I have new neighbours. Next door has stood empty for nearly a year since the previous neighbour passed away at the age of eighty-seven. I have yet to get to know the new people, because they haven’t properly moved in. Instead the husband, his brother-in-law and various other helpers appear to be completely gutting the house, while the wife and daughter are living with her parents until the work is finished.
It is easy to understand why the new neighbours wanted to remove the fitted wardrobes and replace the twenty-two year old kitchen. I have difficulty understanding why they find it necessary to remove the plaster from the walls and re-plaster a house that was only built in 1989. Contrast that to the move my second eldest son and his wife are making later this week. They are moving into a house built in 1907 that requires much more work than the house next door to me. They will live in the house and tackle the task bit-by-bit, room-by-room. It is going to take quite a while.
When God moves into our lives we become a new creation in Him. But He doesn’t require us to be instantly transformed into an immaculate property. He moves in knowing that there is a lot of work required. I look at some of the rooms in my own home. How quickly they need decorating again. But I cannot do it all at once. As long as I live here there will always be work to be done. My home will always be a work-in-progress. As an imperfect follower of God I am glad that He allows me to be a work-in-progress. Change is a process, not an event. While I am blessed by the time that He takes to mould me and shape me, I look forward to the day when He will stand back, look into me, and then ask His Son to remove the work-in-progress sign, because finally I look like Him.
45The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam -that is, Christ – is a life-giving Spirit. 46What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.
50What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.
51But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
54Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ”
56For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15: 45-56 (NLT)