Wednesday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 16:5-11

Even the Best Laid Plans

The following thoughts would probably not make a good sermon but might make a decent devotion.  We’ll see.

In the first part of this passage, Paul is laying out his plans to pay the Corinthians a visit: He will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost (the “Feast of Weeks” related in Leviticus 23:15-22), then travel through Macedonia and make his way to Corinth, and perhaps spend the winter with them.  Then they can send him off to “wherever” he may go (which ended up being Jerusalem as he was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go there, Acts 20:22).  In the meantime, Paul would send his youthful and beloved understudy, Timothy, to, in effect, bring any further directions Paul had for them.  You can hear Paul’s apprehension for Timothy’s reception by them when he says, “Put him at ease among you,” “Let no one despise him,” and “Help him on his way in peace.”

But even the best laid plans of an apostle of Jesus Christ can be undone.  As we will see in more detail in Paul’s second letter to the church, they did not receive Timothy so well as he found the church in turmoil.  Paul changed his plans and set out immediately for Corinth to resolve matters between him and the church.  Matters only got worse.  This is what Paul refers to as the “painful visit” of 2 Corinthians 2:1.  He left for Ephesus leaving matters unresolved and from there sent a tearful and anguished letter by the hand of Titus to the church in hopes of their repentance (2 Corinthians 2:4; the Lord did not see fit to preserve this letter for us).  Paul’s prayers were answered when he caught up with Titus in Macedonia and discovered that some Corinthians had indeed repented and longed to see Paul (2 Corinthians 7:5-9).  Paul then wrote what we call “2 Corinthians” in anticipation of another visit to Corinth before setting off for Jerusalem with the collection for the relief of the Jerusalem church (see ESV Study Bible, “Introduction to 2 Corinthians,” 2219-20, or any good commentary for this historical reconstruction which is fairy representative of contemporary scholarship).

It is written, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  Or in more colloquial language, “Man proposes; God disposes.”  It was true for the apostle; it is true for us.  And yet, through it all, God is working his will and way, even with stubborn Corinthians, even with stubborn us.  How necessary it is to have soft hearts—but not towards just anyone (that got the Corinthians into trouble)—but to the word of God.

Tuesday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

Instructions about How to Give

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he speaks of a collection which he is gathering from the largely Gentile churches across the empire to take to Jerusalem for the relief of the Jewish Christians there (15:25-28).  Here at the beginning of chapter sixteen, he speaks of that same collection.  So we see that in the earliest churches, there was a concern among them for their mutual well-being.  Churches are not competitors; we are all working in the same field (the world) praying for an abundant harvest (souls). 

Significant about this passage are the instructions Paul gives concerning the collection of the gift.  He tells the Corinthians that “on the first day of the week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.”  So, 1) The fact that this was to be done on the first day of the week indicates that Sunday was the day that the earliest Christians met for worship, as the overwhelming majority of churches do to this day.  Sunday was the day in which our Lord rose from the dead thus inaugurating the new era in which we live: “the [time] of the Lord’s favor,” announced by Isaiah (61:1-4), and fulfilled in our Lord’s ministry (Luke 4:16-21).  But please bear in mind, though our Lord’s resurrection “tweaked” the fourth commandment (changed the day from Saturday to Sunday), it did not abolish it.  2) We are to lay something aside each Sunday.  Giving is a regular spiritual discipline.  I am aware that there are some professions for which that might be harder to do, for instance, farming, in which income might be more sporadic.  Still, like prayer and good deeds, giving should be as regular as income permits.  3) “As he may prosper,” reminds us that we are to give as the Lord has prospered us and not as He has prospered someone else.  We cannot all give equal gifts, but we can make equal sacrifices.  4) In the ancient world, giving and receiving were personal matters; hence, the Corinthians were to send representatives along with the gift.  It is a pity that today such gifts must be given anonymously to protect the dignity of the receiver and the embarrassment of the giver.  To whom does the receiver render thanks?  Before whom may the giver shed his embarrassment and treat like a man such as himself?  This is a major problem with the modern welfare state.  How does one thank a massive impersonal bureaucracy for governmental aid sent by mail or electronically transferred to an account?  And how would such a bureaucracy even receive such thanks—by voting for that candidate who promised to increase it?  Ugh!  The Church is called to charity and generosity, and that on a personal level.

Monday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

The Resurrected Body: What’s It Like? (Continued)

Like the Corinthians of old, most Christians today, or so it seems to me, think that our existence in heaven will be something dreamy, insubstantial, or ghostly.  Their thoughts bear more resemblance to those of the ancient pagan writers, much like Homer’s Odyssey, where the arms of Odysseus pass right through the dead when he visits the Underworld, than to the biblical writers.  Just like those wrong-headed Corinthians and ancient and contemporary pagans, they either completely disparage the body thinking it of no consequence, or so highly value it that they worry over every intake of calorie, fat, or carbohydrate, spending themselves at fitness centers, charming themselves in mirrors.  (I’m not opposed to exercise and have frequented fitness centers, and so know something about the mentality.)

My point is this: We shall be raised and we shall bear a body—a spiritual body.  Now the question is asked, “What is a ‘spiritual body?’”  It is a very relevant question.  When Paul says, “spiritual body,” he does NOT mean something invisible or insubstantial, which terms are completely contrary to the definition of “body”; he means a body under the dominion of the spiritual world, which is under the dominion of the Holy Spirit.  I said yesterday that to live in this world, we had to have bodies fit for this world; that is, under the dominion of the natural world.  To live in the spiritual world, we must have bodies fit for that world and hence, spiritual bodies.

I take as our model the risen body of our Lord.  When he rose from the dead, he rose with his body of flesh, as he plainly said, “Touch me and see.  For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).  At the same time, he could appear right out of thin air (“the doors being locked,” John 20:19), thus indicating that he was not bound by the natural world.  Yes, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” but I understand that to mean flesh and blood under the dominion of the natural world.  So I take it that when Paul writes that both the dead in Christ and believers who are alive at his coming will be “changed,” that he means changed into the body of our Lord at his resurrection.  This was also the understanding of the ancient Church which spoke, not of the resurrection of the body, but of the flesh—under the dominion of the spirit world, of course.

I am aware that some theologians speak of a further change that Jesus supposedly underwent when he ascended into glory.  This is sheer conjecture.  They assume this because Paul said, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”  But as I explained, this does not include flesh and blood that is changed to be incorruptible and imperishable, as our Lord had when he arose.  And as for our Lord’s transfiguration, I see no reason to believe that he ceased to be flesh and blood in that event, but instead that the glory of God shown through that very flesh and blood, as it shall one day shine through the flesh and blood of the redeemed.  In short, I cannot imagine any other form of “spiritual body” deriving from a flesh and blood human being, but I will not argue the point with those who believe otherwise.

The most beautiful thing is that death will finally be defeated, killed, and executed, and that, once and for all.  The reason for this is that sin will be no more.  Our souls shall experience that final healing which the those who are redeemed so crave—the healing of our souls such that sin shall never tempt us again—which is what salvation is, which is what freedom is.  And our bodies, which were corrupted because of our sinful souls, shall know total health because of our cleansed and sinless souls.  We shall be what we were meant to be, but only better, as redemption is superior to innocence.

So rejoice, Oh Christian!  Remain immovable in the faith, for we have a sure and certain inheritance awaiting us.

The Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 15:35-49

The Resurrected Body: What’s It Like?

So naturally the question arises: “How are the dead raised?  With what kind of body do they come?”  It is a sensible question.  I mean, what about people eaten by sharks—three centuries ago?  How are we to understand the resurrection of a body which has so thoroughly decayed that there is nothing left of it, indeed, which nutrients have gone to form countless other bodies of the earth?  The doctrine seems wholly impossible, fantastic, and, therefore, unbelievable.  Indeed, were it not taught in Scripture and proclaimed by the Church as a necessary doctrine of the faith from the very beginning, I dare say that I would believe it myself.

But Paul answers our unbelief with, “You foolish person!”  He then goes on to explain, using an analogy from agriculture, that what is sown “does not come to life unless it dies,” referring to the seed which is transformed into the grain.  This prepares us for his discussion of heavenly bodies and earthly bodies in which Paul employs a number of antitheses to describe what happens to our bodies upon death: We are sown perishable and raised imperishable, sown in dishonor and raised to glory, sown a natural body and raised a spiritual body, sown a man of dust like Adam and raised a man of heaven like Christ, sown to bear the image of the man of dust and raised to bear the image of the man of heaven.

If I may elaborate: The body I bear now is of the man of dust, and it (I) shall one day die and return to the earth in some way, shape, or form, regardless how that death occurs.  Let us call that body, “Stephen seed.”  That seed shall remain in the earth until the day comes when God calls that body back to life, but not in the form of “Stephen seed” that it had before it (I) died, but now in the form of “Stephen fruit” which “Stephen seed” died in order to produce.  “Stephen seed” is my current natural body which I have from Adam; “Stephen fruit” will be my future spiritual body I gain from Christ: imperishable, incorruptible, and undefiled.  You see, we had to have natural bodies to fit us to live in this life; we shall have to have spiritual bodies which shall fit us to live in the next.  And so Paul closes this passage with the wonderful promise: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”  Of course, here we are only discussing the redeemed; the wicked, who bear the image of the man of dust now, shall bear that image in a rotting and putrefying condition in hell.  And so we see the grace of God toward those who believe, and the severity of that same God toward those who do not.

Saturday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

On Him We Have Set Our Hope

In the Book of Acts, Luke presents a straightforward account of what happened on Paul’s missionary journeys through Asia and Greece, but provides few if any details of what the Apostle and his companions felt on those journeys—their inward struggles, doubts, or anxieties.  We are left to think that they weathered every storm manfully and with complete confidence of the outcome of dire situations.  Well, in these few verses, Paul allows us the opportunity to peer into the inward battles he endured while on those journeys, and we see a man much like ourselves—a man who experienced despair, heavy burden, and perhaps not a little fear.

And why does Paul open his heart like this to these Corinthians?  Well, for two reasons that I can see: 1) The Practical Matter: The Corinthians were miffed that Paul had not visited them according to previous arrangements, and he needed to explain why—yes, it is very juvenile of the church to behave this way, but we are dealing with the customary habits of the Corinthians, habits which are not unusual of Christians in our own day; and, 2) The Spiritual Matter: Which is what the rest of this devotion is about.

Paul writes: “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.  But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us.  On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again.”  These are beautiful and timely words for those who are presently taxed beyond their strength: God is calling you to rely not on yourself but on Him, and Him alone.  God has a way of using our circumstances to teach us how weak and unable we are, how incompetent, how pitiful—indeed, that we are dust, here for a little while and gone tomorrow.  We discover how little we can do, how frail our bodies are, how our words simply disappear into thin air and our intentions accomplish nothing.  This is what it is to be a human being, and even worse, a very sinful human being at that.  What can we do?

Rely on God.  Turn to Him.  Stop trusting in flesh and put your faith in the Maker of heaven and earth, the One who raises the dead, and the only One who truly delivers you.  Paul triumphantly proclaims, “He delivered us, and He will deliver us again!”  Paul will later tell these Corinthians: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness,” (11:30) for it is in those things and those times that we realize where our power comes from.  On Him must we set all our hope; He alone is our strength and our salvation.

Friday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 1:1-7

God of All Comfort

Moving from 1 Corinthians to 2 Corinthians seems, well, seamless, but that’s not actually the case.  As related in previous devotions, since sending that letter to Corinth, Timothy had visited and found matters worse than before.  Then Paul visited the church in hopes of bringing them back into the fold but was treated shamefully by them (2:3).  He left and then sent a painful and agonizing letter to them, again with prayers for their repentance (2:1-4).  Then much to Paul’s relief, he received news from Titus that the letter he had sent had the desired effect as many were genuinely longing to see Paul again (7:5-9).  But while all that was going on in Corinth, causing the Apostle great distress, his concern for the health of the churches being such, he was in danger of life and limb in Asia in the city of Ephesus where the gospel was so well-received that believers were forsaking the idols—much to the chagrin of the silversmiths (1:8-11; Acts 19:21-41).  That led to riots and hence, even more distress for Paul and the church in that city.

So we pick up 2 Corinthians with the great Apostle having been through the ringer.  And what theme does he pick up in the first few verses of the letter?  Comfort.  In the midst of all of his distress, all of his suffering, all of his anxiety and misery, he had drawn closer to the “God of all comfort.”  But Paul further understands something more: that God has not comforted him for his own good but for the good others, that is, that he may comfort others.  He writes this truth of the faith: “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too.”  As Christians, we suffer more deeply than others, for we understand why we suffer.  We understand the brokenness of the world, of human beings, of ourselves.  We mourn for our sins and the sin we see around us.  And, sometimes we suffer for being Christians.  But as Christians, we also experience comfort more deeply than others.  We know the God of all comfort, we know the conqueror of death and the grave, and we’ve read the Book and know how the story ends—which is really just the beginning.  And with this knowledge, we are able to comfort our brothers and sisters.  We are even able to comfort unbelievers if we will not shy away from sharing with them the gospel of the One who is the source of all comfort.  And therein we discover as did Paul the wonderful truth that as we share in the sufferings of Christ, so we share in the comfort. 

Suffering with Christ and receiving the comfort of Christ and sharing that comfort with others.  This is how we learn Christ and experience him in us.

Thursday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 16:12-21

Final Exhortations

Paul now closes his letter to the church at Corinth.  I do not say his first letter as he had written them previously (5:9), and the Apostle, no doubt, hoped that there would be no need for another letter, but that instead, all would be well when he arrived a few months hence.  That was not the case, as we elaborated yesterday.  He would write them two more letters (that we know of, at least), one of which he wrote in “anguish of heart” (2 Corinthians 2:4).  But for now, he closes this letter with the hope of reconciliation and obedience to his instructions.

To begin, the fact that he encouraged Apollos to visit them shows that the apostle was in no way offended that some in Corinth preferred Apollos to himself (1:12).  And the fact that Apollos refrained from going to Corinth makes one wonder that he made that choice so as not to lead any at the church to think that there was the slightest daylight between him and the Apostle.  Paul’s then encouraging the men at Corinth to “act like men” is given more meaning coming right after the example he and Apollos just set for them: Stop whining, love your wife, submit to authority, and lead the church!  Speaking to the issue of authority, Paul exhorts them to subject themselves to the leaders of their church who had visited, refreshed, and informed Paul of the struggles in the church.  Perhaps the people at Corinth would see Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus as tattletales.  Paul takes the opportunity to remind the Corinthians of their service to saints. 

Finally, Paul closes with greetings to the church from those who are with him, not the least of which are Aquila and Prisca who were involved in the work at Corinth in the beginning (Acts 18:1-4).  They hosted a church in their house, which might be the future of churches in America.  But what I think is most significant is that, though Paul usually ends his letters with something along the order of, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, etc.,” he does so here, BUT then adds, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.”  He does not end any of his other letters with such a personal expression of his own affection.  No doubt, the Apostle is aware that he has spoken to them in such a way that was not always so pleasant.  They had many issues ranging from doctrine to morality to division.  And then there were the assaults on his own integrity as an apostle of Jesus Christ.  He had to set matters aright.  But given all of this, he never stopped loving them.  May this be a lesson for us: We shall experience disagreements, even painful ones, in the church; but we must never stop loving one another.

Saturday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 15:29-34

The Resurrection and Our Morals

“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.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). 

I begin with this verse from John’s First Letter to buttress what Paul is saying in this place.  Paul continues explaining THE foundational doctrine of the Christian faith, without which there would be no Christian faith—the resurrection of the dead, meaning our bodies.  He has argued to these Corinthians that our Lord’s resurrection (which they did not deny) is the guarantee for our resurrection (which they did deny).  The fact that our Lord rose proves that there is a resurrection coming; it only awaits the last day at our Lord’s return.  He is clear that eternal life of any sort is completely dependent on this doctrine.  Simply put, there is no understanding in Scripture of an eternal state in heaven without the resurrection of body, Christ’s or ours.  Granted, the souls of those who have died in Christ are with the Lord and those who died apart from Christ are not with him, but such a state is temporary; it was never meant to be an eternal state.

But what is so moving about this passage is that Paul goes in a direction we weren’t expecting.  After asking rhetorical questions about why he has endured so much hardship if there is no resurrection (explicitly stating again that there is no afterlife apart from the resurrection of our bodies), he moves to the spiritual axiom that unbelief in the resurrection leads to immoral lives.  Indeed, considering those causing the problems at Corinth, whose lives involved sexual immorality or some form of misunderstanding concerning human sexuality, Paul warns those in the church who are seeking to live holy lives, “Bad company ruins good morals.”  But what has believing in the resurrection of my body have to do with my morals?  Plenty.  Just as the passage from 1 John above indicates, knowing that my Lord shall return in the body and that I shall see him in my body compels me to sanctify myself before his return.  I don’t want to be ashamed at his coming, my body bearing the marks of my sin, however those might manifest themselves.  I want to be pure, even as he is pure.  Thus, belief in the doctrine of the resurrection encourages us to mortify the sin which so easily besets us in preparation for his coming, while rejecting this doctrine leads to a life in which the body does not matter, abusing sex, food, and one another—all the sins that plagued Corinth—and still plague the church today.

Addendum

Yes, another addendum.  I would like to address Paul’s reference to the Corinthian Church baptizing people “on behalf of the dead.”  Granted, it catches us off guard.  Were they really doing that?  Did Paul approve of this?  Should we be doing this? 

No, Paul does not approve of this, that is, whatever they were doing.  He simply uses it for his argument concerning the necessity of belief in the resurrection.  In other words, Paul is saying (to paraphrase): “If the doctrine of the resurrection is a matter of indifference, then why are you, Corinthians, baptizing people on behalf of the dead?  What does it accomplish if the dead are not raised?”  So he does not approve of what they are doing; he simply uses it against those in the church who deny the resurrection showing how contradictory and untenable their position is.

As to the other matters, obviously the Corinthians were doing something strange, and we may assume that Paul spoke to them about it on another occasion in order to correct them.  Apparently, it was something that only they were doing (we read of this no place else), and it did not pass into the tradition or teaching of the Church.  So, the practice, being localized in Corinth and plainly at odds with the teachings and practices of the rest of the churches, died a quick death in Corinth. 

We must remember as a matter of interpretation to distinguish between what the Scripture teaches (which is authoritative for us) and what the Scripture reports (which may or may not be).  In this case, Scripture reports what was happening at Corinth; it makes no recommendation, though such a practice is extremely problematic given the Bible’s teaching on a host of other doctrines, not the least of which being that those who are saved are regenerated by the Holy Spirit themselves, not on behalf of others, and certainly not on behalf of dead people.  So, yes, it is there in black and white, but the Scriptures leave it there—in Corinth, and in the first century.  We have enough to consider with what the Bible plainly teaches us; let us place our energies there.

Friday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Christ’s Resurrection Is the Father’s Victory

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.”  Prior to this statement, Paul was challenging the proposals of some of the Corinthians and saying, in effect, that (to paraphrase), “If there is no resurrection of the dead, as you so say, then neither has Christ been raised, as is the logical conclusion of your argument.”  But then Paul announces the glorious truth just quoted: Christ is risen!  So what does our Lord’s resurrection mean in this passage?

First, Paul shows that God has established an order to the resurrection of people.  Christ is called the “firstfruits.”  Now, why is this?  Because Christ was the first to rise from the dead, which was his specific honor.  No, the Old Testament saints did not experience a resurrection upon death.  Of course, their souls went to heaven (or “Paradise,” Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:3), but their bodies remained in the grave.  As for appearances before our Lord’s resurrection, such as our Lord’s transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36), we must assume that Moses and Elijah appeared before him in some spiritually visible form, but not in the body.  2) And as of right now, Christ is the only one to have risen, for “then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”  These are the “all” who have been made alive in Christ AMONG the “all” who are dead in Adam.  At any rate, the distinction of resurrection belongs solely to Christ at this time, though he shall share that resurrected state with us upon his return.

But Paul continues.  The resurrection is the crowning event of the Father’s royal power, His seal and testimony that only He is Ruler of all things.  Even death, the last enemy to be destroyed, is “living” on borrowed time.  At the present time, the Father has subjected all things under the feet of Christ who reigns from the Right Hand of Power and who is slowly bringing all creation under the dominion of Him who already rules it.  But the time will come when that which is now invisible to us will become fully visible to all.  And in that day, our Lord shall give everything over to the Father that He may be the “all in all,” not in some Eastern sense in which we all become united into God as a drop in the ocean, but in the sense that He shall reign over all and be our reason for rejoicing in a kingdom where our souls will be purified of all sin, such that we may inhabit glorified and perfected bodies, without corruption or decay, sickness or disease.  We shall finally be fully alive, in perfect fellowship with God—which is what we were created for.  The resurrection serves as the beginning of the end and the end of the beginning, the vindication of our God who has and will have the victory.

Thursday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

The Christian Faith Is Predicated upon the Resurrection of the Dead

One of the hardest things for people to believe, both then and now, is in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead.  And please understand, when we say, “resurrection,” we mean the resurrection of the human body—not a ghost, not a spirit, not a soul—the body.  Indeed, it was the resurrection of our Lord and Savior who came out of the tomb that was the foundation upon which the Christian faith was built: No resurrection of Christ—no faith, no gospel, no Church, no nothin’. 

Well, apparently some Corinthians believed that though Christ was raised, believers would not be raised; that is, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.  Paul immediately argues how absurd such a notion is.  “If the dead are not raised,” he says “not even Christ has been raised.”  I picture the Corinthians responding, “Why is that?  Why can’t we believe that Christ has been raised while believing at the same time that we won’t be.  Maybe just our souls go on to heaven.  Isn’t that enough?”  To hear many (most) Christians talk, you would think that this is what they believe.

No it’s not enough.  Paul would have us know: 1) That there is no general resurrection apart from that specific resurrection (i.e., our Lord’s), and no specific resurrection (again, our Lord’s) apart from the general resurrection.  Why?  Because God has ordained it so.  Our Lord’s resurrection guarantees ours, and apparently he refuses to be raised without us—He is the head and we are his body; 2) That we are embodied souls.  I said recently that we are the hybrids of the universe—part material part immaterial, part body part soul, occupying the space between the angels and the beasts.  Granted, our souls go to be with the Lord upon death (2 Corinthians 5:8), but our bodies rise on the last day and are rejoined to our souls (Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) because…well, that’s how God made us; and 3) Finally, God has made it such that our souls don’t rise without the resurrection.  This is what Paul means when he says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”  Our souls don’t just automatically go to heaven upon death, as most seem to think; our souls go to heaven because Christ has been raised, and seem to serve, if I may be so bold, as a down payment for our bodies upon the resurrection.

The resurrection began our faith; that is where it shall end.  But then it shall also be our new beginning—without sin, without corruption, fully glorified!