Have you ever stopped to think how important the resurrection of the dead is? Without resurrection there is no hope for man. There will be those who will be privileged to be “alive and remaining” until the coming of the Lord, or as Paul puts it in another place “we shall not all sleep”, and we earnestly hope that the Lord’s coming will be so near that we might number among that class. But none of us can be sure of today, let alone tomorrow, so the resurrection assumes critical and monumental importance for us all. It is the gateway to life for those who sleep in Christ, indeed for all of God’s chosen ones since creation.

Unlike Christendom about us which falsely believes that death is the gateway to eternal bliss, we know otherwise. We know that man is mortal because of sin and that this is a divine appointment from which none can escape. It matters not how powerful or numerous the adherents of popular Christianity may be, it cannot change the Biblically attested fact-the resurrection when the Lord comes, and not the event of death, is the time of reward.

“For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (1 Cor 15:16-18).

And this glorious hope of resurrection-this awakening as if from a sleep for those in Christ-will only happen because Christ has been raised in the first instance. In this sense, Christ’s resurrection is a powerful fact: it is the guarantee that others will also follow. Paul makes this clear when he says that Christ is the “firstfruits”. Clearly it is implied that others will follow him, as his next words go on to affirm: “afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Cor 15:23). What has taken place in the life of the captain of our salvation will equally apply to those “that are Christ’s”.

It is here that the challenge comes home to us. Are we “Christ’s”? Do we belong to him? Is he the greatest fact in our lives? Is he the most important person whose words and example motivate, govern and direct our lives? Do we take him into account in all the decisions we make in our lives? He will only assume this primacy in our lives if we keep our minds fixed upon him. There are so many distractions in these last perilous days, often exciting, novel and intriguing, that we are liable to take our eyes off the vision of the coming Kingdom over which our Lord will be king. We must keep close to the Word. Our daily readings are essential to keep the world’s values at bay.

We have to constantly assess the facts. The Truth and the Resurrection are the great issues that answer life’s uncertainties. All the inventions and new technologies cannot provide answers and give satisfaction. The foundations we have laid in Christ are immovable and true. Why was it that the band of disillusioned disciples of Christ suddenly were galvanised into a strong body of men witnessing to Christ regardless of the outcome? It was because of the resurrection-the resurrection of their Lord and the infallible proofs that they beheld (Acts 1:3).

Yes, there is a power in Christ’s resurrection. It must also be seen in our lives today, for have we not risen with Christ? (Rom 6:4-6). It was Paul’s earnest quest to identify with Christ, to so carefully follow him that he could say that he knew him.

Consider these amazing words and how you measure up to them in your personal quest to follow the Lord: “That I [Paul] may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Phil 2:10).

Paul knew that he would die for Christ’s sake. He knew that without resurrection he would never see light. His desire to “know Christ” was with a view to being resurrected, as he put it, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead”. He uses a special word here, “exanastasis,” meaning a “resurrection out of” the dead ones. It was not just resurrection that he sought for many will be raised to condemnation, but resurrection leading to life “out of the dead ones”.

We all have this glorious prospect before us. Though our outward man perishes as day follows day, we have the hope of life in a body restored, renewed and made “like unto the glorious body” of our risen Lord. We have opportunity “today” to make “our calling and election sure”. Let us assess rightly the great facts from the chaff. Let us realise that the Gospel of Christ we have received is the pearl of great price. Let us rid ourselves of the dross and vanity of our lives and dedicate ourselves to the things that do not perish and which are eternal. Remember that the mighty power which wrought to bring our Lord from the dead will yet again be unveiled on behalf of those whom Christ loves. He has the keys of “hell and of death” (Rev 1:18). Paul called upon the Ephesian brethren and indeed the Spirit in preserving that record calls upon us also to consider the following: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph1:17-20).