gift of life #22
a resurrection perspective
Paul David Tripp calls it “eternity amnesia.” It is people living with no hope for the future. They live for today because they think today is all that we have. In his recent book, Forever, he outlines the symptoms of this problem:
Living with unrealistic expectations,
Focusing too much on self,
Asking too much of people,
Being controlling or fearful,
Questioning the goodness of God,
Living more disappointed than thankful,
Lacking motivation and hope,
Living as if life doesn’t have consequences.
We can understand it when people who do not know Christ live this way. But all too often, those of us who claim to know Jesus live the same way. We are victims when we should be living in victory. The victory was already obtained by Christ. Because of what he did for us, we need never live as if these temporary lives are all that we have. We can see everything that happens now in the light of the glory that awaits us in eternity. We can tolerate pain and failure because we understand them to be temporary setbacks. We can better grasp the significance of success when we see it from the standard of eternity as well. We can look on every soul we encounter as another being who is potentially immortal and glorified, which might help us tolerate their present imperfections. We can have a better attitude about our own present failures to hit the mark.
Another Paul, the apostle Paul – said something about eternity amnesia too. He said “And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” (1 Corinthians 15:19). If you take away the resurrection, Christianity is an empty religion with no real hope, and believers are of all people most to be pitied. The reason is that all human beings are born mortal. We have a death sentence hanging over us because of Adam’s rebellion. We imitate Adam by being creatures who return to the dust. But the hope of the resurrection gives us a forever perspective.
People who live without the forever perspective can only hope to accomplish a limited number of things. No matter how happy or successful or significant their lives, that happiness, success and significance will be buried in the ground when they die. But people who have a resurrection perspective – a gospel perspective, can accomplish an unlimited number of things. We can make an eternal difference in other people’s lives by pointing them to the Saviour. We can get our minds off of the things which enslave others, because our focus is on serving Christ. He was the first to be resurrected. We are next. Knowing our future can free us to truly live in the present.
The gospel’s victory is not a happy life today. The gospel’s victory is an eternal happy life at the resurrection. Here is how the apostle Paul explains it: “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 up in victory”” (1 Corinthians 15:52-54.) The resurrection is God’s victory, and ours. The gospel is the good news about that victory. It is the story of the crucial battle won on the cross, and demonstrated by Christ’s resurrection. It is the story of the final victory over sin and pain through the resurrection at Christ’s return. Coming to faith in Christ is entering into that story. We know how the story ends. That is why we can have a resurrection perspective.
If you have any questions about this teaching, you can ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join me for this entire series as we search the scriptures to learn about the gift of life.
Listen to the audio at Afterlife.