Saturday, March 10, 2012

Great hope, Glorified bodies

Life is not easy, The apostle Paul said, If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19).   
When it comes to suffering, some say, "Forget doctrine; give me something relevant." My answer is   encapsulated in Point One of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries' doctrinal statement which is, We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbal and plenary inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant. infallible and God-breathed, and, therefore, are the final authority for faith and life (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

Every word (verbal) and every part (plenary) of Scripture is inspired by God. The Greek word Theos-pneustos, translated as inspired in the above, II Timothy Scripture, literally means,  God-breathed. The Lord ensured that when each writer penned Scripture, that which he recorded is without error and is infallible. This includes all portions of Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments. Scripture is infallible from Genesis to Revelation. 

I say this by way of introduction so we can be sure of blessings which God has promised us for now and for all eternity.  Our Lord Jesus, while being tried, told us that Scripture is entirely relevant, when after being tempted by the devil (diablos = slanderer), He said, Man shall  not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God  (Matthew 4:4, NASB). 

We need to realize this when we view a world of suffering and dying; when we come face to face with our own mortality; every word that proceeds from the mouth of God is relevant! I think of my favorite pastor of all times who was one of the most brilliant and godly men I have ever met, full of compassion and counsel; his mind now being destroyed by Alzheimer's.  I think of my son who battles with depression which has made his life miserable; many other children whose lives are assaulted by Turrets Syndrome, early onset schizophrenia, Autism, cancer and other diseases.  I think of my own weakened brain which is susceptible to episodes of depression, filled  with obsessions and has been traumatized by watching our daughter and her baby die in a traffic accident.  What can the Bible tell us about all of this?

I will quote the famous scholar and Seminary teacher, Leon Wood, who himself was taken early from this life by Lou Gehrig's Syndrome.  The portion is from his book The Bible and Future Events, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, (1973), page 47).

"Perhaps one of the the greatest helps in understanding the nature of glorified bodies, comes from
Paul's statement that God will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory (Philippians 3:21b; 1 John 3:2).  Glorified bodies, then, will be like
Christ's resurrected body.  In that body, Christ could enter a room when the door was shut (John 20:19,26); ) vanish from sight while talking with others (Luke 24:30-31); remain unknown to others until special perception was granted (Luke 24:15, 16, 31); John 20:15,16,31); and defy gravity in ascending from the earth to disappear in the clouds (Acts 1:9).  At the same time, His body was real, for it could be touched (John 20:27), was capable of speaking (Luke 24:17-32), and quite clearly could consume food (Luke 24:30, cf)  Glorified bodies, then, will be real and physical, but will not be subject to death and decay; they will not become weary or sick; they will not need food for sustenance, though being capable of eating on occasion; and they will not be limited by either ordinary physical matter or natural laws, being able to vanish and appear at will and capable of defying gravity for upward movement.  Since Christ at His ascension apparently moved from earth to heaven with the speed of thought, this too, will no doubt be possible for glorified saints.  The saints of the church will be endowed with such bodies at the rapture, moving up in them to meet Christ in the air."

So, what better time to understand and appreciate the precious Word of God than in times of trial and hopelessness? This is what God has given us to cope and trust! His blessed Word is true, relevant and life-giving. We should not neglect it in times of discouragement.