“But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:25).
As a pastor, sometimes my heart goes out to church members who are hurting. I pray for the aging man who suffers daily with arthritis pain. I grieve for the older widow who has lost her husband and can’t move on. I hurt for the lady who found out her unbelieving husband of 30+ years is having an affair. I care about the man serving several years in prison for an irresponsible act that gave him five minutes of pleasure. These are all believers who have the Spirit of Christ in their lives.
Our hope must be in something beyond what we are currently experiencing. Painful as life may be, we can’t give up hope in what is coming next. This is what I call the ‘Resurrection Principle’. When something within your life dies or is stolen from you, you have a right as a child of God, to have that restored. You have a legal claim as a joint heir with Christ.
So, we wait patiently for our hope to be fulfilled. Don’t settle for less than being an over-comer.
Tags: hope, restoration, resurrection
Paul had just described in v. 23 that all of creation is groaning for deliverance. Now he brings that down home: “And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23).
Having received the “first fruits” [there will be many more to follow], we also are doing the same groaning in our inner selves as we struggle with our own deaths, failures, and unfairness. Life just isn’t fair.
Those of us who have the Spirit already have received the first stage of our redemption, having our sins and offenses washed away by Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross. I’m now free from my past!
The second stage of our redemption is when we were adopted into the family of God, where we become insiders with all the saints across all denominational lines. We’re in this journey together and we need each other.
But the third stage of our redemption is the redemption of our bodies, also called the resurrection. There is a day in the future when our souls will leave this life of vanity and enter the presence of the Lord. Or, hopefully, the rapture of the church occurs before that. But Revelation 20 describes a day when the righteous shall have new, glorified bodies. All tears shall be wiped away and all physical ailments will be gone.
In the meanwhile, we patiently wait with optimistic hope for that day.
Tags: hope, redemption, resurrection
“But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in us, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [give life to] your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
I love the word “But“. It gives us the other perspective. Paul had just said in verse 10 that “the body is dead“. That may concern some of us who are spending a lot of money to keep our bodies healthy and still functioning. Do Spirit-filled Christians need to run off to some monastery to escape the sins of the flesh? No, to the contrary. Paul tells us that the body no longer controls us, not that we lose control.
When we are led by the Spirit, God has a way or resurrecting the dead to new life. As we rid our lives of worldly thinking that holds us in bondage, the Holy Spirit restores what death had taken from us. He is a God of restoration. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are loaded with examples of resurrected bodies, dreams, and relationships. New life from the ashes is what Jesus is all about.
He doesn’t tell us to give up sex, but that He will give it a whole new dimension of meaning. He doesn’t tell us to stop eating, but He will give us a whole new appreciation for food. Being a Spirit-filled Christian is a life filled with exciting new adventures that the world just cannot see.
Travel with me down this spiritual road and let’s discover what new treasures God has for us in Christ.
Tags: life, resurrection
I met for lunch Tuesday with several other area ministers. I arrived a bit late and one of the ministers was just reporting some good news in his family. He turned to me and asked, “So, what’s the good news?” Catching me off guard, I thought for a moment, then announced, “Jesus is risen from the dead!”
Can you think of any better news than that? Because Jesus is risen:
- We have hope of life after death, as well.
- Our sins are paid for and we are eligible for pardon.
- Satan has been defeated.
- Jesus today intercedes on our behalf.
- He can keep His promise to send another Comforter (the Holy Spirit).
- We get to celebrate His life every day.
When you check out the newspaper or CNN today, remember what the really good news is.
Tags: Easter, gospel, resurrection
Easter is known as ‘Resurrection Day’ around the world. Resurrection gives us hope for the future regardless of our today. When famous scientist Marie Curie, who along with her husband, Pierre, discovered radium, learned that her husband had just died in an accident, she exclaimed, “It is the end of everything, everything, everything!”
When German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was sentenced to be hanged in 1945 by the Nazis the next morning, he declared, “For me, this is the beginning.”
Do you see death as the end of your existence or the real beginning? That’s where faith comes in.
Tags: death, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Easter, Marie Curie, resurrection
Today is Good Friday and the local community service is tonight at New Hope from 7-8PM. I would love to see you here.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was British Prime Minister during World War 2. He stirred a war-weary people to fight and made international alliances that helped to win the war.
He made some specific requests regarding his funeral service. He asked that it begin with the playing of “Taps”, the traditional military signal played at the end of the day or the end of life. We often hear “Taps” played at graveside services for veterans in our country.
But when Churchill’s funeral service was over, those in attendance were startled to hear trumpets play the familiar strains of “Reveille,” the stirring call that awakens troops at the beginning of a new day. Did Churchill have it backwards, or did he have a keen insight into his own future?
Paul wrote: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Tags: death, funeral, resurrection, Winston Churchill
Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day we recognize Christ’s death on the cross. Don’t forget about the Good Friday Community Service, hosted at New Hope, from 7-8PM. Pastor David Mathews, of the United Methodist Church, will be speaking.
What do you think about death? Do you see it as a good thing or a bad thing? No one knows for sure what Benjamin Franklin believed about life after death. He remained conspicuously silent about it, except for what he wrote in his own epitaph:
The Body of
B. Franklin, printer,
(like the cover of an old book,
its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding)
lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost;
for it will (as he believed)
appear once more,
in a new and more elegant edition,
revised and corrected
by the Author.
This epitaph confirms Paul’s statement in Philippians 3:20-21 that the risen Lord will transform our corruptible bodies, making them like His own glorious body. What will your epitaph say about your hope?
Tags: B. Franklin, body, death, resurrection