The resurrection is an essential Christian belief because the kingdom is coming. It is essential for the culmination of all that God has been doing in the world, in humanity and in your life.
Imagine that you’re really advanced in age and are having a heart attack and dying. Still in that moment, ask yourself a few questions: Is this the ending of your life or the culmination of your life? Are you in the process of losing everything that you hold dear or are you about to fully experience everything that you hold dear? Is this a horrible interruption to all of your pursuits and are you seeing your deepest dreams dissolved, or are they about to materialize? Have you reached a dead end or have you reached a doorway?
The answers to those questions depends on your belief about the resurrection – the Christian belief that when Jesus Christ returns, His people will be raised from the dead to a new life in God’s presence. The resurrection is an essential Christian belief because God’s kingdom is coming. The resurrection is essential to the kingdom project.
What comes to your mind when think about the end? You probably imagine grand-scale catastrophe and mayhem. But let’s just narrow our scope of vision to what this passage says about the end: it is when Jesus “delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power” (v. 24).
We all know what it’s like to have a school project. This is one way to understand what Jesus is up to in this world. God the Father sent Him to secure the kingdom, and in the end, He will complete this project and turn it in.
When Jesus started His earthly ministry, He began with, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In the end, John sees a vision of “a great multitude that no one could number … standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9). Jesus is working on the kingdom project.
The End Goal
The Corinthians were denying the resurrection, and so Paul says to them that this denial completely disregards the kingdom project. Jesus’ end goal is a living, embodied people to present to God. So our Christian hope is not in this life only, but it’s all pointing forward to when everything Jesus is working on is completed. The resurrection has to be true for any of this to be true.
As we mature in Christ, we will grow to see reality through this lens. We will grow to see our goals align more and more with the goals of Jesus. Things we used to hold as valuable will seem less and less valuable and the kingdom will seem more and more valuable over time.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
– vv. 25-28
When Jesus is done and has consolidated His rule, He is going to submit that to the Father and submit Himself to the Father, and everything is going to come under the authority of God Himself. And this is the end goal of everything: “that God may be all in all.”
That God May Be All in All
“That God may be all in all.” That’s God’s goal with creation; His goal with Jesus’ incarnation; His goal with Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, with our salvation, our sanctification, and our resurrection. As we see reality according to this, God’s responses to our prayers will make more sense and our lives will make more sense.
Through each local church and each Christian, the Lord is filling parts of creation with Himself and His rule. As the gospel spreads, the kingdom takes shape – but in the end, Jesus will complete the kingdom project. The resurrection is essential to this, when Jesus establishes comprehensive rule and submits His assignment to God, securing the eternal future in which God is all in all.
The more this becomes our vision, the more death will lose its sting, the more resurrection will become our shared up; it will guide our decisions, lessen the pains of living in this temporary world, put our failures into perspective, and give us a vision for our lives, family and church, how we spend our money, what we instill in our kids – God will be all in all.
- What is your view on death?
- How can death be the culmination of life?
- Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead?
- Why is resurrection essential to Christ’s return and the establishment of His kingdom?
- How is the kingdom of God like Jesus’ project?
- What does it mean to be a citizen of God’s kingdom?
- What is the end goal of God’s work?
- What does it mean for God to be “all in all”?
- In light of all this, how should we view our lives and the church?