[In this final post in this series, we will look at how Christians can freely risk, give, and even lose their lives if necessary because Jesus is alive.]
Resurrection Reality #5: Believers Are to Be Envied
Paul writes, “If Christ has not been raised…If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” After hearing the account of John and Betty Stam do you see what Paul is meaning here? If Christ has not been raised, the gospel is false, the Stam’s faith is empty, they are guilty of their sin, and they have no hope after death. So, risking their lives and the life or their daughter is absolutely ludicrous—it is insane—if Christ has not been raised. We should feel so sorry for the Stams that they gave their lives and gave up comfort for a false Christ, if it is true that Christ has not been raised. But! But Christ has been raised! And so, the radical sacrifice of John and Betty Stam makes total sense and is enviable, as they found joy in risking all for Christ for the glory of Christ in all nations. Sacrificial obedience and radical risk-taking for Jesus is the only thing that makes sense if Christ has been raised. New Testament scholar Tom Schreiner writes, “The lordship of Jesus is inseperable from his resurrection.” Jesus walked into universal lordship and cosmic kingship when he walked out of the tomb.
If you want to waste your life, then live as if Christ has not been raised. Risk nothing. Sacrifice nothing. Obey only yourself. Gain every comfort you possibly can. In the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:32 “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
If you claim comfort as your king, yet you claim Christ as your Savior, you are serving a dead Jesus. Oh, how long will we live like we believe in a dead Jesus? How long will we ignore the poverty that surrounds us? How long will we ignore the lost people that we see every single day? How long will we neglect the nations and the over 2 billion unreached peoples who have little to no access to the gospel? Will we come to the end of our lives and reflect back saying, “I’ve wasted it”?
May we start living in light of the unavoidable truth of the resurrection. Paul ends this chapter with these words: “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” (v. 58). Christ has been raised! So, spend your life for his glory. Give selflessly. Love passionately. Serve sacrificially. Take radical risks for Christ and his glory in your neighborhood and in all nations. Commit yourself today to not waste your life, but to live a life worthy of being envied—a life that delights in risk-taking obedience to Jesus, the Lord of life and death. The life that is not wasted is the life that is spent for Christ for his glory and our joy.
Missionary C.T. Studd once famously wrote, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” You only have one life. The way you live this life is eternally important. The way you view your death is equally important. The resurrection changes everything about the way you live and the way you approach your impending death. Will you live for Christ? Will you die in Christ? If your current answer to either of these questions is No, then this invitation is for you. I am inviting you to respond to the gospel today. Respond to the call of a risen Savior to trust in the death he died for you and to walk in the resurrection life he gives. Because Jesus was raised from the dead and is reigning right now over all, this gospel is true, your faith in him is not empty, believers stand forgiven, the dead in Christ are alive, and believers are to be envied.
Consider this final question. What if you lived your life like you truly believed Jesus has been raised from the dead? What would that look like? Christ has been raised! Come to the risen and reigning Savior and receive forgiveness of your sins. Come to the risen and reigning Savior for grace to fight sin in your life. Come to the risen and reigning Savior to commit your life to not be wasted, but to be well spent for his glory and the joy of all peoples. Make your life count for something of eternal significance. Christ has been raised. So, don’t waste your life.