Imagine a world in which there was no resurrection. I’ll give you a minute to get there. You there? You depressed yet?
As a Christian I can only wonder on this point, “what do people feel when they do not believe in a resurrection.” What are the daily thoughts of someone whose only hope is the daily routines of life, work, hobbies, and other such things that occupy a human life? It begs a far too lengthy and philosophical existential question. So for the sake of this writing I won’t go there. But the question still remains…what if Jesus never promised eternal life, what if the extent of God’s relationship with humanity was to create them, let them live for a time, and then let them die with no hope for anything more? The resurrection is a big deal!
If there were no resurrection unto eternal life, there would be no other hope for life and our earthly existence would look exactly like it does today. Our American culture lives life and makes claims of how to live your life absent of the reality of eternity. When it preaches pithy sentiments such as “Live everyday to the full”, “You are the creator of your own destiny”, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” (or throw lemon juice in your enemy’s eyes), and of course “Live like everyday is your last.” The majority of people you and I interact with on a daily basis live their lives as if this is it. Not in depression, but in denial of the severity of the issue of eternal existence. They “celebrate life” and try to make the best of it. The difficulty comes when Christians adapt this same mentality. To believe in what the Bible really says about the resurrection (and not some weird American “enlightenment” philosophical Pelagian version) changes the way in which we live our lives today. If life is truly eternal then our earthly life, for the few years we have, is insignificant in grand scheme. I am not asserting that people are all the same when they think about the resurrection as if making a grandiose generalization, but rather thinking on a macro level so that we can think on a micro level into our own beliefs. It is written:
“13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:13-17.
The resurrection and the reality of our belief in the true existence of it naturally changes the way we view every amount and quality of our lives. Because the resurrection is true and the follower of Christ will spend eternity with Him: 1) We realize we don’t have to live life as if it is our last, but that we live for the glory of Christ and trust He will keep us here as long as He would desire for us; 2) Life’s joys are truly those which direct us to our greater joy in Christ; 3) Our relationships with other people become increasingly less selfish, and marital relations become about the glory of God and furthering His kingdom, rather than simply self-fulfillment and romantic emotionalism; 4) Life’s struggles, sufferings, tribulations, and fleshly temptations fail in comparison to the joy to be experienced when Jesus our beloved bridegroom and hope is revealed; and 5) Our desire for the furthering of the gospel to those whose eternal futures exist of separation from God becomes a real passion in our hearts because we desire like Christ that “those who believe would not perish, but have eternal life.” So the gospel becomes preeminent in our lives and our view of sinners transformed from indignation and wrath for them to being covered in compassion and mercy from the Holy Spirit because of the cross and resurrection of Christ. It shows us the power of Christ to awaken the dead and forgive our eternally devastating trespasses displaying for us the goodness of our great God.