Scripture uses beautiful imagery to describe the return of Christ. Today’s passage, for example, says at the Lord’s shout and the sounding of a trumpet, the “dead in Christ” will emerge from their resting places and soar into the sky (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Close behind them will be believers who haven’t yet departed this life. They’ll be changed as they are “caught up … to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Earthly flesh and bones age, lose vitality, and succumb to sin. So God promised that the body of every believer would be transformed into a glorious one like Christ’s after His resurrection. In heaven, we will no longer have to deal with temptations or limitations of our present time-bound existence. Perhaps we won’t even be restricted by space, since John 20:19 indicates that the resurrected Jesus didn’t bother with doors! Our new bodies will be suited for the environment where we are to dwell forever—an ageless eternity in which all of our needs are perfectly met.
Each believer will still be him- or herself. Friends and family long separated will recognize one another; our personalities will be unchanged, except that we’ll be sinless. And from then on, we will each be who God intends for us to be and powerfully influence others.
And that’s the memo.
By Charles Stanley and InTouch Ministries