NOW I make known
to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received,
in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word
which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as
of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on
the third day according to the Scriptures. . .
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Allow me to begin by paraphrasing Paul’s encouragement to a distressed congregation:
I want to remind you who are now family in Christ of the good news you heard from me. Please remember some essential facts about that good news and you:
1. You decided to accept that good news.
2. You continued by choice in that good news—it grants your life stability!
3. This good news is the source of your confident relationship with God.
Your salvation relationship with God continues as long as you remember and remain in that good news. Remember, three truths lie at the core of that good news:
1. Jesus Christ died for all of us—his death makes our sins history!
2. He actually died—his dead body was buried!
3. He was resurrected—whereas he was for certain dead, he is now alive.
Paul continued his emphasis on the importance of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Paul said a lot of people saw Jesus alive after he died, including Paul. Jesus’ resurrection was not a Jewish phenomenon affecting only Jewish people—Jesus died for everyone’s sins.
Very young people respond to God because He is the living God who loves them. As adolescents become adults, conversions to God through Christ plummet.
Life often goes through stages for many people. Stage one: you can do anything you desire because you are young and have opportunity. Stage two: you race breathlessly, trying to manage all your responsibilities, get weary doing so, but never admit weariness. Stage three: you have a tinge of fear as you wonder if “this is what life is about” and if “life has passed you by.” Stage four: life is all about your physical future, and your physical future looks less than wonderful (doctors increasingly replace ambitions). Stage five: you are deeply aware that you “cannot go back;” there is neither time, strength, nor energy to “do” your life over; and experience and observation teach you how uncertain anyone’s future is. Sounds increasingly dismal, does it not?
It is—unless . . . Unless what? Unless you are aware that death does not win! Regardless of what age you are, you have choice. Yes, 20-year-olds and 70-year-olds have the same choice! Is life about physical indulgence with death the unavoidable end, or is life an investment that destroys the fear-hold of death? Amazingly, life often is only about the physical until our death is on our horizon. Then, suddenly, Jesus’ resurrection becomes very relevant, things are just things, and death’s defeat is relevant to the meaning of physical life. Do not waste your collateral! Life is an investment! Invest the only thing that is yours for now—yourself! Good news—God welcomes your investment!
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell