In our culture, there are many confusing and often contradicting beliefs about what happens at death.
I am not talking about beliefs that are the result of false religions, I am speaking of beliefs within Christianity.
What do you expect to happen when you die?
Will you go to heaven? Will your soul sleep until the resurrection?
Will you be taken out of time? Where is heaven anyway?
The belief that when we die we are whisked away to some paradise where we will sit in clouds, play harps, and get a pair of wings could not be further from what the Bible teaches.
Instead, the Bible clearly teaches that the hope of Christianity is the hope that we will be resurrected from the dead.
We will receive a new glorified body, and in that body we will live to glorify God in the New Heavens and on the New Earth.
This is a hope that makes Christianity different than every other religion in the world.
The Christian Hope really begins with the first Easter. With the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes Christians think that death is our way of escaping the world.
But Jesus did not die and rise so we could escape the world, he died in order to redeem the world.
Genesis 1:31 states that all God created was very good.
Genesis 3 however, tells another story, a story about how humanity disobeyed God and gave birth to death. Spiritual death.
The effects of the fall in Genesis 3 are far reaching. We read that the curse incurred by Adam’s eating of the fruit brought thorns to the ground, it put enmity between people and animals.
In other words, what Adam did effected all of God’s creation.
That is why Paul compares Adam to Christ in Romans 5.
Read Romans 5:12-14.
Adam disobeyed God
Christ obeyed God
Adam brought death
Christ brings life
Adam caused all to be inclined to sin
Christ sends the Holy Spirit to help us overcome temptation
Adam ate of a tree that brought death
Christ died on a tree that gives life
In Adam we are separated from God
In Christ we are adopted as Sons and Daughters
The fruit Adam ate brings death
Christ’s resurrection is a first fruit of what we are to become
We do not look to Adam to see what being a human is all about
We look to Christ. Christ was victorious where Adam failed.
What Adam corrupted, Christ perfects.
We became separated from God in Adam, but in Christ we are reconciled.
Christ is our hope and we look to his resurrection to see what we will become.
What we will become is transformed. We are transformed so that we rightly bear God’s image. The image that was broken when Adam chose to sin.
Read 1 Cor. 15:20-49
We will receive a new body. The body we receive will be a gift of God’s love and grace towards his creation.
We will remain human just as Jesus has kept his human nature since the incarnation. We do not become angels.
We will not be spirits in a far off place, our bodies will be restored to what God desires them to be.
We will be incorruptible.
Read Rev. 21:1-4
When Christ returns, he will transform all of the fallen creation. He will redeem all of it.
And when he does, the New Heavens and earth will be joined together.
We will not escape from this earth, we will dwell on it anew when it has been transformed by Jesus Christ, the Word of God.
Now that we have seen what Christ is doing as part of our redemption, we must ask what that hope means for today? How are we to live now in light of the Christian hope?
Because we have been saved, we are responsible.
We are responsible to be good stewards over God’s creation.
We are responsible to share God’s Kingdom with the world around us, with and in our culture.
When Jesus returns he will finish the work he started, but it is our job as believers to show people glimpses of God’s transforming power now.
What you do in this earthly life has eternal value to God.
As his stewards, we must build God’s Kingdom.
So how do we build God’s Kingdom?
We do so by creating beauty in life (in art, in work, etc.)
We do so through evangelism, by sharing the gospel.
We do so by ending suffering and pain whenever possible.
We do so by sharing the forgiveness we have received with others.
We do so, by making peace in a world that seems to have so little of it.
We do so by working for God’s glory in all our jobs. Parenting, banking, etc.
We do so through prayer for God to work in and through us, and for God to bring his final kingdom.
How are you living out the Christian hope in your life?