Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #240 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 2nd Corinthians 5 today and our focus is on What Happens When We DIe? Do We Get a New Body in Heaven? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new in listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
This week I had the privilege of preaching the funeral of a precious in the sight of God saint who was a member of the church I pastor for many, many years. She was 94, the mother of a dear friend and podcast listener Og, and had lived a good and faithful life. One remarkable fact about her, which honestly blew me away, is that she had lived in the same house in Salinas, California since 1947. Yes, you heard correctly – since just after WW2 ended – for the last 74 years. That is astounding, and I’ve never personally known anybody to live in the same place for any longer than that. I also had the privilege of reading Scripture at her burial, and we all watched as her body was lowered into the ground – a very sad, and very final experience, in many ways, but one that brings up an enormously important theological question: What happens to us just after we die? What happens to our body? Do we sleep in the ground until Jesus returns? Do we immediately go to Heaven? Oddly, the Bible does not speak very much about what theologians call the “intermediate state,” which is the state between our death and the return of Jesus…but 2 Corinthians 5 is one of the chapters that has the MOST information for us about what happens to a Christian after death, so let’s read the passage and then discuss the implications of what Paul is telling us.
First, a few important observations:
#1 Our bodies, which Paul compares to a tent, are temporary dwellings. Not only are they temporary, but they are groan-worthy. Just two sentences ago, I literally let out a groan and had to stop writing because my shoulder was aching so much. (due to a decades old injury sustained in a cave-in incident.) Additionally, my knee has been bothering me for the last 2 days, and has also cause a few involuntary groans to escape my lips…which shouldn’t be surprising, according to Paul, who says:
Indeed, we groan in this tent, desiring to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 2nd Corinthians 5:2-3
This is an amazing passage – we are BURDENED with our bodies, says Paul – in fact, it is as if we are NAKED – unclothed. How? Why? Because we are in MORTAL bodies. Mortal as in subject to injury, breakdown, decay, sickness, Covid, cramps, headaches, wrinkles, kidney stones, vision loss, hearing loss, gout, arthritis, hair loss, obesity, cancer, etc. All of these horrible things can happen to us, because we are wearing a mortal set of clothes – our body- surrounding our immortal soul/spirits.
#2 Our spirit/souls have a temporary home in this body, but it is only temporary – our permanent home…which our souls long for- is with the Lord, that is our true home. which means we are all kind of homesick for a country that we’ve never been before. :
6 So we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2nd Corinthians 5:6-8)
#3 Our mortality, and all of the terrible troubles that come along with it – will one day be entirely swallowed up by IMMORTALITY – and we know this because God has given us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee, or deposit.
we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 2nd Corinthians 5:4-5
So – what kind of bodies will we have when our earthly tent is exchanged for our heavenly tent, using Paul’s metaphor here. Wayne Grudem has a great article on the intermediate state in his second edition Systematic Theology- one of my favorite books ever. Here’s just a couple of paragraphs to help us understand what the Bible says about our future bodies:
The repeated instances in which Jesus demonstrated to the disciples that he had a physical body that was able to be touched, that had flesh and bones (Luke 24:39), and that could eat food, show that Jesus’ body, which is our pattern, was clearly a physical body that had been made perfect.7
What kind of continuity will there be between our present bodies and our future resurrection bodies? Will our bodies look exactly the same and have exactly the same characteristics? Will they be somewhat different? Or will they be almost entirely different? Will our resurrection bodies be made of the same molecules of which our earthly bodies consist, will they be an entirely new creation from God, or will they be some combination of old and new?
Several passages indicate that Paul expected a considerable measure of continuity between our present earthly bodies and our future resurrection bodies. Paul said, “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11). He said that Jesus “will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). And when Paul spoke about the nature of the resurrection body, he gave an example of a seed sown in the ground: “What you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body” (1 Cor. 15:37–38). In this example, he draws on common human knowledge that there are differences between what is sown and what is raised (vv. 42–44), but there is also continuity—just as a seed grows into a larger plant, retaining the matter that was in it but taking other materials to itself from the ground as well, so we will have continuity and differences as well. On this analogy we can say that whatever remains in the grave from our physical bodies will be taken by God, transformed, and used to make a new resurrection body. But the details of how that will happen remain unclear since Scripture does not specify—we are to affirm this because Scripture teaches it, even if we cannot fully explain how it can happen.
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020), 1023–1024.
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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