Sometimes it seems difficult to serve Christ. That’s especially true in the parts of the world where Christians are persecuted. Why do we persevere through the trials?
We’re continuing to look at First Corinthians. Paul is teaching about the truth of the resurrection. He’s writing to some believers who think that the concept of resurrection is only a suggested teaching.
Paul rebukes them and explained that belief in our future resurrection is non-optional. Without the resurrection, there’s no salvation.
He now talks about how it relates to us.
Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
1 Corinthians 15:29
This probably refers to a local tradition they had in the early church. If someone was saved in prison and was martyred before they could be baptized, someone would be baptized for them. In this way, they could publically proclaim that this person was saved before they died.
But how does looking forward to the resurrection affect us?
And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every day — I mean that, brothers — just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
1 Corinthians 15:30-32
Paul walked a very difficult road in his service to Christ. It involved persecution again and again. It was his view of the resurrection that kept him going.
That’s why he asks the important question. Why go through this type of suffering if there’s no resurrection?
No resurrection means that there’s no eternal life. That would mean this life is the only thing we’d experience. If that was the case, there would be no reason to endure hardship for the Lord. Without eternal life to look forward to, our goal should be to go for everything the world has to offer.
The fact is that eternal life is real. We will rise again when Christ returns to the earth. This present world is not all that there is. We can give all for Jesus, knowing that our future glory is something to look forward to.
The apostle gives those who don’t believe in the resurrection a final rebuke.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God — I say this to your shame.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34
It all comes down to who you’re trying to impress. If you spend all of your free time with unbelievers and you want to please them, then your character will suffer. Their attitudes will start to affect you.
The ones that Paul was writing to actually got to the point where they felt that the Resurrection Day was unimportant. Their walk with the Lord suffered because they were living for the world. We can’t allow that to happen to us.
You need to take stock of your friendships. What effect are they having on you? Are you in fellowship with other believers, or do you mostly want friendship with the world?
Keep your focus on the eternal. That’s what will give you the foundation for perseverance in Christ.
Question: How important is the future resurrection to you?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi