June 11, 2020
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8 NIV)
With all that is going on now, COVID-19 and the protests around the killing of George Floyd, I think Paul would say that this is still the most important thing in the world. What we think about our existence after this life should have a significant impact on how we live our lives. The good news is that Jesus rose from the dead and in that event, we find hope for our own resurrection.
I have been reading Pensées by Blaise Pascal. Pascal is a mathematician and presents his case for the gospel with mathematical logic. The book is not an easy read, but there is much to think about related to what Paul has written here in Corinthians. Here are two quotes to give you a sample:
There are three kinds of people in the world; those who have sought God and found Him and now serve Him, those who are seeking Him, but have not yet found Him, and those who neither seek Him nor find Him. The first are reasonable and happy, the second reasonable and unhappy, and the third unreasonable and unhappy. — Blaise Pascal
Let us reflect on this , and then say whether it is not beyond doubt that there is no good in this life but in the hope of another ; that we are happy only in proportion as we draw near it ; and that , as there are no more woes for those who have complete assurance of eternity , so there is no more happiness for those who have no insight into it . – Blaise Pascal
Where do we find purpose in life if there is no life after this one? It is possible to experience momentary pleasures, but what is the point if there is no overall purpose to our existence? We have no idea what the future holds in terms of our life on this earth. We might have predicted the unrest that has come after the George Floyd killing, but who would have ever thought that a virus would cause the whole world to pause?
It is at times just like this that as Christians we must remember what is most important. All our inconveniences are trivial compared to the promise of eternity with God. It is difficult to hang on to this perspective, but even if we spend a lifetime in pain and suffering it amounts to no more than a blip compared to eternity. I want to be the first kind of person that Pascal identifies. I want to be someone who has found God and loves serving Him. I want to be someone who is reasonable and happy. I believe Jesus is alive and that makes all the difference in how I approach today.
With all the time I have been spending in the car I have been listening to many sermons. I have found the series below helpful and hopeful. It is by Rich Atchley of The Hill Church in Richland, Texas. The series title is Homecoming and it is about heaven. The encouraging focus has been what Rich has had to say about how heaven should impact our current lives.