The Hope Part VIII

A Hopeful Life.

THE hope for believers is the return of Christ, which includes the gathering together, the new heaven and earth, rewards, new bodies, everlasting life, and many other blessings.

Until a believer's natural life ends or until the return of Christ (which ever happens first), the believer is to live a hopeful life day by day.  While the hope of Christ's return should live large in our hearts, we should live each day expecting blessings, expecting God to do marvelous things -- whether small or large.

This type of lifestyle, if you will, is part of a daily, personal walk with our Heavenly Father.  And daily hope is part of that walk.

We will look at I Corinthians 15.  There were some among the believers in Corinth that started saying "there is no resurrection from the dead".  This seems almost unbelievable to think of, since the requirement for becoming a believer in the first place is to confess Jesus as Lord and "believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead".  Some in Corinth said that when believers die they would not get back up at the return of Christ.

What's the point of that type of "salvation"?  If I do not get to get back up to enjoy eternal life and all that goes with it, why do I bother with God and the Bible in the first place?

I Corinthians 15:12-19

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ:  whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

The logic here is clear:

If those believers in Corinth had believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, why would some of them then say there is no resurrection of (or raising from) the dead?  If there is no raising from the dead, Jesus Christ could not have gotten up, and if that was true then Romans 10:9, 10 couldn't be true and there is no salvation or new birth, and those believers who thought they were saved and have since passed away are still in their sins and will not get back up for the gathering together.  How wrong and how depressing!!

The apostle Paul put his life on the line many times to preach the Word. Why would he do this if there was no getting up from the dead?

I Corinthians 15:8-10, 32

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

But by the grace of God I am what I am:  and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all:  yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

Clearly the truths regarding the hope enabled Paul to keep going, to travel and preach, to care for the believers, to withstand physical persecution, and to live his life as a son of God with all power.

While you and I may not have the same challenges as Paul did, we do have them.  We can live a HOPEFUL lifestyle because we first know and believe THE hope, and secondly we learn how to live each day expecting God's blessings and knowing that each day is as bright as the promises of God.

I Corinthians 15:1, 2

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved [Greek sozo, to be made whole] if ye keep in memory [to hold fast] what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

We are made whole, our minds and believing are benefited, our lives are more fruitful, if we live in hope.  We are to hold fast the truths of the Word of God in our minds.

I Corinthians 15:51-53, 58

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Yes, we will be raised up at the gathering together; if we are alive at that time we will put on immortality; if we are dead then we will put on incorruption.  However, until that day we are to be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, come trial or tribulation.  We can do this if we keep our "eyes on the prize" of the hope, knowing that each day is a hopeful day and we should expect our Heavenly Father's blessings, and knowing that our labor is not in vain.  God will reward us at the bema, the location where rewards are given.

Part VII