Do I Want To Be Resurrected?
Part Seven - Do I Really Want To Be Resurrected?
At times I have made a statement that often shocks those listening to me. “It is my hope that I do not take part in the future resurrection.” This is not a trick question and is a genuine hope of mine. The shock comes from the fact that it is commonly held in most Christian circles that all believers will be resurrected. If, therefore, I hope to avoid the resurrection than I must not be a true believer and l will spend eternity in hell. How could a pastor think such a thing!
I know this sounds hard to believe but in a moment I think you will agree with me. To understand this idea we need to answer a crucial question. What was absolutely necessary in order for Christ to be able to resurrect His body? The same thing was absolutely necessary in order for Christ to raise Lazarus from his tomb (Jn. 11:1-44). Remember the account of Lazarus. Jesus was told several days before Lazarus death that he was dying and needed the healing hand of the Savior. If Jesus had gone immediately he could have healed Lazarus and prevented his death. However, to the surprise of his disciples He waited a few days until Lazarus had died and was buried. What was the common and necessary element in both accounts that is always necessary if a resurrection is to take place? The answer is simple. Death must always precede a resurrection.
In James 2:26, death is defined as the separation of the soul from the body. The soul goes to a place where it waits for the resurrection (Lk. 16:19-29) and the body is buried and returns to the elements it is made of. This idea is reflected in Jesus’ own words when he spoke of the resurrection.
John 5:28-30, "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." NKJV
Note who Jesus said would be raised. Those who are “in the graves” or in essence have died. Therefore, we must conclude that only those who have died can and must be resurrected. This is why I stated I hope I am not a part of the resurrection because it is my hope that Christ comes to rapture the Church while I am still living. There is nothing about death that would make me feel unfulfilled for not having experienced it! I am perfectly willing to rely on the description of someone who did die as too what the experience was like.
I believe a lot of the problem here is that in Christian circles we have confused the resurrection with the transformation. The two are separate works of God. Only those believers who have died will be resurrected however all believers at Christ's coming will need to be transformed into the image of Christ's body (1 Jn. 3:2). Paul makes this distinction in two passages.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” NKJV
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” NKJV
Therefore we see that what is important is not that I am resurrected but that I make it to Christ second work of transforming me into His image. To be like Him so that I may go with Him into the Millennial Kingdom and beyond as a part of His bride the Church.
Let me touch on one other misconception relating to the to the Coming of the Lord for His Saints. I have heard so many Christians say they are looking forward to getting their “new body.” This is biblically unfounded. Please note that it was the body of Christ that was laid in the tomb that was resurrected and transformed. In 1 Cor. 15 Paul makes it clear that we keep our present bodies and it is these bodies that will be transformed into His image. Notice that Paul says uses the pronoun “it” in reference to our body.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 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.” NKJV
Now Paul is dealing with the resurrected Saints whose bodies will be transformed. What about those of who are living at His return? Paul goes on to mention that as well.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. ”NKJV
Some might argue, how can Christ raise up “our” bodies if they are destroyed by decay or other forces? Paul has an answer for this question as well.
1 Corinthians 15:35-39, “But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain — perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.” NKJV
The molecules that make up our body are no different from anyone else’s body. Likewise, the molecules in our bodies are constantly changing so what makes my body unique from everyone else’s? Paul tells us it is the seed of the body. We know it today as the DNA code that makes every body truly unique. Even if in death our bodies are destroyed, God can re-create them by using the same DNA that constituted our bodies at the moment of conception.
Are you ready for the Coming of the Lord? Will you be resurrected and transformed? You can be by putting your faith or trust in Christ alone for your salvation.