Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:50 - 58
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
One of our greatest desires is to see change in this world. We know that because of sin, our world is broken. Looking into ourselves, we see our constant failures. Looking out into the world, we see evil and corruption. Not only do we see, but we also feel the pain and consequences of sin. Because of sin, there is death and suffering. Because of sin, we inflict pain on each other.
As Christians, we long to see change. We hope that God will do something about all this chaos that is around us. The more we walk with God, the more will we realise the depths of our depravity. Humans are really, really, evil. And, that evil does not lie outside of us, that evil is inside of us. If we haven’t fallen into some great sin, it is only because God’s grace has withheld us. Because we have all fallen, we are all bound by the nature of sin. We are taken captive into rebellion against God and lust for fleshly desires at all costs.
Romans 3:10-11 says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Not only do we not seek God, but on the contrary, Ephesians 2:1-2 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience”. In our ignorance, we reject God and instead, follow Satan and his lies.
Ephesians goes on to speak about how we have been “made alive in Christ”. Yet, even though we know of such reality, we are often discouraged from day to day because it seems like we haven’t changed. We have such a powerful gospel, yet there appears to be little or no significant impact when we tell it to others. Why do our works seem in vain?
In such times, may God’s church look up to God’s assured promise. Death which once conquered us has been defeated by our Lord on the cross. The binding power of our sins has been cut free and put to death by Jesus Christ. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).
Remember that above the great depths of our sins, we have a loving and gracious God, who desires to pick us out of the lowliest places, clothe us in His righteousness, and change our lives for His glory. Take the ugliness of our sinfulness and place it besides God’s benevolent love, in such stark contrast lies God’s awesome glory. He loves broken and shameful sinners. He came to die for the worst of the worst. Prostitutes, tax collectors, even Christian-murdering terrorists like Paul, he chose to redeem.
God has a grand plan for us sinners who He chose to love. I pray that together we may grasp it. 1 Corinthians 51-52 reveals to us a mystery. When Christ comes back, we shall all be changed. For all of God’s children, God has promised that He will not fail to bring us into glory. No matter how sinful we are, how stubborn we are, when God’s love is for us, He will pursue us until we are fully glorified, wholly purified, and pleasing before His sight.
Not only will He do this for us, but He also promises to do so for His whole Church from all ages. Thus, in our ministry, take heart! v. 58 says, “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”. Be encouraged to serve the Lord with all your might because God will bring all His people into glory. Every single broken sinner God calls His own will be completely changed into God-pleasing saints.
If we can behold such a wondrous vision of that day to come, will we not labour now with joy? In serving Him with our all, God wills to let us partake in the unveiling of His grand plan. Each step of the way, He wants to show us a bigger glimpse of His glory. He wants to reveal the glories of His grace. For that, we were saved, as Ephesians 1 explores. Will you serve Him?
Lord, thank You for Your grace. Truly Your love is incomprehensible. Yet, let me learn to get to know You and Your glory. Thank You for Your assured promise of salvation. Thank You that on that day, Your whole church will be changed and made holy. Thank You that Your glory is manifested when You save many wretched souls and turn them into saints. Praise be to Your Name. Teach me to serve You and to live for You with my whole life, because in Your promises, our labour is not in vain. In Jesus’ name, amen.