A long-time and great friend of mine died last night. She had been fighting a valiant battle with a number of medical issues over the last year or so. Last night she won the battle. She was a solid, born again believer and the second she took here last breathe on earth she took her next one in the manifest presence of Jesus in heaven. We will miss her as she played a vital roll in our lives and we had many meaningful and even fun experiences together over the years. However, one day we will see her again when it is our time to leave this planet behind, leave time behind, and enter into eternity.
Paul states, “The message we preach is Christ, who has been raised from the dead. So how could any of you possibly say there is no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, all of our preaching has been for nothing and your faith is useless. Moreover, if the dead are not raised, that would mean that we are false witnesses who are misrepresenting God. And that would mean that we have preached a lie, stating that God raised him from the dead, if in reality he didn’t.
If the dead aren’t raised up, that would mean that Christ has not been raised up either. And if Christ is not alive, you are still lost in your sins and your faith is a fantasy. It would also mean that those believers in Christ who have passed away have simply perished. If the only benefit of our hope in Christ is limited to this life on earth, we deserve to be pitied more than all others!
But the truth is, Christ is risen from the dead, as the first-fruit of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died. For since death came through a man, Adam, it is fitting that the resurrection of the dead has also come through a man, Christ. Even as all who are in Adam die, so also all who are in Christ will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-22 The Passion Translation)
As born again Christians and believers in Christ and His resurrection, we don’t live without hope. We believe in the resurrection of the physically dead back to life. We believe that, just as Jesus was raised physically from the dead on the third day after His death … so those who are born again believers are also resurrected from the dead and spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord.
And, we believe that when we die we will be reunited with those who were true born again believers and who died before we did. That we will meet our loved ones again and spend eternity with them. So, Paul states that our hope is for more than just this life. It is anchored in Christ’s resurrection from the dead and thus guarantees us life after death if we are true believers in Him. If we are born again.
So, I live this life with tremendous hope for all that the Lord, the resurrected Christ Jesus, is doing in me right now and through me as His plan and purpose for my life are released and come to completion. AND, it is a big “and,” I live with hope knowing that when I die it is only the physical body that I inhabit that dies and I simply continue my life and existence in another world more real and certainly more beautiful than this one. It is this hope lived out now and the hope I have for a powerful future that allows me to live a full, satisfied life with meaning and purpose, direction and guidance, as I move forward towards the day when I too depart this life and enter into something far greater and more magnificent. There to meet with those who have gone before me – those who lived with faith and hope and died in the Lord.
I will see my friend once again and it will be like we just chatted a few minutes ago as time will have no meaning or purpose in eternity.
And, I am reminded: “Without hope in the future there is no power in the present.”