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Sheer Exuberance of
Rest in the Resurrection
1. Preparing to Look
Fuss! words and jibes, the political pundits and name-calling asininities of US politics, this week's Time seeks to portray. It would almost seem from its words, that the business of becoming US President by election is a combination of showmanship, superior qualities in being adept at hurting more in name calling while looking nobler in not doing so, facial expressions and attitudinal approaches to adversities. THAT is where the public opinion is pleased, where the votes come - where the election snowdrift starts to slide and by momentum, cover the necessary territory.
IF this were really the case, then the punch and judy show of presidential elections would provide people who might well be wholly immoral, and continue in office, wholly corrupt and continue at work, wholly embezzlers of hope, surrenderers of equipment to enemies, being play actors, not public people, and strutting mavericks rather than men who hold to God, know their own place and give to Him His own. In short, if this were so, Abraham Lincoln would be an anachronism so intense, as to seem to belong to some other world altogether.
Is it so ? Doubtless the oversimplifications which can come from this magazine may be what gives this impression, and equally there is the vast moral background which blares less and cares more. Nevertheless the fact that so much lends itself to such caricature or exaggeration augurs ill for the USA. It needs to be understood once and for all, that evolution is NOT a fact, that hi-tech does NOT alter morals, that goodness is NOT an option and RIGHTEOUSNESS is NOT irrelevant, that man is NOT changed, is NOT changing but that MORALS are being changed in the same way as in ancient Rome.
The difference ? mainly this, that they had to grapple with the immediate results of Christ's coming, while this Age has to grapple with what is GRAPPLING IT, the immediate preliminaries to His return. Wise is the man, the woman and the child who prepares (Matthew 24).
One thing the Bible makes clear is that God is not mocked. Treat Him as a joke, an anachronism while you (deviously) introduce new gods without label, and it is you, or it is your nation, which becomes the joke. God's ways no more change, indeed infinitely less, than the laws of physics AS CONSTRUED BY PHYSICISTS over time; for these gradually awake to two things - how much there is to know, and how sure is the basis for it. And they less gradually rebel, like most other human beings, to assert what they DO NOT know with what they DO KNOW in such an admixture that one would almost think we were back in the days of yore. We are, except in this, that they made their mistakes differently.
Another matter of extreme clarity in the Bible is that the nature of Nature is naturally given supernaturally. It does not write its code, invent its form or establish its existence by mere wishing, in the midst of what is not there. It is difficult to realise how long and how far it is necessary to wait and to go, before one finds the utterly obvious (cf. Romans 1:18ff.) to be even perceived by the spiritually blind; but it is so. The real reason why Nature does not invent itself from nothing, is that nothing has NOTHING with which to invent anything. And the strongest reason why what is there does not re-establish itself in some superior way, is that the way it is there, complete with adaptability program inputs of extreme sensitivity and craft, is what it has got. The way to put it there is more than nature, it is personality with creativity and this is not Nature.
WHEN GOD invented the universe, and put it there with its form and laws, and by the way, its existence, it was His toy, offspring, sponsorship. When CHRIST came to earth to adopt the form of a man, it was His novel in which He became a part, like the Agatha Christie novel in which the doctor telling the story is the criminal; with this difference, that in this case it is the Great and Unique Physician, whose course was to CREATE and not merely to learn about what He can heal (and did heal, and had to heal, as in Isaiah 35's prediction and Matthew 4:23's depiction, for example, as in that of Matthew 15:30-31, Luke 7:32, 6:17-19). When you MAKE a human being the process of healing is infinitely different from the case when you merely know about someone else's creation of it. Apart from the vast difference in power, wisdom and nature of being, when a person IS the CREATOR, there is this fact: the power to make is the power to re-make and the knowledge is that of your own book. Thus I can readily add to, refine or in other ways adapt my own writings with a freedom no one else could well imitate, since I know what I WAS ABOUT and HOW I did it ... and WHY! This is intimate and personal.
WHEN CHRIST was raised from the dead, the Bible is, again, eminently clear, it was no mere venture on a celestial joy ride, like a young man of family when of age, coming to the family estate and jumping fences on some prize horse. It was a pre-planned, purposeful, predicted, infinitely powerful performance with decisive implications and an instruction manual to interpret it. This last was written in Isaiah 52-53, 55 and 26:29, with Hosea 13:14 and Psalm 2, 16 and in the words of Christ throughout the Gospels, when almost as in a Greek chorus, He interprets what is to be (Matthew 20:28) and instructs on its data and even prepares for its purely human impact on the disciples when it drew near (cf. John 14:29-31, 16:19-26 with 15:21-25 and Matthew 16:21-27). Indeed, on one of the occasions when He was telling them, to prepare them, noting that He would die and rise from the dead, we read they that wondered at what He might mean! What WAS this 'rising from the dead' to be? (Mark 9:10). Indeed this happened mercifully just after that TRANSFIGURATION which in itself was so astonishingly supernatural, and such a revelation of His beauty and power, place and the divine intimacy of the Lord with His father (Matthew 17:5, in its parallel shows this aspect).
WHAT IT WOULD MEAN to RISE FROM THE DEAD! It would mean that His body would not rot, as Peter so clearly indicated from the relevant prediction in Psalm 16. It would mean that His words would be authenticated (Romans 1:4). It would mean as He predicted, that sorrow would be turned into joy, and that death would lose its clammy hold, stalling action in its terrors and banished would be the fear of the Accuser, which lay after all in the reality of just judgment, now shown to be covered for those whose are Christs (Hebrews 2:14-18), and in so doing, if He banished mortality with immortality, He also installed intimacy with friendship. NOTHING could now overcome Him who showed His power to overcome death. Gone the religions of myths and legends, meaning stories and values. HERE was TRUTH, the CREATOR, the word of the ONE who INSTITUTED all things, and had them under His final and ultimate control, whether predictions, or healing, or rebukes, or exposure of sharp practices, or love, or faithfulness, loyalty or friendship, courage or character. NOTHING could move Him who moved death, which as Peter so clearly declared after seeing not only the MAJESTY of the LORD (I Peter 1), but HIS RESURRECTED BODY (John 20).
HERE is REFRESHING. You who are HIS have NOTHING to fear, and NOTHING can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:33ff.). You are pardoned because "He ... did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" and likewise you find this follows: "How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things ?" (Romans 8:32). "Who," indeed, "shall lay anything to the charge of God's chosen persons?" (Romans 8:33). Shall God who sent His Son, shall Christ who died, yes who rather - and here is the point - IS RISEN! Thus Paul pursues his cross-questionings, answered in the Cross of Christ, and in HIS RESURRECTION. It is God who has UNDERTAKEN; He has PURPOSED; He has PROPOSED what He would and should do; but the best is this: HE HAS DONE IT!
us look at the clear and superbly simple utterances of the word of God
on this topic, and bathing in this sheer clear spring of truth, be refreshed.
2. What the Bible says about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
There is little that needs to be said to ESTABLISH THE FACT, to the scripturally grounded believer. However, since the devil is a specialist of great ability in confusion, and the Scripture predicts that in the period near the end of this Age, he will be active in his subtle manipulations, we will list some obvious points. People do not usually, in the Church, like to deny Scripture outright, so it will be well to note and remember these points, while the enemy sings his siren songs.
i) In Matthew 28:5-6, we read the following words, addressed to the women who were looking for the body of Jesus in order to put spices on it (cf. Mark 16:1):
"DO NOT BE AFRAID: FOR I KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR JESUS WHO HAS BEEN CRUCIFIED. HE IS NOT HERE, FOR HE HAS RISEN. Come see the place where He was lying."
This means only one thing: a crucified corpse sought by anointing women was not available for their purpose, owing to the fact that this same crucified and sought body was risen. Being risen, He was no longer in the place where in fact He had been; hence no longer available for the purpose of anointing. Hence they were to tell the others that He was risen from the dead.
When the reason assigned for some object (e.g. a corpse) not being in a place hitherto occupied and assigned, is that the said object has risen, there is no doubt as to the meaning of this one question:-
WHAT has risen ?
is quite necessarily the said object now unavailable because of its 'arising'
from the said place.
What the Scripture says is quite clear from this: Bodily resurrection.
ii) In LUKE 24:4-6 the same meaning is also necessary. The women are advised that it is quite out of place to seek for the living among the dead. 24:1 shows their intention : to anoint THE BODY.
The angel insists that they are astray BECAUSE what they seek is not there. As a demonstration of that fact, the women are advised that Jesus has risen. Jesus has been translated or transformed, but in any case is not physically available for their perfectly (otherwise) appropriate little service to His body: because, in a word, HE IS NOT THERE, owing to the supernaturally announced fact that HE IS RISEN.
iii) Luke really is crystal clear. In 24:39, he records that Jesus says: "SEE MY HANDS AND FEET, THAT IT IS I MYSELF; TOUCH ME AND SEE, FOR A SPIRIT DOES NOT HAVE FLESH AND BONES AS YOU SEE THAT 1 HAVE." Here, following the above angelic statement noted in ii), Jesus Himself expressly says:
He is NOT A SPIRIT.
That He possesses at that moment both flesh and bones.
That THIS FACT IS WHAT SHOWS that He is not a Spirit.
That they should not doubt and be startled - admittedly the thing was unusual;
and indeed He invited them to observe His eating, calmly consuming broiled
fish after taking the same from them,
just as earlier ( Matthew 28:9) the women had held Him by the feet.
All this demonstrates that He maintains physical form, physical contact and physical means of contact, as well, indeed, as physical means of ingestion of goodness, nurture, nutriment.
Thus the body which was not available because it had risen, is distinguished by the ' Master Himself from a spirit ( admittedly what would be its state if He had not physically risen - cf. Ecclesiastes 12:7), and is asserted by Him to have features not found except in bodies ( flesh and bones) as distinct from spirits.
Thus the body had not only risen, but was still around, available and operative as a body.
iv) In John 20, we notice the apostles investigating the tomb, and with respect to its noted emptiness, we read:-
"FOR AS YET THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURE, THAT HE MUST RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD" - verse 9.
Thus the emptiness of the tomb is, in order to be understood, dependent on the true fact that Jesus ROSE FROM THE DEAD. This is its stated rationale, its basis. Now how could the rising of Jesus be said to be the fact that explained the empty tomb, as here, unless what made the tomb empty (and that is the absence of the formerly present body of Jesus Christ) was the evacuation-by-resurrection of Jesus, moving His body out of the place. Thus the rising of Jesus explaining the empty tomb and making it empty MUST OF COURSE BE THE RISING OF THE BODY. A spirit does not empty a space. Thus in John 20:17, we read (N.A.S B.): "STOP CLINGING TO ME."
Hence also, Peter declares, of David as prophet (in Psalm 16), that it "he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, nor did His flesh see corruption" (or, as it may properly be translated 'rot').
Concerning the resurrection, declares Peter, David foretold of the Messiah, that His body did not rot. It was not concerning something else, where the question: WILL this person whose body is now dead, arise from death, and show the power of life in overcoming the death which his corpse so clearly indicates!
OWN body DID rot, says Peter (Acts 2), but it was of the Christ HE SPOKE
to this effect:
which ? That HIS, the Christ's body did not rot.
the resurrection of the Christ there are but two possibilities in this
domain of rotting.
The body did/did not rot. Of this case, Peter states emphatically, in this field, HIS BODY DID NOT ROT. It was not some other body. Not some body which, not having been killed, required no resurrection; or some other body which belonged to someone else and had been killed. It was the body of the Christ which did not rot, and this fact is declared, says Peter, by David concerning the resurrection of that same Christ.
Now if you are discussing whether I am resurrected or not, if I am put to death, and whether my body rots or not, is there then some doubt as to what is meant ? Am I perhaps to be conceived as having a couple of bodies (and hence as being no man on this earth of mortality) ? But no! ONCE to die and after death the judgment (Hebrews 9:27-28).
Will someone else being raised, constitute my resurrection! Primary school children would not be confused. Will some body or other left lying around somehow or other, somewhere or other, constitute the resurrection of MY body ? will it show that my body did not rot ? Of course not, my body would in the way of nature, assuredly rot if all that was 'my resurrection' was some other body, not mine, rising in some way from its unknown place. Yet people not lacking in intelligence say such things, presumably for some reason that OMITS the FAITH that WHAT was PUT INTO the tomb is WHAT came out (I Cor. 15:3). They worship ANOTHER CHRIST, quite literally. HE does not save. It is THE LORD'S CHRIST WHO CAME, and WHO BOTH DIED VICARIOUSLY FOR SIN AND SAVES (luke 2:36, II Cor. 11). Other gospels and other christs are mere verbal pandemonium, doctrines of devils. If you do not want Christ on HIS terms He is assuredly available on NO OTHERS! let alone those applying to SOMEONE ELSE, who is merely imagined.
But let us return to the word of Christ, "Cease clinging to Me!" This is addressed to a devoted Mary Magdalene. The Greek word here refers to adhesion to something and the dictionary meaning (Thayer) is provided in terms of "stop handling me to verify" or words to this effect. The tense is present, meaning a continuing action: this and the word together give just the dictionary's stated sense here. An action of verificatory or devoted handling of His feet was in process, and He asked for its cessation.
He did NOT say that it was irrelevant, but requested that it stop! So far from not finding what it sought, the handling was to cease, thereby releasing His feet. This coincides with what we saw of Matthew 29:9:
What then ? Physical hands can grasp and retain His feet in their grip. In other words, the feet are part of the physical structure of things. This simply confirms that THE BODY (which we know possesses feet as part of its structure and form) was in fact not destroyed but capable of being grasped, as stated, BECAUSE He was risen. It was His and it rose without rotting ( Acts 2:27 ff.), because His Father did not allow death to commandeer it (Acts 2:24).
v) Thus the body of Jesus Christ overcame death: or putting it slightly differently with Acts:
DID NOT SUFFER DECAY, OR UNDERGO DISSOLUTION,
IT DID NOT ROT.
These words are chosen somewhat carefully because they are the very words which the most famous and influential dictionaries on the Greek language and the New Testament Greek in particular give for the word in the Greek text of Acts 2:31, 13:37. We indeed read in. Acts 2:31:
vi) Every time the scripture refers to bodily resurrection of the saints, in addition, it is implying that Jesus' body rose from the dead, for He is the stated source and prototype, the 'firstfruits' and ground of our rising (I Corinthians 15:23, 12-14, 20, with II Cor. 5:1ff., 1 John 3:1-3). Different KINDS of flesh, says Paul, are the ambit of the resurrection; not NO flesh. There is a flesh of mortality, and there is a body of immortality. There is a NATURAL body and there is a SPIRITUAL body. The former is 'of the earth' and the latter is heavenly.
As we read I Cor. 15, we are shown that the former and natural body CAN and - because of sin - DOES die! The latter does not and cannot because eternity has been conferred upon it (II Cor. 5:1ff.) and it is 'eternal in the heavens' like a suit for space prepared for astronauts; but in this case it is not for mere space, but for the company and campanionability with the One who made it!
The former body was doomed to death; the latter is inspired with life. IMMORTALITY has to be PUT ON (I Cor. 15:52-54), in the body which is like that of Christ, not identity PUT OFF! What is lost is purely the power to be lost! What is improved on, to the point of eternity for temporarily, is what is merely natural; and the reason is Christ's pardon, and the way is the supernatural power which raised HIS body from the dead, which will attribute to the saints in the resurrection, just that supernatural resurrection in which eternal power overturns temporary natural inhibitions, and eternity reigns in the life of the redeemed, with everlasting joy upon their heads (Isaiah 51:11), for His salvation shall NOT be abolished, though the universe will be (Isaiah 51:6).
Indeed, this is to be that broad and vast use of the supernatural power of Christ by which HE OVERCOMES ALL THINGS (Philippians 3:20-21), or "to subdue all things to Himself". It is therefore in THAT power that He, the Christ, "will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself."
As noted elsewhere, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, moreover, as Machen stressed, 'the thing that was buried 'is the thing that was raised', and that 'thing' was what it is that one buries ... the body. How hard do men try to avoid the obvious, and how they pay for this privilege!
Again, that believers' bodies will be resurrected from the dead is clear from Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29, through the power exercised on Lazarus (where the bodily side of things is made most clear, even to the expected impact on the nostrils ... ), from Luke 7:11ff.,14,22; and further, in very principle, as we have just seen, in Philippians 3:21,1 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. Here it is expressly said that not every person will sleep (i.e. lapse into death - be 'hushed to rest' prior to the general resurrection, rest in the knowing presence of the known Lord- 1 Thessalonians 5:10, John 11 :25-26). 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 expressly states that at the coming of the Lord, at His return, some will not lapse into bodily death at all, but instead will be DIRECTLY transmuted, that is, changed into a new form. There the continuity will even be serially observable. Step by step the transformation of one form to another, one specimen of individuality casing for another, will occur.
vii) Thomas ( John 20:29 ) REFUSED to believe in a resurrection UNLESS he applied physical tests to Jesus' body (v.25). In passing, note that this proves all over again the point that scholars must accept: that in that time, resurrection (as such) MEANT BODILY RESURRECTION, as F.F. Bruce points out. You could disbelieve it, like Sadducess, but what it was you disbelieved was the action of the body, as illustrated in Daniel (12:2) when "many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake" , to their diverse destinies; and with this, accord the words of Christ (John 5:28):
"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation."
The way the goodness of God becomes a gift is shown in John 5:39-40 to follow, as in John 10:9. But the fact is that if goodness is what God is, then without God there is a fatal error, as they say in computing circles. It does not go. In the absence of what goodness is, you lack it. In the presence of the gift of it, you have it (John 5:50ff.) and you get it by receiving the sacrificial Saviour, who says of this believing: "and I will raise him up on the last day". Good trees bear good fruit; but the actual quality and calibre of goodness is UNATTAINABLE WITHOUT ITS SOURCE, in God Himself; and unavoidable when that source is like a fountain within you. Note that it is not BECAUSE of this goodness, however, that they are so blessed; it is just that as a matter of fact it is found on them - as good fruit on good trees. What PLANTS the trees is an entirely different matter (Matthew 15:13).
The Pharisees held to a bodily resurrection, without any doubt,, and THEY were the ones who were the distinctive exponents of resurrection against the 'disbelieving' Sadducees. (In their case, it was just that when it came, they were too busy condemning the Christ to LOOK and SEE that it had happened, rather like the exponents of organic evolution, too busy imagining fairy stories to SEE that the CREATION is NOT continuing, just as the Bible declared, and that what it is to be created at this level CANNOT BE INDUCED, since after all, God did it. Even in imitation we fail miserably.
Such is the blindness that WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS, is not what interests many scientists in this field. Yet let us quickly add, it DOES interest thousands of highly qualified scientists who cannot and DO NOT miss the fact that the Bible is CONSTANTLY verified in this just as organic evolution is CONSTANTLY anti-verified.
That in our day is a mesmeric magic. In that day, there was the dire SUPER-CREATIVE FACT of the resurrection of the body of Christ. It is with the Pharisees that Paul sides (Acts 23:6) on this general topic of 'resurrection from the dead' - on what it might be. If Paul were to have rejected resurrection of the body, or in fact did not happen to believe in it, this action of his would have been fraud and palpable deceit. But Paul, as he states , lived with a pure conscience. Thus there is no doubt, even from this as from all the other components of speech and declaration, about Paul's view. He states it; he reasons on it; he collaborates in company that holds it, explicitly, and indeed, Paul expressly and fully agreed on the official doctrine of the whole body of the apostles ( Galatians 2:2,7-10).
It was of course Thomas who defined the sort of 'proof' that would convince him of the accounts of the apostles, and all that went with them ... a challenge of his that was met in the most manifest scientific way by Christ, making His body a laboratory specimen for the troubled and insistent apostle (John 20). Presenting Himself, He spoke almost as if to a child (for after all His supernatural power was an everyday experience over years before this): "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing" - John 20:27 . THAT is not merely what was the STATED ISSUE, the bodily, it became the DIVISION PRINCIPLE between the blessed and those who lacked blessing. "Blessed, said Christ, are they who have not seen and yet have believed."
These are the OPPOSITE of the case of THOMAS, with whom his is contrasted; for HE HAS SEEN AND BELIEVED.
The proof naturally would simply be such as he deemed sufficient and sure to establish what they claimed. Hence they claimed (as we see again and again) that THE BODY ROSE. Otherwise, the tests would be witless and superfluous, the words contradicted and the actions contrary.
Moreover, Jesus (John 20:27) did NOT tell Thomas that he was asking the wrong question.
Instead He rebuked him for not believing the right answer.
Just as before, the apostle asked that Christ's body be tested, so now the Lord Himself offered incontestable evidence of its reality, and made this the ground for Thomas' shame.
asking Thomas to test on his own chosen and strict lines, and offering
the required evidence,
Jesus, then, made this comment: "DON'T BE FAITHLESS BUT BELIEVING!"
It was faith in the fact and act of such a Person as Jesus, which was required. Thomas for his part had doubted. His faith was imperfect, and for this he was rebuked. But as to the fact in view, he was asked simply to verify it, not to disbelieve it or to cease worrying about it, or to become a mystic. The case was the very opposite.
We should stress this: that it was THEN Jesus made HIS general observation on the basis of these things.
As Thomas fittingly acknowledged, like so many scientists today, that Jesus had humbled him at his own game, and made his doubt-methods look small, because it was so easy to satisfy them, and because he should have believed anyway on the ground of the WORD of Jesus ... who had to be believed altogether and not just so far: while all this was happening (v.28), what did Jesus say ?
"Because YOU HAVE SEEN me, you have believed."
is, your eyes see and your heart believes; the visible is confirmed and
your faith now operates.
Your requirements being met, you soul accepts. BUT, Christ continues:
"BLESSED ARE THEY WHO DID NOT SEE AND YET BELIEVED" -(John 20:29).
Now in this statement, Jesus is NOT saying: Blessed are you who have not seen and have not believed ... He is NOT commanding unbelief by people who, rejecting Him as Deity, cannot believe in His power on earth and in His resurrection therefore. He is especially commending people who WITHOUT THIS TYPE OF PHYSICAL TEST, accept the authenticity of Jesus, and believe His words and the testimony of His apostles (cf. Ephesians 2:20); and those who are thus aware of the truth of the bodily resurrection.
This is, for the Christ on whom the whole of Christianity rests, the DIVIDING RANGE between faith and fictitious religious experience.
THE SCRIPTURE TEACHES:
It is God indeed who being predicted to rise bodily, and having fulfilled all the Biblical requirements which, added to the whole prophetic coverage of history of which this is a crucial part, uses the power on earth and then shows it when, as it were in physical recess, He is obviously dependent on that of His Father; and states THAT this will be, not once but often; and WHEN it would be (in 3 days) which was a further scientific chronometric test.
3. What to do about it!
NOTE ROMANS 10:9! This is so very simple. "If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and will believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." This shows the first point. FAIL here and you fail altogether. It is a necessary condition. It is followed by reasons for its being so in Romans 10:10ff..
Thus in I Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul shows that WHAT THEY LAID IN THE TOMB is WHAT AROSE OUT OF IT; just as Peter at Pentecost showed that concerning the resurrection, HIS FLESH DID NOT ROT. This is in Acts 2:25-31. It is not concerning something else. There is a body. Question : will it rise as so many feared, and so many wondered ? Answer: the flesh did not rot and the resurrection question about this body is answered in the following way. NOT ONLY did His flesh not rot, but this statement is made also in the context of His resurrection. If I did not rise, I would not be resurrected. If I did, I would be. If the question is, as here stated, one of my resurrection, then the ONLY answer will come in terms of the answer to the disposition of my body. If it rotted, I was not resurrected. CONCERNING the resurrection, if it is written that His body will not rot, then concerning the resurrection this is the only available destiny for that body.
Believe that AND confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (NOT merely profess! to confess implies the admission of what is true, not the words of deviousness or deceit). The HEART, says Paul, must be in it. And IN the heart must be the FAITH that Christ's resurrection occurred so that HIS BODY DID NOT ROT. Indeed, says Paul in I Cor. 15:14, if Christ in this matter of bodily resurrection of which he has just spoken, IS NOT RISEN, FORGET IT ALL! It is a vanity, delusion, confusion, a profusion of words, an empty thing. But SINCE HE IS, then HE IS THE FIRST-FRUITS. His is the action of which ours is to be the result: HE is the prototype and WE who believe thus in Him, are the field. HE leads, we are CAUSED in this also to follow, for says Paul, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" - I Cor. 15:51.
"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. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed in victory. O death, where is your sting ? O grave, where is your victory. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us th gictory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Now in I Cor. 15:58 Paul proceeds yet further. He has advice: "THEREFORE, " he declares, exhorts, encourages, "my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
GET LOST! they say. GET FOUND is what is needed. For Christ's sake, they blaspheme. What is needed is this: for Christ's sake to acknowledge your need, His necessity for pardon, His power and coming to Him, to USE IT!
How ? FOR HIM.
WHY ? HE IS BETTER THAN ALL THE CREATION, having made it, is more loving in that He BORE in perfect and complete purity, what was impure, to heal in a splendid embezzlement of the whole business of guilt, taking it on and for Himself, that those who believe, should find it GONE (Isaiah 53:1-6, 10-12)! and then taking to Himself those who come, so that they should find themselves GOD'S (John 1:12)! No, not gods, but God's! Therein lies the difference. It is refreshingly simple; its restoration is like Spring breezes in the heat; its reality is deeper than matter; its matters are deeper than man, its gifts are those of the Lord. When you know Him, you know more than any or all geniuses that He has created; for you KNOW THEIR CREATOR.
the knowledge of Him, there is vitality and victory; for there is simply
no one like HIM! GOD is glorious, His work is glorious, His depth is wonderful
and His word is true. If we have spent on this site, rather more time on
this last fact than on the results of it, this is NOT because these do
not matter, but to rather in specialised work, to help you to find Him,
to glorify HIM who IS glorious. Better now than later. Better an operation
while there is hope! Come then to Him, as He is, as risen, as breaker of
death, as donor of life, and find a life which is not merely great, but
governed, and not only governed, but covered with the grace which the Maker
has for those who, coming to Him, are restored in image to Him who created
them (Ephesians 1:6, Colossians 3:10).