Focus – Looking for Consolution
By Major Anne Pickup –
A wonderful Christian man, a faithful soldier of the Army, a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and personal friend of mine, has died.
The call came early in the morning. I couldn’t return to sleep, having been once again thrown into the grip of grief. No consolation can be found for the mystery of life and death if left to our own emotions, thoughts and memories. But there is consolation for the Christian, found in the Word of God, specifically I Corinthians 15.
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (vs 3-4)
Here is the Gospel in a nutshell, the activating force being the resurrection of Christ. Knowing his audience, Paul uses logic to support this truth: If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Jesus can’t have risen, which means none of us will ever rise from the dead–so preaching the Gospel is useless and life is hopeless. BUT (don’t you love that word in Scripture!) Christ did rise from the dead, therefore, we will rise too! So, the Gospel is true and life (as well as death) has hope.
Here is our consolation. Adam, representing humankind, had an earthly body which died, returning as dust to the earth. BUT Christ, representing what we shall be, resurrected from the grave with a “life giving spirit” (immortal soul) and a heavenly body. In Christ, and because of the resurrection, there is a complete transformation of the Christian following death.
To explain the transformation Paul uses an analogy. What you plant in the ground, he explains, is not what is produced. A seed becomes wheat, a bulb becomes a flower. So, our natural earthly body, dishonored by sin and marked by weakness and death, is raised as a spiritual heavenly body, glorious without sin, powerful and immortal.
When we become Christians many of the ravages of sin are removed. We are redeemed, made new.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
II Corinthians 5:17
But death remains as a reality.
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (vs.26)
Until the day when the trumpet sounds to take Christians to the “new heaven and new earth” we will live with the sting of sin–death. BUT, because Christ had victory over death, we too will have ultimate victory over death.
This is the Gospel. This is our hope. This is our consolation.