What will we be like in the resurrection? We will be like Christ.
The apostle Paul wrote,
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep… Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Cor. 15:20, 45-49)
Here is how John put it:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)
Okay, so we will be like him. What does that mean? What was He like when He came out of the tomb?
For one thing, Jesus’ resurrected body wasn’t like that of others who had been brought back from the dead. Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter, to name a few, had been resurrected, but the consensus is that they died again and are in their tombs to this day. Jesus was raised never to die again. This is how He can be called the “firstfruits” or the “firstborn from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20; Col. 1:18). If the others had the same resurrection He had, He would not have been the first.
The gospel accounts give us hints about what kind of bodies we will receive in that they incidentally mention several things about Jesus’ resurrection body:
- It still had the appearance of Jesus, moved like Him, spoke like Him, looked like Him.
- It was not ghostly; it was touchable (Jn. 20:17, 27).
- It was distinguishable in fascinating ways (Jn. 20:27).
- It could change appearance (Lk. 24:16, 31; Jn. 20:14).
- It could vanish and reappear (Lk. 24:13; Jn. 20:19, 26).
This is only the tip of the iceberg. The post-resurrection accounts were not written to give us a full description of a resurrected body, so there are a lot of gaps in what we know.
Paul said Jesus will “transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:21). That doesn’t tell us everything, but it tells us enough. We may not know much about what awaits us, but what we have been told promises a life much better than this one. The best is yet to come.