William Gadsby Sermons (Complete)

17 The Body Sown And The Body Raised

[I have two MSs., one by Mr. Player, of the following. They differ somewhat, one being a little fuller than the other. See also the ”G. S.,” for 1862 and 1872.—J. G.]

“It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”—1 Corinthians 15:43,44

This chapter clearly shows the resurrection of the dead, and arguments are brought forward to prove it which are of the greatest force. Paul brings forward the objections that an unbelieving mind would make against it; such, for instance as, “How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?” His answer is, “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.” All the ear is not sown, but merely a bare grain. That dies, and then it is quickened, and brings forth fruit according to its nature. There are some who assert that in heaven the saints of God will differ from each other in glory as the stars; but there is no passage in Scripture to prove such a statement. our bodies are sown in corruption, they shall be raised in incorruption; and thus the body raised in incorruption will differ in glory from what it was when sown in corruption. As the dimmest star differs from the brightest planet, God shall change it and fashion it like unto his glorious body. The brightest minister will not shine one whit brighter than the humblest hearer. Hence we read, “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to “righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” Thus it does not appear that the ministers of the gospel, who have been the means of turning many to righteousness will outshine those that be wise, or those whom they may have been the means, in the hand of God, of turning to righteousness; for these shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, not as the dark firmament, which needs the stars to light it; but as when the sun is up in his meridian splendor, emitting its beams of light on the firmament, and causing it to shine with a glorious brightness.

Again. “It does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” And if all who die in Christ, all who are raised in incorruption, raised to glory, will be like Christ, there will be no difference; for Christ hath not many likenesses. Some people say there are large souls and small souls. Now just notice a babe. It grows and gradually increases in knowledge. Its intellectual faculties become enlarged, but its soul is no greater; otherwise, when it gets old it droops with the body, and becomes as the soul of a little child once more. I believe that the soul of every child which dies in its infancy will shine as bright and be as great as that of Paul or any of the apostles; and I believe also that William Gadsby, vile as he is, will shine as bright as Paul too.

All men are in nature, of nature, and by nature, corrupt. “Their throat is an open sepulcher.” Now, a sepulcher is a place in which to deposit the dead, and is generally filled with a stench, proceeding from the corrupt bodies; and when it is opened it emits that horrid stench. So are we all by nature. O what wickedness proceeds from our bodies! Our tongues, what evil have they spoken! Our eyes, what lustful, proud, and sinful acts have they committed! Let the glass tell what they have done! Our hands, how have they been laid on that which is unholy, unclean! Our feet, how have they run in the way of evil! And after all, your bodies must molder away in the earth, be food for worms, and become a stench, a nuisance to the living.

But now let us look at the new man, which is Christ in us; and at the old man, which is sin in us. Both live in us. There is a difference between you living in sin, and sin living in you. Sin lives in a child of God, and plagues and harasses him continually; but he does not live in it. He hates it and abhors it. This body, which is by nature corrupt, is actually the seat of all the inventions of Satan. And O how many there are who spend their whole time in washing, dressing, and adorning it. They little think that at one time it will be raised, not in glory, but to their shame and confusion. The wrath of God shall come upon them, and they shall burn with unquenchable fire.

Again. “It is sown in dishonour.” Our bodies are sown in sin. They are vile and polluted; but if changed by the regenerating grace of God, through Christ Jesus, we shall be raised in glory. And that glory who can describe? We cannot describe the glory which the disciples beheld on the Mount of Transfiguration; which glory was so great that the disciples fell at Christ’s feet, as dead; how can we then describe the glory which shall hereafter be when our bodies are raised, when God himself will be our glory? “Thy God thy glory.”