“If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.”
1 Corinthians 15:19
I have read this verse many times, but recently the Holy Spirit stopped me as I read it and when I meditated on it, the truth became startling. This life that we are all living in America is created by our worldly obligations. Careers, school, shopping, eating, exercising, etc. dominate our time that is divided into segments of minutes and hours—every increment of time being scheduled and accounted for in an effort to perform optimally in a world that demands our best. With this in mind, let’s turn our attention to Paul’s words in this verse. As Christians we have put our hope in Christ. What does this mean? It means that we believe in the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. He died as He placed all of our sins upon Himself, and when He rose from the dead He defeated Satan, death, and sin. So now we know, that through belief and relationship with Jesus, our sins are forgiven and thus the deserved wrath of God is erased from our current and future reality—since the blood of Christ covers our sins.
Therefore, we know that upon our mortal death, we will be carried to heaven by angels and spend eternity in heaven with our Creator! It is this hope that Paul is referring to in this verse. This means that in this life—through all of its trials, tribulations, diseases, suffering, and pain we look towards heaven—hoping in the reality of our eternal resting place where death is swallowed up by immortality and perfection. This hope creates power within Christians, and we see this in the Bible. Paul, Peter, John and the other disciples and followers of Christ don’t concern themselves with worry over persecution and trials. In fact, as in the case of Peter and the other apostles getting flogged for spreading the gospel, they fall on their knees in absolute joy as they praise God for being, “counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). In Acts 16, we see Paul and Silas singing hymns of praise in prison as they sit shackled with fresh wounds from the beating that tore their backs open that day. How is this possible? It’s possible through hope—the hope that they placed in Christ and heaven.