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Redeemed from Decay to Glory
Your body bears the result of sin. But soon it will be transformed.
Humans are good. We are also unbelievably bad. Yes, we were created in the image of God, and He loves us without measure. But we are also fallen, sinful, and capable of the worst kinds of atrocities. We live in a fallen world.
That fallenness began with the original sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That is why good and evil co-exist in every area of our lives and every part of our environment, including the natural world that surrounds us. Everything God created was good, but when Adam and Eve disobeyed, everything within and around them became tainted by evil. The world God created remained, but it was marred by what these humans had done.
Nature itself bears the results of our sin. I love to be outside and witness the beauty of God’s creation. I enjoy the power of the ocean, the mystery of the forest, and the majesty of all the creatures God placed on the earth. Yet I know that is not the complete picture. I have seen the dangers of fire, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other disasters. I know the world has much evil and ugliness because of human sin and disobedience.
We live with the results of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, as well as with the consequences of our own sins. And it’s not just visible in the natural world, but also in our own bodies.
Entropy and Decay
We are plagued with imperfections and decay. I don’t even pretend to be a scientist, but most of us can remember certain concepts we learned in our high school science class. Do you remember the “second law of thermodynamics?” Scientists recognized this truth in the 1800s. In its simplest form, it states that you can’t pass heat from a colder physical body to a warmer body.
Other scientists took that initial observation and recognized that everything we know in the physical world is moving toward entropy and decay. Does that remind you of any stories from Scripture?
Paul writes that this reality can be traced to one event:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.—Romans 5:12
In fact, he said it spread not only to people, but to every element of the created world:
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.—Romans 8:22
Consider the context of what Paul was saying in this this passage. Just a few verses before that, he wrote:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.—Romans 8:18
While we may suffer in the present, this is not our home. We are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” But Paul is saying we will soon find ourselves in our true home, where we have a glorious future. In that kingdom, death is defeated and all other human suffering ends (see Revelation 20:14).
Yes, the actions of Adam and Eve had severe consequences, and we are all living with them—or, rather, dying with them!
But the good news about those consequences is that they are temporary. When we lay hold to this promise, we can begin to understand our current troubles with an eternal mindset. They are small and light compared to the greater eternal weight of the glory that is to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).
We may suffer now, but our heavenly reward is worth the wait.
We have been offered salvation and eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose again. Through Him we have been redeemed, and that includes the redemption of our physical bodies.
When will this happen? When will our bodies be redeemed? It will be at the end of this age.
Does that sound like it is a long time away? I am telling you it is closer than you think, and it will happen in an instant.
When Jesus comes again, we will receive new, perfect bodies. Sometimes I feel like Oprah Winfrey when she was giving away new cars on her television show several years ago: “You get a new body! You get a new body! And you get a new body! Everybody gets a new body!”
I say that with one important qualifier: You must be born again. God is going to restore and perfect everything in your life. He will heal everything about you, including your body, mind, will, and emotions.
This news is incredibly important. We live in a fallen world that is obsessed with appearances. Spend five minutes on social media, and you will understand just how important appearance is to people. With all the photo filters and highly edited stories, everyone looks great. The truth is, none of us measure up to the expectations of others—or even our own expectations—and it can be overwhelming.
In the real world, people are coping with illnesses or other infirmities. Disabilities challenge those we know and love. On top of those things, all of us are becoming older. The longer we live, the more pronounced become issues of aging. (I can give a personal witness to that fact!)
But when Jesus returns, we will instantly receive new bodies. No, you won’t become a ghost or turn into an angel with wings and a harp. When the Rapture occurs, you will instantaneously receive the promise of the redemption of your body.
Paul describes this in Romans 8:
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.—Romans 8:23–25
I know I am eagerly waiting for this. I am persevering through today’s trials, and you can, too. Those trials might look like illness or disability. They might look like aging. Your energy may be declining. Your hairline may be receding. Your skin may wrinkle and your weight may fluctuate.
But your perfect, fully redeemed body is coming, and what a glorious day that will be.