The Resurrection of the Body and the Life Everlasting
These last few weeks we have been discussing basic Christian beliefs as they are expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. Today we will discuss one of the main Christian beliefs – the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried:
He descended to the dead.
On the third day He arose again:
He ascended into heaven,
And is seated at the right hand of the Father.
And will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body.
And the life everlasting. Amen.
The Apostles’ creed was confessed by the early Christians and by Christians down through the ages. Before a person was baptized, he or she needed to believe and confess this short list of essential Christian beliefs stated in the Apostles’ Creed. Today, we will be discussing what happens to us when we die! Will I be around after death? Is there something more? Will Jesus come again? Is there an afterlife? To these questions the Apostles’ Creed answers a definite YES!
The Bible speaks about a place called Sheol, where people would go after they died. Jesus and the Scriptures teach that there will be a final judgment at which time the dead will be raised, and the dead will be brought before the judgment seat of Christ, who will be their Judge. Scripture says that Christ holds the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:18) The books will be opened at this Final Judgment and everyone will be judged by what they have done in their lives. All those who are not found in the Book of Life will not enter heaven. Some will be granted eternal life, while others will be cast out into a realm of “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. (Luke 13:28) (Revelations 20:11-15)
The Bible tells us that if we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and follow Him that His righteousness covers us, and our sins are washed away. (2 Corinthians 5:21) We will no longer be judged by our own actions, like those at the Final Judgment, since our faith in Christ will change all of that. (Romans 5:1-5: Romans 3:22: Galatians 3:6-8)
Perhaps these many people standing around the Final Judgment seat of Christ are all the people who never had a chance in life to accept Christ. And also, all the people who openly rejected Christ. It seems that these people at the Final Judgment are judged by a different standard than the Bride of Christ or the Church is judged – because believers have Christ’s covering of righteousness over them. All of the amazing promises of eternal life found in Scripture are for the believer. Here are some of these promises of life after death found in the Bible.
Scripture tells us that, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (Isaiah 25:8) And Paul writes: “We know that if the earthly tent (our dying body) we live in is destroyed, we have a building (our eternal body) from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (1 Corinthians 5:1)
Jesus promised: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he or she dies. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 1:25-26) We believe in life beyond death because Jesus died and rose from the dead. And He promises us: “Because I live, you will live also.” (John 14:19) Jesus addresses our fear of death and gives us a peace that sustains us in the face of death and pain.
Scripture tells us that Jesus will return to this earth and bring an end to history as we know it! The Bible says: “The Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
The Bible also says: “A thousand years are like a day. The Lord isn’t slow to keep His promise of returning, as some think of slowness, but He is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. On that day the heavens will pass away with a dreadful noise, the elements will be consumed by fire, and the earth and all the works done on it will be exposed.” (2 Peter 3:8-10)
No one knows the day our Savior and Lord will return- and we who belong to Him want to be ready to meet Him, whenever that day is. We are can be ready to meet Christ by trusting daily for His grace and by trying to follow Him and counting on the Holy Spirit to lead us. This world will not continue as it is forever. When Christ comes as He promised, evil, suffering, sin and death will be defeated and will be no more.
When Christ brings an end to the world as we know it, then what will heaven be like? Scripture says: ”God has prepared things for those who love Him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or has entered the imagination of any human being” (1 Corinthians 2:9) Since heaven is beyond our imaginations and more than anything that can be described, we can only trust that God, our heavenly Father, who loves us and brought us into this world, can bring us into the next world too.
The Bible describes a feast taking place in heaven: “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And He will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations: He will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.” (Isaiah 25:6-8)
This passage of Scripture tells us that Christ will destroy the shroud of death that is cast over all people and the sheet of death that is spread over all nations. Scripture also says: “God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Then the One seated on the throne said, ‘Look! I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:3-5) Death and sin and sickness and sorrow will be no more.
We have now finished our study of the Apostles’ Creed. Do you believe these Christian truths found in this creed? In the end we make a choice to believe. If you are not yet a Christian, I invite you to believe and to trust in this set of truths that Christians have professed for nearly two thousand years. Build your life on this foundation and take a leap of faith. Because of your faith, your life will be changed. I promise you.
Most of the ideas in this blog were taken from Adam Hamilton’s book, “Creed, What Christians Believe, and Why” Chapter 6, “The Resurrection of the Body”.