Meditations in St. John’s First Epistle
“Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it was not yet revealed what we shall be. But we know that if He is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2
What will we be like in heaven? This is a question about which Christians often wonder.
St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:35-53, writes: “But someone will say, How are the dead raised? And with what body do they come? Foolish one! What you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow the body that is going to be, but a bare grain, (it may be of wheat, or of some of the rest), and God gives it a body according as He willed, and to each of the seeds its own body. Not every flesh is the same flesh, but one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another of fish, and another of birds. And there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies. But the glory of the heavenly is truly different, and that of the earthly different; one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, 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; there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. So also it has been written, ‘The’ first ‘man,’ Adam, ‘became a living soul’; the last Adam a life-giving Spirit. (Gen. 2:7) But not the spiritual first, but the natural; afterward the spiritual. The first man was out of earth, earthy. The second Man was the Lord out of Heaven. (Gen. 2:7) Such the earthy man, such also the earthy ones. And such the heavenly Man, such also the heavenly ones. And as we bore the image of the earthy man, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. And I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I speak a mystery to you: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet; for a trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
So, when we are raised up from the dead on the last Day, or changed at Christ’s coming, what will we be like? We know that our bodies will be changed to glorified, spiritual bodies. We know that they will not be subject to corruption as are our earthly bodies. We will be raised up with incorruptible bodies made to live forever with Jesus our Savior in heaven.
As the Apostle Paul writes, we are now like the first man, Adam, with bodies made of the dust of the earth. We will be like the second Adam, Jesus Christ, who was raised in glory and exalted to the right hand of God the Father. “And as we bore the image of the earthy man, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.”
This is what John also writes in his epistle: “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it was not yet revealed what we shall be. But we know that if He is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.”
We are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. As many of us have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. We are clothed in His perfect righteousness and have forgiveness for all our sins and a place in His eternal kingdom (Gal. 3:26-29).
What we will be like when Christ Jesus returns, raises the dead and changes the bodies of those who believe in Him has not yet been revealed. If it were, we couldn’t begin to grasp it and understand. But, when Jesus returns, we will be like Him. We will see Him in all His glory and be changed into His image. We will be like Jesus – without sin, righteous and holy, in perfect fellowship and communion with our God, incorruptible, made to live forever with our Lord and Savior!
We look forward to that day when this corruptible body is changed into an incorruptible body, this mortal puts on immortality, this weak and sinful body becomes a holy and powerful body, when we see Jesus in all His glory and are made like Him, to dwell forever with our God in His heavenly kingdom! God grant this to us for Jesus’ sake – because He took on our earthy body and suffered and died in our stead to redeem us that we might take on His heavenly body and dwell forever with Him in heaven!
O gracious Savior, thank You for taking on our earthly body, bearing upon the cross the curse and condemnation of our sin and rising again in glory. Keep us ever faithful to You, trusting alone in Your shed blood for forgiveness and life eternal. And grant that on the Last Day we may see You in all Your glory and be changed into Your image to dwell with You forever in heaven. Amen.
A Simple Explanation of Christian Doctrine
By Pastor Randy Moll
What does the Bible teach about the Gospel?
The Gospel is the good message and announcement that Jesus Christ, God’s only-begotten Son made flesh, suffered and died and made atonement for the sins of the world, and then rose again in victory. It is God’s good news to you and to me that, because of what Jesus did for us when He shed His blood and died upon the cross for the sins of all, our sins are paid for in full and forgiven. It is God’s word of forgiveness and life everlasting by which he reaches out to us in mercy and with pardon and forgiveness in His heart toward us.
The Bible tells us: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not charging their trespasses to them, and putting the word of reconciliation in us” (2 Cor. 5:19); “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone believing, both to Jew first, and to Greek; for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; even as it has been written, ‘But the just shall live by faith’” (Rom. 1:16,17); “… you, hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also believing you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise….” (Eph. 1:13); and “He proclaimed ‘peace to you, the ones afar off, and to the ones near’” (Eph. 2:17).
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel to the paralytic when He said, “Be comforted, child. Your sins have been forgiven you” (Matt. 9:2); and to the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, when He said, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48).
And so, the Gospel is the means whereby God offers, gives and assures to you and to me the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting which Jesus won for all by His holy life and innocent sufferings and death upon the cross in our stead. The Holy Spirit, working through the Gospel, creates and sustains faith in our hearts whereby we believe and trust that God forgives us, accepts us as His own dear children and gives to us the everlasting joys of heaven.
Next time, we shall begin to look at what the Bible teaches about Christian Baptism.
Bible Study in Preparation for Sunday
Scripture Readings for Sunday are: Psalm 23; Jeremiah 23:1-6; Romans 3:1-31; and Mark 6:30-44. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship on Sunday.
The Sunday Adult Bible Class will continue its study of the book of Hebrews, in chapter 13, verse 7ff.
Remember to Pray
Remember to pray for our church and for all our members, that none be lost to Christ’s kingdom but that all continue in repentance and be strengthened and built up in the true and saving faith in Christ Jesus through the hearing and study of His Word. We continue to pray for all who have been sick or who are suffering among us – for Sam Rusch, for Dawn Hiebert who may soon undergo surgery, and for Mel Boren who is in a nursing home; for our extended families; and for believers who are alone and have no congregation. Continue to pray for Lutheran congregations and believers around the world who are persecuted or suffering for their faith in Christ Jesus.
Events and Announcements
Information for bulletins or newsletters may be sent to Pastor Moll by calling him at 479-233-0081 or by email at email@example.com.
Scripture quotations are from Green’s Literal Translation (LITV). Scripture quoted by permission. Copyright 1993 by Jay P. Green Sr., All rights reserved. Jay P. Green Sr., Lafayette, IN. U.S.A. 47903.