The Present and Future of the Body
1 Corinthians 15:36-40
You fool, that which you sow is not quickened, except it die:…

1. Christianity does not teach us to despise even the mortal body. We are taught that Christ Himself — "without whom was not anything made that was made" — formed man of the dust of the earth. The body, therefore, is a sacred thing; the very handiwork of Christ, though sadly marred and spoiled. By His incarnation a new sacredness has been added to it. God was made flesh, and dwelt among us. The instrument whose strings could be made to express the harmonies of a Divine perfection, cannot be too feeble for the lowlier music of the holiness proper to humanity.

2. Although we are taught to expect that this mortal body must be transfigured before our feet can stand on the pavement of the city of God, yet how wonderful a thing it is even now! I do not refer to the marvels of its mere physical structure, the miracles of skill which the anatomist delights to celebrate. I refer to the relationship which exists between every part of your physical nature and your thoughts, your affections, your conscience and your will. It is the necessary servant, and sometimes the imperial master of an immortal nature which sprang direct from God, and is still capable of intercourse with Him. Take the eye, and dissect it as skilfully as you please; but for that the soul would be a stranger to the splendid pageantry of nature, and to the more affecting beauty which irradiates the faces that we love. And, what is, if possible, more wonderful still, the body is gradually moulded and transformed by the energy or feebleness, the purity or the wickedness of the soul within. The inward kindness makes the eye gentle — the inward fury makes it burn with a terrible fire. The very lines of the face are gradually determined by the thoughts which occupy the most secret sanctuary of the soul, and the passions by which the depths of the heart are agitated.

3. But yet, mighty as are the susceptibilities of our physical being, it is not yet equal to the high claims of its spiritual alliance. We are hindered and enfeebled by it continually. Hardly have we plunged into our work before fatigue compels us to lay it aside; hardly has the day begun before the night returns, and with it the necessity of sleep. By the most trifling physical accidents the very mightiest are made powerless. No brilliance of genius, no heroism of moral nature can wholly defy the tyranny of weakness and suffering. The richest wisdom, the noblest moral energy, may all be made nearly useless by physical infirmity, and must at last be driven away from the world altogether by physical death.

4. Let us be thankful that we sow "not that body that shall be." "Bare grain" is cast into the ground, but after a few months the hidden life reappears in the slender and graceful stalk, and the richly laden ear. So shall it be in the resurrection of the just. The body will rise again; but, thank God, not the same body (ver. 34). As yet we cannot imagine the nature or the results of that transforming process which our "flesh and blood "must undergo before they can inherit the "kingdom of God"; but the unsuspected capabilities of human nature, even on its inferior side, have already been most wonderfully illustrated in the resurrection of Christ, and His enthronement at God's right hand. He reigns not as God merely, but as man. His entire nature has been received into glory. The body in which He endured the feebleness, and suffering, which made up His earthly history, He wears still. Think, then, of the vast and tremendous duties to which the Redeemer of man has been appointed. And yet, in the discharge of the duties of His high government, His brain knows no weariness, His strength no exhaustion. A few hours of public teaching, when He was on earth, made it necessary that He should lay His head on a pillow and seek repose, though the night was dark, and the winds were loud, and the billows rough. But there is no danger now when the tempest is raging. of finding Him asleep. And our vile bodies are to be made like to His glorious body.

(R. W. Dale, D.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

WEB: You foolish one, that which you yourself sow is not made alive unless it dies.

The Permanence of Human Identity
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