John MacArthur: We, Too, Will Rise

For those in Christ, a glorified body awaits

John MacArthur: We, Too, Will Rise

For those in Christ, a glorified body awaits

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. – 1 Corinthians 15:42-43

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christian testimony and the basis for the very hope of the Gospel itself. And as the first 34 verses of 1 Corinthians 15 tell us, the resurrection of Christ is the basis and guarantee of our resurrection. We, too, will rise.

Jesus says in John 5 that there will be a bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust—some to life and some to damnation. And in John 6:44, Jesus says, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” The ultimate act of salvation, then, is the raising of believers at the last day.

The Apostle Paul, in the last half 1 Corinthians chapter 15, is clearly trying to drive home the point that there will be a bodily resurrection. He also says in Romans 8:23 that there is a redemption of the body. God created man as a whole, and God will redeem man as a whole—body and spirit. 

Now this idea contrasted with what the Greeks believed. They wanted to say that the body was a simple prison—an evil, fleshly, materialistic, decaying thing that imprisoned the spirit. The idea of resurrection was repulsive to them—they couldn’t imagine a rotted, corrupted body left in a grave, coming together again.

In 1 Corinthians 15:35, Paul addresses those who would object: “Someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?’” 

Paul himself asked King Agrippa, who no doubt was exposed to these Greek philosophies, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you,  that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8, KJV).

People haven’t changed much. Today some wonder, what about bodies smashed to pieces in a wreck or blown up in a bomb or burned to cinders in a fire? How is God going to get ashes thrown to the wind, and how’s He going to find the right bones on the floor of the ocean? 

Paul doesn’t mince words in answering the Greeks: “You fool. Let me give you an answer further.” And so, proceeding from verse 36 of 1 Corinthians 15, he answers two questions that are posed in verse 35—how are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come? 

At this point, Paul is not trying to prove the bodily resurrection anymore; he’s trying to describe it: “You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.” (1 Corinthians 15:36-38). 


In using the illustration of a buried seed that brings forth life, Paul is saying, “Look, you sow a seed. And it first goes into the ground, and it dies before it lives. The seed decomposes, and then it rises again. And it rises again in a different form.”

So that which is produced, the tree or the stalk of grain, will be very different in appearance from the seed, and yet it will have the same life principle.

Jesus taught this in relation to His own death and resurrection in John 12:24, using the same analogy. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” So Christ says, “I’ll go into the ground; I will die. There will be the end of the old and the beginning of the new. There will be a transformation.”

That was true of Christ, and that’s what Paul is saying will be true of us. 


1 Corinthians 15:39-42 makes the point, “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. … So also is the resurrection of the dead.” 

“There are two kinds of bodies,” he says, “the earthly kind and the heavenly kind. There’s a big, big difference. The glory of the resurrection body will be infinitely beyond anything we can conceive on this earth.”

People often ask, “When we get to Heaven, will we be like Christ?”

Yes. In fact, 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”

And some will ask, “Does that mean we’ll all look like Christ, 33 years old, etc.?” First, I don’t think we’re all going to look like Christ; I think we’ll all be unique.

For example, Moses and Elijah, long after they had died, were given a physical form when they appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration and were recognized as themselves. And at the Great White Throne judgment, standing in resurrection form before God are the small and the great, which means we are not all the same.

I believe Scripture is teaching that we will be recognizable as ourselves, but different and in a glorified state. 

Erich Sauer says it this way: “So, the graveyards of man become the seed plots of resurrection. And the cemeteries of the people of God become, through the heavenly dew, the resurrection fields of the promised perfection.”

Further, these corrupt bodies are going to be raised without corruption. On this Earth, the whole of human life manifests corruption. From the time we’re born, we start the corruption process. “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

But Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:42 that literally, “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption” (KJV). That’s why Peter says in 1 Peter 1:4 that we have an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that can’t fade away, reserved for us in Heaven.

There will be an incorruptible existence: no decay, no infirmity. 

God made man and said, “It is good.” And God gave to man a glory beyond anything else He made—the very glow of God could come through man. But man sinned and dishonored that image. And so the whole of man’s life, since the fall of Adam, is dishonor to the image of God.

But Philippians 3:21 says that someday “Christ is going to change our lowly body that it may be fashioned like His body of glory” (Cf). We’re going to be like Him.

The promise of our resurrection should challenge us to live each moment in light of eternity with encouragement in our hearts. 

Let us work and pray on behalf of those who have never met Jesus Christ and so have no hope in resurrection, that they might open their hearts to receive this gift of salvation and the hope of resurrection that comes with it.  ©2024 Grace to You

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible 1977. Verses marked KJV are taken from the King James Version.

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. This article is adapted with permission from a sermon preached on Oct. 16, 1977 at Grace Community Church.

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