21 Aug Words of Grace – Our Labor Will Not Be in Vain
It’s been an interesting week to think about life. Last Sunday, after preaching from 1 Corinthians 15 on the resurrection of the dead, I went to the Hope Clinic for Women. There I heard how everyday clinic workers have conversations with women making the decision to carry or terminate the life of babies in the womb.
Throughout the week, I continued to meditate on 1 Corinthians 15 and the new bodies Christians will have in the kingdom of God, bodies fit to enjoy the goodness of the new creation and the glory of God for eternity. At the same time, I watched new videos showing abortion clinic workers deciding how to best end a human life in the womb so as to preserve the body parts of these boys and girls for future use.
Today my mind is swirling and my heart is grieving. On one hand, I am reveling in the grace of God who created and loves life and will make all things new, including our bodies, to enjoy life for eternity. On the other hand, I am watching videos showing utter disregard for the most basic of all human dignities: the right to life itself. And, I am mindful of all who have directly or indirectly participated in abortion, knowing that the toll on their conscience must be high. I’m longing for them to find a conscience-cleansing savior in Jesus.
The coming together of 1 Corinthians 15 and the events of this week have made me think more about life, the body, abortion, sin, and grace than other weeks. But I have often found myself questioning and grieving over these things. In the 1980s, I marched for life in front of the abortion clinic on Charlotte Avenue here in Nashville. In my early years of ministry, I worked primarily with teenagers trying to give them the gospel and instill in them a perspective and a reason to respect God’s gifts of sex, marriage, and life. For thirty years, I have been a supporter of our local Hope Clinic for Women. Grace Community Church has given funds and volunteers to this ministry for twenty-two years. Yet, there on the television are videos of humans devaluing and destroying other humans. Have any of these efforts been worth it?
Yes! Because there in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 15. Christ will defeat the last enemy of God’s glory and human flourishing, and he will hand over the kingdom of God to the Father. In that kingdom, death will be no more.
Jesus said to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” And, he said, “seek first the kingdom of God.” This praying and seeking only makes sense if it will prove to be worth it in the end, if Christ really will bring the kingdom in its fullness to us. He will. So, as 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord will not be in vain.”
Let us keep at the good work of proclaiming the gospel to all people so they can live forever in the kingdom of God. Let’s continue our efforts to protect all human life created in the image and glory of God. And, let’s keep persuading others that life lived by the values of the kingdom of God is the best life possible on earth for all people. Christ has been raised. All those who are in Christ will be raised like him. Our labor now will not be in vain.