2 Corinthians 4:14–15 (NKJV)
14 … He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
As we continue celebrating the season of Eastertide, it is fitting to meditate deeply on the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. In our passage today, Paul repeats one of his frequent maxims: He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus… The resurrection of the dead is our hope – not that we will die and be spirits in the sky; not that we will perish and lose all consciousness; but that even as Jesus rose from the dead, we too shall rise. In Paul’s words to the Philippians, Jesus will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body… This mortal body shall become immortal; this corruptible body shall become incorruptible; this weak body shall become strong. Glory be to God!
What this means is that the trajectory of all history is to the resurrection. It is the consummation of all world history: the day when Christ shall return again in glory to judge both the living and the dead; the day when the dead shall arise from their graves – those who have done good in the fear of God and faith in Jesus Christ to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil in continuing to ignore or rebel against God to the resurrection of death. It is this moment, the resurrection of the dead and the glorification of God’s children, that creation itself awaits. When we rise from the dead, when our bodies are made new, all creation will share in our glorification. Even as all creation was plunged into death and decay through the rebellion of our first father Adam, so all creation will be renewed into life and glory through the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And what this means, therefore, is that all creation is ours. We shall inherit all things. The sun, moon, stars, and planets are ours; the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and streams are ours; the mountains and plains are ours; the forests, grassland, and deserts are ours; all creation is ours. Blessed are the meek, our Lord Jesus reminds us, for they shall inherit the earth. You are heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. All things are yours since Christ has risen from the dead and you too shall rise. It is all this that lies behind Paul’s statement here in Corinthians. Listen again:
… He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
All things are for your sakes – all things: birds, beasts, fruit trees and all cedars, the honey bee and the crocus, the lily and the rose.
Now if all this is true – and through Christ’s resurrection it is – what kind of people ought we to be? Our sermon today highlights the destructive power of envy. Envy is poison to the soul. And the way we fight envy is through the promises of God. How does Jesus’ resurrection break the power of envy? It makes us thankful.
For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. God has made us heir of all things – need we envy the gifts that He has given to others? Ought we not to be the most content, the most thankful, the most grateful of people? Jesus rose from the dead in order that you might escape envy and abound in thanksgiving to the glory of God.
So reminded that God has made us heirs of all things and that we ought to be the most thankful of people, let us confess that we are often unthankful and envious. And as we confess our sin, let us kneel together.