Friday, February 15, 2008

Thoughts on the Afterlife

The Good News About Christ

1 Corinthians 15

1Now, brothers and sisters, I want you to remember the Good News I brought
to you. You received this Good News and continue strong in it. 2And you are
being saved by it if you continue believing what I told you. If you do not, then
you believed for nothing.

3I passed on to you what I received, of which this was most important: that
Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; 4that he was buried and was raised
to life on the third day as the Scriptures say; 5and that he was seen by Peter and
then by the twelve apostles. 6After that, Jesus was seen by more than five
hundred of the believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but
some have died. 7Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8Last
of all he was seen by me—as by a person not born at the normal time. 9All the
other apostles are greater than I am. I am not even good enough to be called an
apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But God’s grace has made me
what I am, and his grace to me was not wasted. I worked harder than all the other
apostles. (But it was not I really; it was God’s grace that was with me.) 11So if I
preached to you or the other apostles preached to you, we all preach the same
thing, and this is what you believed.

We Will Be Raised from the Dead

12Now since we preached that Christ was raised from the dead, why do some
of you say that people will not be raised from the dead? 13If no one is ever raised
from the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 14And if Christ has not been
raised, then our preaching is worth nothing, and your faith is worth nothing.
15And also, we are guilty of lying about God, because we testified of him that he
raised Christ from the dead. But if people are not raised from the dead, then God
never raised Christ. 16If the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised either.
17And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith has nothing to it; you are still
guilty of your sins. 18And those in Christ who have already died are lost. 19If our
hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in
the world.

20But Christ has truly been raised from the dead—the first one and proof that
those who sleep in death will also be raised. 21Death has come because of what
one man did, but the rising from death also comes because of one man. 22In
Adam all of us die. In the same way, in Christ all of us will be made alive again.
23But everyone will be raised to life in the right order. Christ was first to be
raised. When Christ comes again, those who belong to him will be raised to life,
24and then the end will come. At that time Christ will destroy all rulers,
authorities, and powers, and he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father.
25Christ must rule until he puts all enemies under his control. 26The last enemy to
be destroyed will be death. 27The Scripture says that God put all things under his
control. When it says “all things” are under him, it is clear this does not include
God himself. God is the One who put everything under his control. 28After
everything has been put under the Son, then he will put himself under God, who
had put all things under him. Then God will be the complete ruler over

29If the dead are never raised, what will people do who are being baptized for
the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people being baptized for

30And what about us? Why do we put ourselves in danger every hour? 31I die
every day. That is true, brothers and sisters, just as it is true that I brag about you
in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32If I fought wild animals in Ephesus only with human
hopes, I have gained nothing. If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink,
because tomorrow we will die.”

33Do not be fooled: “Bad friends will ruin good habits.” 34Come back to your
right way of thinking and stop sinning. Some of you do not know God—I say this
to shame you.

What Kind of Body Will We Have?

35But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will
they have?” 36Foolish person! When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground
before it can live and grow. 37And when you sow it, it does not have the same
“body” it will have later. What you sow is only a bare seed, maybe wheat or
something else. 38But God gives it a body that he has planned for it, and God
gives each kind of seed its own body. 39All things made of flesh are not the same:
People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds have another, and fish
have another. 40Also there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. But the beauty
of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the beauty of the earthly bodies is
another. 41The sun has one kind of beauty, the moon has another beauty, and the
stars have another. And each star is different in its beauty.

42It is the same with the dead who are raised to life. The body that is
“planted” will ruin and decay, but it is raised to a life that cannot be destroyed.
43When the body is “planted,” it is without honor, but it is raised in glory. When
the body is “planted,” it is weak, but when it is raised, it is powerful. 44The body
that is “planted” is a physical body. When it is raised, it is a spiritual body.

There is a physical body, and there is also a spiritual body. 45It is written in
the Scriptures: “The first man, Adam, became a living person.”But the last
Adam became a spirit that gives life. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the
physical and then the spiritual. 47The first man came from the dust of the earth.
The second man came from heaven. 48People who belong to the earth are like the
first man of earth. But those people who belong to heaven are like the man of
heaven. 49Just as we were made like the man of earth, so we will also be made
like the man of heaven.

50I tell you this, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot have a part in the
kingdom of God. Something that will ruin cannot have a part in something that
never ruins. 51But look! I tell you this secret: We will not all sleep in death, but
we will all be changed. 52It will take only a second—as quickly as an eye blinks—
when the last trumpet sounds. The trumpet will sound, and those who have died
will be raised to live forever, and we will all be changed. 53This body that can be
destroyed must clothe itself with something that can never be destroyed. And this
body that dies must clothe itself with something that can never die. 54So this body
that can be destroyed will clothe itself with that which can never be destroyed,
and this body that dies will clothe itself with that which can never die. When this
happens, this Scripture will be made true:

“Death is destroyed forever in victory.”

Isaiah 25:8

55“Death, where is your victory?

Death, where is your pain?”

Hosea 13:14

56Death’s power to hurt is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But we thank
God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58So my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Do not let anything change
you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know
that your work in the Lord is never wasted.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version


Because of their culture, the Corinthians did not believe in the resurrection. Instead, they thought only the soul would rise from the dead, leaving behind the body.


Because Jesus rose from the dead, we have hope, salvation, victory, and purpose. We can be confident in faith and diligent in work for him.


A sudden breeze, surprisingly warm, whistles through the leaves scattering dust from the lifeless form. And with the breath of fresh air comes the difference. Winging on the warm wind is his image. Laughter is laid in the sculpted cheeks. A reservoir of tears is stored in the soul. A sprinkling of twinkle for the eyes. Poetry for the spirit. Logic. Loyalty. Like leaves on an autumn breeze, they float and land and are absorbed. His gifts become a part of him.

His Majesty smiles at his image. "It is good."

The eyes open.

Oneness. Creator and created walking on the river bank. Laughter. Purity. Innocent joy. Life unending.

Then the tree.

The struggle. The snake.

The lie. The enticement. Heart torn, lured. Soul drawn to pleasure, to independence, to importance. Inner agony. Whose will?

The choice. Death of innocence. Entrance of death. The fall.

Tearstains mingling with fruit-stains....

[Then,] The Quest.

"Abram, you will father a nation! And Abram-tell the people I love them."

"Moses, you will deliver my people! And Moses-tell the people I love them."

"Joshua, you will lead the chosen ones! And Joshua tell the people I love them."

"David, you will reign over the people! And David-tell the people I love them."

"Jeremiah, you will bear tidings of bondage! But Jeremiah, remind my children, remind my children that I love them.”...

. . . God watching, never turning, ever loving, ever yearning for the Garden again....

[Finally,] Empty throne. Spirit descending. Hushed angels.

A girl ... a womb ... an egg.

The same Divine Artist again forms a body. This time his own. Fleshly divinity. Skin layered on spirit. Omnipotence with hair. Toenails. Knuckles. Molars. Kneecaps. Once again he walks with man. Yet the Garden is now thorny. Thorns that cut, thorns that poison, thorns that remain lodged, leaving bitter wounds. Disharmony. Sickness. Betrayal. Fear. Guilt....

And once again, a tree. Once again the struggle.

The snake. The enticement. Heart torn, lured. Once again the question, "Whose will?"

Then the choice. Tearstains mingle with bloodstains. Relationship restored. Bridge erected.

Once again he smiles “It is good.”

“For just as death came by the means of a man, in the same way the rising from death comes by means of a man. For just as all people die because of their union with Adam, in the same way all will be raised. To life because of their union with Christ” (1 Corinthians 15: 21-22, TEV). (From God Came Near by Max Lucado).


Be confident today in your faith because of what Jesus has done. He broke the power of death so hat you might have eternal life with him.


Confidence - John 6:40; 11:25; Romans 1:16; Galatians 5:1; 6:9; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Hebrews 4:16; 11:1; 1 John 2:28.

No comments: