Christianity's Forgotten Hope

Central to the hope of the early church was the bodily resurrection of the dead at the return of Jesus in glory .  The biblical faith is forward-looking and integral to its teachings on salvation is the future resurrection of the dead, an event integral to the arrival of the New Creation. And in the New Testament, this hope is linked to two events: the past resurrection of Jesus and his future return at the end of the age. Moreover, salvation remains incomplete without it - [ Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash ].

Who is the Beginning

To the Colossians, Paul emphasized the exalted position of Jesus that he has held since his death and resurrection – Colossians 1:18-19 .  In Colossians , Paul stresses the exaltation of Jesus following his resurrection. It seems some congregants were confused about his authority over the spiritual powers that remain hostile to his people. So, Paul reminds the church of just how highly God exalted the one who became the “ firstborn of the dead .” -[ Photo by Paolo Robaudi on Unsplash ].

Completion in the Resurrection

Paul’s goal is to go on to perfection, a process that will culminate in the resurrection from the dead when Jesus returns – Philippians 3:7-21 .  In the opening thanksgiving of the letter to the Philippians, Paul prepares his readers for one of its key themes: Going on to “ perfection ” in Jesus. The promised bodily resurrection is necessary for our “ completion .” It is not optional. It is an integral part of the future salvation that we will receive when Jesus arrives in glory - [ Butterfly - Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash ].

Resurrection in Thessalonica

Foundational to the hope of the church is the bodily resurrection of believers that will take place when Jesus arrives from heaven .  Paul wrote the Thessalonians on the “ coming ” to comfort Christians concerning the fate of believers who die before that day. Disciples must not sorrow “ like the others ”  BECAUSE  dead Christians will be resurrected when the Lord " arrives ,” and both the living and now resurrected believers will “ meet him ” as he descends from heaven - [ Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash ].

Redemption of our Body

Paul linked the bodily resurrection of believers to the New Creation since both are integral to the promised redemption – Romans 8:1-23 . In Romans , Paul declares that there is “ now no condemnation ” for anyone who is “ in Jesus .” This happy condition is because the “ law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set them free from the law of sin and of death .” And his letter also links the salvation of believers to the inheritance of Christ and the redemption of the creation itself - [ Photo by Terry Tan De Hao on Unsplash ].

Redemption and the Parousia

At the heart of Christian hope is the future resurrection of the saints at Christ’s return and the arrival of the new heavens and the new earth .  Central to the New Testament concept of salvation is  redemption . God will not abandon what He first created. Instead, He is recovering what was enslaved by sin, decay, and death. But at the end of His redemptive acts, the end state of all redeemed persons and things will be vastly superior to their original state, and this is epitomized in the bodily resurrection - [ Photo by Tim Peterson on Unsplash ].