Note: Here is one of the applications drawn from the April 5, 2015 CRBC sermon "But now is Christ risen" from 1 Corinthians 15:1-20:
Has Christ given you a hope not just for this life but also for that which is to come?
Julian Barnes is a celebrated British writer who has won the coveted Man Booker Prize for his literary work. In 2013 he wrote a memoir titled Levels of Life in which he primarily tells of his grief after his wife of 30 years died. Rarely has one written so honestly and perceptively about grief. The saddest part of the book, however, is just how hopeless it is. At one point he writes:
When we killed—or exiled—God, we also killed ourselves. Did we notice that sufficiently at the time? No God, no afterlife, no us. We were right to kill Him, of course, this long-standing imaginary friend of ours. And we weren’t going to get an afterlife anyway. But we sawed off the branch we were sitting on. And the view from there, from that height—even if it was only the illusion of a view—wasn’t so bad (p. 94).
The sad thing is that here is a man who realizes the comfort that knowing the Lord and the hope of the resurrection might bring to him, but who persists in suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
In the end, all those who deny the Lord will find to their dismay that He is. And the reality of his existence does not depend on their approval. And all those who have persisted in their disobedience will find that they too will experience the resurrection, but, sadly, it will not be the resurrection of life but what Jesus himself calls in John 5:29 “the resurrection of damnation.”
In the end, the question is, Do you align yourself with nihilism, hopelessness, and despair? Or, Do you align yourself with meaning, hope, and life?
What a sad and hopeless existence. What would be the result of a man who's philosophy of life is that it has no meaning? I suppose that anything you desired would be the goal (Isaiah 22:13/ 1 Corinthians 15:32). It would be like living on a sinking ship full of goods in the middle of the ocean with no rescue in sight.
I like the ship analogy. Few can perhaps articulate so eloquently the spiritual state of hopelessness apart from Christ better than Barnes does in this analogy. In the memoir he mentions a conversation he has with one of the few Christians he knows, but he gets nothing out of it. In ways he represents where many secular people like him are. They are not only without Christ but also without any interactions with Christians who might point them in a different direction.
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