Handwriting on the Wall
Do you wish you could turn back the clock a bit on how your body is working? I do. It’s disheartening to experience wear and tear in our bodies, especially as we age – wrinkles, sags, bags, muscle loss, crumbling or crooked teeth, ingrown toenails, diminished sight and hearing, maybe loss of hair and memory, shrinking spinal discs, declining organ efficiency, etc., etc. And for others, they may be dealing with impairments they had even at birth or before. The handwriting is on the wall; the improper working of our bodies points to a time when they will totally stop working. We call that death.
The Wall’s Message
Our gradual, or sometimes not so gradual, physical decline is a reminder that we live in and share in a spiritually broken world; impairment and death is the consequence of a spiritual problem: sin. For God had told the first human beings – persons created with perfect wholeness – that should they ever disobey Him, they would surely die – in two ways. Sadly, they did disobey. Their spiritual death was immediate; their physical death, years later. While they journeyed through this world, every problem they saw or experienced in themselves was a reminder of several things: 1) that they had disobeyed God, 2) that they were not themselves God, 3) that they did not have life inherent in themselves, and 4) that they could not sustain the life they were given.
God treasures His creation, especially the crown of His creation: mankind. He made them in His likeness to be His representative in caring for and having dominion over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:27-28). Designed by God with capabilities ideal for that responsibility, the human body is a masterpiece of God’s creative wisdom. Our upright posture, agility of movement, and our opposable thumbs that give flexibility and control of our hands are examples of our unique design. But the human mind especially reflects our Creator – able to investigate, rationalize, consider multiple concepts at the same time and problem solve – being able to harness fire; creating everything from intricate watches to engines, ships, planes, submarines, and rockets; able to create unlimited designs and masterpieces of art, architecture, and music, etc., etc, etc. Yes, our human bodies are wonderful gifts of God’s design.
Designed to Thrive on God
But there’s more. Being made in the likeness or image of God, we also have a soul. God designed humans to evaluate things morally and to act accordingly – doing what is good and right, living in constant appreciation and worship of God, and in honor and love for one another. We were made to thrive, not on instinct, but on God’s love and promises in harmony with Him and all around us. Spiritual death, caused by sin, is a corruption of our soul. And with that corruption, we do not have the ability to, or even rightly desire to, live according to God’s moral and spiritual design. The Bible says on our own our souls are full of darkness and void of life (Ephesians 5:8, 1 John 5:12). We sense our estrangement from God.
The Source of Life
But God still loves us, and immediately after sin and death entered this world, He promised to send a Savior who would bring about a new creation of all that He had made. That Savior is Jesus Christ. He lived in complete obedience to God but then gave up His perfect life, crucified on a cross to purchase life for all us disobedient people. The Bible describes Jesus saying, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:4). Jesus was not afraid to give up His physical life, for death could not keep its hold on Him, since He is the essence and source of all life itself. The Bible says, “His body did not see decay” (Acts 2:31). Jesus once said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
Jesus’ Resurrected Life
And so, as Jesus had promised, on the third day after His death He rose from the dead, initiating His new creation. His resurrected body was still physical – He even chose to retain the scars of His crucifixion (John 20:19-20) – but His body was now a “glorified” body. In His death and resurrection, Jesus rescued mankind from sin and death, and He demonstrated His almighty power over them. Previously throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus had given many people a foretaste of His new creation when healing thousands and even raising some back to life. Now the foretaste was a guarantee!
Life For My Soul
Jesus wants to bring about your new creation. That begins with giving new life to your soul. The very good news – that GOD IS FOR YOU and loves you deeply, that His son sacrificed Himself for you, and that your sins are forgiven – these promises bring “new-creation life-energy” to your soul and make it alive to God (John 5:24). And so, even though we might die physically, at that very moment, our soul will be in the presence of Jesus, and in our spirit will feel more alive than we ever felt here on earth. And that is why we need not fear physical death – it is a portal to real life. That is why Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see [everlasting] death” (John 8:51).
Life For My Body
So, though our present physical bodies will completely wear out (unless Jesus comes back again first); still, for believers in Jesus, the time is coming when our body will catch up with our soul. It too will become a new creation on the “last day” when Jesus resurrects all people (John 5:28-29). It’s no problem at all for Jesus to recreate my dead body. Even if it were scattered and dissolved in the ocean waters, He will resurrect it just as surely as He Himself was resurrected. In His wisdom and love, He created my body in the first place. He values our human bodies; so much so that He even took on one Himself to have for all eternity. Yes, He has the power to recreate yours and mine. And the Bible says that it will be a glorious body, no longer experiencing wear and tear and denigration. The Bible says “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 1:9). That includes a glorified body.
Resurrection To Judgment
Sadly, some people think Jesus is no big deal, or that His death and resurrection are no big deal. But who He is and what He gives is an eternally big deal, because sin and alienation from the one true God is a very big deal. Jesus Christ is our only hope. God’s Word affirms this. For those who do not love Jesus, they too will be resurrected, but unto judgment (John 3:36). Either we believe that Jesus was judged for us and paid for our sins and we receive His gift of life and light, or we remain in our own darkness and “will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His might” (2 Thessalonians 1: 9).
Resurrection To God’s New Creation
For all who trust Jesus, His resurrection from the dead guarantees their new creation and resurrection. And You and I can look forward to experiencing complete wholeness in God’s final new creation paradise described in Revelation 21:3-5: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also, He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
We invite you to join us at Christ Lutheran Church, Montrose, Colorado, where we celebrate being part of Jesus’ new creation – part of His forever family. We hope you’ll plan a visit or connect with us in another way. Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed, for you!