his interactions with his disciples for 40 days after his resurrection a few things about his body. It is a body that can be handled and felt, one that can eat and drink, but also one that can walk through (or just appear in) a locked building. And based on Jesus’ ascension, it is one that defies the restraints of our current laws of physics.
When we combine this with the knowledge that there will be no disease, death, or suffering for all eternity, it is safe to say our resurrected body is going to be rocking!
The hope of the Christian faith
Paul wrote that both our love and faith that we have spring from the hope that we have in Christ (Col. 1:5). But what precisely is this hope? It is, in fact, the perfected body that I have been writing about.
One of the clearest explanations of this is Paul’s letter to the Romans, in chapter 8:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
So the hope that we have as Christians is completely wrapped up in Jesus’ return and our adoption as sons and daughters of God through our resurrection. This is our hope, our future expectation that gives us endurance and patience through the trials of life.
…set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming (1 Pet. 1:13).
The only way to stay steadfast in your love and faith is to fix your hope on Jesus Christ, his return, and the perfect body that you will receive as a gift from God. This is the future expectation that grounds us in a chaotic world of uncertainty and death. And it also gives us a healthy understanding of how to deal with our temporary, weak, and perishable body until Jesus returns. The hope that we, as Christians, have truly is the only anchor for the soul.