“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:50)
Is Paul here teaching that we won’t have a body when we are resurrected? That we will be some kind of disincarnate ghost?
Not at all.
First, Paul had been arguing in this chapter that the bodies of believers WILL be resurrected. He points to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead as our example and proof of this even that will happen at the Second Coming (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Second, Paul points out that Our resurrected bodies will be changed to be like Jesus’ body when He arose.
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20)
Christ’s body was changed when He was resurrected, and (Paul argues) our bodies will likewise be changed. Now, what was Christ’s resurrected body like? He was able to be felt (John 20:28), to be seen and handled and heard (1 John 1:1-3), and even to eat and drink (Luke 24:37-43)! Clearly, Our resurrected bodies will not be “ghosts.”
What then does Paul mean when he says that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom? Very simply, the phrase “flesh and blood” was used by the Hebrews to refer to the sinful and weak part of mankind. For example, notice how one uninspired Hebrew book used the phrase “flesh and blood” in discussing eternal life:
Sirach 17:29-30-29 For all things cannot be in men, because the son of man is not immortal, and they are delighted with the vanity of evil. 30 What is brighter than the sun; yet it shall be eclipsed. Or what is more wicked than that which flesh and blood hath invented? and this shall be reproved.
So Paul is not denying the resurrection of the body; instead, he is showing us through the use of commonly accepted Jewish phrases that the resurrected body will not be subject to infirmity and decay as our current bodies are!
“Some think Paul suddenly “spiritualizes” resurrection because he writes, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50). Paul, however, has not suddenly embraced the teaching of Plato. In fact, Paul’s Jewishness is clear. “Flesh and blood” is a Semitic idiom used two hundred years before Paul in Sirach (1 Cor. 14:18; 17:31), and it peppers rabbinic literature. The idiom refers to living human beings, not dead ones, in their corrupted Adamic state. These bodies are still subject to sin and death because they are animated by mere “flesh and blood.” When the resurrected Messiah appears, God will change the bodies of living disciples into the same kind of victorious body as those who are resurrected (1 Cor. 15:51), just like the body of Jesus, who is the “first fruit.”” (John Mark Hicks, Bobby Valentine, Mark Wilson, Embracing Creation: God’s Forgotten Mission, 1430-1436 (Kindle Edition); Abilene, Texas; Abilene Christian University Press)
Thanks to Jesus, I am looking forward to my resurrected body!!