The Resurrection of the Righteous (Luke 20:27-40)

You cannot have peace in this life until you have made peace in the afterlife.  Our study of the Gospel of Luke brings us to verses 27-40 of chapter 20.  Here we discuss the issue of the afterlife: namely, resurrection. There are two main resurrections spoken of in the Bible: 1) the Resurrection of the Righteous and 2) the Resurrection of the Unrighteous (John 5:28-29).  In speaking to the Sadducees, who deny the resurrection; we shall learn three important aspects of the Resurrection of the Righteous: How it is different than our current life, how it is similar, and how it is bestowed.

Resurrection is Different

First, in speaking of resurrection, here are a few ways the resurrection life is different than our current earthly life.

Marriage is Gone. Jesus said that those who are resurrected “neither marry nor are given in marriage” (35).  Before you get sad or glad, consider that marriage was created for this earthly life and is limited to it.  Why is this?  The main reason is because God designed marriage as the best environment by which children are to be raised.  A father and a mother are important in helping young men and young women grow into maturity.  In the resurrection, child-rearing is not necessary and therefore marriage is not necessary.  Another reason is that the close relationship marriage provides is unnecessary in the next life because there we will enjoy the blessings of being in the presence of God.Body is New. The first main difference is that our earthly bodies are cast away and we are given new glorified bodies.  Our current bodies are mortal and perishable and suffer from the effects of sin.  Physically we suffer from sickness, broken bones, diseases and death.  Mentally we suffer from depression, mourning and grief.  Our new bodies are immortal and imperishable and will not suffer from the effects of sin.  Physically there will be no more sickness and mentally there will be no more tears or grief.

Death is Gone. Jesus said those who attain to this resurrection “cannot die anymore” (36).  The reason given is that “they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (36).  This does not mean that they become angels, but are equal to (or like) angels in that they have immortal bodies, do not marry, and enjoy meaningful relationships.  Being freed from the bondage of sin, we are freed from death.  Our bodies are incapable of dying, therefore, as Jesus said, we cannot die.

Resurrection is Similar

Second, here are a few ways the resurrection life is similar to our current earthly life.

I Am Still Me. Those who attain to the resurrection of the righteous remain themselves.  What this means is that you are not a body with a soul, but a soul in a body.  We are beings with an eternal soul residing in a mortal body.  When our mortal body dies, our eternal soul resides in the presence of Jesus until the resurrection.  At the resurrection our eternal soul resides in an eternal body.  Consider Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees.  He said, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to Him” (38).  When God spoke from the burning bush (Ex. 3), He said He is “the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (37).  In other words, He speaks of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as living, not dead.  Their souls are living even though their mortal bodies long ago perished.

I Am Still God’s.  When God spoke of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He spoke of them not only as alive, but He reiterated His relationship with them.  Death did not part them from God and our death does not part us from God.  No matter what happens, God will always call us His children because He is a loving Father.

Resurrection is Bestowed

Third, here is how we receive the ability to attain resurrection.  You can only “be considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection” (35) if you have the righteousness of Christ.  You must be born again.

Not By Works. Resurrection comes from salvation.  The Bible is clear that we cannot earn salvation.  Our works are nothing more than a “polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6) in God’s sight and “no one is righteous” (Rom 3:10).  We cannot merit resurrection through our good works because it is attainable only through Christ.

By Grace through Faith. So if we cannot attain to resurrection by our works, how shall we attain it?  Salvation and resurrection is granted by God’s grace through faith in Him.  How then are we saved?  You admit to God that you were a sinner and repent.  You believe that Jesus is God’s own Son, and you confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

In Closing

You cannot have peace in this life until you have made peace in the afterlife.  What will happen to you when you die?  Will you enter into the paradise prepared for you or will you immediately enter into judgment (see Matt 25)?  If you are not a Christian, today is the day to be reconciled to God.  If you are a Christian, today is a beautiful day.