>Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain.
I Corinthians 15:1-2 (my emphasis added)
In I Corinthians 15, Paul lays out clearly, as he ever does, what the gospel is. This fifty-eight-verse chapter centers directly on 1. The recent resurrection of the Messiah and 2. The future (end of the age) resurrection of the saints.
The point I want to make, in this post, on the bodily resurrection, centers on the “therefore” that comes after his message on the resurrection. Chapter 15 ends like this…
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where 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.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:51-58 (my emphasis added)
“Therefore” because of this reality, … “be steadfast, immovable…”
After a colorful and poetic description of the future resurrection, he charges the church to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Paul’s BASIS for the church to be steadfast, immovable etc. seems to be that forward look to the resurrection of the saints.
Before you think that this is an anomalous instance in the scriptures, lets look at Philippians chapter 3…
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Philippians 3:20 – 4:1 (my emphasis added)
(Probably one of the most unfortunate chapter-breaks in the Bible. 4:1 proceeds directly from the previous thought. That is especially evident when you see what follows from 4:2 on.)
“Therefore” because of this reality …“stand firm thus in the Lord”…
There it is again! Another direct reference to the resurrection and on the heels of that, a concluding thought about standing firm in the Lord.
So, in addition to the previous post on the bodily resurrection, we see now WHY the bodily resurrection, in eschatology, was on the minds of the New Testament writers. Because it is an inextricable aspect of the gospel itself (see previous post), and a BASIS for which we stand fast in the faith.
A faith without a forward look to the resurrection is not the faith that is preached in the New Testament. Instead, the faith of the New Testament church is firmly rooted in the resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah and the bodily resurrection of the saints at the end of the age.