Christians around the world recently celebrated Easter, the time in the church year when we remember in a special way that Christ is risen from the dead. Sadly, though the resurrection of Christ is widely believed in evangelical Protestant circles, the biblical implications of this belief are often missed. Here John Stott comes to our aid in two quotes:
“The Christian hope is not the immortality of the soul (a shadowy, disembodied existence), but the resurrection of the body (a perfect instrument for the expression of our new life).” [John Stott]
“Paul teaches in Romans 8 that creation will be ‘liberated from its bondage to decay’ (verse 21b). ‘Phthora’ (decay) seems to denote not only that the universe is running down (as we would say), but that nature is also enslaved, locked into an unending cycle, so that conception, birth and growth are relentlessly followed by decline, decay, death and decomposition. In addition, where may be a passing reference to predation and pain, especially the latter which is mentioned in the next verse. So futility, bondage, decay and pain are the words the apostle uses to indicate that creation is out of joint because under judgment. It still works, for the mechanisms of nature are fine-tuned and delicately balanced. And much of it is breathtakingly beautiful, revealing the Creator’s hand. But it is also in bondage to disintegration and frustration. In the end, however, it will be ‘freed from the shackles of mortality’ (REB), ‘rescued from the tyranny of change and decay’ (JBP) ... The creation’s subjection to frustration was ‘in hope’ (20). The bondage to decay will give place to the freedom of glory (21). The pains of labour will be followed by the joys of birth (22). There is therefore going to be both continuity and discontinuity in the regeneration of the world, as in the resurrection of the body. The universe is not going to be destroyed, but rather liberated, transformed and suffused with the glory of God.” [John Stott]
If Christians believed these things and acted upon them, living as if they truly believed them to be true, the faith would look very different to a watching world.
[Both these gems from Stott’s published work came to me as “Daily Thought” via email from Langham Partnership, which you can visit here.]