1 Corinthians 15:50-58

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Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have hope. we rejoice in the hope of the Gospel, the hope of eternal life. This is the great theme which comes through, again and again, in the great "resurrection" chapter, 1 Corinthians 15. Here, in the final verses of this wonderful chapter, we have an even more compellingly powerful declaration of hope.

Here, the Apostle Paul describes the Christian Hope in particularly striking language - "the dead will be raised imperishable ... this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality ... Death is swallowed up in victory ... Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:52-54; 1 Corinthians 15:57).

In our day, there are many who would dismiss the Christian Hope. Such people have no place in their outlook for the living God, the God who raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead. For all their unbelief, they cannot change the fact of Christ's resurrection. The angelic message still rings down through the centuries of time: "He has risen" (Matthew 28:6). The unbeliever comes looking for a dead Christ. The Gospel answer is still the same: "you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen" (Matthew 28:5-6). To those whose hearts are filled with unbelief, the Gospel still says, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:5).

Whatever evil men may say and do, the victory belongs to the Lord. The world tells us that death is the end. The Word of God says, "Death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:54). For the unbeliever, death is the last word. the believer, on the other hand, can say, with confidence, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55).

The victory of Christ brings to us great joy. Jesus does not keep this victory to Himself. He gives His victory to us: "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57). How does this victory become real in our lives? We receive the victory "through our Lord Jesus Christ." How does this victory become our ongoing experience? We live in victory as we learn to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we rejoice in the victory of Christ, let us respond to His victory by letting His victory become a living reality in our lives: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Living in the victory of Christ is the way of bringing glory to God. We look back to Christ's resurrection, and we say: "To God be the glory! Great things He has done!"

We look forward to the Day when we will be able to look back and give glory for all the great things He has done. The Word of God tells us that, on that Day, there will be "a new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation 21:1). On that wonderful Day, there will be no more crying and no more dying, no more suffering and no more mourning (Revelation 21:4).

The Day of Christ's Return in power and glory will be a great Day, a Day of rejoicing for all who are trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of all their sins. For those who have refused Jesus Christ and His offer of salvation, there will be judgment. In the Bible's final chapter, we read of the blessedness of those whose sins have been washed away by the precious blood of Christ (Revelation 22:14). we also read of those who do not enter the Heavenly City, those who, because of their continuing in sin, are excluded from the glories of Heaven (Revelation 22:15). We "rejoice in glorious hope", but we must never forget that, for some, Jesus will come as "the Judge." The Gospel comes to all men and women as a message of love, a gracious invitation. All are invited to come to the Saviour, and receive full salvation through faith in Him. we dare not, however, forget that the Gospel also contains a warning to those who persist in their sin, those who say "No" to the offer of God's salvation.

We rejoice in Christ's triumphant resurrection from the dead. We give thanks to God for His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We rejoice in the fact that "His blood can make the foulest clean." This is the marvellous fact of the Gospel: "He died that we might be forgiven ... that we might go, at last, to heaven, saved by His precious blood."

If the ancient story of Christ's death for sinners is to become your personal story, you must come to the Lord Jesus. Trusting Him as your Saviour, you will be able to say, with real conviction, "His blood availed for me."

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