When we see the word ‘therefore’ we have to ask what it is there for. What is it that made the apostle Paul so sure that their faith and work for God was not in vain? It’s the amazing fact that Jesus rose from the dead and that He is alive forevermore!
Why was the Apostle Paul so sure of this? Well he’d seen Jesus for himself on the Damascus road.
He found out later that Jesus had appeared to Simon Peter, then to the other disciples, then to James the brother of Jesus (who hadn’t believed His own brother was the Messiah while He was alive), and finally to all the apostles. Paul says ‘Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me’ (1 Corinthians 15:8).
Jesus had proved He was alive to His followers and the world was changed forever. But Jesus had said to Thomas ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (John 20:29).
Many of us have been told about Jesus and have had to take a step of faith to find out if it was all true. When God has answered our prayers and worked in our lives by His Holy Spirit we’ve become sure of our faith. We are blessed because we haven’t seen and yet we’ve believed.
Isaiah said ‘He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken’ (Isaiah 25:8-9). Paul quotes this when he says ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’
This is a promise that at some future time God's people will no longer be subject to death but will live forever.
We can be as sure of the resurrection of Jesus as a historical fact and know that one day we’ll be resurrected from the dead (unless we’re caught up with Him in the air when He comes again). This is why we can keep ‘abounding in the work of the Lord’ and know that in the Lord our labour ‘is not in vain’.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly father, sometimes we do get weary in the ministry we do for Your people. Thank You that You always encourage us and let us know that it’s all so worthwhile in Your eyes and then we are blessed and full of joy. Amen.
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