The Redemption of the Body

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30). Redemption is one of the great themes of salvation expressed in the pages of Scripture. Through the blood of Christ, we are released from the captivity sin brings and find freedom to live a life pleasing to God (Romans 6:17-20). Paul encourages his readers to live in the righteousness redemption brings, rather than continue in sin which only condemns (Ephesians 4:25-32). Obviously, one must live a redeemed life today to have confidence in the day of redemption, when the physical ends and one enters eternity.

While we rightly focus on the redemption of our souls from condemnation, Paul no doubt considers redemption in its totality, all of that which experiences redemption on that day. Not only is one's eternal soul redeemed from the consequences of sin, but also one's body. Jesus taught, "Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29). One of the purposes of the resurrection is to be prepared for eternity. Paul tells us flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50), that what is sown in death as a natural body will be raised as a spiritual body (15:44), and that the spiritual body is as real as the physical body.

When does this happen? When Christ returns, the dead in Christ will be raised (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Then, "We all shall not 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" (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). It is here one's physical body is redeemed from the burden of sin and the corruption it has brought to existence, and one is fit for eternity with a spiritual body that will never see corruption or decay (15:54-57). While we cannot know in the flesh what that spiritual body is like exactly, we know it will be glorious. "Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is" (1 John 3:2). To be like Christ is the purpose for which the body is redeemed, that redemption as a whole, one's eternal salvation, can be accomplished.

This promise of Scripture offers one great hope and promise, a great motivation concerning how one should live today, to experience this eternally. After he extends the promise of being like Christ in eternity, John goes on to say, "And every one that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (1 John 3:3). To have a glorified and redeemed body, one like Christ's then, one must live like Him now (1 John 2:5-6). "And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23). Corruption or redemption; which do you reflect today in how you live?

Robert Johnson, Longview, TX