So what will our new resurrected bodies be like?
Paul writes in Philippians that his desire is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection so that he would attain his own resurrection (Phil. 3:8-11). On the one hand, the Bible doesn’t give us the exact details of the resurrected body. On the other hand, we are not completely unknowledgeable of what it will be like. We see through a mirror dimly. Thus, it is helpful to think of our new heavenly bodies as being like our old bodies, as opposed to an immaterial existence.
In fact, Jesus even used the word flesh to speak about His resurrected body (Luke 24:36-42).
What Jesus does not mean by the word “flesh” is anything that could be construed as “sinful” or “earthly” flesh. Though different authors of Scripture use the term in various ways, Jesus uses the word to show that he was bodily, not an apparition or ghost. His resurrected body could be touched, take up space and eat fish for breakfast. Christ is in His resurrected body, and He is referring to it as flesh and bones.
Other references to the risen Savior help us see what our resurrected bodies will be like:
- Jesus eats breakfast with the disciples in His resurrected body (John 21:9-15).
- Mary clings to Jesus (John 20:11-18).
- Jesus shows the disciples His body with marks from the crucifixion (John 20:20).
- Thomas touches the Lord’s scars (John 20:24-29).
- The disciples take hold of His feet and worship Him (Matt. 28:9-10).
- He appears to over 500 people (1 Cor. 15:6).
Scripture makes clear our future resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-58). Though we do not have every detail on what this new body looks like or how it will be, we do have a general picture and the hope that it will be like that of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:2; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; 1 Cor. 15:35-58).
“Oh death where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting?” Because death has been swallowed up by the life (and death) of Christ, death is fully defeated and we are able to live.
This reality should bring us to a place of worship and gratitude, for Christ has achieved for us what we could not. Our blessed hope is the future resurrection of the saints. And this should also change the way we live today. Paul says that, because of the resurrection (Christ’s and ours), we should be steadfast, immovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord. Our lives here are not in vain. We live as redeemed people preaching the gospel in word and deed, awaiting our resurrection.
The resurrection of the body is a distinctive teaching in Christianity and a pivotal point of doctrine. In fact, the resurrection of the body is one of the most widely held beliefs across denominations, geographies and time. It appears in the Nicene Creed (325 A.D.):
And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
and I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Bible doesn’t map out each strand of the resurrected DNA or give a breakdown of all the things that we will and won’t be able to do. The beauty and hope of resurrection far exceeds the need for a blueprint. We can sing the song of resurrection even without knowing the exact words and make beautiful harmonies and melodies.
So I mean what I say: I hope I don’t end up in heaven.
I hope that Christ comes to bring completion and consummation, and that, when He does, all those who have been adopted as sons and daughters of God will be finally and completely saved (justified, sanctified, glorified): redeemed, restored, renewed and resurrected to live in the city of God on the new earth as God’s image bearers, both body and soul – the way we were created to be.