Power To Live
God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
1 Corinthians 6:14
The Corinthian believers were very young in their faith, and they were, to say the least, earthly. Paul spoke to them on their level, and in his first letter, he addressed two issues that concerned him very much: food and sex. (1 Corinthians 6:12-13) Spiritual growth sometimes has to pass through physical territory, and for the Corinthians, Paul had to start with the basics.
The Corinthians believed that since we have natural, normal urges for food and sex, those urges must have come from God. (Great reasoning, don’t you think?) Paul told them, “No, no. You’ve got it wrong. Everything we have and everything we are, including our bodies, is for the Lord.” Natural appetites for food and sex aren’t meant to enslave our bodies. Instead, our bodies are to be dedicated to God, to be used to honor Him in everything we do.
To make his point even more pronounced, Paul explained that the physical body is so important that Christ’s body was raised from the dead, and one day our bodies will be resurrected too. The power of God works in and through our bodies today to enable us to accomplish His purposes. Yes, we have natural urges, and yes, our bodies aren’t perfect in this life, but they are vital instruments we can use to honor God and help others. Bodies that will one day be resurrected and glorified should be considered sacred, not used for immoral behavior. They’re too valuable for that.
If Christ was not raised, His death was in vain. Your faith in Him would be pointless and your sins would still be counted against you with no hope of a spiritual life,
Every life begins with God for it is He who is the giver of life. We err if we only think that flesh and bone and vital organs are life for the absence of our spirits leaves the physical, visibly seen and touched body lifeless. Our bodies can be complete and whole, our organs healthy and functioning but once our spirits leave, they cease all things pertaining life. The life that God has given extends beyond this world and these physical bodies in which we now dwell. Our spirits are eternal, breathed into us by God even before we are born. Jeremiah was told by God that even before he was born, God knew him and had planned purpose for his life. And the same is true for us.
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument],And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own];I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
God ,who gives us life, wants us to live and enjoy this life we have on earth. But more importantly, He has promised us eternal life, a life that death cannot steal from us.
Yes, in our present bodies, we suffer, we can become ill , pain can be our constant companion and each of us progress toward the grave from birth. And if this were all there is we would truly have little reason to live. Our hope goes far beyond this world and this life and it is a hope that not even death can destroy.
Two of Jesus’ friends were standing beside the grave of their brother. Some days before they had sent word to Jesus that their brother was sick and they fully expected Jesus to come and heal him. After all, He was their friend. But He didn’t show up on time and now their brother had been dead four days. While they believed that someday in the distant future there would be a resurrection, all they felt in this moment was hopeless sorrow. And then Jesus speaks.
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise [from the dead].” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise [from the dead] in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die. Do you believe this?”
In this story, we read that on that day, Lazarus is raised from the dead. That may not be our case. We may be the ones who bury our loved ones and walk away from the grave leaving their earthly bodies there. But just as surely as Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, and was Himself raised from the dead, we, too, shall be resurrected to a new life- eternal life.
Paul encourages the Corinthians to look beyond the present and believe in a future beyond the grave.
“ Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain [useless, amounting to nothing], and your faith is also vain [imaginary, unfounded, devoid of value and benefit—not based on truth]. We are even discovered to be false witnesses [misrepresenting] God, because we testified concerning Him that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, either; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and powerless [mere delusion]; you are still in your sins [and under the control and penalty of sin]. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied. But now [as things really are] Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, [and He became] the first fruits [that is, the first to be resurrected with an incorruptible, immortal body, foreshadowing the resurrection] of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since [it was] by a man that death came [into the world], it is also by a Man that the resurrection of the dead has come. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s [own will be resurrected with incorruptible, immortal bodies] at His coming. After that comes the end (completion), when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after He has made inoperative and abolished every ruler and every authority and power. For Christ must reign [as King] until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be abolished and put to an end is death.”
1 Corinthians 15: 12-26
All this is too wonderful for us to grasp and for most of us it is also too far in the future distance to really make a significant impact on our living. Most of us are just trying to get through the week with all of its challenges, but the power for living that Christ offers is not just for the world to come but for daily living now in this world.
Much of the promises of God are for now and not in that promised future. When we find ourselves in heaven, we won’t need anything for everything imaginable and perfect will be ours. We won’t have to learn how to live, we will just live!
But we need to learn how to live-not exist- but to live now in this life and in this world even in our flawed and imperfect beings. That’s what Jesus promises. Hear His words:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and (renewal, blessed quiet) . For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].
And Paul chimes in and reminds us that Breath of God- the Holy Spirit gives us life here and now and will give us the power to live after resurrection.
“However, you are not [living] in the flesh [controlled by the sinful nature] but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God lives in you [directing and guiding you]. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [and is not a child of God]. If Christ lives in you, though your [natural] body is dead because of sin, your spirit is alive because of righteousness [which He provides]. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.”
So take a breath, face the day and choose to live, really live. That’s the gift that God has given us.
Dr. John Thompson