God loves you. Before I say anything else I want you to be clear on this point: God loves you infinitely, eternally, and certainly. His love is constant, His love is sure, and His love binds us to Him and Him to us(Romans 8:38-39).
Our hope then in this life is not this life; but rather Christ in us, the hope of glory(Colossians 1:27)!
Now, our hope is an everlasting one for we hope in an everlasting Savior. If Jesus Christ was born innocently, lived blamelessly, died sacrificially, and rose from death victoriously, then we rejoice in our salvation by faith in Him! We have hope of eternity with our Lord forever because we are secure in His blood. Sealed until the day of our redemption(Ephesians 4:30), when this mortal flesh shall be traded for a heavenly body(Philippians 3:21). In this we glory for we are sealed, we are safe, we are secure by the Holy Spirit, through the blood of Jesus Christ, by the power of God Almighty from the moment we accept the payment for our sins(John 10:28-29).
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. — 1 Corinthians 15:19
Referencing verse 17, (“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”), Paul makes a powerful statement about our faith in saying that it is eternal. It is not in earthly things, but heavenly; not bound by time, but transcends time; not in this life, but in a God who is from everlasting to everlasting!
The reason we cannot earn salvation by our works is not because God isn’t patronized by our good deeds, but because faith in Christ is eternal security. When we know we are saved and sealed by the words of scripture concerning the grace of God and salvation through faith, we have peace with God and ourselves. But, when we know by the law of God and through scripture that works of righteousness without faith are detestable to God, we have misery in this life.
Attempting justification through works is like cleaning a dirty cloth with grease. The harder you try, the filthier it gets.
By saying a temporal hope in Christ–one that is only as long as our mortal lives–, makes us objects of acute misery, Paul is explain the security of eternity for Christians. For by the same token we might say, “A man of works without hope of eternity is of all men most miserable”. Indeed, to experience true joy and happiness in life, one must have a surety of eternity!
If salvation is of works God is a liar, the Bible is hypocrisy, and Christ died in vain! The scriptures say:
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. –Galatians 2:21
The law is what we do; grace is what God does. The imperfection of our vile beings forbade us from reaching pardon through the gauntlet of the law. In our feeble strength we could not endure the righteousness of God almighty, not even so much as to keep the laws which were but faded shadows of His great glory.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. –Galatians 2:16
Because we have an eternal faith, a hope in a resurrected Christ who will take us beyond this life one day, we are free from the law. No longer bound to sin and suffering.
The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. –1 Corinthians 15:56
When He rose, Jesus took the sting out of sin for everyone who would believe. Death was no longer a curse and an enemy to us. For, by Christ’s fulfillment of the law through His perfect life, He broke the power of the law. Without the law, sin is weak like a tiny scorpion. But, without its sting, sin is no longer lethal. Sin may strike, but it cannot kill those under the grace of God.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. –Ephesians 2:8
If we have hope in Christ only in this life, we are of all men most miserable… because we have no certainty of eternity we will ever be chasing the law, bound to sin.
God Righteousness Demands a Payment for Sin.
We cannot live the law, it is futile to try and folly to think we can pay for even one mistake with a lifetime of service. There are only two things a righteous God will accept as payment for your sins:
- The blood of His only Son, Jesus.
- An eternity of punishment in Hell.
The law is God’s, only He can keep it, only He deserves to even attempt such a display of righteousness and holiness. We can never keep the law of God. We are dust, nothing righteous or holy. For dust to think it could keep God’s law is mocking His deity and Omnipotence. If we could, He would have spared His Son for we could enter heaven on our own merit. But that’s when we realize our great need for Him. We have hope beyond this life. Our eternal faith is sure and set, for Christ did indeed rise from the dead victorious! And all who will trust in Him shall find salvation, surety, and peace. God has already worked for your salvation, you don’t need to anymore.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist