1 Corinthians 15:1-58
Yesterday we discussed the present hope that we have, knowing that we are daily being transformed into the glory of the image of God. That in itself is pretty awesome. However, for some that may not be much of a motivator to get out there and get your clay pot smashed! Our passage today gives us an even deeper root for the hope that it within us. This hope is rooted in the future; our eternal destiny. If you are a follower of Christ then you have the promise that this life, with all its gunk and trouble, is not the end, but only the beginning. As Peter said, we are just pilgrims and travelers in this world, just a passin’ through.
Paul transfers his analogy from that of a clay pot to that of a seed. Our bodies and the life we live right now are like a seed. (Sounds kind of like Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom, doesn’t it?) Within the seed is the full potential of the mature plant. Locked in the DNA is the blueprint for everything that the seed will become. Yet, until that seed “dies” and is buried in the ground, it will not unleash the potential that it stores and break out of its plain shell and emerge as something magnificent. Today we are nothing more than seeds. Through the Holy Spirit we carry within us the full potential of the Kingdom of God, but it has not yet reached its realization. Praise God that we have to die before the glory will be fully realized.
Herein lies the hope. Have you ever wondered how the Christians that have been thrown into prison, beaten, tortured, and left for dead can rejoice and praise God in the middle of such horrid circumstances. It is because of this fundamental truth. They know that their life is a seed pod. With every blow that their abuser makes to them, it brings them closer to their realized potential of glory. That is why Paul could say for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. This life is full of rich blessing and meaning and joy and beauty as we shine the light of the Kingdom into the darkness — so living is Christ. But, to die is to move into the fullness of God’s glory; that indescribable beauty.
Paul was addressing an issue that is still alive today. Many people in our world do not believe in a resurrection. Of course the naturalist does not believe in it. To them we are simply highly evolved animals that live, mate, and die. Nothing more, nothing less. Any ideas of hope, meaning, or purpose are accidental manifestations of an evolved brain trying to make sense out of a meaningless existence. It is understandable why a naturalist would believe this. It is sad, but understandable. What is tragic is that there are some Christians, being heavily under the influence of existentialist philosophy, who do not believe in the resurrection. Yikes! First of all, Paul could not be any clearer than he was in 1 Corinthians 15. Secondly, as Paul argued, if there is no resurrection, then what is the point. Jesus was just a man, who didn’t rise. We are blips on a cosmic screen with no purpose. As a follower of Christ and a believer in the truth of scripture, don’t buy into this . Our hope lies in the truth of the resurrection.
So, when things get rough for you, remember that you’re just a seed. You haven’t been fully planted yet. The Kingdom is growing in your heart. Tough times are the process of cultivating the soil around you so that you can be fully planted. Praise God that someday we will sprout into something beyond our wildest imaginations!