Resurrection Hope: Strengthened to Serve

Over the last two weeks, I’ve looked to the opening verses of 2 Corinthians 5 for the Christian to draw strength from as we aim to lay our lives down in sacrificial ministry in service to the body of Christ. Two weeks ago, we looked at what we might call the minister’s persuasion—his persuasion that if he wears out the earthly tent of his body in service to the church, he can look forward with hope to his resurrection body and life on the new earth. Last week, we considered the minister’s priorities—how a proper view of this life, the intermediate state, and the eternal state ought to fuel our sacrificial service. This week, we come to a third component of the Christian’s view of life and death that energizes him for ministry, and that we might term the Father’s promises.

“Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God,
who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.”
2 Corinthians 5:5

The strength for life-giving, sacrificial ministry is grounded upon the minister’s confidence that we will one day be glorified in our resurrection bodies. And the promises of God are the ground of that confidence. In 2 Corinthians 5:5, Paul gives a twofold assurance that the glorious destiny we’ve thought through over the past two weeks is sure to be ours. The certainty of glorification is rooted in the purpose of God and in the pledge of the Spirit.

The Purpose of God

Can there be any doubt that those who are in Christ will be raised from the dead into a body like His? Paul says that glorification is the very purpose for which God has prepared us! From the beginning of God’s plan of salvation, His intention has always been to save whole persons in the integrity of body and soul. God’s saving purpose doesn’t stop at conversion and justification. Those on whom God determined to set His electing love “He predestined to become conformed to the image of Christ. And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Rom 8:29–30). He has never been concerned to save us only from the penalty of sin. Neither does His saving purpose stop at sanctification; He will save us from even more than the power of sin. God’s purpose extends all the way to glorification—to saving His people from the very presence of all sin, even in our flesh!

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