But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true: Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! (I Corinthians 15:55-57)
Long passage, I know, but there are tons of exciting things within those three verses! What's more, Paul gives us the important message that we don't need to understand all that God does in this gift of eternal life, we just need to accept it! If he would not fully understand it, I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself for 'not getting' some of the things God has done on our behalf and continues to do throughout the ages.
We are changed. The beginning of the change happens the moment we say 'yes' to Jesus, but the change is never done until the final trumpet sound. Some will go to their grave, still not 'changed' fully, but they get the last word over death through resurrection! Changed from perished to imperishable - imagine that - no more worries, aches, pains, creaking bones, or arthritic joints. Changed - in the blink of an eye. We all want that type of change right now in our lives, but change is gradual for a reason - it builds our faith.
Nothing can hold us back. Not the present troubles or trial. Not the grave, nor the fiery chamber. If nothing can hold us back, why do we bemoan our present troubles? I think we get so focused on the trouble we forget who has the trouble already worked out fully. As Paul said, we may not understand this stuff fully yet, but just wait for to see what God will do in the end!
Rules don't bring us into victorious living. They bind us more than they set us free. Rules are good because they emphasize a certain way of living. We follow the rule to brush our teeth because we don't want to gum our food. We follow the rule to wear clothing in public because we value the gift of our bodies. Rules can be excessively binding at times - especially when they are focused on us doing the work of breaking free of our sin nature. One action accomplished that - abolishing the need for all that 'self-help' work we may be inclined to engage in.
Sin, guilt, and death have been abolished. We need not fear any of these. This is something we forget from time to time. We get focused on the 'bad choice' we have made and think we will never be free of our sin. The guilt haunts us like a dark shadow. We feel as though we will go to the grave bound by it. Clearly, we haven't heard or believed the message contained in these verses! Sin cannot hold us. Guilt cannot plague us. Death will not have the last word. So, let's get our focus right. There is nothing that stands in the way of our total change - nothing! Just sayin!