“There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.“ – 1 Corinthians 15:40-44
The Apostle Paul speaks of this in verse 41 above, “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” Paul, in this verse, is speaking of the resurrection of believers. However, Jesus speaks of the resurrection of all people in John 5:28-29, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” Therefore, not only are our souls eternal, but our bodies are as well. Believers to glory and unbelievers to Hell.
For Christians, the witness and proof of this reality is the resurrection of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 15:20 (just a few verses before our text above) it says, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Jesus is the first fruits in that there are other fruits to follow, i.e. believers in Christ. In Revelation 1:5 it says, “and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.” How is Jesus the firstborn from the dead? He is the first to be resurrected with His followers to follow.
In Romans 8:17 the Apostle Paul writes regarding Christians, “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” This future glory is a reference to our future resurrection.
Grudem defines glorification as follows: “Glorification is the final step in the application of redemption. It will happen when Christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, and reunites them with their souls, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like his own.”
This Biblical truth leads to numerous questions such as “What will our resurrection bodies be like?” In 1 Corinthians 15 it lists these qualities: heavenly, imperishable, glory, power, and spiritual. However, perhaps the best picture is, as always, Christ himself. For it says in 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”