“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42–44, KJV)
When I went to college, I entered the Army R.O.T.C. program which resulted in receiving a commission upon graduation. In my junior year, I had the opportunity to attend the Army Ranger and Airborne schools. I heard how difficult these courses were, especially the Ranger School. Several cadets were sent in the years prior and none of them successfully graduated. I asked two who were sent the previous year what it was like. They told me all the horror stories. It did somewhat prepare me for entering. However, to be honest, you cannot really know what it is like until you get there and go through it yourself.
Similarly, we want to know what it would be like to be a resurrected being. Those at Corinth probably had the same question. Paul in these verses gives us a window to see into this great event. Yet, how it will actually feel and what we will see and what we experience after our resurrection will still be somewhat of a mystery. Here Paul continues with the metaphor of sowing a seed, presenting four contrasts that comparing the pre-resurrected state to the resurrected state of the body.
First, he stated, that the body “sown in corruption” would be “raised in incorruption.” We were born into this fallen world in bodies that are subject to corruption. The word “corruption,” phthora, refers to decay, corruption; yet, it can also refer to corruption figuratively (Strong G5356). Here Paul is primarily dealing with the fact that the physical body will no longer be subject to disease, aging, injury, or death.
Second, He indicated that the pre-resurrection body is “sown in dishonour” and it is “raised in glory.” The word “dishonor,” atimia, refers to disgrace, dishonor, reproach, shame (Strong G819). God created us to honor Him in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. However, sin has hindered our ability to perfectly accomplish this great calling. Even after we have been saved by His grace, and have grown for years in the faith, we still fail to do this perfectly. The reason is that we, in this life constantly pursue the goal of Christ likeness, but will only experience it perfectly in our resurrected bodies.
Third, Paul wrote that the pre-resurrected body was “sown in weakness” and will be “raised in power.” In our present bodies, we are very weak. We struggle to accomplish as much as we can because of basic human frailty. We can get sick and have chronic medical conditions that weaken our physical stamina. In some cases, we can just get tired, physically and emotionally. In our resurrected bodies, we will no longer have limitations that weaken us but have great power to accomplish much for the glory of God.
Fourth, Paul stated that the pre-resurrection body was “a natural body” and it will be “raised a spiritual body.” Today our bodies are suited for earthly living but not heaven. The resurrected body will be a spiritual body, suited perfectly to live eternally in the glorious realm of heaven. Today we struggle to fully comprehend what this will mean. However, this resurrected body will be perfect, spiritual, supernatural.
Be encouraged as you look forward to that great event. it should inspire us to serve God, to glorify Him and to seek to give others the message of hope for a glorious future.