Practical Implications of the Resurrection
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58
How does the resurrection of Jesus Christ impact our lives in the present? We often quote this final verse of 1 Corinthians 15 without considering its wider context. Yet the word “Therefore” is of paramount importance. It is because of what we read in verses 1-57 (the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ) that we come to our exhortation in verse 58.
Because of the Resurrection We Are to Be Steadfast and Unmoveable
The words steadfast and unmoveable are not complicated to understand. They mean what they say: steadfast and unmoveable, grounded and fixed. Throughout God’s Word, and even in the immediate context, believers are exhorted and encouraged to be steadfast and unmoveable in the faith (notice 1 Cor. 16:13 and Col. 2:6-7). In a world where everything and everyone is vying for your attention and trying to tell you what to believe and what not to believe and what is true and what is not true—in this kind of world, we need to be steadfast and unmoveable in the truth. The apostle Peter tell us, “Seeing ye know these things before [the future because of Christ’s resurrection and return], beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Pet. 3:17). Because of the fact of the resurrection, our faith is not in vain. Thus, we need to be rooted and grounded in it and not waver from it. Because of the fact of the resurrection, our future resurrection and glorification is an established reality, so we are to be rooted and grounded in these facts and live our lives today accordingly.
Because of the Resurrection We Are to Abound in the Lord’s Work
It is as though Paul is saying, “If Jesus had not risen, then death would not have been conquered, so you are not going to be seeing Him later, so do not worry about living for Him now and being about His business now.” But this is not the message. The message is this: Because He is alive and death has been conquered, keep moving forward—abounding—in His work. Therefore, not only are we to remain steadfast and unmoveable in the faith—that is, in our belief (what we know), but we are to also keep living the faith day-by-day. The apostle Paul emphasizes the importance here of both belief and behavior. What, exactly, is the Lord’s work? Paul is not talking about being a pastor, missionary, or Christian educator. He is talking to all the believers in the church at Corinth. What is the Lord’s work? It is our life! When Paul says to abound in the work of the Lord, it is to live a life that continues to bring glory to Him. When He is our priority in life, then everything we do will bring glory to Him and counts as the “work of the Lord.” You are doing the Lord’s work when you do anything and everything that is motivated by pleasing Him.
Because of the Resurrection We Are to Realize that Everything We Do for God Is Worth It
Notice the word “labor.” This is a completely different word than the previously-used “work.” The word “labor” denotes difficulty and weariness on the part of the one doing the work. Being rooted and grounded in the faith and abounding in the Lord’s work in our actions and behavior is never going to be the “easy route” in this life. At the same time, notice that Paul says, “you know” that living for the Lord is worth it in the end. Our labor is not “in vain” when we are living for God and not for ourselves or for another person or thing. How will it be worth it? First, it will be worth it to experience God’s approval. Second, it will be worth it to experience physical fellowship with God one day yet future. Finally, it will be worth it to experience perfect peace and justice in a new heaven and new earth. Twice in the first two chapters of Revelation, Jesus describes Himself as He who now lives and who was dead and who is now alive forevermore.
A dead, lifeless God and Savior means life as we know it is meaningless! Why not do what we want? Why not do what feels good to us? Why not “live it up” right now? Why not set our own standards of morality and righteousness? No, it is because Jesus Christ is alive, and because He will make all things right in the end that we should be firm and grounded in our faith, attitude, and behavior right now, knowing that our efforts now (labor) is not empty in the end. Thanks be to God for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do!
— Pastor Matt Costella