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Faithful Words

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Faithful Words

By Dr. Kenneth Faught

 

    I believe in . . . the future   “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55, RSV)     Sometimes when we look at the world we may become fearful of the future. We are confronted almost daily with the specters of global warming, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism. There is little doubt that cultural values are becoming increasingly un-Christian. Our children and grandchildren are facing enormous problems – many of which we have created or to which we have contributed. And yet, there is cause for optimism! The late Corrie tenBoom said, “I have read the last of revelation. Jesus is Victor!” The Bible and The Apostles’ Creed challenge us to believe in an event called “the resurrection of the body.” The word resurrect means “to stand again.” When we think of death, and funerals, and burials, we are also called upon to remember that Jesus was “crucified, dead, and buried”, but that “on the third day he rose from the dead.” The early church believed that Christians would not die (the generation living when Christ returns), and that “the dead in Christ” would rise again. Read all about it in 1 Corinthians 15. The Bible and The Apostles’ Creed also challenge us to believe in an experience called “life everlasting.” Our finite minds cannot grasp eternity – we can only grapple with it. If we could imagine all the sand on all the beaches and all the deserts in the world, and think imagine a bird flying from a million miles away every million years to carry away just one grain of sand, when all of the sand is gone, eternity would be just beginning! When does eternal life begin? In a sense, it begins at conception, for we are made “in the image of God” and God is eternal. In another sense, it begins at conversion, for Christ brings us new life abundant and eternal. Christians understand that death is really just a step from time into eternity. Jesus secures eternal life for us, for he was “the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 COR 15:20). The pivotal teaching in the New Testament is the resurrection of Jesus. For this reason, Easter and not Christmas is the holiest of the Holy Days. Billy Joe Shave wrote it; Johnny Cash sang it; The Bible teaches it; the Apostles’ Creed affirms it; we believe it: “I’m gonna live forever, I’m going to cross that river, I’m going to catch tomorrow now.” I believe in the future – the resurrection of the body – the life everlasting. (Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.)