Today’s Reading: Numbers 30-31; Psalm 57; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
So yesterday and today, we have been working through 1 Corinthians 15.
Paul lays out a pretty logical argument:
- Jesus is raised from the dead
- If you claim there is no resurrection, then Jesus wasn’t raised and you are dead in your sins still
- but you practice baptizing for the dead (a pagan practice) thus proving your beliefs are in conflict concerning the resurrection
- this resurrection isn’t just to get revivified like a zombie, it’s to receive an imperishable body
- therefore, if we have this confidence, first that Jesus rose from the dead and that He will raise us with Him, then we have no fear in facing death: Jesus has already conquered it.
Today, the whole concept of resurrection is lost.
We hear about the eastern belief of reincarnation, that human beings’ spirits will be re-in-fleshed based upon your adherence to specific laws.
We, in the west, have inherited a secular naturalism that says this life is all we have and then we cease to exist.
Some of us in the States, possibly more so in the South, have inherited an incomplete vision of life after death. We have heard about going to “heaven” our whole lives because we grew up around the church but never heard anything about resurrection except that Jesus did that.
Resurrection is totally different than each of those alternatives.
First, resurrection is the reality that though we will die (all human beings) we will all receive (again, all human beings) a resurrected body, an imperishable, and eternal physical body.
That is totally mind blowing. For many in the church, there is this idea that somehow we only go to heaven to be with Jesus in some disembodied state. That’s where the whole image of us going to be the angels in the clouds comes from.
We know that we will spiritually be with the Lord when we die. Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him that day in paradise.
But here’s the deal. Heaven is just a holding place. Don’t believe me? Reread 1 Corinthians 15 again and then go read Revelation 20-22. The bible clearly teaches that there will be a renewed, remade heaven and earth and all human beings will receive their resurrection bodies.
Here is where it gets scary though. If we are receiving imperishable bodies, what that means is that we all will live for eternity. This life is not it. That means that the choices we make today have eternal significance.
But you might ask, how can we be sure of this?
Well, think about it this way. I don’t think I have ever met someone who had a loved one pass away who thought they just ceased to exist. They always say something to the effect that they are in a better place. That is the hope for sure!
Even people who don’t believe in a resurrection assume there is a life after death when they are faced with death. Obviously this isn’t all people. But I have been around enough people who have lost loved ones to observe this. Maybe it’s because I’m a pastor so I’m interacting with people who have a more deistic worldview.
For those who place their faith in Christ, we can have the full confidence that when we receive our eternal, imperishable bodies, and we come before the judgment seat of God, Jesus will vouch for us because we will be united to Him. When the Father sees us, He sees the righteousness of His Son upon us. But the reverse is true as well for those who don’t place their faith in Jesus. His blood will be on them and they will receive their sentence, eternal punishment.
That’s a hard pill to swallow.
For the Christian, the resurrection of Jesus guarantees all of our resurrection and us sharing in Jesus’ victory with Him for eternity in a remade and renewed earth and heaven. Sin will be no more, the brokenness that once crippled us will be terminated, the pain and suffering we had will receive the totally healing balm of Jesus’ blood, and the sin that once stained us will be washed away. We will be united to God in Jesus by the Spirit for eternity, fulfilling our renewed mandate to image God throughout His creation and to glorify Him in all that we do!
Jesus has conquered death, Jesus has conquered sin, therefore we don’t have to mourn when fellow believers go to see Him because we know exactly where they are and who they are seeing face to face.
This reality also should move us to evangelize to the lost no matter how we feel. It’s not that we ignore our feelings or anxieties that it might be awkward or we might get put down. The reality is that if we all will receive eternal bodies, that means we will have an embodied eternity where joy will be experienced or where punishment will be experienced. We need to evangelize those who don’t know Jesus and haven’t placed their faith in Him because we want them to not only experience the life that is only found in Jesus, but we also want to be with them for eternity and we want to answer God on judgment day that we did all we could to share the gospel with those around us.
Christians, we will be judged for our sin. We will see our Father face to face and He will list out our transgressions, including our omissions, such as not evangelizing when we had a lifetime of opportunities. Yes, Jesus covers it and He takes all our guilt and shame away. But that should not lead us to passivity. That should drive us to share the gospel all the more because of the unmerited grace that we have already and are and will receive when we see Jesus face to face!
May we be a people who share the gospel without fear and with full confidence in Jesus’ victory in the cross and His resurrection. He has defeated sin and death and invited us to share this with others as He works in them.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 32-35; Psalm 58; 1 Corinthians 16