Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Hope of the Resurrection

The Christian hope of the resurrection is distinct from all other hopes and all other religions. 

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"

B. We do not just “move beyond” death but death is conquered. If earth is a battlefield between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan—then it does not good for all the players to make a strategic retreat to heaven. Satan who has the power of death (Heb. 2:14) has his greatest weapon destroyed. It is sort of like a judo move. I am told that in judo the goal is not to meet force with force but use the enemies own strength against him. So Christ makes a judo move: he uses death—His own death to bring life. He succumbs to death, exhausts its curse and then brings forth new life—first His own brought by each of the three persons of the Trinity. And then He brings our own life for those who trust in Him.

It is like the movie the Matrix. Remember at the end when the hero Neo is fighting Agent Smith. Agent Smith goes on this tirade of how all is lost and say “Why do you still fight”. New says, “Because I choose too.” And then Neo suddenly chooses to stop fighting. Smith hits the crushing blow—Neo is dead. But then suddenly the world they are fighting—dark and evil—breaks down and it is reborn into light and recreated. Neo defeats death by dying and everything is reborn. The parallels are intentional.

There is one fatal flaw. In the last seen Neo’s body is taken by the computers into a blinding light. And he is gone. The fatal flaw is that the matrix might be recreated in beauty and restored—but Neo never lives again. He goes into the light of glory disembodied—a soul with a dead body. Death appears conqueror but the one who conquered it remains dead---there is no hope. The friends of Neo say ‘well he may return’. BUT THE FATAL FLAW IS: Neo stays dead!

C. Christianity is a hope like no other. The Christian faith has a living hope because we put our hope in Jesus. The Christian faith is certain hope. Death has been defeated by Christ. We know exactly what is coming. We have proof positive. God has furnished proof of a judgment and that we can pass the judgment: he has done this by raising Christ from the dead.

1. The hope of Buddhism is Nirvana. Your being like a drop of water enters the ocean of eternity. It is not personal existence; it is not bodily existence. It is disembodied, but it isn’t even life real. It is the cession of individuality—it is like assimilation by the Borg.

2. I submit to you all other forms of hope are false hopes. There are no guarantees. Or they are substandard. They make a mockery of God’s creation as good. It is fake hope vs. a living hope.

3. We live in a world that brings all kinds of parodies to us. Parodies of hope… cheep imitations. Wishful thinking, silly platitudes. Those who live in this present evil age do everything they can keep us from seeing how almost 2,000 years ago “New Creation” began. There was the resurrection of a man! Yet we recognize the resurrection: it makes a difference. Our faith is not a leap in the dark but a certain hope of a sure future. The same power that raised Jesus from the death is guarding us in our faith for that same coming living hope.
1 Peter 1:3-5 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
There is no hope—no salvation without new life! This new life is displayed in the King who has won it for us in His own resurrection.
Job 19:25-27 25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!

Here is an interesting article that appeared in the Journal of Religion and Film on the Matrix, Buddhism and Gnosticism.

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