by Shawn Brasseaux
*My outward man turns 23 today, so we want to look at the issue of the redemption of our physical bodies.
As the saint progresses in earthly years, he or she grows very discouraged. The skin loses its elasticity, and begins to wrinkle and sag. With hair white as snow, vision dims and hearing greatly diminishes. The memory fails. That once lively body grows progressively weaker and unable to perform the tasks it once did with ease. As a side note, the Bible gives a very interesting description of Moses on his deathbed: “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7). Despite being 120 years old, Moses’ vision was not poor and his body had the agility of a young man!
Short of the Lord’s coming in our lifetimes, our physical bodies will also go into the ground like all the billions who have died before us. While this is morbid, it is reality. Why did God save us? Just so we could grow sick and ultimately die? What is so grand about being a Christian, and yet dying like everyone else? Does the Bible not say that Christians live forever?
The Apostle Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 KJV:
“16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Notice how Paul alludes to the “outward man” (physical body) and its decay and ultimate death (“perishing”). “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a)—because of sin, these physical bodies have nowhere to go but to the grave. Even though death may kill the physical body, the Christian has hope in that the spiritual body (the “inward man”) cannot be harmed and that God will one day replace this physical body with a totally new one!
Back in Genesis 2:7 the LORD God formed Adam’s body of the dust of the ground, and the Bible says, “and [the LORD] breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Our physical bodies carry our souls around in this physical world. Your physical body (the “outward man”) is the dwelling place of your soul and spirit (the “inward man”).
The sufferings we endure in these physical bodies (sickness, weakness, death) is “a light affliction, which is but for a moment.” Enduring these troubles “worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” The Christian has such a hope that there is more to come than this life, something that is currently unseen. Something that is eternal. What is it?
We continue reading, beginning at 2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV:
“1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”
Either at the rapture or at death, you will lose your physical body (“our earthly house of this tabernacle”). Your soul will no longer be clothed by that frame of dust. One day, we will trade off these “tabernacles” (temporary tents) for “a building of God…. eternal in the heavens” (something permanent). As we live in this wicked, nasty world, “we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” We are “burdened,” greatly anticipating the day when we will trade off these physical bodies for enhanced physical bodies that will last for all eternity and be fully functional in the heavens.
Let us go over to Romans 8:18-25 KJV:
“18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
The “redemption of our body” spoken of in verse 23 is the “day of redemption” mentioned in Ephesians 4:30. This is what we call the rapture, the day when living and deceased Christians (members of the Church the Body of Christ) will receive new, glorified physical bodies (you can also refer to 1 Corinthians 15:51-56). Back to 2 Corinthians chapter 5 KJV, where we read in verse 5: “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”
As a member of the Body of Christ, God has appointed you to a very special day. If you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, the Bible says that you have been sealed with and by the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30). By giving us the indwelling Holy Spirit, God has promised us (with a down payment, an “earnest”) that He will one day resurrect our physical bodies. Our souls and our spirits have already been redeemed, but our physical bodies have not yet been redeemed. We cannot go to heaven in these physical bodies, for they are genetically related to Adam, and “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50).
“Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you” (2 Corinthians 4:14). Praise the Lord that we are not eternally confined to these weak, limited physical bodies! They will be resurrected one day, at the rapture.
It is for these reasons that the Holy Ghost through Paul tells us that we need to focus on the inward man (strengthening it by studying sound doctrine from God’s Word rightly divided). Our soul and spirit is our main focus because that is the real you and the real me. Let us focus on the state of the inward man, and less on the state of the outward man. You will be keeping that soul forever, so focus more on your soul than your outward body. And remember that this outward body is temporary, so it will one day be replaced with a new one.
What will our new glorified bodies be like? The Bible tells us in Philippians 3:20,21 KJV: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Our glorified physical bodies will be just like Jesus Christ’s resurrected body. Christ’s physical body, the one He had after resurrection, and the same one He has right now in heaven, is a body that is recognizable (can be seen) and it can be touched (Matthew 28:9; Mark 16:9,12,14; Luke 24:31,34; John 20:17,20,27; Acts 1:9,11; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8). That body is flesh and bone (no blood!), and it has hands, feet, and sides (Luke 24:39,40; John 20:20,25-29). It is a body that can eat physical food (Luke 24:30,42,43; John 21:12-15). That body can travel to heaven and back to earth, instantly appear, disappear, and reappear (Luke 24:31,36; John 20:17). It can travel through locked doors too (John 20:26)!! That body has a recognizable voice (John 20:16).
Wow! Beloved, be not troubled by the infirmities and sicknesses of these bodies of mortal flesh. They are temporal, but we look forward to that eternal body, that body eternal in the heavens. The body that God has promised us because we have trusted in His Son Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour.