Today in God’s Word
2 Samuel 4-5; 1 Corinthians 15; Ezekiel 13; Psalm 52-54
Today Paul presses in on the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Christ and our similar hope. In 1 Corinthians 15 he argues that the resurrection is so primary that without it, all is lost. At the beginning of the chapter he makes the strong point that we believe in vain if we do not hold onto our faith until the end. This is the destruction of “once saved always saved” in the worst sense of its use. Paul effectively argues, once believing always believing. Once trusting, always trusting. This is the perseverance of the saints. May our doctrine of perseverance rely on the transforming grace of God! So what does the bodily resurrection of Christ have to do with this?
Paul starts with the end in mind and he suggests that if the end fails then the road there is worthless. If in the end death reigns, then there was no life in the first place. If in the end, Christ did not conquer sin and death but is dead himself, then we are also dead in our sin and not empowered to walk in newness of life and we are without hope. He drops the so-called “good principles” of the Christian life and the law of God in the dirt if Christ is not raised. We are not better off even if our faith is in a dead man… we are actually pitiful fools who are wasting our short and meaningless lives.
Paul supposes that the Christian life here is one of sacrifice and risk and struggle and kingdom purpose. This life is a waste if Christ is dead. But for us who trust in a risen Christ, are we living this life? Or do we live as if Christ is dead? Do we live for the moment and fulfill our own earthly desires in this life and do we put our bodily needs and comforts and security over the cause of Christ? Would our lifestyle and our choices and our goals make sense in a world where Christ is not risen? If so, we need to rethink our lives. With Paul, if I examine my life, would it be pitiful and a total loss if Christ was not raised? Are we deceived and do we need to be “woken from our drunken stupor”? Shame on us if we are not living risky and meaningful lives for the fame of Christ’s name.
New life requires death. Paul makes the case that new life does not come until a death is experienced. The seed must die to sprout. We must die with Christ if we are to live with him. Have I died to the world and to sin and to self? In Christ’s death and life he has conquered sin and death and by our union with him in this death and life, we have victory. Our victory is over the controlling power of our sin nature. Our victory is over the condemning guilt of our sin. Our victory is in Christ alone, who has conquered. So then, may we not see our lives as empty and meaningless and worthy of nothing but selfish pleasure seeking…no.
May we not say “let us eat and drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”…but may we say “let us press on and pour ourselves out and rejoice in God for tomorrow we will be raised in glory!”
But what if I once trusted God and yet I have since been reduced to living for today and I am not walking in victory over sin, but am willingly walking in it? What if I am not steadfast and immovable and abounding in the work of the Lord? Well, may we not prove ourselves to have believed in vain but let us recognize the victory we have in Christ and let us hold fast to our hope in Christ. Let us step forward in faith and repentance and let us live the life he has called us to. Let us take up our cross each day and recognize that we are dead men walking…walking with one purpose, one cause, one hope, one king, and one joy.
May we not undo our supposed faith by a life that is not devoted to our risen king. May we we live unto God recognizing that Christ is risen!
Soli Deo Gloria!