“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. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 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.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-4
Because Christ Jesus suffered and died for all our sins and rose again on the third day, we have the assurance that our sins are forgiven and that we also will be raised up on the Last Day.
And so, what if we die? What happens when our earthly body wears out and no longer holds our soul?
The Scriptures tell us: “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.”
We have a new body awaiting us – a recreated spiritual body, not made by man, but by God Himself. This body, as the Scriptures say, is awaiting us in the heavens.
Even Jesus’ body was changed when He was raised up. Though it was His same body which had been crucified for our sins, yet when Jesus was raised to life and appeared to His disciples after His resurrection on the third day, His body was different. It was a spiritual and immortal body. It was a glorified and heavenly body made for eternity. And not only that, His human nature was exulted – He now made full use of the divine attributes shared with His human nature.
But what will our heavenly bodies be like? St. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, wrote: “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; 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” (15:42-44).
He writes further: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (49-53).
To the believers in Philippi, he wrote: “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” (Philippians 3:20-21).
And so we will be raised up on the last Day – or be changed if we are still alive when Christ returns – and be given a heavenly and spiritual body in the image of our Savior. It will be a body free from sin and the corruption we know in this world. It will be a perfect body and an eternal body.
As the Bible says, “When he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
In this life, we groan because of the sinfulness and weakness of the flesh which prevents us from living for our Lord Jesus in accord with God’s Word. We groan because our bodies are mortal and wear out and die. We groan, not because we long to put off our earthly bodies, but because we long to put on our heavenly ones and be with our Savior forever.
We do not long for death, but we long for life everlasting with our God and Savior and to serve Him without sin forevermore. And all that is ours because Christ Jesus went to the cross for us, suffered and died for the sins of the world and rose again in victory.
Dearest Lord Jesus, graciously keep us in the true and saving faith until we are clothed with new bodies, immortal bodies, made for life everlasting. We ask this for the sake of Your bitter sufferings and death and Your glorious resurrection. Amen