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2 Corinthians 5:1-10



 
For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (ESV)

New Flesh

C. F. W. Walther, Theologian

7 May 2015

In death we lose our body, only to regain it! It seems counterproductive, doesn't it? Why would we want to lose this "bag of worms," as Luther called it, only to get it back? But this is what God promises. Often standing over the corpse of a loved one carefully composed in a casket, I hear people say, "That isn't really grandma!" But that's not exactly true. That is grandma's body. It is a gift of God, the Almighty Creator. And He has a plan to raise that body at the judgment of all flesh. The flesh was corrupted by the fall, but not made incapable of inheriting eternal salvation. Unfortunately, our society still exhibits a wide Gnostic streak, in which the things of the body and flesh are thought incapable of bearing divine things and true spirituality.

 

We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ clothed in our flesh, resurrected certainly; and not merely revived from the dead, but given a wholly different order of life: now a spiritual body (1Co 15:44). What a great hope this message gives to those who were living in the world with all of its bodily burdens and flesh, which struggles. The flesh is not merely discarded but fully renovated by God's Spirit of God's purposes forever.

 

Baptism gives the flesh the eternal life which it will experience fully only with Christ in heaven. The down payment of the Spirit is given in the triune sacrament. Because Christ shares His death and His resurrection in the font, the baptized Christian shares in it and is put to death and raised with Him through the sacrament. As surely as Christ was crucified and died, so surely do those of us who were baptized into Him die. As surely as Christ rose, so sure do the baptized rise to a new life. He came forth from the tomb with same flesh as was placed there by pious Nicodemus and Joseph. So we come forth from the tomb of baptism with that same body with which we shall rise on the Day of Judgment. 

 

John Chrysostom

 

"'If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you' (Rm 8:11). Paul touches the point of the resurrection, since we are compassed about with a dead body. Let it have the Spirit, and it will surely rise again. What? Shall the bodies which have not the Spirit not rise? How then could 'we all stand before the judgment seat of God' (Rm 14:10), or how will the account of hell be dependable? For if those who do not have the Spirit will not rise, there would be no hell at all.

 

"What then does the Bible say? All shall rise, yet not all to life, but some to punishment and some to life (Jn 5:29). This is why he did not say, shall raise up, but shall give 'eternal life' (Dan 12:2). This is a greater thing than resurrection, and is given only to the justified. This is 'through his Spirit who dwells in you' (Rm 8:11).  And so if while here you reject the grace of the Spirit, and do not depart safely with Him, you will certainly perish, though you will rise. For just as He will not consign you to punishment if he sees His Spirit shining in you, so neither will He allow those who have quenched the Spirit, to come into the bridal chamber, just as He refused the virgins entrance (Mt 25:12).

 

"Do not allow your body to live in this world, that it may live thereafter! Make it die, that it die not. For if it keeps living, it will not live. If it dies, then shall it live. This is the case with resurrection. For the body must die first and be buried, and then become immortal. But this has been done at the baptismal font. The body has had its crucifixion and burial, and then has been raised. This also happened with the Lord's body. For His body also was crucified, was buried, and rose again."
 
John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 13.8
 
Prayer

Blessed are You, Lord of heaven and earth, for You have had mercy on those whom You created and sent Your only-begotten Son into our flesh to bear our sin and be our Savior. With repentant joy we receive the salvation accomplished for us by the all-availing sacrifice of His body on the cross. Send us Your Spirit that we might live in our bodies with hope for this life and the one yet to come; that we might celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the Lamb in his kingdom, which has no end. Graciously receive our prayers; deliver and preserve us. To You alone, O Father, be all glory, honor, and worship, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

For parish pastors who are leading God's people to live in peace, that they would receive the blessing of peacemakers

 

For good weather, that those who need rain would receive that blessing

 

For the Telugu language ministry at Memorial Lutheran Church, that it would continue to bring all God's children into the kingdom of the Son whom He loves

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Resurrection (1515)

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