This weekend, I have the difficult and sad task of attending my father’s memorial service in Chicago. Dad actually passed away last year, but because of COVID restrictions, it was decided to delay the service until the one-year anniversary of his passing on June 4.
Dad was a long time professor at Northwestern University, and was recognized across the world for his contributions to advertising, marketing and integrated marketing communications. As part of my contribution, I created a video memorial to be shown at the service.
As I was going through the pictures to use in the memorial, I was struck by how quickly his life seemed to go. In almost no time, he went from infant to teenager to young adult and then to old man. As we contemplate our own mortality and watch the same thing happen to us, it is a sobering thought to realize that as soon as we are born our bodies begin to physically die. For some people, this can lead to depression if not outright terror.
But those with confidence in Jesus Christ know that our physical decay is but part of our spiritual journey. “Therefore we do not lose heart,” reads 2 Corinthians 4:16. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” This renewal comes through our faith in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:1).
We were originally created in perfection with bodies that would never get sick or die, but Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God destroyed that perfection. As their children and inheritors of Original Sin, our bodies are now subject to decay and death. “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like the flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more” (Psalm 103:15-16).
But those who put their faith and trust in Jesus will rise again to new life just as surely as Christ arose on the first Easter. “For if we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection” (Romans 6:5). Upon our earthly death, our souls will immediately come into the presence of God “for it is appointed once for men to die and then to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Our physical bodies will remain in the grave until such time as Christ returns. At that time, “We will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Believers will receive imperishable bodies so that we may enjoy the presence of God in His kingdom for all eternity. Our new bodies will not experience any of the ravages of sin, including sickness or death.
We don’t know what these resurrected bodies will look like, although scholars have had a lot of fun trying to guess. Will there be gender differences between men and women in heaven? What “age” will we look like? Will we look the same and be able to recognize others? We think so, but don’t know for sure.
What we do know for sure is that these aging bodies of ours, with all their aches and pains, are not the end of the story. Those who have faith wait expectantly for new bodies designed to last for eternity.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know.
Pastor Brad Schultz, Zion Evangelical Church, email@example.com