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Woodstock Baptist Church

'our frail bodies becoming transformed into the likeness of Christ's glorious body' [Phil 3].

How do we understand the Easter story of the Resurrection?
Is it a nice sentiment, an idea that Jesus lives on in the memories of others, something about our souls outlasting our bodies, or a solid, physical, historical fact?

The bible presents the resurrection of Jesus as a historical fact; the core the Christian message.

St. Paul gives a full account of his understanding of resurrection bodies in 1 Corinthians 15. There he starts out by affirming that Jesus really did rise from the dead and that it is this fact which gives us the hope of our own resurrection.

That, just as Jesus was raised from the dead with a new type of body - a 'resurrection body' - the same will be true for us. Resurrection is all about things being 'made new' - and Jesus' resurrection is the event that ushers this in.

But the Bible speaks not of a physical resurrection, nor a spiritual one, but 'bodily' resurrection - which is rather more than both a physical or spiritual one.

The Greek word for body - 'soma' - means so much more than body as something just physical. 'Soma' is a much more widely-ranging inclusive word, meaning 'totality of being', or, you might say, absolutely everything that we really are as human beings.

A resurrection of the 'soma' is therefore a resurrection of body, mind, personality and spirit. It's a new beginning for absolutely every facet of our humanity. All are important, for with every facet of our humanity we worship God.

The first commandment to God's people is
'to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength'.

So it makes sense that, that with which we are called to worship God, should be renewed and completed in the bodily resurrection.

The amazing claim of the Bible is that this somatic renewal is under way in the lives of those who are Christ's followers and available to all who would choose to so become; if we did but know it.

Knowing such things is a key part of the Christian life and requires the Holy Spirit's enlightening activity within the core of our beings - as Paul prays for the Christians at Ephesus so I pray for you...

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the age to come.
Ephesians 1