Advent: December 13

1 Co 15:19-26

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

We celebrate Christ’s victory over death. The resurrection is the visible demonstration and confirmation to us of all that Jesus promised in his life on earth. It all happened as part of God’s plan, formulated before time began. The moment the words “It is finished” trickled from the mouth of our dying Lord is the pivotal point of the cosmos. This was the moment it was formed for.

We can easily see Jesus only through our human perspectives, and put aside the considerations of his eternal nature, The eternal Word, the man, The eternally enthroned Lamb. Pitiable are we indeed if we do not extend our vision beyond our earthbound human limitations.

Christ’s resurrection is the template for us. Resurrection to new life in Christ is ours for the believing and trusting. Jesus has taken away the deadly punishment of the Law, for he consumed it and its penalties in his death. He has closed the door to the pathway to death and oblivion that was the pattern in Adam.

Paul now outlines the timetable for what is to come. Here we can get into some contentious areas, but if we avoid or ignore what the Bible is saying and do not grapple with its message then we may be living in a narrow understanding:

1.      Christ rises. That’s happened

2.      His return in power. He will raise his own, those who died in him

3.      Destruction of all evil forces

4.      The end. Death is defeated and the kingdom is handed over to Father God.

Eternity or oblivion are the only outcomes once death is defeated.

Do we go straight to heaven when we die, or do we fall asleep, or “rest in peace”?

What treasure are you laying up for heaven?

Father God, you have known me from before you placed me in my mother’s womb. I am part of your plan of creation and salvation. You desire not that I should perish but that I will see you in eternity.

Lift up your heart!