What is the Nature of Our Hope? Is it not the redemption of our sick dying bodies and our wicked natures? And is not that hope found in Christ’s accomplished work on our behalf?
Our hope of being completely delivered from sin in our spirits and of being rescued from all sickness in our bodies arises out of a solemn assurance of our salvation. The revelation of Him who has who has brought life and immortality to light, bears witness to us that we also will obtain glory and immortality. We will be raised in the image of Christ and will share in His glory. This is our belief because we know that Christ has been raised and glorified and that we are one with Him.
So the nature of our hope is our conforming to Christ. One of my favorite verses is 1 John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
As I age I’m able to relate more and more with those who’ve grown older and passed on before me. Our bodies become weary and we groan with aches and pains, and often endure debilitating disease. Our lives are like grass, here one day and gone tomorrow. Our death is always imminent. And I’m looking forward, not just to the redemption of my body, but also the sinful tendencies I struggle with every single day.
In his book the Triumph of the Crucified, in the chapter on the Rapture and the First Resurrection, Erich Sauer tells us that the nature of the new body is indescribable. Scripture only gives us some glimpses. Yet Sauer helpfully assigns the “Resurrection Body” (I prefer the term “glorified”) a “Sevenfold Glory.”
While our present humiliation body is a “soulish” body, our glorified body will be spiritual (1 Cor 15:44-46). According to Sauer, this means that our glorified body will be governed by the spirit, rather than our souls.
Our present body of humiliation is constrained and limited – the glorified body “will be entirely serviceable.” Our present bodies have some dependence on the spirit, yet they are often in conflict with it (Rom 6:6, 7: 5, 23; 1 Cor 9:27). The glorified body will be completely ruled by the spirit – a perfect instrument for a perfect life.
The natural body is entirely dependent on natural things (food, water and air etc) to survive. The glorified body can eat but doesn’t need to (Luke 24: 41-43). It can appear in closed rooms (John 20:19; Luke 24: 31, 36); hence has freedom from the restrictions through space. And the glorified body is immortal through eternity (1 Cor 15:42, 52).
Our natural bodies are sown in dishonor. They are weak and subject to death (Phil 3:21; 1 Cor 15:43). In the resurrection we will be immortal; will fellowship with angels (Heb 12:22), and yet will be more than angels (1 Cor 6:2-3). Sauer notes that we are “firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:18) and “sons of God” (Rom 8:14).
Grumpy should be my middle name. How many of us are happy right now? If you are, how long will it last (John 16:33)? Our present bodies of humiliation go through never-ending cycles of sorrow and pain to varying degrees. The redeemed will experience uninterrupted joy (Isaiah 49:10; Rev 7: 16-17; Rev 21:3-4). They will have unbroken fellowship with the Triune God.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Sauer writes that the body of humiliation is a poor tent; whereas the body of glory is a “transparent, radiant palace.” He adds that the righteous will shine as the sun (Matt 13:43), as dazzling white snow, and like the Lord (Mark 9:3; Phil 3:21; 2 Cor 3:18). See also Daniel 12:3 .
7) Conformity to Christ
The most glorious attribute is that the redeemed will be conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 3:2). Christ is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29; Col 1:18). Compare these with 2 Cor 3:18,
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Finally, our glorified bodies will be capable of functioning perfectly in both heaven and earth. Part of our function will be worshipping God. Our sinless state will allow us to worship Him perfectly. We have a glimpse of this in Revelation chapters four and five.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!
Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!
To be like Christ is the nature of our hope.