Monday, February 16, 2015

hope despite hopelessness

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58

I have always tended to view this verse in isolation, probably due to the fact that I treated it like an AWANA memory verse... just another topical verse to memorize on my way to another pin on the uniform of the compliant Christian child. But in context, the impact of this exhortation is jolting me this morning like a cardiac shock paddle. This is Paul's encouragement based on his defense of the doctrine of the resurrection. It is based upon the firm conviction that Jesus was raised from the dead, and that Jesus will raise from death all who have believed and trusted in the gospel.

The reason I know that I am loved is because God loved me through His Son and by Jesus' death and resurrection that love has secured me from my worst of life's worries... sin and death. Really, any anxiety I may have is linked to one of those two issues. The world is a bad place many times, corrupted by sin, magnified by human population, and personally experienced every morning by reading my news feed. Death is the destiny of us all. But in Christ, resurrection hope turns the Christian away from death's despair. And that is why I am steadfast and unmovable. Death is conquered. There is nothing else to fear. Christ has taken away the sting of death by His resurrection from the dead, just as sin no longer rules over us by His work on the cross.

And in that firm belief, I can let my life serve that wonderful truth in any way God wills it. I can know that my Redeemer lives, and work at making Him known. And by serving others, no fear of death... no domination by sin... no worries about my impact will mark me. My life matters because Jesus gave Himself for me. And my work in making that truth known is not a waste. Yes, death still exists until such a day as God remakes the universe anew. But death has no hold on Jesus or on me. And that is how I can face a world often falling into ruin because death reigns over those who do not know the gospel. It has no power whatsoever over Jesus. And it has no control over me.

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