Your work, done in faith and in the hope of the resurrection, is meaningful, important, and significant to God. Think of it this way—“your work of faith and labor of love” (1 Thess. 1:3) is full-time in all vocations and callings. You are a worker for the risen Christ, in whose imperishable and immortal image you will be raised. Whether at work, sitting at a desk, or changing diapers at home, hope in the resurrection empowers you to persevere and thrive in whatever work God gives you.
On a day-to-day basis, do you consider your life significant, important, or worthwhile? I mean apart from landmark events like marriage, the birth of children, baptism, and other special moments or seasons of life. Do you find yourself at times just going through the motions, thinking that as soon as this week, month, or season is over you’ll accomplish all the things you’ve been meaning to do? Maybe you’re struggling with living by faith and you’re caught in a loop of temptation and sin. If you resonate with any of those descriptions, I have one more question: How does the second coming of Jesus and the future resurrection affect your daily life?
Of course, in times of crisis, tragedy, and loss, we look forward in hope to the day of Jesus’s return and the resurrection. In that hope we endure hardships of various kinds. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about Jesus’s return and the resurrection so that they “may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13), and he expected his teaching to be a source of encouragement (4:18). We do not, however, always live in times of grief.
In the New Testament, the future that began in the resurrection of Jesus is meant to shape and influence daily life. For instance, Jesus frequently exhorts his disciples to live in expectation and anticipation, always ready for his return (e.g., Matt. 25:13; Mark 13:35; Luke 12:37). Peter expects belief in Jesus’s return and the apocalyptic destruction of the present order to flow into obedience. In view of what God promises to do, “what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness?” (2 Pet. 3:11). This future perspective on life in the present is nowhere more evident than in 1 Corinthians 15.
The Eschatological “So-What?”
First Corinthians 15 begins with Paul’s summary of the gospel. Paul proclaims Christ’s death for sins and his resurrection. His resurrection was witnessed by the Apostles, another 500 people, and finally by Paul himself (1 Cor. 15:3–8). On that foundation, he refutes false teaching about the resurrection.
Simply put, if there is no future resurrection, then Christ is not raised—there is no gospel. Without the resurrection there is no forgiveness of sin, and there is no hope for the dead (1 Cor. 15:16–18). Yet, Christ is raised, and he guarantees the resurrection of the dead. As all died in Adam, all (believers) will live in Christ (1 Cor. 15:20–23). Without the resurrection Paul’s suffering in ministry is inexplicable (1 Cor. 15:30–32).