The Goal of the Christian Faith
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him 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 futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
--(1 Corinthians 15:12-19 NIV84)
Dear Family and Friends of Our Savior:
What do Christians have that others do not? What does the Christian faith give you that man-made religions cannot? You say you have faith? Faith in what? The real question is, do you have certainty of "Life after Death"?
O.K. I'm asking a lot of questions. But sometimes, aren't the answers swept aside in the flurry and activity of church work, life's chores, and day-to-day challenges? I think so. At least it is for me.
What I mean is this: Our whole religion, our faith, the mission of our church, and our goal of life is — Life after Death. Eternal life is what it is all about. Heaven is more than just a fleeting wish. It is a sure and certain destination for those who trust in Christ alone — Life after Death.
We are reminded on Resurrection Day that Jesus rose from the dead. We are also reminded that because He lives, we also will live. We are assured that Jesus rose victorious over sin and death for us.
That is it. Short and sweet. Isn't that the way it should be? Life after Death — it is yours through the perfect life, innocent suffering and death, and physical resurrection of your Savior Jesus Christ.
Need I say more? No. This is your faith. This is your hope. This is your certainty. This is your future. Jesus guaranteed it. This is our Easter message. This is our Sunday message. This is our daily message. This is our life — Life after Death.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
--(1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NIV84)
O.K., now you know the answers to the questions: "What do you have that others do not?" "What does your Christian faith give you that man-made religions cannot?" The answer, "Certainty of Life after Death."
Yes, "certainty" based on the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead, revealed to us in the unchangeable Word of God.
So another question or two: "As a church, what do we have to offer others?" "Why do we gather here?" How about this for an answer: "Victory." Yes, short and sweet. We have a victory to announce and to celebrate and to hold out to others.
Victory is the opposite of defeat. Defeat is death. In the reading above, we are called "perishable," that is, these bodies fail, fall apart, and stop working. That is death.
But Jesus gave us victory, not defeat. Death for us is not the end of it all, but the beginning of eternity with a body that is "imperishable," that is, one that lasts forever. And our souls live on in "immortality," that is, consciousness and life and being, forever.
Short and sweet, isn't it? Yes. That is the victory that Jesus' physical resurrection gives us. Eternal life in heaven, characterized as immortality and as having an imperishable body — this is the victory that we hold out for others. It is the victory that gives us strength to live on in a dying world. It is the victory that motivates our work as a church. It is the victory for which we give thanks and praise always. It is a victory that is yours, through faith in your Savior, Jesus Christ.