“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19 ESV)
Such words by the apostle Paul awaken me to the crucial role that Jesus’ resurrection has within our Christian worldview. Without the resurrection, Jesus’ work of salvation would have been rendered powerless and ineffective. Our sins would still condemn us, we would never again see our friends and family who have died believing in Jesus, and of all people who have existed, we are the most pitiful. In other words, if Jesus had not resurrected, the Gospel would have been stripped of its power.
Jesus, has resurrected, however, and that resurrection is God’s assurance that death is not the final word. Eternity has now become our destination. Because Jesus has risen, I can live in light of that eternity. What does that mean practically, however?
It means that death has ceased being a permanent unknown and has been reduced to a mere moment, a sleep, until Jesus comes back again and calls me to a life that will never end. Thus, I am given hope despite death. Furthermore, my future plans and endeavors are no longer limited by death. No more are my human endeavors merely for the sake of making the best out of the time I have on this earth. Because Jesus has risen, death no longer renders every good and pure joy I experience here on earth as meaningless. These joys can continue on into eternity.
Living in the light of eternity also has implications for my relationships. The death of those I love may cause me momentary pain and sorrow, but in the words of Paul, I do “not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Death has been stripped of its power to cause me grief fueled by the fear and anxiety of separation. Because Jesus has risen, I am privileged to have a hope that pervades the death and destruction that occurs around me. I know that if death comes to those who believe in Jesus or to me, we are not permanently separated from one another. We will see one another again. Jesus’ resurrection assures me that the separation brought about by death has been done away with. Life with God and with other fellow believers, however, is promised to us as a permanent reality.
Thus, living in light of eternity is living with hope, and Jesus invites you to internalize that hope in your life. He also invites you to share that hope with others.