Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Resurrection of the Saints

The body while here below, is corruptible, subject to decay; it gradually becomes weak through old age, at last it yields to the blows of death, falls into the ground, and becomes the food of worms. But the new body shall be incorruptible, it shall not be subject to any process of disease, decay, or decline, and it shall never, through the lapse of ages, yield to the force of death. For the immortal spirit it shall be the immortal companion. There are no graves in heaven, no knell ever saddened the New Jerusalem. The body here is weak, the apostle says “it is sown in weakness;” it is subject to all sorts of infirmities in life, and in death loses all strength. It is weak to perform our own will, weaker still to perform the heavenly will; it is weak to do and weak to suffer: but it is to be “raised in power, all infirmity being completely removed.”

How far this power will be physical and how far spiritual we need not speculate; where the material ends and the spiritual begins we need not define; we shall be as the angels, and we have found no difficulty in believing that these pure spirits “excel in strength,” nor in understanding Peter when he says that angels are “greater in power and might.” Our body shall be “raised in power.” Here, too, the body is a natural or soulish body — a body fit for the soul, for the lowest faculties of our mental nature but according to the apostle in the Corinthians, it is to be raised a spiritual body, adapted to the noblest portion of our nature, suitable to be the dwelling-place and the instrument of our new-born grace-given life. This body at present is no assistance to the spirit of prayer or praise; it rather hinders than helps us in spiritual exercises. Often the spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak. We sleep when we ought to watch, and faint when we should pursue. Even its joys as well as its sorrows tend to distract devotion: but when this body shall be transformed, it shall be a body suitable for the highest aspirations of our perfected and glorified humanity — a spiritual body like unto the body of the glory of Christ.

Here the body is sinful, its members have been instruments of unrighteousness. It is true that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; but, alas! there are traces about it of the time when it was a den of thieves. The spots and wrinkles of sin are not yet removed. Its materialism is not yet so refined as to be an assistance to the spirit; it gravitates downwards, and it has a bias from the right line; but it awaits the last change, and then it shall be perfectly sinless, as alabaster white and pure, upon which stain of sin did never come; like the newly driven snow, immaculately chaste. “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

From a sermon entitled, "The Power of Christ Illustrated by the Resurrection," delivered January 29, 1871.

Photo by Ron Almog, some rights reserved.

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