The Doctrine of the Literal Physical Resurrection by Martyn Lloyd Jones
All the passages below are taken from Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book “The Assurance of our Salvation.” The sermons were preached at Westminister Chapel, London, from 1952 to 1953. It was originally published in four volumes: Seed in Eternity, Safe in the World, Sanctified through the Truth, and Growing in the Spirit. It was published in one volume in 2000
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17). Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33).
As we continue with our consideration of this great verse—`Father, sanctify them through thy truth [or in thy truth], thy word is truth’—I should like to link with it the statement out of the mighty fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians: `Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners’ (1 Corinthians 15:33). In other words, I want to consider with you the relevance of the doctrine of the Resurrection to the whole question of our sanctification, and I propose to do so by considering the essential message of this particular chapter. Every aspect of Christian truth, every aspect of the gospel, should influence us and thereby promote our sanctification. We have already looked at a number of doctrines that do this, and now we are to consider how the particular doctrine or emphasis on the truth of the fact of the Resurrection has a vital bearing upon our growth in grace and our sanctification.
Now 1 Corinthians 15 is generally regarded as the great chapter on the Resurrection, and so of course it is. But there is always the danger, it seems to me, that unless we are very careful and consider it in its context we will not entirely understand its point and purport. The context is always important and it is exceptionally so in connection with this particular chapter, because it is not merely a general statement of the doctrine of the Resurrection. It is that, but it is not primarily that. It was not even written for that purpose. The apostle did not sit down and say, `Well now, it would be a good thing for me to write to the people at Corinth an account of this doctrine, and of this vital fact of the Resurrection.’ There was no need for he had already done that on his first visit to Corinth with his great message.
He tells us here what he did preach to them: `For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve …’ and so on. He had already preached the facts and the interpretation and the significance and the meaning of the facts. So at this point, he was not just setting out to write an account, or make a statement of the doctrine of the Resurrection.
Neither must we regard this great chapter, as I am afraid so many tend to do, merely as a very appropriate chapter to read at a funeral. We all probably know this chapter very well for that reason. It is the custom to do this, and I am sure there are large numbers of people who instinctively think of it only in terms of a funeral—as something which is meant to give comfort and solace to the relatives of the one who is being buried. That is the context into which we tend to put it, but, as I want to show you, all that is entirely wrong. This chapter, indeed the whole epistle, was written with a very practical end in view.
The first letter to the Corinthians was not written primarily as a sort of theological treatise. There is a great deal of theology in it, as I am going to show you, but when the apostle wrote it, he was not setting out merely to write a series of statements on doctrine. Nor was it meant to be some sort of compendium of doctrine of all the letters he ever wrote. In many ways it is the most practical of his letters. It is one of those great omnibus epistles in which Paul takes up a number of questions, most of which had been sent to him by the members of the church at Corinth, or else had arisen out of certain things he had heard about some of the Christians there. If he ever sat down to write a very practical, pastoral letter, the apostle Paul did so when he wrote this one.
Paul had become very concerned about the life of the members of the church at Corinth, and, in particular, he was concerned about their behaviour. In other words, he was concerned about their sanctification. Things were happening there which were quite wrong. For instance, there was the abuse of the Communion Service, with some people eating too much and drinking too much. There was also trouble about the weaker brother, about meats offered to idols, and about the whole question of sects and divisions and schism. Now the apostle was concerned about these matters, not only from a primary theological standpoint, but particularly because of their effect upon the daily life of the church, and the life of its members.
And in exactly the same way he was concerned for them over this question of Resurrection, because certain people had been teaching them a false doctrine about it. They had been saying that it was not a fact and that there was not to be a general resurrection at all, but that resurrection was some kind of spiritual continuation of life. They were evacuating the whole idea of the Resurrection of our Lord of its true meaning and significance, and the apostle was very concerned about this. And why? Because `evil communications corrupt good manners’. You cannot believe a wrong thing and still live a right life, says Paul. Your conduct is determined by what you believe, so evil communications, evil teachings, evil beliefs, are going to corrupt your conduct. He could see quite clearly that if this false teaching concerning the Resurrection really got a grip on these people at Corinth, then their whole life and conduct, their morality and behaviour were going to deteriorate. He declares that there is nothing, therefore, which is more vital and more urgent than that they should be right about this particular matter.
Let me translate all this into modern terms. According to the apostle Paul here, there is nothing which is quite so dangerous as to say that it does not matter very much what a man believes so long as he somehow believes in Christ; that you must not particularise over these things, and insist upon believing this or that, in detail, about these great matters. According to the apostle, that is about the most dangerous statement a person can ever make. To Paul this is so vital that he writes this powerful chapter about it.
It is important for this reason: the people who had been teaching this false doctrine regarded themselves as Christians. If they had gone to the church at Corinth and said that Christianity was all wrong and that they did not believe in Christ at all, nobody would have listened to them. But they did not do that. They purported to be Christians; they said they were preaching Christ. Yes, but they had denied his literal physical resurrection, and they still called themselves Christians. And the members of the church at Corinth who had been listening to this false teaching, and who were ready to accept it, were also members of the church, and regarded themselves as Christians. They never imagined for a moment that by believing this false doctrine they were ceasing to be Christian; they even thought it was an improvement upon the doctrine that Paul had taught them.
We begin, therefore, to see the significance of all this. There are many in the church today who would have us believe that so long as a man says, `I am a Christian, I believe in Christ,’ all is well and you do not ask him any questions at all. That is not the position of the apostle Paul. He says, in effect, `It is not a matter of indifference as to whether Christ really did rise in the body on the morning of the third day or not. To me,’ he says, ‘it is not a matter of indifference as to whether Christ merely goes on living in a spiritual sense and never really came out of the grave and appeared and showed himself to his disciples and to certain chosen witnesses, and then ascended in their presence. To me it is absolutely vital, and there must be no uncertainty about this at all.’
So it is not a matter of indifference; it is not enough just to say that though Christ was crucified on the cross, he still goes on living and can still influence us in this world in a spiritual sense. The gospel of the New Testament, the message of the Christian church from the beginning, is one which is based on the literal physical resurrection of the Son of God from the grave. It is based on the empty tomb, on the literal historical fact of Christ risen in the body from the dead.
And this is vital, as the apostle here emphasises, from the practical standpoint. Its importance emerges as we see the effect of wrong doctrine upon our daily life and living. Do you notice his argument? He says, Why baptise for the dead, ‘… if the dead rise not at all? … And why stand we in jeopardy ever hour?’ (vv. 29-30). If I am risking my life and my reputation on this matter, as I am, says Paul, I am a fool if this fact of the resurrection is not a fact. `I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily’ (v. 31). He was dying daily for the gospel, but he says, this is all wrong if that other doctrine is right. `If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die’ (v.32). So let there be no mistake about all this, says the apostle. What a man believes does matter; what a man believes in detail does count.
And it is as true in the church today as it was when Paul penned those words. What a man believes is ultimately going to determine his life. A man who is loose in doctrine eventually becomes loose also in his life and in his behaviour. And I do not hesitate to say that the church of God on earth is as she is today primarily because of the looseness of belief in doctrine which entered in the last century, and has continued to the present time. You cannot separate these things; doctrine and conduct are indissolubly linked. That is why the apostle writes the chapter and fights as he does for the truth of this particular doctrine.
Let us, therefore, see why all this is true and how it works out. Why must we believe in the New Testament doctrine of the literal physical Resurrection? I will give you a number of answers to that question. The first is that it is the one thing, above everything else, which really proves that Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal Son of God. I do not want to concentrate on this now, as we are more concerned with the practical aspects of the letter. But let us be clear about this. He was `declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead’ (Romans 1:4). It was the Resurrection that finally convinced the disciples, who hitherto had been uncertain and doubtful and sceptical. They were crestfallen and dejected because of the death on the cross. It was when they knew that he had risen, that they knew he was the Son of God. The Resurrection is the final ultimate truth of the unique deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the ultimate certainty of the fact that he is indeed the only begotten Son of God.
And that, of course, leads to this: it substantiates his claim that he had been sent into the world by the Father to do a particular work. He kept on saying that; it is the great theme of John 17. He had been sent into the world by the Father to do a given work, and here, by the Resurrection, he proves that he has done the work, and completed it. Paul says in Romans: `Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification’ (Romans 4:25). If the Lord Jesus Christ had not literally risen physically from the grave, we could never be certain that he had ever really finished the work. And what was the work? It was to satisfy the demands of the law. The law of God demands that the punishment for sin shall be death, and if he has died for our sins, we must not only be certain that he has died, but that he has finished dying, and that there is no longer death. He has answered the ultimate demands of the law, and in the same way he has answered all the ultimate demands of God. The argument of the New Testament is that when God raised his Son from the dead, he was proclaiming to the whole world, I am satisfied in him: I am satisfied in the work he has done. He has done everything. He has fulfilled every demand. Here he is risen—therefore I am satisfied with him.
Not only that. The Resurrection proved that he has conquered every enemy that was opposed to him, to God, and to us. He has not only satisfied the law and conquered death and the grave, he has vanquished the devil and all his forces, and hell and all the principalities and powers of evil. He has triumphed over them all, and he proves it in the Resurrection. The devil cannot hold him; death and hell cannot hold him. He has mastered them all; he has emerged on the other side. He is the Son of God, and he has completed the work which the Father had sent him to do.
And all this, of course, is of vital importance to us. It is only in the light of the Resurrection that I finally have an assurance of my sins forgiven. It is only in the light of the Resurrection that I ultimately know that I stand in the presence of God absolved from guilt and shame and every condemnation. I can now say with Paul, `There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1) because I look at the fact of the Resurrection. It is there that I know it.
You notice how Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15:17 when he says, `If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.’ If it is not a fact that Christ literally rose from the grave, then you are still guilty before God. Your punishment has not been borne, your sins have not been dealt with, you are yet in your sins. It matters that much: without the Resurrection you have no standing at all. You are still uncertain as to whether you are forgiven and whether you are a child of God. And when one day you come to your death-bed you will not know, you will be uncertain as to where you are going and what is going to happen to you. `Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification’ (Romans 4:25). It is there in the Resurrection that I stand before God free and absolved and without a fear and know that I am indeed a child of God. So you see the importance of holding on to this doctrine and why we must insist upon the details of doctrine, and not be content with some vague general belief in the Lord Jesus Christ?
`But wait a minute,’ I can imagine someone saying. `Yes I believe all that, but my problem is, how am I to live in this world? You announce that great doctrine to me, but I am still confronted by the world, the flesh and the devil, and how am I going to meet that? My problem is, how to be sanctified, how to become holy; how to advance in grace and in the knowledge of God, and to follow Christ as I want to do?’ Well the answer is given by St Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:13, 19, 32-33.. . . . If we are concerned about our life in this world, and the fight against the world, the flesh and the devil, the first thing we must do, says the apostle, is to take an overall look at this great doctrine of the Resurrection of our Lord. The important thing always is not to be content only with considering your own particular sins. We have been emphasising that a good deal in considering this matter of sanctification, and we have seen that most people are defeated because they start with their own particular sin—the thing that gets them down. And, of course, they cannot get away from it: they are held captive by it. No, says Paul, the way to deal even with that particular problem is to turn your back upon it for the moment, and to look at the whole general situation and see yourself as a part of it, in this world.
The Lord Jesus Christ, according to this teaching, came into the world because of this problem of sin and evil: that is the whole meaning of the Incarnation. He came in order to fight the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of sin, and of Satan. That was the whole purpose of his coming. Not only did he come to do that, he has succeeded in doing it. He was tempted of the devil, and he repulsed him every time: he mastered him. He defeated and conquered the devil and all his powers and all the forces of Hades. And he has finally done so in his death and in his glorious resurrection.
`Yes, that is all very well,’ says our questioner, `but after all, when I look around me I do not seem to see that. I see sin and temptation flagrant, rampant. I see men intent upon evil. I see wars and hear of rumours of wars. It is all very well for you to say that Christ has conquered all these powers, but I do not see that in this world. How is all you are saying really going to help me?’
The answer is here in verses 23-25. `But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.’
Now this means that the Lord Jesus Christ is still continuing the fight. When he was on earth in his own person he defeated the enemy at every point, and he finally routed and defeated him on the cross and in the Resurrection. Yes, but now having ascended up into heaven, he has led captivity captive, and is seated on the right hand of God’s throne and authority and power. And what is he doing there? Well, according to this teaching, he is reigning there. This world has not got out of hand. It is still God’s world, and Christ is still ruling and reigning over it. All authority is in his hands. He has been able to open the Book of history and the Book of destiny. He alone was strong enough to break the seals and to open the Book. So what we are taught by the Resurrection is that Christ is still there bringing his own purpose to pass.
We do not understand it all; we do not understand why he did not immediately bring it all to an end, but he has chosen not to do so. He has chosen to save a certain number of people; the fullness of the Gentiles and the fullness of Israel have got to come in. But this is the thing that is certain: as certainly as Christ rose triumphant over the grave, he is reigning at this moment, and he will reign until the time comes for him to return. The Lord Jesus Christ is going to come back into this world, and finally take the devil and all his forces, and cast them into a lake burning with fire. Evil and sin and wrong, and everything that is opposed to God, are going to be destroyed completely, and Christ will hand back a perfect kingdom to his Father. It is absolutely certain: he must reign, he will reign, until all his enemies have been put beneath his feet.
Now we must start with that. Our tendency is to be frightened by the devil and by temptation and the power and the forces of evil. `Ah,’ we say, `how can a man, a weak man, fight against all that?’ I say, look away from yourself for a moment; look at what is coming. He is reigning; he rules, and he is finally going to rout his enemies, and end it all. That is the general picture.
But let me show you the argument in a slightly more personal manner. How do I apply all that to my own case? I do so in this way. In a spiritual sense I am already risen with Christ: we have seen that in our previous studies. I am in Christ and Christ is in me. I am to reckon myself to be dead indeed to sin, and alive unto God. I have died with Christ; I have been buried with him; and I have risen with him. As a new man, I am in Christ, and as a new man in Christ I have risen; I have finished with death. I have got to die physically, but I have finished with the condemnation of death, and the terror and the sting of death have been taken out, as far as I am concerned. I am risen with him already spiritually.
But here I want to emphasise this other aspect. I am already risen with him spiritually, but I am yet going to rise with him in a physical and in a literal sense. `For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming…’ (vv. 22-23), and then all the others. The resurrection of Christ, and the fact of the resurrection of Christ, is a certain, absolute announcement and proclamation that you and I and all people likewise rise from the grave in the body. The apostle explains how it all happens in the later portion of this great chapter—read it for yourselves, it is all there. `We shall all be changed’ (v.51). It will not be flesh and blood. There will be a change in `the twinkling of an eye’. But we are all going to rise as the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the grave on that third morning. There will be some people left on earth when the Lord comes and they will be changed; it comes to the same thing.
But what does all this mean? Let me tell you what the Scripture says, and you will see its significance in the matter of our sanctification, and in the matter of our daily living. What I do know is that we shall all appear before the Judgement Throne of Christ, and give an account of the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad. And let me remind you, Christian people, that that is true of you and of me. Every one of us who is a Christian will have to appear before that Throne and give an account. But you see now the significance of the doctrine of the Resurrection: `Evil communications corrupt good manners.’ A man who realises every day of his life that he has got to stand before Christ and give an account, is a man who is very soon going to pay attention to the way he is living.
We shall all appear before him, and not only that, we read in 1 John 3:2 that, `We shall see him as he is.’ What a tremendous thought that is! Here on earth we have spent our time reading about him, thinking and meditating concerning him, but then we shall see him as he is. `Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). Do you realise that? It is the Resurrection which tells you that—his resurrection, your resurrection. Furthermore, the next phrase in 1 John 3:2 tells us that we shall be like him. Paul says here in 1 Corinthians 15:53 that we shall be incorruptible—`This corruptible must put on incorruption’—and in Philippians 3:21 he tells us that the Lord will return and that he `shall change our vile body [the body of our humiliation] that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.’ My very body shall be changed; I shall be incorruptible; I shall be glorified; I shall be like him even in my body. What a staggering thought!
And then beyond all that, these Scriptures tell us that we shall spend our eternity in his glorious presence. We shall be with him, with God, with Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with the spirits of just men made perfect, with holy angels. Because we shall rise we shall go on and spend our eternity in that indescribable glory. That is what the Scripture tells us is the significance and the meaning of this doctrine of the Resurrection.
What, then, do I conclude from all this? What are the deductions that we must inevitably draw from all this if we really believe it? Well the first, surely, is that if that is true, then we must have nothing to do with this condemned world. If I really believe that this world is evil and that it belongs to Satan, I must believe the apostle when he says that Christ must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. `Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and authority and power’ (I Corinthians 15:24). The New Testament message is that the world is controlled by the devil and by hell. Worldliness is evil—the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye and the pride of life. It is all evil; it is all under condemnation. It is going to be destroyed, utterly and completely. If we believe all this, can we still desire that? Do we still want it? Do we regard the gospel that tells us to turn our backs upon it all as narrow? What interest can we possibly have in it?
My dear friends, we are inconsistent, we are false, if we say one thing and do the other. We are contradicting our own doctrine. If we really believe this message, how can we desire the world, and how can we enjoy it? It is to be destroyed, and if we belong to it we shall be destroyed with it. `Evil communications corrupt good manners.’ Those who really believe this doctrine that we have been looking at together will not want to compromise with that world which is under condemnation, and with evil and sin. I do not understand it when I see people who call themselves Christian attaching great significance to worldly position and worldly pomp and power, to things that belong to the realm of the condemned, to the realm of evil. There is nothing of that in the New Testament. We are all one before Christ, every one of us. Whatever we may happen to be by birth or position, we are all sinners, we are all under judgement, we are all condemned by the law. We have nothing to do with those worldly things, and if we believe this doctrine we must turn our backs upon them all, whatever may be the consequences. That is the first inevitable deduction.
The next thing I deduce is that it is our business and our duty always to keep our eyes on the ultimate. Half our troubles are due to the fact that we fail to do so. We are always looking at this sin of ours, this thing that gets us down today. But we must look at the ultimate. We must keep our eyes on the eternal. `For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while’—and only while—`we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen …’ (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Does that sin get you down? Have you been praying to be delivered from it and yet are still committing it? Well, let me give you a piece of advice. Stop praying about it; rather, remind yourself that you are going to die, and that after death you will rise from the dead, and that you will stand before the Judgement seat of Christ, that you are going to look into his face—into his eyes—and that you are going to `see him as he is’. And then if you can still go on doing that particular thing, I do not understand it. That is how the New Testament tells you to face your particular sin: just put it into the light of this ultimate doctrine. Realise that you call yourself a Christian, and all that that means, and what it is going to mean. Put everything into the light of that.
My third deduction is that having looked thus at the ultimate, we must never be discouraged. Oh, I am going further still—we have no right to be discouraged. It is a sin to be discouraged. A discouraged Christian is a contradiction in terms; he is denying his Lord. We must not be discouraged, because we are not left to ourselves. He is there seated at God’s right hand. He is reigning, and he has said, `All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth’ (Matthew 28:18). Do you not know, says Paul, writing to the Ephesians, the power that works in you? It is `his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead’ (Ephesians 1:19-20). You have no right to be discouraged. He, unseen, is still with us, bringing his purposes to pass, forming his kingdom, gathering out his elect, working it all to that ultimate end. We are not left to ourselves.
Then there is this great word with which Paul ends 1 Corinthians 15—`Therefore my beloved, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.’ It cannot be, in the light of this ultimate fact. It does not matter very much what men may say of you; it is what the Lord thinks that matters. Men may laugh at you, they may deride you; they may dismiss you, they may forget all about you, and of course, if you are thinking in terms of time, that is very serious. If you are only thinking of this world, then the greater the praise you get from men the better for you. Our Lord said about people like that: `Verily I say unto you, They have their reward’ (Matthew 6:2). It is the only reward they are going to get—the praise of men in this passing, temporary world. But if you know that you are a child of God and that you are going to stand before him and see him face to face, the only thing that is going to count with you is what he thinks, not what anybody else thinks. Do not be discouraged.
Then I draw this fourth deduction: that the world cannot separate me from him and from his love. `For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:39). I have despaired of myself a thousand times, and my only hope at such times is that though I cannot see anything in myself, he has loved me and has died for me, and will never let me go. I am certain of it.
But I also draw this deduction: if all this is true—and it is—then I have no time to lose or to spare. I shall see him as he is. I shall be like him. I shall stand before that Judgement Throne of his. Have I got time to waste in these days and in this world? The days and the weeks, the months and the years are slipping through my fingers. I will be dead before I know where I am. I have not a moment to waste. If I believe I am going there, it is about time that I began to prepare. If you knew you were going to have an audience at Buckingham Palace in a week, you would be getting ready, would you not? You would be preparing your clothing, and your appearance, and rightly so. If, therefore, you are going to face the King of kings and the Lord of lords and have an audience with him, have you a second to spare? `Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure’ (1 John 3:3). If you do not want to feel ashamed of yourself, and feel that you are a cad when you stand and look into his blessed holy face, and see the marks of the nails, and the wound in his side, which he suffered for you, then prepare for the sight of him, prepare yourself to meet him.
Then, above and beyond everything else, let us dwell upon the glory of it all. Here we are still in this sinful world, and there are so many discouragements, and people may misunderstand us, and things seem to go against us. My friends, do not look at them. `While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal’ (2 Corinthians 4:18). Oh, that the Holy Spirit might open our eyes! If we could but see something of them: `The things which God hath prepared for them that love him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9). The vision of God! To be with Christ! The ineffable purity and holiness of it all: the joy and the singing and the glory! No sighing, no sorrow, no tears, all that left behind: perfect, unmixed, unalloyed glory and happiness and joy and peace. The Resurrection tells us that if we belong to Christ we are going on to that.
So, then, this is the last conclusion, `Awake to righteousness, and sin not’ (1 Corinthians 15:34). The trouble, says Paul, is that `some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.’ The real trouble with a man who is living a life of sin, and who is not sanctified, is that he lacks the knowledge of doctrine. That is his trouble: he does not know these things. And if you and I are not more determined than ever to `awake to righteousness’ and to forsake sin, then the only explanation is that we do not believe the doctrine of the Resurrection. And if we do not, we are yet in our sins and are destined for hell, and may God have mercy on us.
But then to crown it all, in the last verse of this chapter 15 Paul uses the word `Therefore’. That is the argument, you see the logic—you cannot get away from it. It is not just beautiful language. You have heard people revelling in a beautiful service, and saying, `How marvellous, how beautiful, how perfect—the balance and the cadence and the lilt of the words!’ But that is not what the apostle wants you to feel. He wants you to say this, `Therefore’—`Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable.’ Let them say what they like about you: stand on your doctrine like a man, unmoveable. It is the doctrine of God; it is eternal. Stand steadfast, unmoveable, `always abounding in the work of the Lord’. In your personal life and living, in your life in the church and for him, in your personal witness and testimony, in the whole of your life—`abounding!’ `Forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.’ The doctrine of the Resurrection. What a stimulus to our sanctification!
Let nothing come between us and all this mighty truth that we have been considering together. This is vital. This is life. This is everything. (487-502)
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all.