The Church Together: Those Who Are Dead in Christ Will Rise

For many people, the prospect of death is painfully difficult to stomach. Humans have gone to great lengths in attempts to conquer death, with medical and scientific advancements providing a bit more longevity. Prized beauty secrets make the "fountain of youth" a little more tangible. And when all else fails, our culture teaches us to adopt a "YOLO" (you only live once) mindset that propels us into living with pleasure as the ultimate end. 

Still, death is something that many of us would rather avoid. For many years, that was the case for me. I can remember times when the thought of death sent me spiraling into the worst of anxiety attacks. When I thought about death, it was the "great unknown" that made me incredibly fearful and anxious. Thankfully, God mercifully granted me salvation, and the Truth of his Word provided (and continues to provide) immeasurable comfort to my anxious heart.

In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul expounds on precious Truths surrounding the resurrection of the saints. In verses 51–57, he writes explicitly, 

Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (CSB)

As believers, we have a blessed hope that transcends the confines of death. But our secure triumph over death does not rest in our ability to concoct some alternative. Instead, our comfort (in life and death) rests solely in the work of Christ. In Him, we can be sure that we will be raised to eternal life, our physical bodies will be made new, and death will be no more.

Raised to Life

Contrary to popular belief, there is a very real life after death. Every person will spend eternity somewhere—either in perpetual torment in hell or raised to eternal life in heaven. God offers the free gift of abundant eternal life to all, but that gift is only valid for those who genuinely believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). While believers will face many temptations and trials in this life, we must remember these are momentary afflictions. One day death, grief, sorrow, and pain will be no more. The believer’s physical body will perish, but God will raise it to life. All things will be made new, and every person who has endured until the end will drink freely from the wellspring of life (Rev. 21:3–7). Our living in the present should be informed by what God has prepared in the future for all believers. 

In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples that He will go before them to prepare a place for them and will come again to receive them. May those words be a balm to our weary and anxious hearts. We can hold firmly to the promise of resurrection because we know that Christ has risen from the grave before us. Christ is the evidence of what is to come for all believers. We will live eternally because He lives eternally!

Incorruptible Bodies

Not only will believers be raised to new life, but as we’re raised, God will radically transform us. In our present state, our physical bodies bear the image of our first father, Adam. But we can rest assured that in eternity we will bear the image of our second and better Father, Jesus Christ. 

God promises incorruptibility (inability to decay) as an accompaniment to our immortality, and pondering this promise moves me to tears. For years I have struggled with chronic illness. I have spent countless days writhing in pain. So many times, I've cried, "How long, Lord?" Some days my ability to minister to others is seemingly hindered by my physical limitations.

To make matters worse, my illness has often been a primer for sin in my own heart. The temptation to hold on to bitterness, ungodly anger, jealousy, and resentment has time and again felt insurmountable. As you can imagine, embracing the promise that this old body will one day be made new is like beautiful music to my ears. To know that one day our worship of God will no longer be hindered (in any way, shape, or form) is an amazingly glorious Truth.

"Oh Death, Where Is Your Victory?"

Death is a formidable enemy, but nothing is greater than God! Because God has defeated sin and death, the trajectory of our lives is completely changed. We do not live as people without hope. We do not fight our battles with a loser's mindset. Death has no victory. God does! 

How would our lives as Christians would look different if we did not know the eventual outcome of God's plan? Would we lose heart and give up? Instead, God has provided all that we need to continue our journey with continual hope. Paul exhorts the Corinthian church saying, "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Cor. 15:58 CSB). Paul's words are as applicable for us today as they were for his original listeners. Our lives as Christians are not in vain. Our work to bring glory to God is not worthless. We need not wonder if the plan will work or who will gain the ultimate victory. Sin and death both lost their sting when Christ said, "It is finished" (John 19:28–30).

About the Author

Portia Collins

Portia Collins

Portia Collins serves on the Revive Our Hearts team as the Monthly Partner Specialist and co-host of the weekly videocast, Grounded. Her favorite part of her job is meeting the ministry partners who help make the mission possible. Portia is … read more …

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