Let us pray: Dear Savior, Your glorious resurrection from the grave is the center of our faith. It gives us comfort, joy, confidence, and peace amid a chaotic world. Today we ask that its truth may permeate every fiber of our being so that we can live without any fears overwhelming us. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST WHO TRIUMPHED OVER ALL OUR ENEMIES INCLUDING DEATH!
TEXT: 1 Cor. 15: 12, 16-20
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
Dr. Luther was an excellent teacher and preacher. In all his writings, he drew out the truths of God’s Word and distilled them down to an understandable level. There is no better example of this than when he gives his explanation to the first commandment: “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” This is a mirror of Scripture: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.” We get the “love” aspect of that, but what about the “heart” the “soul” the “strength” and the “mind” part?
God created us perfectly formed and made us to live life at its optimum. The heart, soul, strength and mind worked in perfect unity. Then sin arrived and split up our conscious mind from our unconscious mind. The unconscious mind includes the heart; emotions and insights that are not just cerebral or logical. Often today we call this the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.
Lutherans of our background tend to be very cerebral in their faith. We learn, hear, and read the facts of the Bible, digest it in our minds, and that’s what faith is all about. Well, it’s only partially true. For there is also the heart knowledge to deal with. The heart is the center of our emotional response to the truth of God’s Word. It re-links the two aspects of our minds which were divorced by the Fall into sin. So, head knowledge leads to heart knowledge and that in turn bolsters the whole person. It gives us inner strength and uplifts us and also centers our soul. This is the “peace of God which surpasses all understanding.”
In our lesson today Paul touches on both. He uses very logical progressions and arguments to show the truth of what Christ’s resurrection means to us. He puts it in a logical syllogism which cannot be refuted. But he also shows how it benefits us and touches and uplifts our faith and life.
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection from the dead?…For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those fallen asleep in Christ have been lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Apparently some were drawn to the church because it taught high moral standards but they couldn’t wrap their heads around the reality of life after death made possible by the resurrection. We see the same today among those who join, are active, yet reject or fail to accept the truth of the incarnation, death, and then resurrection of God’s Son to save us. Many have head knowledge based on their senses, but fail in the heart knowledge category. The Sadducces of Jesus’ and Paul’s time fit into this category.
Paul’s argumentation destroys that kind of thinking! Our God wants to and has restored the entire human, joining together all aspects of our being which were sundered by the Fall. The head and the heart go together—God made us that way. The conscious mind and the unconscious mind now mutually support each other. These two horses of our being now pull together instead of apart. And the total “you” is healed. The resurrection of Jesus proves it! And that is why you and I have peace of body, peace of soul, and peace of mind. It’s also why we don’t have to live in fear over anything. Amen THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH….
Pastor Thomas H. Fox