“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord,” (1 Corinthians 15:58; NASB).
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul pens the longest discourse on the subject of the resurrection recorded in the Bible. Over the span of 57 verses, he describes the fact of the resurrection, the nature of the resurrection, and the necessity of the resurrection. As Christians, there is nothing we should long for more than to reach that final state of glorification in which we will be united with our glorified bodies and communion face-to-face with the Author of our salvation, to God alone be the glory!
In an upward spiral of glory upon glory, Paul takes us from a place of earthly care and misery up into the heavenly places where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. Having been taken up into the heavens and tasted the goodness of God, we are now struck with the realization that we are still here. The promised land is ours, but we have yet to take possession of it. What now?
In the final verse of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul answers just this question, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord,” (vs. 58; NASB). Much like how the Lord regularly exhorted Joshua who was to lead Israel into their inheritance, the Christian awaiting his inheritance is to be strong and of good courage (Joshua 1:6-9).
We have much to inherit, much to take hold of, much to keep us rooted in Christ and anchored in eternity. Yet, our labors are not complete. We have the deed of our eternal estate being kept for us in the most impenetrable vault, but this is no excuse for us to succumb to idleness. We are called instead to storm the gates of heaven and grab hold of that which is ours, but this task will not be as outwardly valiant as that of Joshua.
Rather than perching on the plains of Moab and looking across the Jordan toward the enemies of God whom we are to conquer, we live and work among the kingdom of man. Our toil is more mundane and tedious. We have bosses, family members, barbers, friends, and political representatives who belong not to the kingdom of God. Still we put our hand to the plow and work as unto the Lord.
We labor knowing that the resurrection is ours. It has already been secured for us, and we already have the deed. Our calling now is to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” with the knowledge that our “toil is not in vain in the Lord.” Take heart, then, dear saint. Our time on this earth is but a vapor, and soon we will be with Christ in glory. In the meantime, sojourn with me in all strength and good courage, as pilgrim saints in a foreign land.