If flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, how can the saints have real bodies?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Flesh and Blood

“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 the above 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. 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.

Further, in this verse, Paul re-emphasizes what he has set forth in 1 Corinthians 15: 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 (Genesis 1:31).

Jesus Ascended to Heaven With a Physical Body

After the resurrection, Jesus showed His disciples that He possessed flesh and bones and He ate food in front of them and asked them to feel His body.

Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and afrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and … while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:36-39, 41-43, 50, 51).

Jesus ascended to heaven with His body of flesh and bones and will come again to the earth in the same body. The angels affirmed this fact to the disciples as they were watching their master ascend. The angels said, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

The Redeemed Will Have Real Bodies in Heaven

All that God had created was perfect; therefore the bodies of Adam and Eve were likewise perfect—free from all the ruin of sin—and fitted to their perfect home. But when man sinned, his body was degenerated. Therefore, before he enters the new kingdom of glory, his body will be made perfect and suited to the perfection of heaven. It is further 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 (Genesis 2:7). If man had not sinned, he doubtless would have had that body forever.

The redeemed will have a physical state of existence in heaven. The idea that the redeemed in heaven will be in a spiritual state like ghosts has no scriptural support. Before Jesus’ death, He affirmed to His disciples that the redeemed will have physical bodies and they will eat and drink. Jesus said, “I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).

In the the future world of peace, there will be all the comforts and delights of Eden of old. The Lord declared, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth” where the redeemed shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit” (Isaiah 65:17,21). The saints will eat of the fruit of the tree of life (Revelation 22:2). Spirit beings don’t need to eat.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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