January 4, 2017

Already Alive Forever

Early in Israel’s history Job asked this question: “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14) Didn’t he know that Israel has the best track record for resurrections? Both the Old Testament and the New describe incidents of people being raised from the dead.

However, as great as those were, the most significant is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No life has had a greater impact on history than His. Not only that, because He rose from the grave, I know that I will also.

In the early church, some were unsure so Paul wrote to them these words . . .

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18)

Paul stressed the importance of this event by saying, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19). In other words, Christians know that any hope in this world and the things of this world is short-lived. We hope in Jesus Christ and if the resurrection is a false promise, then we have missed out on ‘the good life’ by wasting our time and energy to serve God.

The Bible is filled with the promises of God concerning life after death. This one says that in the mind of God, it has already happened: “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus . . . .” (Ephesians 2:5–6)

Also, Jesus said it would happen . . .

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live . . . . Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:25, 28–29) (Note: in the mind of God, ‘good’ refers to deeds done in faith and ‘evil’ to anything done without faith.)

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:37–40)
“Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26)

The Bible has more to say about life after death, but for now — back to Job. He asked the question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” but he already knew the answer. In Job 19:25–26, he said, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.”

Jesus, You rose from the dead. In You and by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in me, I already have eternal life. Death is just a doorway from enjoying it here on earth and stepping into eternity where I can see You face to face. This truth is the power of God, the wonder of the Gospel. I’m not only excited to know it, but eager to share it with others.

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