Thursday, February 10, 2022

Life After Death (1 Corinthians 15)

"Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?" (1 Cor. 15:12).

One of the most critical questions asked of Christians is the inquiry concerning life after death. People want to know whether there is anything more to this life, whether there actually is life after death. Though some people deny any afterlife, no one attends a funeral without thinking about the possibility. Christians are often accused of being weaklings because they look forward to life after death. They are criticized for not being able to deal with the reality of this world, for not having the emotional fortitude to face the hopelessness of this life. Many of these critics believe in nihilism, that we came from nothing and we return to nothing.

Christianity has a radical view of life after death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is crucial to historic Christianity. We do not have a Savior who is dead in the grave, but one who is risen and intercedes for His people at the right hand of the Father. We have a Savior who will judge all the world and rule over all the nations. Our risen Lord is not only the Redeemer of His people but the Judge of all creation. Unregenerate people refuse to face this reality. They do not want to believe they will be held accountable in eternity for their actions in time.

Immanuel Kant argued that for justice to prevail, there must be life after death. Life would be meaningless and intolerable if justice was only an illusion restricted to the here and now. Ethics would have no meaning. Because there is obviously no complete justice in this life, it must be met after death.

Ethics and justice would not be the only meaningless concepts if we could not look forward to life after death. Christianity would have no value. This is Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 15. He argues that if there is no resurrection, then Christ could not be raised from the dead. If Christ is not alive, then our faith is in vain. Our hope is in a risen Lord who has conquered death and who reigns eternally from heaven. The apostles testified to Christ’s resurrection, and God promises that by His power we too will be raised from the dead. When God promises a resurrection, the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform it. We will have life after death, for in Christ death is swallowed up in victory.

How does the reality of life after death give meaning to your life? What is the relation of life after death to justice? What hope do you have in the resurrection? As you see and even experience injustice, remember that there will be true justice in the final kingdom.