Saturday, March 2, 2013

Conformed to His Glorious Body

[He] will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:21)
We eagerly await the return of the Lord Jesus from heaven, where we have our citizenship. When He comes, He will “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.” Paul is speaking, of course, about the resurrection of our bodies from the dead.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body … For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 52-53)
This brings completion to the example Paul began in Philippians 2, about the Lord Jesus, who “humbled” (Greek, tapeinoo) Himself and became obedient to the point of death on the cross. For that reason, God exalted Him highly — glorified Him — giving Him the name that is above every name.

Likewise, when Jesus comes again, He will transform our “lowly” body, literally, the “body of our humiliation” (the Greek word for “lowly” is tapeinosis). Our bodies are “humiliated” because they are corruptible and subject to death, because of sin and the fall of Adam. But they will one day be changed, made just like Jesus’ resurrection body and full of His glory.

This will happen by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself. This is the same power Paul speaks of in Ephesians, where he prays that believers may know
what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:19-23)
The Lord Jesus came and gave of Himself for our sake, sharing in our humiliation so that we might share in His glory. How then can we not do the same for each other, and in “lowliness of mind” (Greek, tapeinophrosune) esteem each other better than ourselves, watching out for the well-being of others as well as ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4)? Have this same attitude in you, then, that was also in Jesus the Messiah, knowing that you will share in His exaltation when He comes again.

Focus Questions
  1. What do you imagine it will be like to have your body transformed like that of the risen Messiah, a body that is no longer susceptible to sickness and subject to death?
  2. Does that help you understand how we have been humiliated by sin?
  3. Does the coming resurrection and our future glorification with the Lord Jesus enable you to give yourself more freely, as He did?

There is Always Joy!
There is Always Joy!
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Philippi
Bite-Sized Studies Through the Book of Philippians
by Jeff Doles

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