Paul writes this at the end of 1 Corinthians 15,
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Looking at verse 58, Paul says, “Therefore,” which shows us that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead has a practical implication for us today. Certainly, your body will pass away. You will turn to dust, sure enough. However, the promise of that dust bunny of a body rising from the dead is the reason that Christians can be steadfast, immovable, and abounding in the work of the Lord.
What is the work of the Lord? A footnote in one study Bible makes one simple suggestion, namely, evangelism. Certainly this is the work of the Lord, again, no doubt about it. But is that the only work of the Lord?
Paul says earlier in 1 Corinthians that “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (10:31, see also Colossians 3:17). Well, you have right here that the work of the Lord is not relegated to evangelism alone. You can scrub toilets to the glory of God. You can run a million dollar business to the glory of God. You can raise four boys for the glory of God. You can love your wife as Christ loved the church to the glory of God. You can write music to the glory of God. You can sit on the back porch with your grandchildren to the glory of God. You can text message your best friend for the glory of God. Whatever you do, can be done for the glory of God.
How is this true? Simple. Jesus rose from the dead.
As Matthew tells us, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Quickly, Jesus has commanded us to love God with everything we got, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the summary of the entire Law. Jesus tells us to teach the nations to obey the Law. This is the work of the Lord, and Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that none of our labor is done in vain. As love for God and love for others capture our hearts and our minds to obedience unto the Lord, we are laboring for Him.
Isaiah 65:17-25 tells us of the new heavens and the new earth we are currently living and growing up into, and we are told that, “My chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”
What we are and what we do, does not go away when we die, and it does not get erased when Jesus comes back. What we are and what we do will become glorified as it reaches its intended goal. The consummation of all things is not a time revert back to the Garden, but it is the culmination of redeemed culture from every tribe, tongue, and nation in a holy city.
The world as we know it will continue to exist even when Christ comes back, but as a glorified world. A world that reflects the kingship of Christ in all things. Work hard and rejoice that your labors are not in vain.