As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. – 1 Corinthians 15:48-49
Even if we muster all our imaginative powers, it’s impossible for us fully to conceive of the world as it ought to be—and, indeed, as it will be. Can you imagine a world where earthquakes, storms, and tornadoes no longer wreak havoc and destruction? A world in which the word cancer strikes fear into nobody’s heart? A body without weakness, without infection, without sickness, without sadness, without death?
The fact is, none of us can imagine that. But we do have an image of our hope for resurrection life in our Lord Jesus Christ. In being raised from the dead, He has become the firstfruits of all who trust in Him. What we see in Him is what we are someday to become.
By nature, we are all “in Adam” and destined for death; but to any who are in Christ, God promises renewed hope (1 Corinthians 15:22). By triumphing over death, Christ, “the last Adam” (v 45), has set us on the path to indestructible life in heaven. Once we walked the path of “the man of dust,” but now all who are in Christ “bear the image of the man of heaven.”
What will life be like when that man of heaven returns to earth and brings heaven with Him? Scripture doesn’t lay out all the details. But we do know that instead of being perishable, our bodies will be imperishable. We currently have a limited shelf life, but we have the promise and hope of an eternal life with no expiration date. We will live forever (1 Corinthians 15:42), and every day in that forever will be glorious, for nothing will ever perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4, NIV). We also know that God will transform us from a condition of dishonor and weakness to a renewed state of power and glory (1 Corinthians 15:43).
Neither you nor I have the categories to fathom such a resurrection life. Whatever you imagine, the reality will be better! But of this you can be sure: that life does await you, for your risen Lord Jesus Christ has trampled death underfoot once and for all. Death has been swallowed up in His irreversible victory (1 Corinthians 15:54).
Today, you will still see the forces of death at work around you—even in you. Perhaps you are very aware of that in one way or another as you read these words. But be assured that the kingdom of light has already prevailed over the domain of darkness. In fact, your citizenship already belongs to the kingdom of resurrection life. At times you may still feel the decay and the dust, but you can yet find hope, knowing that the man of heaven will one day transform your “lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21)—forever!