Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK FOURTEEN
ORBIT – DAY SIXTY-SIX
Hello and welcome to Orbit – a daily five minutes with God to help you to develop your faith. Each day you get a little bit of the Bible, a few thoughts in response, and a chance to pray and then to do something practical. If you like it, please do share with others – if you don’t like it, please let me know how we could make it better!
BIBLE READING – 1 Corinthians 15: 50-55
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians – which comes to an end with these verses – Is pretty wild and mind blowing in places. Having talked about incredible spiritual gifts which make no natural sense, he goes on to talk in detail about the nature of resurrection: coming back from the dead. Over the last couple of days, we’ve heard Paul explaining how the Christian faith is essentially dead without resurrection – not just that of Jesus, but of us too. Now in this final section, he talks about the nature of that resurrection, in detail.
It’s worth going back to read the whole of this part of the chapter actually (verses 35-58), but this section sums it up well. Having explained that there is a difference between the earthly body that we know now, and the spiritual body that we will have in heaven, Paul actually provides a picture of how the transformation between the two will take place. Like something out of a science fiction movie, a trumpet will sound and there will be an instant moment where everything changes – described by Paul as a flash!
Those of us who are alive at the moment of Jesus’ promised return will be instantaneously transformed from one state to another. And those who have already died will rise from the dead in a new form. Before you start to worry about that, the passage immediately before this one describes the form of this new body as “the heavenly man”. It’s not that people are going to pop out of their graves as zombies(!) – rather we will bear the image of a kind of human.
Since we know that we were created in God’s image in the first place, we can be fairly confident that we’ll still look fairly person-shaped. This will also be a massive upgrade: we won’t experience pain, or any need for sleep, or indeed any sort of life-limiting condition. The most exciting feature of this new body though? It’s un-killable. The new body will not wear out – but will be capable of living forever, with God.
When this transformation takes place, Paul says quoting the prophet Isaiah, then death itself will be swallowed up. This is the great hope of following Jesus – that we will not perish but have eternal life.
If we are honest, it is quite difficult to get our heads around the idea. We may even feel doubt about it, convincing ourselves that the Bible is talking in metaphor. Yet it seems to me that the New Testament continuously talks about eternal life as a reality. It doesn’t really matter to God if we grasp that idea or not – it’s still what he has promised us. The Bible says we’re going to live forever – how incredible, and worth sharing, is that?
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
I thank you Lord God for the promise of eternal life. I pray that you would help me to overcome any doubts I may have, and take hold of that promise – that I can live forever in a perfect paradise, with you. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
I heard a great sermon once where a preacher talked about how he was looking forward to meeting Moses in heaven, and speculated that he’d ask him if he’d like to go for a walk for a few years(!). This really helped to enlarge my imagination for what might be possible in the infinite amazingness of a recreated, perfect universe. So today, why not spend some time dreaming about what you might want to do in heaven. Who would you want to meet; where would you want to go; what would you like to try out? Of course this is pure speculation – but why not allow yourself the chance to speculate about all that heaven might hold. If you find it helpful – make a top ten list of things you’d love to do in a universe without limits. Remember you can be as creative as you like; you don’t have to show anyone. Have fun with it, and allow God to open up your expectations of what heaven is like.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!