What does the Bible mean when it says Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God?


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“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50).

Flesh and Blood

The term “flesh”  is used to describe the unconverted man. This is shown in the following verses: “They that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:8, 9 also John 3:6).

In these verses, “flesh” refers to the unsaved, while the term “spirit” refers to the saved or the “born again.” So, the Bible is simply saying that no one can enter God’s kingdom unless he receives a miracle of conversion and the flesh becomes spirit.

Paul re-emphasizes what he has set forth in vs. 35–49, that the resurrection bodies will differ from the present bodies. So, man’s corruptible body is unfitted for enjoyment of the perfect kingdom of glory.

Pre-sin Body

Before sin, the human body was adapted to conditions in a perfect world (Gen. 1:31). For all that God had created was perfect; therefore, the bodies of Adam and Eve were likewise perfect and suited to their perfect surroundings. But when man sinned, his nature was changed. Therefore, before he enters Eden, he will be restored to the perfection of heaven.

Also, some claim that this text teaches that the resurrected bodies will not be composed of flesh and blood. But such a conclusion is not right. For “flesh and blood” is a figure of speech designating a man of this earth (Matt. 16:17; Gal. 1:16; Eph. 6:12).

Simply put, Paul is confirming that man’s present body is unfit for entrance into the kingdom of God. And the fact that the resurrected bodies will have flesh and blood is clear because our new bodies will be fashioned like unto the glorious resurrection body of Christ (Phil. 3:20, 21).

The truth is that Christ Himself declared, in His resurrected body, that He was truly “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). Likewise, the saints will have a body similar to His according to (Philippians 3:21).

It is reasonable to conclude that the bodies of the resurrected saints will not differ too greatly from the kind of body that Adam possessed when he was first created (Gen. 2:7), and may actually compose of flesh and blood. After all, if man had not sinned, he would have retained that body forever.

For more answers to Bible related topics, please check out our Bible Answers page for Bible based answers.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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