January 5
‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,’ 1 Corinthians 15:58a
Bible reading: Philippians 3:17-4:1 (Go to the Bible passage)
The fourth chapter begins with ‘Therefore’, and so does today’s scripture-verse. Both verses call upon us to be steadfast, not from a moral point of view that we learned from our fathers, but very much aware ourselves of what lies ahead of us. In 1 Corinthians 15 we are told about a tremendous end, which actually will be an impressive beginning. All things perishable must be clothed with the imperishable, this mortal frame with immortality, before the end is there. For only when this foretold end comes, God’s Kingdom will begin in full glory.
And we will be part of this, if we - as new-born people - no longer seek our happiness in corruptible things, but in eternal matters. That does not mean we should always be sighing that life on earth is a vale of tears and that only later, in heaven, all things will be put right. For Paul says that ‘our citizenship is in heaven’ (:20). He uses present tense, so he means now, and not at some point in the future. And because we have become citizens of that heavenly kingdom - when Jesus made us cross over from death to life when we obeyed to His word (John 5:24) - we know that He will come to change our perishable body, so that it will be conformed to His glorious body.
Therefore, my friends, the end of which the Bible speaks is the wonderful beginning of a new era. But then we surely have every reason to persevere until the end, when He comes! Who has this hope in Him, finds a completely new frame of mind arising, in which a holy no-nonsense attitude makes us renounce worldly desires, simply because there is no more time for them. For God’s Spirit compels us to give ourselves fully to the work for His Kingdom.
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