No, Christian hope–biblical hope–is that, since Jesus has, by God’s power, conquered death, we who are “in Jesus”–united to Jesus by the Holy Spirit’s power through faith in him and by our baptisms–will also be raised from death. Jesus is the “firstfruits” of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15:20-23). The firstfruits is that first part of the crop that speaks to the promise of the entire harvest. Jesus is the first part of a great resurrection harvest at the end of history of all those who belong to him. Our lowly, humble bodies–subject to distress, disease, and eventually death–will be raised to be like his glorious, immortal body (Phil. 3:21). So important is this reality to the apostle Paul that he spends the longest chapter of all of his letters (58 verses!) explaining this truth at exhaustive length! (1 Cor. 15)
Death is sad; very sad. Paul said he was spared “sorrow upon sorrow” when his friend Epaphroditus recovered from his illness and did not die (Phil. 2:25-27). But for the Christian, death is not the end; it is not the victor. Christus victor! And in his victory over the grave, we know that we shall have ours. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” ... But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:55-57)
The Rev. Brian D. Nolder is pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church (www.redeemerpella.org). The church invites you to “Reforming Church and Home,” a Reformation conference Oct. 25- 27, featuring the Rev. Dr. Gregg Strawbridge, a true scholar-pastor and director of wordmp3.com, an online resource for Christian teaching. The conference will be Fri. night and Sat. morning at the former St. Mary’s facility, 1203 Peace St. Sat. night will be a pizza dinner and folk dance for conference attendees at the Memorial Building. Contact Pastor Brian for more info: 628-1305, email@example.com.