I think about heaven. I’m guessing most Christians do. I think about seeing Jesus, singing with the saints, reconnecting with loved ones, and being done with a world full of sin, corruption, and death. But I don’t know that I often set my mind on thinking past heaven.
Sounds kind of weird to say, “Past heaven.” That’s probably because I tend to think of heaven as eternity, thus, how do you think past eternity? But this morning, reading in Romans, I’m reminded that, beyond experiencing the reality of heaven, there’s the promise of a resurrection like His.
For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.
(Romans 6:5 ESV)
In Romans 6, Paul’s making the case that it’s foolish to even consider that continuing in sin is somehow good for the cause of grace. That though it’s true that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20), it’s also true that sin no longer has dominion over the believer because they now live according to grace (Rom. 6:14). And grace reigns through righteousness (Rom. 5:21). The righteousness that is credited to us through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God. The righteousness that is operational in us through the indwelling, active agency of the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9-10).
So, while it’s true we were buried with Christ by baptism into His death, it also true that “Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father” so that we might walk in newness of life like His resurrected life (Rom. 6:4). Live like living people, says Paul, not dead ones.
And to press home the point, Paul reminds his Roman brothers and sisters that they will certainly be united with Christ in a resurrection like His.
So, what was His resurrection like? So, what will our resurrection be like? It’s worth noodling on, I think.
He rose bodily. If we will too, then we can count on being reunited with our physical bodies in some new form after death, and after that period of time when we are “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2Cor. 5:8).
He was recognizable, I’m guessing we will be, as well.
He walked. He talked. He ate. He drank. He even did stuff, like cooking breakfast (Jn. 21:8-14). Us also? (Maybe not cooking breakfast, but I’m guessing we’ll be active).
And, though Jesus rose in bodily form, He wasn’t restricted by that body. He showed up in rooms without walking through doors. He appeared in one place, and then in another. He even arose in that body as He ascended into heaven. That body seated in heaven, today, at the right hand of the Father.
What will it be like for us in our resurrected bodies when we experience a resurrection like His?
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; 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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. . . Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the Man of heaven.
(1Corinthians 15:42-44, 49 ESV)
A resurrection like His. Reunited with our physical bodies in a new supernatural way. Imperishable, in glory, in power, a spiritual body, bearing the image of the Man of heaven. What will that be like?
Thinking about heaven is comforting. Thinking past heaven? I can only imagine.
A resurrection like His. That’s what awaits us. May we live into that reality even now.
By His grace. For His glory.