But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. — Romans 8:11
God will raise us through the Holy Spirit.
The resurrection of Jesus
Jesus Christ is true God and true Man. Like every human being, Jesus consists of body, soul, and spirit. His body was killed. He committed His spirit into the hands of His Father (Luke 23:46). God raised His Son from the dead through the Holy Spiritand gave Him a new body. It was in this resurrection body that Jesus appeared in the midst of His disciples (Catechism-QA 189).
The events at the return of Christ
At the return of Christ, those who have died in Christ will rise and the faithful who are still alive will be changed (1 Thessalonians 4:13–17). In other words, soul and spirit will be united with the resurrection body (Catechism-QA 92). Those who want to receive the resurrection body at the return of Christ must let the Holy Spirit prepare their soul and spirit to this end. Only faith is able to grasp the resurrection, the human mind cannot.
Receiving the resurrection body
To receive the resurrection body at the return of Christ, one must
- be baptized with water and Spirit,
- celebrate Holy Communion in a worthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27),
- and give room to the Holy Spirit so that He can prepare soul and spirit to receive the new body.
It is important to put off the old nature so that the new creation in us can reach maturity (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Heeding the promptings of the Spirit
Specifically, this means that we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us (Romans 8:14). The Holy Spirit prompts us to
- Be obedient. Jesus Christ was obedient to the point of death. We are ready to surrender ourselves to God in faith and obedience, and to surrender to His will.
- Be kind and do good works. Out of love for His neighbour, Jesus showed kindness to everyone. Let us also be kind and do good works, no matter the nationality or religion to which our neighbour belongs.
- Jesus extended grace to those who had a bad reputation, like the woman who had been caught committing adultery or the tax-collector Zacchaeus (John 8:2–11; Luke 19:2–10). He also forgave those who tortured Him (Luke 23:34). Let us be lenient with the sins of others and forgive those who hurt us personally.
- Remain faithful. When Jesus was taken to court, He was alone, abandoned by everyone. Despite everything, He remained faithful to His Father. Sometimes we are alone, far away from the congregation. Nevertheless, let us remain faithful to God.
We need grace in order to receive a resurrection body. That is why we want to take the promptings of the Holy Spirit seriously and examine ourselves to see where our failures and shortcomings are.
Those souls who are led by the Holy Spirit will receive a resurrection body and, together with Christ—the firstfruits of the resurrection—enter the kingdom of His Father.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for divine service held on 13 November 2016 at Midrand Congregation.