A Good Thing - February 27

 

February 27: Death and Dying

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain – Philippians 1:21

We read about heaven, we hear sermons about heaven, we sing about heaven; but still we are apprehensive about death. God has built into us a desire to live, and it should be our goal to be able to say with the Apostle, “to live is Christ.” Even with the remarkable experiences Paul had with the Lord he was still pressing toward the mark and desired to know Christ more intimately. May we each day in our fellowship with our Savior become more like Him in our walk and more dedicated in His service….

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That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die – 1 Corinthians 15:36

Paul, speaking here in the context of the resurrection of the dead, compares our earthly body to a seed. The seed must be planted, and die, in order for it to eventually become the full-grown plant. This is a stunning analogy, with awesome implications for the afterlife!

Do not miss what Paul is saying here: the body that is raised from the dead is what a plant is to its seed. When you plant an acorn, you know at least two things: 1) the oak tree that comes from it will be from, related to, the acorn; and 2) the oak tree will be immeasurably more mighty, complex, and majestic than the acorn ever was.

There is both continuity and discontinuity between our earthly bodies and our heavenly bodies, just as a plant with its seed. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4 that we will know our deceased loved ones when we rise from the dead (continuity), but also that we will fly to meet Jesus in the air (discontinuity).

And so, Paul continues in verse 38, God will give each seed its own plant, each earthly body its glorified body – as it pleases him, as he has chosen. Beloved, do you trust God to choose the right body for you to spend eternity in? It will be more glorious than you can imagine, like trying to imagine an oak by looking at an acorn. However, it will be the body that God himself has chosen for you, and so you can rest assured that it will be as heavenly as heaven itself. 

The joyful expectation of the resurrection and glorification of our bodies should give us confidence in God's good purposes for us now. And when the time comes for us to lay this body down, like a seed in the ground, we can rest assured that God will bring us out of the grave as the glorious oak he intends for us to be.

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