By: Scott Shifferd, Jr
Some unbelievers boast of not fearing death. Their boast is a fool’s hope. Without knowing God and obeying the gospel, all are lost and eternally separated from God (2 Thess 1:7–9). However, most people realize that death is the enemy (1 Cor 15:26). The wages of sin is death, and all have sinned (Rom 3:23; 6:23). Jesus came in the flesh and overcame death when He rose from the dead (Heb 2:14–18).
God has promised to resurrect the faithful to glorified bodies like Christ (Phil 3:20–21). For this coming redemption of the body, Paul revealed how God will change the world setting free the creation from the bondage of decay (Rom 8:19–23). In other words, the new creation will be compatible to the glorified bodies of those resurrected to life. The faithful will resurrect as Christ rose from the dead (Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14). Jesus resurrected as flesh and bones, yet He also was glorified having put on immortality (Luke 24:39; 1 Cor 15:20–22, 53). The mortal body will resurrect to immortality (1 Cor 15:51–53).
Christ has given hope and promised to prepare a place for the faithful to come with Him (John 14:3). Abraham looked forward to receiving the heavenly country (Heb 11:13–16). Within this heavenly country is the city of God (Heb 11:10, 16; 12:22–29; Rev 21:2). God promised that the faithful will have entrance into this eternal kingdom (2 Pet 1:11; cf. 2 Tim 4:18).
The Epistle to the Hebrews attests to the biblical prediction that the world will perish and change (Heb 1:10–12). Hebrews describes Christ having power over “the world to come” (Heb 2:5–9). The apostle Peter declared, “according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13). Peter spoke of the real events of the Flood and the coming destruction of the earth by fire. Likewise, Peter attested that the creation of new heavens and new earth is a real event and not a symbolic figure of speech. By Isaiah the prophet, God promised, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isa 65:17). God described how the saved will build houses and plant vineyards (Isa 65:21–22). Sorrow will cease and death will be no more (Isa 65:19, 23; Rev 21:4).
This is the Christian hope. For the resurrection of the body and freedom of creation to glory, Paul revealed, “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Rom 8:24–25).