8th April 2013

God Has Plans For us

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift … for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:7, 12-13 (NKJV UK)

We have been looking at the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and in Hebrews 6:2, Paul now goes on to “of the resurrection of the dead”. At the time he wrote this, this was quite an alien concept. For Christians today it has become part of our familiar scene, largely taken for granted and largely dismissed in our understanding.

But resurrection of the dead is alien. We all lose friends and family throughout life to death, and not one of them has ever returned “from the other side”. Atheists and agnostics have a field day in ridicule and scorn. For Christians this is a matter of faith, but not blind faith. God does not expect us to believe in the resurrection of the dead just because it is mentioned in the Bible. He gives us proof. Oh, not scientific proof such as our scientists demand, and petulantly refuse without it, but proof positive none the less.

For a Christian the proof requires faith: “[Because] if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Do we believe that Jesus died for our sins? That he was crucified as the fitting sacrifice to deal completely with our sins? Then part of that belief (faith) is that God resurrected him to life again because: “if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). Jesus’ death allows us to get back to God, we are ‘reconciled’ to God. But then Jesus’ life leads us on to perfection and ultimately to life eternal.

Paul goes on to emphasise this time and again: “…and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day…” (1 Corinthians 15:4). “…if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (verse 14). “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (verse 19). In fact the whole chapter spells out that, part and parcel with the Christian belief that Christ not only died to take care of our sins, he also lives to take care of them (verse 17). Without Christ’s life, his resurrected life, we are without hope.

And so this hope becomes foundational to our Christian walk with God. And as we walk and experience God’s living presence with us, it becomes proof positive. We know. It is not theory. It is not wishful thinking. We know, and we know that we know, and that’s proof that our faith is not in vain.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, help us to see that this life is but a training ground for the life to come. Not to be a purposeless life of ease and idleness, but one of purpose and putting into practical use the skills and learning we have practised in this life. To be kings and priests to our God as he shares his universe with us. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

About the Author:johnstettaford

John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:

Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, 6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
READING
RG30 4EL

Meeting time:

Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:

John Stettaford
Phone:  01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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