Q 57. How does “the resurrection of the body” comfort you?
A 57. Not only will my soul be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head, but also my very flesh will be raised by the power of Christ, reunited with my soul and made like Christ’s glorious body.
Q 58. How does the article concerning “life everlasting” comfort you?
A 58. Even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, so after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever.
The Apostles’ Creed ends with two eschatological statements about our Resurrection and the Everlasting Life we are promised in Jesus Christ. Eschatology is the study of the last things, focusing itself, at least in the realm of Christianity, on the return of Christ and the ultimate fulfillment of God’s will in the world. Much of this is derived from the book of Revelation as well as Jesus’ teaching on the subject matter. Both of the belief statements at the end of the Apostles’ Creed, though intimately tied to Jesus’ death and resurrection, are actually directed at Jesus’ second coming.
So what do we mean when we say that we believe in such things. Scripture promises that, just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so too will we be raised on the last day, when Jesus comes again. This resurrection will be a physical, literal, bodily resurrection in which our current flesh will be raised, renewed, and glorified in the same way that Jesus was after His resurrection. Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 15, says that,
“The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power…”
We will still be us in every respect of what makes a person unique, however, everything will be glorified and perfected, the way we were meant to be in the beginning. Our experience will also be glorified, returned to a perfect relationship with God who will dwell eternally with us here on earth.
The eternal nature of this relationship and dwelling is the subject of the final statement of the Apostles’ Creed and the second question of this week. There are two ways in which we talk about and experience this eternal life. First, and likely most obvious, is exactly what we are referring to here: Eternal Life in Paradise living with Jesus after His second coming and the final consummation of all things.
However, the second one is something that is important for us as Christians to remember as well. We begin the experience of eternal life with God when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The joy of renewed life is experienced in part already in this life when we come to faith. This joy is built through the work of the Holy Spirit and increases as we are continually sanctified and built up in Christ. Much of this happens as we grow deeper in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, receiving a deeper revelation, understanding, and experiencing greater freedom in Christ from the bondage of sin.
As we grow in this joy and freedom we also grow in our anticipation of the life to come when all things will be made new and no more will be the effects of sin in our lives and in the world around us. This is the hope to which we profess and the great expectation of things to come!