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A New Attitude


Last week I counted the number of times Lisa and I have moved since we’ve been married. We got married before our senior year of college, then moved to St. Louis after graduation. We lived in three houses in the nine years we were there. Then we moved to Ft. Worth, and later to Springdale, Arkansas. We have now been in Iowa for nearly six years, and are on our second house in Waukee. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 8 houses and 7 moves in 26 years of marriage. I know some who have moved more and some who have moved less, but we all share one thing in common: we all hate to move.

Boxes, packing, lifting, loading, change of address forms, unpacking, sorting, arranging and rearranging, you know the drill. It’s a painful process that is only made bearable by the anticipation that at some future point we’ll be finished with the move and will settle into our new contexts. There is something good on the other side of the move. That’s what gets us through it.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can have a new attitude about death. Death for the believer is like making that big move. It’s difficult and can be unpleasant, but we know there’s something better on the other side.

This is what Paul was trying to convey in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.
But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere. (1 Corinthians 15:20-28, NLT)

Paul has previously argued that Jesus was raised by the Father and remained raised forever more. Because Jesus has been raised, he becomes the “first fruits” of all who have died. “First fruits” implies more fruit and later fruit. Jesus was raised to a life that knows no death and in that sense becomes the forerunner of all who follow. The resurrection of Jesus guarantees our resurrection. Therefore, resurrection is both proof that Jesus was who he said he was and promise that we will share in the resurrection as well.

Death came through one man, Adam. In Adam, all die. That death involves more than physical death, though that is certainly included. In Adam, all experience death. We all share in the solidarity of Adam’s guilt. But Jesus came as the second Adam and reversed the trend. In the first Adam, all die and experience separation from God. In the second Adam (Jesus) all may find life and union with God. The last enemy to be defeated is death. Through the resurrection, Jesus claimed victory over death, eliminated the power that death holds over our lives, and demonstrated authority over death by placing it under his feet. We must face physical death. But the resurrection ensures that we will not face spiritual death. We have eternal life. Because of that, death is not a bitter end. It is a new beginning. That new attitude about death provides us with hope that sustains our lives.

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