1 Cor. 15:58, ‘Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.’
These words about steadfast laboring form the capstone of chapter 15 which focuses on the resurrection of Christ and of His people in Him. What is the connection between Christ’s resurrection and the Christian’s confident and hopeful labor?
Well, consider: the Bride is bound to Christ as His own Body, such that His resurrection from the dead IS her resurrection. When Jesus rises up from the grave—the firstfruits of the dead—He IS the inbreaking into time and space of the certain and unshakable future of all who are in Him. Yes, to see the risen Jesus, Christian, is to see your future…it is to see where you will most certainly be…it is to see the end of your story as it has been sovereignly authored in the inviolable flesh and blood of Christ. We look backward (to the risen Lord) to see what is ahead of us….we remember our future when we meditate on the crucified Jesus who is risen, and whose body we have become by grace.
Not only is the risen Christ OUR future, but He is the future of all that we do in His name. Whatever we do in dependence upon, submission to, and for the sake of the risen Jesus is—like we ourselves—bound to Him and so WILL share His destiny, WILL be ‘raised up’ with Him. It is impossible that any work done in the name of Christ should remain in the grave of vanity. No, it will most certainly, with the one to whom it has been submitted, be raised up to a fruitful harvest in His own resurrection.
Because Christ is risen, we who are united to Him ought not lose heart in the labors carried out in His Name. Though our laboring may seem to be a ‘crucifixion’ here and now, that is not the end. If it is submitted to the anastasiform Lord, it will—it must—be finally conformed to Him, raised up with Him, and made fruitful in Him to the praise of the Name of the Father (whose Name is manifest IN and AS the slain and risen Lord to whom our works are conformed).