Summary: We spend many hours and much effort to make our present bodies better. While there’s nothing wrong with it, we should also be preparing to get our new bodies - ones that won’t decay or atrophy.
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It’s too bad our bodies break down. I remember when I was much younger I could go and go and go and never get tired. Then when I became a parent, my kids could go all day and night and never stop and I was just dragging by the end of the day. I read a study once where they put a super in-shape athlete in a room and had them do all the things a little toddler did – move by move. By the end the toddler was just cruising along but the athlete was totally exhausted.
By the time you are in your early 20’s your body is already decaying – slowly but surely. You don’t have as much stamina, your hair turns grey, you get pains. One time a doctor told me “if all live long enough we’ll all eventually die of cancer.” Boy, was that comforting.
But what is comforting is the fact that despite what some Corinthians believed, after we die our bodies will be cast aside and the Lord Jesus will give us a new body – one that won’t decay, one that will have super powers. I saw an article the other day that Marvel Comics is coming out with a comic called “Live and Let Di” – that’s D – I for Princess Diana. They’ve got Diana coming back as a mutant crime fighter will all kinds of powers and stuff. Well, that’s fiction – the reality is we will have a super body.
Just look at the Lord Jesus – when He came back as the first fruits He could appear and disappear at will, walk through walls – yet still eat fish and bread.
Paul is in the middle of this argument about whether or not there even is a resurrection. Let’s back up one verse – to the conclusion that someone could make about life if they don’t believe there is an afterlife.
15:32 "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."
It’s a very fatalistic view – might as well live it up now. This is not only foolish – it is sinful – because if we refuse to acknowledge the resurrection that Jesus Christ promises then we are going to lead others to conclude that that there is no use coming to Jesus.
33 Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God-I say this to your shame.
This applies to the situation here but also to all of our lives. I’ve used this verse a lot. Do you ever find yourself running with the wrong crowd? You know the things they do and believe are repugnant to the Lord, but you do it anyway saying “Oh, I’ll change them, they won’t change me.” But the fact of the matter is, their corruption will wear off on you. You can’t just “hang” with people unless you want to become like them. Now that’s not to say that you should avoid unsaved people. No, Paul earlier in this letter encourages us to become like those around us so that we can save them. Just make sure of your purpose and motivation.
So now Paul launches into the thick of it:
35 But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.
Paul says to the Corinthians – you say there is resurrection, but just look around you – God resurrects things all the time. You plant a seed and it dies in order to grow a new plant.
39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
So Paul begins to differentiate between different types of life in order to point out the difference between the life here on earth, and the life given to us in the resurrection.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised 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.