by CECIL T. GAKNETT
After speaking of the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain the apostle adds, "even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to-wit, the redemption of our body." (Rom. 8:23) "For in this (body) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven ; if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." (2 Cor. 5:2-4). Those who have had soul longings that could not be expressed in the body and others who have experienced suffering and pain in the body know what the apostle meant when he spoke of "groaning in the body, desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." He felt the limitations attendant upon having a "Divine Nature" (2 Pet. 1:4) in "an earthen vessel" (2 Cor. 4:7) yet he clearly expressed a hope that some day he would "be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven."
The basis for such a hope is a fact of history, the fact that the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die. even, so in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Cor. 15:20-22). There is no intimation here of universal salvation but of universal resurrection. No fact of history is better established than the fact
The wily Jews also remembered His prophecy and made the sepulchre, under the direction of Pilate, "as sure as ye can;" the world famed soldiers of the Iron Empire who sealed the sepulchre and set a watch of their own men; His own disciples "slow of heart to believe"; and almost two millenniums of Christian achievement agree in one that God raised the Prince of Life from the dead. (Acts 3:15).
It is well to remember that the resurrection is not of the spirit but of the body. When Jesus was hanging on the cross He said, "Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit;" (Luke 23:46) but Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and begged the BODY of Jesus; and when Joseph had taken the BODY he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb." (Matt. 27:58-60). The soldiers were sent to seal and watch the tomb where the BODY lay. (Matt. 27:62-66). When, after His resurrection. He appeared to His disciples, "They were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, "Why are ye troubled and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I Myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:37-39). His blood had been shed for your sins and mine. What change had taken place in His flesh and bones we do not know. He appeared in a body of flesh and bones that yet bore the print of the nails. "Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are IN THE GRAVES shall hear His voice and come forth." (John 5:28-29). It is the BODY THAT IS IN THE GRAVE. The Holy Spirit writing through Paul anticipated the mistake that some would make, saying, "I believe in the resurrection but not of the body," so after he had made the matter clear he added what otherwise would have been unnecessary; "There is a natural body and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY. (1 Cor. 13:44). He does not say "spirit" but "SPIRITUAL BODY."
The body of Jesus is the sample of the bodies with which we shall be clothed upon from heaven. "For our citizenship is in heaven from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." (Phil. 3:20-21). "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (I John 3:2).
The above passage suggests WHEN we "shall be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." It is when Jesus comes the second time to receive us unto Himself. "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." (1 Thes. 4:16). But we are also taught that there will be sons of God begotten again through faith in Christ Jesus, who will be living on the earth when Jesus comes again. These are spoken of in 1 Cor. 15:51-53, "Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, — and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words." (I Thes. 4:17-18).