One of the last times I visited with Gary, if not the last time, he was showing me a model of his “more efficient” wind generator. He was an industrious and hardworking man his entire life, and he was seeking to be fruitful to the very end of his life. God gave him that great gift—he was laboring faithfully right up to the end.
Scripture tells us that our labors in the Lord are not in vain. This is said in Paul’s great chapter on the resurrection, and is part of the conclusion of his argument. Because Christ was raised, the dead in Christ will be raised. Because the dead in Christ will be raised, our labors in the Lord now are not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). God will see to it that nothing of value will ever be lost, nothing precious ever goes by the way.
The pages of Scriptures are rustling with an almost unbelievable hope. God does not just intend to save the souls of believers, removing them to another spiritual dimension forever and ever. God’s intention is to reunite Heaven and Earth. Whatever our condition in the intermediate state, our final hope is in Christ, who is the resurrection and the life. This means that we will be raised in our bodies, and the corruptible will put on the incorruptible. God has declared His intention to put everything back the way it was before the Fall, only gloriously improved. This means that will live with Him forever and ever, and we will do so as human beings. We will not be wraiths or ghosts. We are Christians, and we hold to the resurrection of the body.
When the seed dies, and goes into the ground, every wise man will look to the harvest. And if the crop sown is believing men and women, boys and girls, then the harvest home will be glorified men and women, truly and completely and finally human.
As we look forward to the resurrection, we are not looking toward the time when we will cease to be human. We are looking forward to the time when we will grow at last into a complete Christ-likeness, which is to say, we will have grown up into a perfect man.
These things are stated in the Bible plainly, but they are sometimes hard for us to grasp. One time, Gary came up to me after a sermon and handed me a slip of paper—something I had said in the message had made him think of this for some reason. The paper quoted an old time believer who said, “This here Bible sheds a lot of light on them there commentaries.” When Gary really laughed, as he was doing that time, he would shake all over.
He is now in the presence of God. He is in the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of the Father. And Scripture tells us elsewhere that at that right hand of God are pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11). Gary is now in the realm of untroubled joy, endless laughter and joy, and cascading pleasures from the right hand of God’s delighted authority. It is striking that the psalm that concludes with this astounding vision of the divine goodness is the same psalm (Psalm16) that promised the Messiah that He would not be abandoned to Sheol. God would not allow His holy one to see corruption (Ps. 16: 10). And because of that great promise, and God’s fulfillment of it in the resurrection of Jesus, we know that we too will be raised.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.
Gerrit Richard DeBoer (1931-2008). R.I.P.