1 Corinthians 15:58
Posted December 16, 2014
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.
This verse concludes an incredible train of thought that Paul gives on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. He begins the chapter by holding high the gospel (the good news of Jesus’ life, death, & resurrection), and then proceeds to explain the reality, centrality, & effects of Jesus’ resurrection. These effects were not limited to Christ alone, but are central to our own resurrection. His resurrection points to all things being put under His subjection & authority! It points to the death of death in Christ and resurrection life to all who are in Him!
Working From Love
This verse begins with “therefore, my beloved brothers." In light of the gospel, in light of the resurrection, in light of the fact that we’ve been loved, in light of the fact that we are now a family, in light of the fact that Jesus is over all things, work hard & faithfully. We never work in order to be loved, but rather work from a place of being loved and in the very power God supplies us by His Spirit. When we get these out of order, we misunderstand the good news of what Jesus has already done for us. We work now not for acceptance, but from acceptance.
Working From The Resurrection
Perhaps some of you have heard the expression, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” Paul shows us that true theological work never leaves us in the abstract clouds of theory but bears practical effect in all of life and always results in earthly good. In his commentary on 1 Corinthians, NT Wright said this:
"The ‘here and now’ is where Paul ends up. You might think, after a spectacular chapter like this one, that he would conclude by saying something like, ‘So let’s rejoice at the wonderful hope we can look forward to!’ But he doesn’t. And this isn’t just because he is a solid and sober practical theologian, true though that is. It’s because the truth he has been expounding, the truth of the resurrection of the dead and the transformation of the living, is not just a truth about the future hope. It’s a truth about the present significance of what we are and do. If it is true that God is going to transform this present world, and renew our whole selves, bodies included, then what we do in the present time with our bodies, and with our world, matters. For far too long many Christians have been content to separate out future hope from present responsibility, but that is precisely what Paul refuses to do. His full-bodied doctrine and promise of resurrection sends us back to our present world, and our present life of bodily obedience to our Lord, in the glorious but sobering knowledge (as we saw in 6.14, 13.8– 13 and elsewhere) that, if there is continuity between who and what we are in the present and who and what we will be in the future, we cannot discount the present life, the present body and the present world as irrelevant.
On the contrary. It is a matter of the greatest encouragement to Christian workers, most of whom are away from the public eye, unsung heroes and heroines, getting on faithfully and quietly with their God-given tasks, that what they do ‘in the Lord’ during the present time will last, will matter, will stand for all time. How God will take our prayer, our art, our love, our writing, our political action, our music, our honesty, our daily work, our pastoral care, our teaching , our whole selves – how God will take this and weave its varied strands into the glorious tapestry of his new creation, we can at present have no idea. That he will do so is part of the truth of the resurrection, and perhaps one of the most comforting parts of all.”
Beloved brothers and sisters, work hard with Jesus’ resurrection life and strength pulsing through your body! Our work, as insignificant as often it may seem, is not in vain when done unto the Lord. May He be seen as beautiful in the way we work.
Song by Ryan Walker.
Production by Chris Clark.
Artwork by Chris Wright.