Verse 21. "Who shall change our vile body" - ÆOv metaschmatisei to swma thv tapeinwsev hmwn? Who will refashion, or alter the fashion and condition of, the body of our humiliation; this body that is dead - adjudged to death because of sin, and must be putrefied, dissolved, and decomposed.
"That it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" - eiv to genesqai auto summorfon tw swmati thv doxhv autou? That it may bear a similar form to the body of his glory. That is: the bodies of true believers shall be raised up at the great day in the same likeness, immortality, and glory, of the glorified humanity of Jesus Christ; and be so thoroughly changed, as to be not only capable through their immortality of eternally existing, but also of the infinite spiritual enjoyments at the right hand of God.
"According to the working" - kata thn energeian? According to that energy, by which he can bring all things under subjection to himself. Thus we find that the resurrection of the body is attributed to that power which governs and subdues all things, for nothing less than the energy that produced the human body at the beginning, can restore it from its lapsed and degraded state into that state of glory which it had at its creation, and render it capable of enjoying God throughout eternity. The thought of this glorious consummation was a subject of the highest joy and confidence amongst the primitive Christian. This earth was not their home; and they passed through things temporal so as not to lose those which were eternal.
1. THE preceding chapter, to which the first verse of the succeeding should be joined, contains a fund of matter the most interesting that can well be conceived. The apostle seems to stand on the verge of eternity, and to have both worlds opened to his view. The one he sees to be the place in which a preparation for the other is to be attained. In the one he sees the starting place, where the Christian is to commence his race; in the other the goal at which his course terminates, and the prize which he is there to obtain. One is the place from and over which the Christian is to run; the other is that to which he is to direct his course, and in which he is to receive infinite blessedness. In the one he sees all manner of temptations and hinderances, and dangers standing thick through all the ground; in the other he sees the forerunner, the Lord Jesus, who has entered into the heaven of heavens for him, through whom God calls him from above, thv anw klhsewv tou qeon, Phil. iii. 14: for what he hears in the Gospel, and what he sees by faith, is the calling of God from above; and therefore he departs from this, for this is not his rest.
2. The nearer a faithful soul comes to the verge of eternity, the more the light and influence of heaven are poured out upon it: time and life are fast sinking away into the shades of death and darkness; and the effulgence of the dawning glory of the eternal world is beginning to illustrate the blessed state of the genuine Christian, and to render clear and intelligible those counsels of God, partly displayed in various inextricable providences, and partly revealed and seen as through a glass darkly in his own sacred word.
Unutterable glories now begin to burst forth; pains, afflictions, persecutions, wants, distresses, sickness, and death, in any or all of its forms, are exhibited as the way to the kingdom, and as having in the order of God an ineffable glory for their result. Here are the wisdom, power, and mercy of God! Here, the patience, perseverance, and glory of the saints! Reader, is not earth and its concerns lost in the effulgence of this glory? Arise and depart, for this is not thy rest.