Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:58 –

The verse above is one that has come to mind many times this year. This exhortation and encouragement comes at the end of Paul’s magnificent defense of resurrection in general and specifically the reality of Jesus’ resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-58.

Paul begins this section by reminding us of the foundational elements of the Gospel:

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures,
that He was buried,
that He was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures,
and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
1 Corinthians 15:3–5 ESV

Some false teaching had entered this church which claimed that there was no such thing as resurrection—the raising of the physical body from death. Paul’s argument is simple: if there is no such thing as resurrection at all, then Jesus has not been raised from the dead and we are still dead in our sins:

“… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.” (1 Corinthians 15:17–19 HCSB)

What Paul says there is almost shocking: if Christ had not been raised from the dead, our faith would be worthless! So often, we focus on the Cross and Jesus’ death, and rightly so. But here, Paul reminds us that the Resurrection is the second pillar of our faith and hope. Jesus’ resurrection is the vindication of all that He taught and did. The Resurrection is the “last word” on the reality that Jesus defines.

Paul goes on to give a powerful defense of the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and all the implications of how that one event affects everything:

Because Jesus has been raised from the Dead,
Death has been defeated and will ultimately be abolished.

Because Jesus has been raised from the Dead,
All things have been and will be subjected to Him.

Because Jesus has been raised from the Dead,
We will be raised too, in glorious, new bodies.

Because Jesus has been raised from the Dead,
We will inherit The Kingdom.

Because Jesus has been raised from the Dead,
We will be victorious over all things.

Because of all these truths, Paul can come to his powerful conclusion and exhortation:

Because Jesus has been raised from the Dead,
We can be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain!

For all of us who have placed our faith and hope in Christ, His resurrection guarantees that our work “In Him” will not be in vain. All that we do “in His name” will bear fruit, it will make a difference, it will be forever significant.

To tell you the truth, I am not sure what all this means or implies. I do know this, it is a truth that encourages our hope and trust in Christ. It is a truth that reminds us that we have been called up and into something much larger than what we see and experience every day in this current fallen, rebellious World.

This year has been unprecedented for us all. Our culture and way of life has shifted in ways that many of us could not have imagined. In the midst of all the insanity that surrounds us, we must always be mindful that
Jesus Christ ultimately defines reality.

Because Jesus has been raised from the Dead,
Neither COVID, nor cultural trends, nor Politics
get to have the last word in defining reality.

We want to be faithful in following Christ in these difficult times. He calls us to express His glorious WAY of life to the praise of The Father. He calls us to express His TRUTH in love and grace to a culture that seeks to redefine all three. He calls us to His LIFE of humility and self-sacrifice through the power of the Spirit among people who may hate us as they hate Him. And in all this we remember:

Because Jesus has been raised from the Dead,
We can be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain!

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