Does Salvation Include Our Bodies?

Faith Schiller, Associate Campus Pastor, Willow Online | May 23, 2024

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 
Revelation 21:1-4

In Monday’s devotional, we discussed how following God is less about making sure we get to heaven when we die and more about representing God on the earth now. Today, we’re picking up this conversation to see why what we do today has the potential to impact eternity. Let’s start with this question: Have you ever heard of Dualism? A quick question about Dualism in Google Gemini tells us that dualism is the idea that the soul and the body are two distinct things with different values. 

In the first and second centuries after Christ, Gnostic influences perpetuated the idea that the soul is distinct from the body and the soul has eternal value, while the body’s value is temporary. Some Christian groups took this idea further by saying that the soul and spiritual matters are good or sacred, while the body and physical matters are evil or secular. The sacred/secular divide has left a legacy in Christian thought that has made our relationships to our bodies and creation problematic and has narrowly focused our conversations of salvation on our souls at the exclusion of our bodies.

But here is what’s so interesting: we don’t see this distinction between the soul and the body in the New Testament, rather, Jesus invites his followers to bring integration between spiritual and physical matters. One is not better than the other; they both have significance in the kingdom. Even more so, we’re reminded that Christ’s resurrection promises the restoration of our own bodies, not just the saving of our souls! When we read Revelation, we see that eternity will take place on a physical earth, not an ethereal, spiritual heaven. 

All this to say, what you do with your body and to the physical world around you has eternal implications because Jesus is coming back here. This world and your body are going to be physically present in eternity along with your soul. So let’s prepare our physical world for the return of Christ with just as much fervor as we give to the preparation of our spiritual souls.

Next Steps

Read Revelation 21:1-4 and consider the significance of Christ’s physical return to the earth. How does that change the way we view Jesus’ invitations in the gospels to participate in the Kingdom of God today?