Summary: Salvation is not complete unless the whole person is saved. Sin is what made the body a hindrance to the spirit. Sin is what led to the body's decay and death. If Jesus died to restore all that sin has robbed us of, then that has to include the body.
F.W. Boreham, the great Australian preacher, made a fascinating discovery in the book of Job. Job,
as you recall, was very wealthy, but in the first chapter he is totally wiped out. All of his livestock
and all of his children perish is disaster. When we get to the last chapter, and the battle is over, God is
pleased with Job. God rewards him with twice as much as he had before.
He had 7000 sheep in chapter 1; in the end he had 14000 sheep.
He had 3000 camels in chapter 1; in the end he had 6000 camels.
He had 500 yolk of oxen to begin; in the end he had 1000 oxen.
He had 500 donkeys at the start; in the end he had 1000 donkeys.
Everything doubled, for the Lord gave him twice what he had before, it says in v.10. But
Boreham rightly asks, how can it be said he had twice as many of everything when he had only the
same number of sons and daughters? He had 7 sons and 3 daughters to begin, and it says he had 7
sons and 3 daughters in the end. This figure did not double as did all the others. Why? Boreham says
the answer should be obvious. When you lose animals you have lost them forever, but when you lose
a child you lose them only for a time. They are still yours even though they are with God and not in
your presence. So Job really had 14 sons and 6 daughters, but only half of them were on earth. The
other half were separated from him, and were in the presence of God. Persons do not cease to exist
because they die is the clear implication, and this is the teaching of both the Old and the New
Wordsworth wrote a poem called We Are Seven. It is about a little girl being asked how many are
in her family. She tells of those grown up and moved away, and of a brother and sister in the
cemetery, but she insists they are a family of seven. The inquirer persists--
How many are you, then, said I,
If they two are in heaven?
Quick was the little maids reply,
O master! we are seven.
But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!
Twas throwing words away; for still
The little maid would have her will,
and said, Nay, we are seven!
Her stubborn conviction is based on both the Old and New Testaments, which stress the truth that
once a person, always a person. Personality and individuality is the whole point of immortality. Every
human being that is conceived is a unique creation with the potential of eternal fellowship with God.
Death can step in and rob life of development at any point. That is why death is an enemy. Let us
never forget, even in this most optimistic chapter in the Bible, Paul still calls death the last enemy to
be destroyed. Our hope of victory over death ought not to blind us to the tragic side of this great
enemy, and lead us to become superficial and whitewash the evil this enemy can do. It can rob us of
much, but it cannot rob us of our eternal personality. That is why Paul makes such a big issue out of
the resurrection of the body. The body is the greatest symbol of our reality as a personality. We are
linked forever to the identity we have gained in the body.
If Jesus was not raised in His bodily form, how could anyone ever be sure it was Jesus? If Moses
and Elijah appeared on the Mt. of Transfiguration as just two glorified forms, how could anyone ever
know they were Moses and Elijah? For immortality to have any real meaning the body must be
raised immortal, for without the body a key element of the person is missing.
Salvation is not complete unless the whole person is saved. Sin is what made the body a hindrance
to the spirit. Sin is what led to the body's decay and death. If Jesus died to restore all that sin has
robbed us of, then that has to include the body. Paul in Rom.8 tells us the reason for much of the
suffering in this life is the fact that we live in fallen bodies. Our bodies are subject to pain and
sickness and all the evils that sin has brought into this world. We get cancer and have heart attacks
and get hit by cars, not because God wills it, but because we have bodies that are not yet saved. Paul
says we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.