Eternal Eyes

September 30, 2020

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Written by Andy Engberg from the Brentwood Campus

Our culture is fixated on instant gratification. We want results, and we want them now. Culturally, we are conditioned to focus on temporal matters. While hyper-focusing on the here and now of the day-to-day affairs of our lives, it is important not to lose our eternal perspective.

The exhortation in this verse is phrased as a conclusion. To understand its context, we need to backtrack a few verses. In verses 56-57, Paul poses a pair of rhetorical questions which he then answers. He asks, “Death where is your victory? Death where is your sting?” He explains that “the power of death is sin, and the power of sin is in the law,” and he contrasts this by thanking God for victory through Christ.

Paul is pointing the Corinthians to the resurrection, not so much to persuade them of something but to re-enforce something they presumably already knew—that Christ already conquered death and sin. I don’t know about you, but I still need to be reminded just how powerful the resurrection is. The eternal significance of this miraculous event cannot be overstated.

There is, however, more going on here than a simple reminder about the resurrection. The overall context of this letter communicates some tension in Paul’s relationship with the church. It does not seem that they had been good stewards of what Paul was trying to teach them. While the relationship was undoubtedly strained, Paul knew that victory over all of life’s trials had been achieved through Christ’s resurrection. Therefore, he tells the church they should “be steadfast, unmoving, knowing that your labor in the Lord is never done in vain.”

Perhaps Paul was dealing with some questions in his own heart. “Am I writing this in vain? Will they receive what I am saying?” Nevertheless, Paul was steadfast. He wrote this letter as a testimony to the risen Christ, and because of this, he realized that his work was not being done in vain. His words were not wasted.

Maintaining an eternal perspective means understanding that we will not always see the immediate results of our efforts. Believing that Christ won the ultimate victory affects the way we live today. No singular event in all of history has more eternal significance than the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. None of the pagan religions offer an eternal reward based on the grace of their gods working in and through their followers.

Even though his relationship with the church at Corinth was strained, Paul offers them hope. He is encouraging them towards a deeper relationship with Jesus, and this is never done in vain. Even though he had not been treated well—to the point of enduring attacks on the legitimacy of his ministry—Paul did not let that distort his eternal perspective towards the church at Corinth. Nothing we do on this earth that glorifies our resurrected Savior will ever be done in vain.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Remember, what you do in this life has eternal significance. How do you stay focused on matters of eternal significance in a world that is focused on the temporal?
  2. There was an element of divisiveness in the church at Corinth. Be careful whom you allow to speak into your life. Are the people in your inner circle encouraging you towards a deeper relationship with Jesus?
  3. In seems like the Corinthians must have taken their relationship with Paul for granted. Make sure that you are stewarding relationships well. Are there godly influences in your life that you take for granted?

Missions Prayer
Pray for the blood drives being held at our campuses. Pray for the Red Cross workers, those who donate, medical professionals making decisions on behalf of the health of their patients all around the world, and those who will receive the blood donated. Pray for healing for the sick today.