“I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:50, NIV84)
This verse is embedded in what is commonly called the resurrection chapter. In this chapter, Paul puts together his strongest argument that the Christian faith is not for this life only but for eternal life. You see, we are eternal beings. No matter what the world says, death is not a natural part of the life process. God did not intend for man to die. Sin brought about the result of death, and now we live with its devastating consequences. In these verses, Paul is trying to tell us that one of the most significant differences between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God is that those who are members of the kingdom of God will not taste death but will live in heaven forever. He assures us that on the last day, there will be a resurrection of our glorified bodies that will join our souls (that are in heaven), and we will then live bodily in heaven for the rest of eternity.
A pastor gets the opportunity to preach many messages in many different settings. He can preach on a Sunday morning in church. He gets the opportunity to preach at weddings. But there is no place he preaches where the message is more certain than at the funeral of a believer in Jesus Christ. Even though we are all looking at a lifeless body in a casket, the message of the kingdom of God is that the person is NOT dead. We can boldly proclaim with certainty that everyone who dies in Christ is immediately with Christ in heaven (the thief on the cross). With the same certainty we can proclaim a day is coming where we will be reunited with that loved one in heaven.
This is good news that the kingdom of this world cannot touch. This worldly kingdom offers no hope at the most critical moments of life. But the kingdom of God does! And when the kingdom of God offers hope, it is not just a wish, it is a certainty.