TONY ELDER: Bible promises us new, transformed bodies when our earthly forms finally quit

Bible promises transformation when earthly form quits

Hopefully, by the time you read this, I'll be driving around in a different vehicle -- at least that's my plan. After thinking and praying about it for a while, I've decided that it's time to trade in my old car for a new one. My current ride has been extremely reliable, but it's got more than 175,000 miles showing on its odometer.

Although I've only had to have regular maintenance performed on it these eight years, undoubtedly the wear and tear from time and mileage will begin to catch up with my vehicle and manifest itself in the near future. I know that more extensive repairs are probably lurking just around the corner.

Although I've looked at other car models, my current ride has given me no reason to want to make a change. So I've decided simply to get the new version of the same car.

Its appearance has been updated. It has some new smart screen technology that I'll have to figure out in order to find the Braves' game on my radio. Maybe I'll get my 6-year-old grandson to show me how to operate it. And I'm hoping to brighten up the road with something a little less dull than my current sand-colored car.

But basically it will be just a newer and better version of what I have now.

Wouldn't it be nice if, in a similar manner, we could trade in our bodies every few years? Modern medical practices and technology have moved us closer to that reality.

Some folks spend a lot of money to try to change and update their outward appearance. Others get surgeries to restore faded eyesight or diminished hearing. We can even get certain parts of our bodies replaced with either healthier human counterparts or with mechanical versions.

Yet, when it comes down to it, we're still just talking about makeovers, paint jobs, part replacements and repairs. We're not really trading in that old body for a whole new one.

However, the Bible promises believers in Christ that such a day is coming. These bodies won't be completely discarded, but they will be totally transformed into a new and better version. "For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed." (I Corinthians 15:52).

God's Word doesn't give us a lot of information about those new vehicles, but we can discern a few truths. It refers to them as "spiritual bodies."

Yet when we look at the condition of Jesus after His resurrection, we see that those bodies have form, appearance and substance. They can be touched. They can eat food. But at the same time they can suddenly disappear, apparently not bound by the limitations of this physical world.

Best of all, these new bodies aren't going to wear out. No more aches and pains. We won't find ourselves getting slower, weaker, or more wrinkled as time passes. These resurrected bodies will be made to keep functioning with the same degree of glory and strength throughout eternity.

Unfortunately, we can't go ahead and trade in these bodies for that newer version yet. We know our mileage is climbing and our bodies are wearing down, but we have to endure the rusty appearance, the creaky suspension, leaking fluids, and the sputtering motor until it quits altogether.

As the years go by, it's not easy dealing with an unreliable, aging vehicle. But as followers of Christ we can keep looking ahead with the hope and expectation that one day something better will be ours.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by e-mail at RevTElder@aol.com.