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).

In 1 Corinthians 15:50, the term “flesh” is used to describe the unconverted man. This is shown also 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); “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).

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

Further, in this verse, Paul re-emphasizes what he has set forth in vs. 35–49, that the resurrection bodies will differ from the present bodies. Man’s corruptible body is unfitted for enjoyment of the perfect kingdom of glory. Prior to the entrance of sin into the human race, the human body was adapted to conditions in a perfect world (Gen. 1:31). All that God had created was perfect; therefore the bodies of Adam and Eve were likewise perfect and suited to their perfect surroundings. When man sinned, his nature was changed. Therefore before he enters Eden, he will be restored to the perfection of heaven.

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. “Flesh and blood” is a figure of speech designating a man of this earth (Matt. 16:17; Gal. 1:16; Eph. 6:12). Paul is confirming that man’s present body is unfit for entrance into the kingdom of God. That resurrected bodies will have flesh and blood is clear from the fact that our new bodies will be fashioned like unto the glorious resurrection body of Christ (Phil. 3:20, 21).

Christ, in His resurrected body, declared that He was truly “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). And the saints will have a body like 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). If man had not sinned, he would have retained that body forever.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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