Imperishable Hope (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 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
There are many reasons that evil exists in the world. This post is not an extensive unpacking of all of those reasons though. This post centers around one question: does evil lead you to despair or to hope? When I say “evil,” I’m talking about the curse of sin that has affected everything. Everything bad in this world is a result of the curse of sin. Thousands of people die each day because of this curse.
Disability and disease are everywhere. Violence is commonplace. There is relational strife. Work is hard, and not always enjoyable. Our bodies get old and worn out. All of these things happen—not as a direct result of sin in every case—but because sin came into the world. But one thing that is sure and steady for the believer is hope. And what is our hope? 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: “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.”
Our hope is this: everything that is broken now will be fixed in heaven. There is coming a day when everything that was once impacted by the curse of sin will be made new and perfect. All the violence, pain, and sin will become but a memory. One book earlier, in the epistle of Romans, Paul makes a connection for us between our suffering and our hope in Romans 8:22-25:
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Suffering exists, not that we would despair, but that we would hope. Hope reminds us that the brokenness of this life is temporary, and there is coming a day when it will be no more. Now, we’re back at our original question: does evil (the curse of sin) lead you to despair or to hope? An earthly mindset might be given to despair, but a heavenly mindset will see through the pain to a hope-filled future.
Do you long for heaven? If not, what keeps you from longing for heaven?
Where do you tend to look for hope apart from the hope of heaven? Have you found lasting hope there? Why or why not?
How will you suffer differently if you are hoping in heaven versus if you are hoping elsewhere?