1 Corinthians 15:17-19 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
Resurrection is absolutely essential to the Gospel. That’s why the devil has focused so much energy on denying it. At the same time, it is the one thing that seems most illogical to human intellect. If we are spirits, why do we need bodies anyway? However, God does everything for a reason, and His reasons are good. One of those reasons is faith itself. If we could figure everything out by human intellect, we wouldn’t need faith. However, God has ordained that we be saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Various things can make us believe, but Jesus said that those who have believed without seeing are blessed. (John 20:29) Jesus Himself rose from the dead as a demonstration of His victory over death, so that all who are in Him by faith may experience that same victory. That is exactly what Paul is talking about here. As came out in yesterday’s reading as well, a lack of faith in resurrection leaves us powerless and essentially hopeless. In situations of persecution, such as Paul was writing in, if there is no hope of resurrection, then believers are pathetic indeed. That is exactly the image the devil wants to portray of Christians, warning non-believers of the mess they’ll get into if they get caught in this Jesus business. However, as Paul told the Romans, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37) As the song says, we serve a risen Savior, and we too shall be like Him.
To be honest, physical resurrection has been something I have struggled with myself. I have full confidence that heaven is glorious, but in my own mind I don’t see the need for the physical. However, God created the physical universe by His will, and that is good by definition. The Bible only gives hints here and there of what life will be like after resurrection, so again, I’ve got to trust God. How we will perceive the time frame of resurrection is again an open question. Those who have been to heaven and come back testify universally that the passage of time there is not the same as in our present physical world. The Bible, in common with many cultures, speaks at times of death as sleep, and we all experience sometimes waking up unaware of how much time has passed. I am not to be anxious about any of that, but trust God with every detail. I have demonstrated time and time again that I’m good neither at planning nor at follow through, but God has no such difficulty. I am to rest in the hope of resurrection, rejoicing that God’s plans are better than I could ever imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Things are happening at a rate that makes me want either to escape or withdraw, and neither is what You have planned. Help me trust You with every detail, every outcome, and be faithful to do each task You have for me, resting, relaxing, and rejoicing in You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!