Our Future Hope
Patient Father, thank You for raising my spirits, for granting me patience, and for changing my attitudes. To You, Lord, be all the glory.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:35-58
Consider: "We will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thess. 4:17). Rejoice in your future hope!
The thrust of the Corinthians' objection to resurrection is found in the second of the questions in verse 35, given the prevailing worldview that denigrated physicality. Using an analogy from nature, Paul explains the idea of continuity with transformation that will take place at the resurrection. Everyone understands that a plant has a completely different physicality from that of the seed from which it sprang, but no one doubts the continuity between the two (37-38). No one doubts the different kinds of physicality demonstrated in the world of nature and the heavens, nor that each is perfectly suited to its environment (38-41). So it is, argues Paul, in the physicality of our human bodies, which are perfectly suited for this environment (with all their frailties) but will be useless in the perfect world to come (50).
We need a resurrected body perfectly suited to that world. Through the actions of God, our resurrected bodies will have continuity with our present bodies but they will also have been transformed for life in eternity, not limited by our present physical and spiritual frailties.
This does not imply, however, that all Christians will die before Jesus returns, but all Christians will be transformed in an instant at the return of Christ (51-52). It will happen "in a flash," and the "powerful taunt of death" (Gordon Fee) will be overcome (54-55) as the full and final victory over death, "the last enemy" (26), is complete. So their faith and Christian life are not futile (58); they can confidently continue following Christ. This chapter might point us to our future hope, but this hope is not removed from ethics, as it helps us to remain faithful in Christian service. Our work for Christ is not in vain.
"There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Rev. 21:4). What does this glorious hope mean to you?
Lord, I thank You that death for the Christian is "gain" (Phil. 1:21). I am fully alive in Christ, and one day I will live forever. Hallelujah!
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