Oh, to live forever! Do you ever long for that? It’s a grandiose wish, all right, and certainly not unqualified or without reservations. We would not want any pain, for example, should we somehow manage to live forever. Most of us have experienced pain here; we clearly have no appetite for any more. An unending life ought to be pain-free. While we are at it, let’s stipulate that sickness also is banished in that unending future. Even without pain, sickness ruins an otherwise good day.
While we are daydreaming, let’s include a total body makeover. No surgical procedures involved, just a new-model body free of blemishes, imperfections, malformations and malfunctions. Nothing unsightly or embarrassing, or that diminishes the absolute glory of the finest body we can imagine. One more thing. This new-model body must never be tired, weak, or collapse from fatigue. We imagine it strong and always up to the task, with plenty of power to spare. Of course, a body like that needs a new earth and new heavens to go with it–all populated with millions and millions of other inhabitants. We certainly don’t want to be alone–except now and then, of course.
Did you realize that we have just described–very inadequately, to be sure–the resurrection body God will give the redeemed when that time comes? The apostle Paul tells us most of what we can know about our future selves in First Corinthians 15:42-57. Paul uses bold descriptives and daring concepts–imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual, incorruptible, immortal. There’s one more item we must add. Finally, no more death. That also means no more sin, death’s ultimate cause.
When the apostles went out preaching the gospel, they were not just selling celestial fire insurance. No, they were eye-witnesses testifying about Jesus of Nazareth, whom God had raised from the dead. Because of Jesus, death is defeated. Life has the last word for all who do not reject it. Jesus is the source and sovereign of life (Acts 3:15; 5:30). The gospel is "the message of this new life" (Acts 5:20). To believe, trust in, rely on (they all mean the same here) Jesus is to embrace life itself. Even better, it is to be embraced by Life–Life that will never let go.