As I stare into the mirror, I see objectively—sans ego—a weathered face that has endured seventy-two summers and winters. I see a body that is betraying the ghost that moves this pen. Each day, each hour, each minute, time seems to abrade my exterior with debilitating constancy.
The apostle warns us of this betrayal, this inevitable breakdown of the earthly body. Paul calls it a “bondage of corruption.” Not an ethical corruption of the spirit for us the elect, but an enslavement to a deteriorating earthen house. At present, it is as if we are existing in an adobe house that is melting down, back into the elemental clay.
Our bodies are betraying us. Not by accident, “but by reason of Him who has subjected the same [us, the creation] in hope.” God has ordained a certain amount of suffering for all of us to go through. Solomon wrote about it in Ecclesiastes. Living on earth is like chasing the wind. “All is vanity.” Every earthbound endeavor is unprofitable in the end because of one thing–death.
But God has subjected us to the sufferings of living on this planet in hope. Yes, hope. God’s great hope is that because of our sufferings of just being humans on earth, we will seek Him and find Him. And we will eventually “be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8: 21).
The key word is “glorious.” We are attaining that state of glory that overcomes the betrayal of our earthly bodies and brings us to the liberty and freedom from having to die—released from death! We are talking about the defeat of death. For “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15: 26).
Nevertheless, as I stare into this mirror I am literally groaning in pain, as is the whole creation. We are all suffering—if not physically, then emotionally and spiritually. What we all must realize, however, is that as we are groaning, we are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8: 23).
Redemption—not just of our soul and spirit, but our body, soul and spirit. This is the redemption that translates us from mortality to immortality. Our great Creator, Savior, and King has bought us out of the slavery to sin and its inevitable fruit, death. He has prepared for us a spiritual body, impervious to the ravages of time and the elements. He has granted us a body that sustains life forever and ever—an everlasting life in a never dying spiritual body.
It is a new spiritual body that we cannot see with our eyes right now. If we only look at the surface of things here on earth, we will miss it. Ironically, we are not to look “at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” like our new body. Our father of the faith Abraham looked for an invisible city “whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10).
That is why we are admonished, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3: 2). Above—think on things above. The Father is above (Eph. 4: 6). And much is said of our heavenly Father. Our Father, according to His own purpose, has called and chosen us because He foreknew us long before we came into these deteriorating earthen vessels. He knew us in our spiritual bodies. “He also did predestinate us to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8: 28-30). He gave us a destiny in Him before we came to the earth.
The apostle Paul says that we have an immortal spiritual body reserved in heaven that will at the “last trump” replace the old earthly body (II Cor. 5: 1-4). We have a great spiritual Father, who has promised us so much, but a question still arises: Who is our spiritual mother? Every son and daughter has a mother.
Kenneth Wayne Hancock