To whom? For What?On my way to a meeting this morning, Glen Beck on the Patriot Channel on Sirius XM Radio announced that Turkey had just shot down a Russian war plane and that World War III had begun. NATO would be holding an emergency meeting in two hours in Brussels, a city still on extended lock-down because of terrorist threats. The US Department of Homeland Security had just issued a warning to all travelers to be on the alert this extended holiday weekend. And JC Penny announced that, for them, Black Thursday would begin at 3 P.M. And the verse of the day on my Bible app reads: "but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57
As I reflected on this verse, I remembered that it was written as the conclusion of Paul's defense of the resurrection. He had made the point that if there were no resurrection then Christ could not have been raised from the dead. If that were true, then we (Christians) would be the most miserable of all people, still dead in our sins and trespasses. Many Christians walk around in the shadow of the cross, overlooking the significance of the empty tomb. If Jesus had only died, claiming that His death was for the remission of our sins, but had not risen from the dead, at the end of day He would have been nothing more than a dead liar.
Paul even makes the outrageous claim that if Christ had not risen from the dead, it would be better to embrace the Epicurean philosophy ("Eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die.") than to embrace Christianity. But Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead. Paul had already presented incontrovertible proof of that fact, leading to the next fact: we too shall be raised from the dead. That is both good news and bad news.
Some of us remember the old Schlitz (?) Beer commercial: "You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can!" It was a modern take on Epicureanism, and at it's core was the lie that when you die, that's it. Eternal nothingness! But the truth is, all will be raised from the dead, some unto everlasting joy and some unto everlasting torment. It all depends on what we do with this Jesus. Do we believer in His atoning death; justifying resurrection? Do we confess (accompanied by obedience) His Lordship and do we believe He is coming again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
If the answer is "Yes!" then there is a glorious eternity awaiting us. Current events are not so alarming, because as we pray, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!" we understand that things on planet Earth must wax worse and worse until He does. We understand that things like wars, famines, and earthquakes will increase in both intensity and frequency. Apostasy will increase within the visible church while the true church will be purified in the fires of affliction. There is the side of our prayer that we verbalize and the side we internalize. One cannot happen without the other.
It is with that truth in mind that we can "speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," Ephesians 5:19-20 And... "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18