1 Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
This one verse pretty well wipes out the Prosperity Gospel nonsense. It’s not that we don’t have blessings in Christ in this world, but such blessing are not the purpose nor the goal of salvation. Those whose focus is on the material really are pathetic! Jesus made it very clear that those who follow Him would face opposition and even persecution. In fact, there were more Christian martyrs in the 20th Century than in all the previous centuries combined, and the pace has even picked up in the 21st Century. When that’s the case, why go to the trouble of trying to follow Christ if this life is all there is? The thing is, this life is if anything even less than “the tip of the iceberg,” as the saying goes. Eternal life begins from the moment we repent and believe, surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and it only grows from there. Those who approach it as a religious system get way off track. As the hymn says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” When we are in Him by faith, then we get all that He has, including resurrection, which is the subject of this passage. Again, if resurrection were only a matter of our physical bodies, with no change from how they are now, what would be the point? I frankly wouldn’t want to live forever in this body! Jesus’ resurrection body obviously had various special abilities, such as walking into a locked room, but it could still eat and speak. There is far more we don’t know about our resurrection bodies than we do know, but the point is, our current life and situation are by no means the end. We have eternity to look forward to, and science fiction doesn’t begin to touch it!
This is something I think about only occasionally. My wife had a near-death experience back in 1975, and from her report it’s certainly something to look forward to. How that meshes precisely with resurrection is something I’ll have to experience to find out! My major principle in thinking about it all is that God’s got an absolutely wonderful plan, and He is totally worthy of complete trust. Recently I have been reminded repeatedly of a powerful statement by Paul: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) I have only the vaguest idea of what that eternal glory will be like, because my brain doesn’t have the “horsepower” to comprehend it. However, I am totally convinced that it will be more than worth anything and everything I might have to go through in this life.
Father, thank You for the privilege of going through this life in fellowship with You by Your Spirit, and for the assurance that this is just a “foretaste of glory divine,” as the hymn says. There are many, many things I don’t know or understand, and this life certainly has its frustrations. Help me not let any of that drag me down, but let me walk in the peace and assurance of Your presence at all times, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!