PHIL. iii. 20, 21. “The Lord Jesus Christ, who
shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto
His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able
even to subdue all things unto Himself.”
HERE we have one of those splendid glimpses into the
world beyond the grave, of which there are not so very
many in the New Testament, and each one of which is
so unspeakably dear to the faith and hope of a Christian.
This is the last, it is the most munificent of the gifts of our
I. The nature of the change referred to in the text. St.
Paul describes the human body in its present state of exist-
ence as “our vile body,” or it would be better rendered as
“our body of humiliation.” It would be impossible to
imagine a Greek using this phrase. They thought the
human frame the most beautiful thing in nature.
Such a phrase implies that the man who uses it has seen
higher and deeper than the things of sense. According
to the teaching of the Bible, the body is essential to man’s
completeness, whether in this or in a future life.
Our nature, as a whole, has been ennobled and invigor-
ated by the Son of God. Bending from His throne in
heaven, He has taken body and soul alike, and joined it by
an indissoluble union to His own eternal person. We all
shall die as the creatures around us; but if we are in Him,
He will gather up what death has left, He will change our
body of humiliation, that it may be fashioned like unto
His body of glory.
II. The ground of this great Christian expectation of
a glorified body in a future life. How shall we get it?
The apostle answers: “According to the working of His
mighty power whereby He is able even to subdue all things
unto Himself.” Christianity has made respect for the dead
a rule, has given it reason, by its great glowing faith in the
coming resurrection. Jesus Christ was buried and rose
again: “as He is so are we.” Our duty to the body during
life is to guard it and train it. Keep the body from all that
would bar entrance to the presence of Christ, and train it
as a future partaker of those scenes of transcendent joy
and worship which are described in the Apocalypse.
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice,” in works and in
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.