Until then, the new creature (2 Cor 5:17) is incarcerated in the unredeemedhumanness ("the body of this death") from which it longs to be liberated.We believers who live from Pentecost to the Rapture will have our spirits joined to ourresurrection bodies at the Rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-181 Thessalonians 4:16-1816 “For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of thearchangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Thenwe who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds tomeet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Thereforecomfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18Christ will totally transform the bodies of all believers to make us fit for Heaven. Our bodies will have a new schematic; they will be refashioned and redesigned.
Like Christs resurrection body, our resurrected bodies will be recognizable and we willbe able to eat, talk, and walk, but will not have the physical restrictions of our presentbodies. Our bodies will not be subject to the limitations of this earth after ourresurrection.After His resurrection Christ appeared and disappeared at will, even entering a roomwhose doors were locked (John 20:19).We may be free to travel at the speed of thought to anywhere in the universejust like our Lord and Saviour did.Paul gives the most detailed description of believers resurrection bodies in1 Corinthians 15:35-49:“But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body dothey come?’ There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of theheavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. So also is theresurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishablebody; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown it is sown in weakness, it israised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is anatural body, there is also a spiritual body. Just as we have borne the image of theearthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” 1 Corinthians 15:35-49
The combination of : a) a redeemed spirit b) a sanctified soul c) a glorified bodywill enable all believers to perfectly manifest the glory of God!Sin, weakness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, suffering, doubt, fear, temptation, hate,and failure will give way to perfect joy (Matt 25:21), pleasure (Ps 16:11), knowledge (1 Cor 13:12), comfort (Luke 16:25), and love (1 Cor 13:13).JOYMatthew 25:2121 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful witha few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of yourMaster.’” Matthew 25:21PLEASUREPsalm 16:1111 “ You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; InYour right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11KNOWLEDGE1 Corinthians 13:1212 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, butthen I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
COMFORTLuke 16:2525 “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your goodthings, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and youare in agony.” Luke 16:25LOVE1 Corinthians 13:1313 “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 Salvation involves far more than mere deliverance from hell. One of Gods ultimate goals in redeeming us is to transform our bodies into conformity with the body of His glory. (Phil 3:21) We will "become conformed [summorphos; the same word translated conformity in v. 21] to the image of His Son" (Rom 8:29; 1 John 3:2).1 John 3:2“We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just asHe is.” 1 John 3:2
These new bodies will allow us to see God!*In the Beatitudes Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"(Matt 5:8), while John wrote that in Heaven "there will no longer be any curse; andthe throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads" (Rev 22:3-4)Our resurrection bodies will also be perfectly suited for the eternal service we willrender to God.Revelation 7:1515 ”For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day andnight in His temple; and He Who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle overthem.” Revelation 7:15Lest any doubt Christs power to transform believers bodies, Paul notes that He willaccomplish it by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things toHimself. Christ will have the power to rule the millennial kingdom (Rev 12:5; 19:15; Isa 9:6; 32:1; Zech 14:9). By His power Christ will also transform the earths topography (Zech 14:4-8) and even the natural kingdom…Isaiah 11:6-96 “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the younggoat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy willlead them. 7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together,And the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child will play by the hole of thecobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den 9 They will not hurtor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of theLORD As the waters cover the sea” Isaiah 11:6-9
1 Corinthians 15:24-2724 “ then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father,when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign untilHe has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished isdeath. 27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-27Pauls point is that if Christ can subject the entire universe to His sovereign control, Hehas the power to transform believers bodies into His image.Finally, we must focus on the glorious hope that is ours at the return of Christ — thetransformation of our bodies into conformity with His. Then, regenerated fully in spirit,soul and body, we will be suited to eternal, holy glory and joy!
1 Corinthians 9:24-2724 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives theprize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the gamesexercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, butwe an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I boxin such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it myslave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27The word, bema, was taken from the Isthmian Games where the contestants wouldcompete for the prize which was a wreath made of pine boughs.At least up until the 5th century BC, the winners of the Isthmian games received awreath of celery; later, the wreath consisted of pine leaves.If we are to accept the traditional date of the first Olympic Games (776 BC), we cansay that the first Isthmian Games would have been held in 582 BC.
The Isthmian Games were held both the year before and the year after the OlympicGames (the second and fourth years of an Olympiad).So by the time Paul arrived in Corinth, the Isthmian Games were 500 years old.Throngs of people from all over the Roman Empire flocked to Isthmia, either toparticipate in or to watch the competitions. (Some stayed in tents.)The basic athletic events of the Isthmian Games included foot races, wrestling,jumping, boxing, hurling the javelin, and throwing the discus.Large amounts of money changed hands, not only from the gamblers who won andlost, but also from those who showered gifts upon the victors. In Paul’s time, the crown (stephanos) awarded as a prize at Isthmia was made of pine boughs. This fits particularly well with the phrase, "crown that will not last," or, more literally, "perishable crown." By the time the Isthmian athletes received their herbal crown, it was already wilted.
Matthew 6:1-61“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them;otherwise you have no reward with your Father Who is in heaven. 2 So when you giveto the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in thesynagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say toyou, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your lefthand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; andyour Father Who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 5 When you pray, youare not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagoguesand on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, theyhave their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close yourdoor and pray to your Father Who is in secret, and your Father Who sees what is donein secret will reward you” (with an imperishable crown, not with a perishable wreath). Matthew 6:1-6The judge at the Isthmian Games made sure that every rule of the contest was strictlyobeyed (2 Tim. 2:5).
2 Timothy 2:5 NIV5 “Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crownunless he competes according to the rules.” 2 Timothy 2:5 NIVThe victor of a given event who participated according to the rules was led by thejudge to the platform called the Bema. There the celery/pine bough wreath wasplaced on his head as a symbol of victory (1 Cor. 9:24-25). Stephanos is Greek for wreath, crown, reward. It literally means “that which surrounds or encompasses”. Crowns are given as rewards for faithfulness to appropriate God’s grace and Christ’s victory in the Christian life.A crown is a symbol of ruling power – the faithful Christians will rule with Christ! Paul was picturing the believer as a competitor in a spiritual contest. As the victorious Grecian athlete appeared before the Bema to receive his perishable award, so the Christian will appear before Christ’s Bema to receive his imperishable award.
The judge at the Bema bestowed rewards to the victors. He did not whip the losers.We might add, neither did he sentence them to hard labor. The Bema is a rewardseat and portrays a time of rewards or loss of rewards following examination, but it isnot a time of punishment where believers are judged for their sins. He awards us with five crowns as symbols of ruling power. The elders cast their crowns at His feet in worship (Revelation 4:10).Revelation 4:10-1110 “the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him Who sits on the throne, and willworship Him Who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne,saying, 11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor andpower; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and werecreated.” Revelation 4:10-11Trusting God here and now increases your capacity for joy there and then (youcreate more room for more glory).You must bear the cross if you are going to wear the crown: bear in order to wear!
The Crowns and Their SignificanceThe Crown of ThornsSpeaks of Christ’s work on the cross and stands for His victory over sin, Satan, anddeath. (Matt 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2, 5).FIVE CROWNS 1) Incorruptible Crown 2) Crown of Rejoicing 3) Crown of Life 4) Crown of Righteousness 5) Crown of Glory
(1) The Incorruptible CrownA crown given for faithfulness in running the race and exercising self-control inorder to serve the Lord and finish the race. 1 Corinthians 9:251 Corinthians 9:25 ASV25 “And every man that strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Nowthey do it to receive a corruptible wreath; but we an incorruptible crown.” 1 Corinthians 9:25 ASVThe Incorruptible Crown is earned by being filled with the Holy Spirit, putting off thefleshly desires & appetites of the body, and turning from worldly things.Those who receive the Incorruptible Crown will be “good and faithful” servants, theywill be called “The Faithful” and they will rule over many things.
(2) The Crown of RejoicingThis crown is a reward given for witnessing, following -up, and ministering to others.1 Thess. 2:19-20; Phil. 4:11 Thessalonians 2:19-20 NKJV19 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in thepresence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 NKJVThe Thessalonians will be one of Paul’s crowns, and the effect at the Bema andthroughout eternity will be rejoicing or exultation over their presence in Heaven.Luke 15:1010“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God overone sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10
The Crown of Rejoicing is earned by being a soul winner.Those who receive the Crown of Rejoicing will be “faithful and wise” servants, they willbe called “The Wise” and will rule over all His goods.