I know I’m not alone in this. It’s something that’s far too common based on my experience as well as from what others tell me.
We hear excellent presentations of the gospel, but they end without an ending. There’s no mention of eternal life or our glorious hope of resurrected bodies. Yes, sometimes the pastor mentions glory in his concluding prayer or perhaps quotes John 3:16, but what does “glory” or “everlasting life” signify apart from the context of the New Testament? Will we be spirits floating around like Jacob Marley or will we find ourselves sitting all alone on a cloud with harp in hand? I don’t think so.
The Bible is quite clear about our joyful hope of receiving immortal bodies at Jesus’ appearing (1 Corinthians 15:48-54, Philippians 3:20-21). This is not a fringe teaching, not at all, but it comes from several passages where the wording is unmistakable and cannot be misconstrued to mean anything else than our hope of resurrected bodies like that of our Savior after He rose from the dead.
Scripture tells us that Jesus will appear, hopefully soon, and at that time He will raise the dead in Christ and catch living believers up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). It’s then the Lord will give both groups of saints glorified and imperishable bodies. The words of the passages mentioned above refer to the event that today we call the “Rapture!”
The Forgotten Resurrection
I sometimes wonder if pastors who exclude references to our resurrection in their preaching genuinely believe the words of 1 Corinthians 15:19:
1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV – “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
In the preceding verses, Paul refutes those in Corinth who claimed that there was no such thing as a resurrection (15:12-18). If true, he argues, then we must conclude that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead and our faith is thus “futile.” The end of such a dire possibility is that the “dead in Christ have perished” and we who are alive are “most to be pitied” (ESV) or “miserable” (KJV) because our hope doesn’t extend beyond this life (see vv. 18-19).
Paul begins verse 20 with the glorious fact that “Christ has been raised from the dead” and in 1 Corinthians 15:47-57 he sums up our forever hope with the joyous reality of our resurrection as New Testament saints. In language that can’t be misunderstood to mean anything else, the apostle says there’s coming a time when Jesus will raise the dead with imperishable bodies and after that gloriously transform believers still alive.
Paul emphasizes our joyous hope again in Philippians 3:20-21:
Philippians 3:20-21 KJV – “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Because Jesus rose from the dead, our over-the-top blissful hope is that someday we will possess a glorious body like that of our Savior. The sense of verse 20 is that of an “excited anticipation” of Jesus’ appearing. It signifies a yearning of soul for the time that Jesus raises the dead in Christ and wholly transforms us with immortality. In Romans 8:23, it’s our groaning as we await the future “redemption of our bodies.”
I can’t imagine that Paul preached the Gospel apart from adding context to our hope of eternal life, that of our expectation of glorified bodies at Jesus’ appearing. I explain why I’m so certain of this in The Tragic Result of Divorcing the Rapture from the Gospel.
It’s wonderful to know that because of Jesus we enjoy complete forgiveness of sins. We all need reminders of God’s grace and steadfast love toward us as well as the anticipation of our future resurrection at Jesus’ appearing, forgotten in most churches today. It’s the latter that comforts our souls as we watch our world descend into violence, lawlessness, and wickedness beyond what we once thought possible…Source – Read More!