What Does Your Future Look Like? BY William Boekestein for Core Christianity
(57) Q. How does “the resurrection of the body” comfort you?
A. Not only will my soul be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head, but also my very flesh, raised by the power of Christ, will be reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body.
(58) Q. How does the article concerning “life everlasting” comfort you?
A. Even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, so after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.
Christian living straddles two realities: Christ is making all things new (Rev. 21:5), but no one has fullyexperienced that newness.
For the gospel to be good news—the best news—it must be doing something powerful now that will be perfected in the coming age. As John put it, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared” (1 John 3:2). Real hope in the present must materialize in the future.
The last two phrases of the Apostles’ Creed bolster our souls with biblical truths that will completely transform us, and are starting to already.
I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body
The beauty of the resurrection is divided into two phases—what happens to believers first at death, and second at the general resurrection.
Our Souls Will Be Raised
At death believers’ souls will immediately pass into glory and begin what theologians call the “intermediate state.” For the believer there is no “being dead” (Mark 12:26–27). When believers die, their bodies—still united to Christ—rest in the ground until the resurrection. But believers cannot stay dead. “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6, 8). For Christians death is phase-one of the glorious transformation of lives wracked by the fall’s aftereffects. Now God has forgiven our sins. Then we will lose all familiarity with sin. Past sin will no longer burden us and future sin will be impossible. Death more fully unites believers with “the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:23). Our death is truly “only a dying to sins and an entering into eternal life” (Q&A 42).
But even that state will be incomplete (Rev. 6:10). Contrary to classic Greek philosophy, salvation isn’t the rescue of the soul from the body. I grew up singing, “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.” But the song is only half right. I am made whole not by God saving my soul but by God remaking and re-joining my soul and body. That’s the second phase of his resurrection promise.