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What will eternal life be like?

“Now some Sadducees (who contend that there is no resurrection) came to him. They asked him, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no children, that man must marry the widow and father children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died without children. The second and then the third married her, and in this same way all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died too. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had married her’” (Luke 20:27-33 NET).

During the last week of his life before his crucifixion, Jesus spent time teaching the people. The Jewish authorities were desperate to trap him in something that he was saying to discredit him with the people. On this particular day the Pharisees began by asking about paying taxes. Jesus gave an answer that impressed those who were there.

Next we find the Sadducees. This group didn’t believe in a resurrection – in essence they didn’t believe in anything after this life. It would seem that they had come up with a scenario that made any life after death look ridiculous. Their scenario was based on the law where when a man died his brother was to marry his widow and their first child would be considered the child of the deceased brother in order to continue his name. In this story each of seven brothers takes the wife but then dies before any children are born. Their question: “In the resurrection whose wife will the woman be?”

In answering this question Jesus gave us some information about what life in the resurrection will be like. The first thing we learn is that although we marry in this life, in the resurrection we will be like angels in that marriage will not exist (the beauty of this answer is that the Sadducees did not believe in angels, either!). For most of us, we experience the closest intimacy with those to whom we are married. It is hard to conceive of that relationship no longer existing after this life. Yet if Christians are the bride of Christ (see Ephesians 5:22-33) then we could have no other spouse.

Although it may be difficult to imagine, life in the resurrection will surpass anything we experience here. We will then be sons of God, a relationship that will be greater than anything we have experienced in this life. I don’t know about you, but my relationship with my wife is one of the best things about my life. But we have something even greater to look forward to!

The life we will have in the resurrection is eternal life because we will no longer be able to die – death will be a thing of the past. Jesus has already conquered death – in the resurrection, death will be defeated once and for all!

If you think about it, the reason we have death in this life is because of sin. When God made the first couple he told them not to eat of the forbidden tree. When they ate of it they brought death into the world. If there is no death in the resurrection this also tells us there is no sin, either.

No wonder when Paul wrote of the resurrection he concluded this way: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).

What a wonderful life we have to look forward to – a life where we are sons of God, where there is no death and there is no sin.

Readings for next week:
15 August – Luke 21
16 August – Luke 22:1-38
17 August – Luke 22:39-71
18 August – Luke 23:1-25
19 August – Luke 23:26-56

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Jon Galloway

After graduating from Freed-Hardeman College and teaching school for three years, as well as preaching for small congregations in West Tennessee, Jon & Arlene moved back to her home of Glasgow, Scotland. Since 1985 Jon has been involved in evangelistic work in the Glasgow area, currently serving the congregation in East Kilbride. They have three grown children. Besides writing 'Bible Bytes', Jon is also one of the editors of the "Christian Worker," a news magazine for congregations in the UK, and is a teacher and governor for the British Bible School.

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