Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Consuming Fire of Divine Love


The Scriptures teach us that God is love and that God is a consuming fire. That is not saying two different things but saying the same thing in two different ways. For God is simple, not a being of parts that must be held in tension or played off one against the another.

To speak of God as love and as consuming fire is to say that the love of God is the consuming fire of God, and the consuming fire of God is the love of God. So, however the consuming fire of God is manifest, it has everything to do with the love of God, and has no expression apart from that love.

The consuming fire of God’s love is a refiner’s fire, purging away the dross and purifying the precious elements. It may be like the doctor’s laser burning away a cancer in the patient’s body. The doctor’s purpose is not to harm but to heal. Likewise, the purpose of the consuming fire of God’s love is not to harm but heal and restore.

Christ is the perfect expression of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3), which is to say that God is exactly like the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, any interpretation of the Scriptures that portrays God in any way that is contrary to the revelation of God we have in Jesus Christ is an interpretation we must reject as being unworthy of Christ and the Scriptures.

In the New Testament, we learn the gospel-shaped truth that God is love. Love is not a possession, an item in God’s divine toolbox to be brought out as the occasion arises. Nor is love a choice God makes, extending it to some while withholding it from others. Nor is it an attribute that must be held in tension with or balanced out by other divine attributes. No, it is much deeper than all that: God is love (1 John 4:8). It is the nature of God to love — always. So, any interpretation of Scripture that portrays God as in any way contrary to Christ’s self-giving, other-centered love, or the New Testament teaching about love, is an interpretation we must reject as unworthy of Christ, of the gospel and of love.

God has always been the way he is revealed in Christ. He has not changed from the Old Testament to the New; he has always been the way Christ has revealed him in the New Testament. The understanding the Old Testament writers and prophets had about God was not full and complete. But Christ has now come, and he is the full and complete revelation of God, the perfect expression of God’s being.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. (Hebrews 1:1-3)
That really is a night and day difference, but it does not mean we ought to dismiss the Old Testament Scriptures, as if the revelation of God given to us in Jesus Christ has done away with them. Quite the opposite, for Christ said that the Scriptures are about him:
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me. (John 5:39)
We ought to read the Scriptures, then, but we ought to read them through Christ and the gospel, with a Christ-centered, cross-shaped understanding. Otherwise, we are liable to end up with ideas about God that are simply unworthy of Christ and therefore unworthy of God.

The idea, then, that God should ever act in any way that is retributive or intends harm to anyone is thoroughly unworthy of Christ, and ought to be rejected — love simply does not act that way. Rather, we ought to see the consuming fire of God as the expression of God’s love, intended not for harm but for healing, not to destroy but to restore.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Death Has An Expiration Date

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:26)
Death has an expiration date, for it is the last enemy to be destroyed. After that, there are no more enemies of God. No beings at enmity with God. Anywhere. After death is destroyed, there is only life. For death is nothing more than the absence of life, and where death itself has been put to death, there is no longer any impediment to life or any lack of life. Paul continues:
For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:27-28)
When death is finally eliminated, all that exists, everything that has being, everything God has created, will have been made subject to Christ, brought into alignment with Christ, put in order under him. And Christ himself will be made subject to God — not in regard to the eternal and internal unity of the Trinity, but in the economy of our salvation.

And God will be “all in all.”

Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Christ-Centered, Cross-Shaped Interpretation of Revelation 19


In a previous post, Luke 24 and Reading the Scriptures, I made the point that we ought always interpret the Scriptures in a Christ-centered, cross-shaped way. In this post, I seek to apply that to the interpretation of Revelation 19.

There are several things to note about reading the book of Revelation in general. First, the book is by its nature as apocalyptic literature (the title in Greek is Apocalypsis), a highly figurative, highly symbolic literature with high hyperbole. It is not given as a literal exposition of anything but is given to John the Revelator through signs and visions.

Second, interpretation of Revelation is famously controversial and has been subject to all kinds of interpretation — some preteristic, some futuristic, some historistic, some spiritual — and the Church has never settled on how it should be approached, let alone what it means. Indeed, the Church did not receive it into the canon without great difficulty. It was not generally accepted in the East, just as the book of Hebrews was not generally accepted in the West. But in the end, there was a sort of trade-off, and both books were finally received by both East and West. Even so, both are deemed authoritative for the Christian faith.

Third, because of the highly figurative nature of the book, and because of the extreme difficulty of coming to any agreement about what it is about and how it should be read, the book of Revelation is not and cannot be used to establish doctrine.

So, fourth, the book of Revelation becomes something of a Rorschach test. That is, what people often find in it is what they bring to it to begin with. For example, some who see God as retributive, see Revelation 19 as showing Christ in a retributive mode. Others, such as myself, do not.

But here is what I do see about Revelation 19: I see Jesus coming to judge injustice and to wage war by his justice. The nature of divine justice is that it comes to set things right in the world. We see the justice of God most clearly in the Cross and the Resurrection, where Christ destroyed death and the power of the one who held the power of death — that is, the devil (Hebrews 2:14-15).

In Revelation 19, Jesus shows up on the scene with his robes dipped in blood. But whose blood is it? Has Jesus suddenly become a killer, a shedder of other people’s blood? No, that would be quite opposite to how Christ is revealed in the Gospel, as other-centered, self-giving love. But the blood that stains his robes is his own. For the Lion of Judah is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world for the sins of the world. So the blood on his robes has been there from the beginning of the world — his own blood, shed for us.

His name is the Word of God, and out of his mouth comes a sword. It is not a literal sword; it is the Word of God that is quick and powerful and sharper than any double-edged sword that comes to discern the thoughts and dispositions of the heart (Hebrews 4:14). He comes to judge the motives and purposes of the heart, to eliminate those motives that do not belong so as to properly establish those that do. The judgment of God that comes to remove wickedness is not pleasant to endure. But it comes to heal, not to harm, for it is God purging evil from his good creation, so as to restore it to God’s original intention.

So the nations and kings of the earth are dispatched, in Revelation 19, in a very drastic and seemingly final way. The language is highly symbolic. Evil is being destroyed from God’s creatures, and it is a very serious business. But it is not intended to harm or destroy any of God’s creatures; it is intended to purge the poison of evil out of them and heal them.

Whatever happens to the nations and kings of the earth in Revelation 19-20 is not God’s final word about them. For in Revelation 21, we meet them once again, and in a very surprising way. Throughout the book of Revelation, they have been at enmity with God, embracing wickedness and making war against the Lamb and his faithful ones. But in Revelation 21, where do you suppose it is we meet them? In the Holy City, the heavenly Jerusalem that joins together heaven and earth. The City where the Lamb of God is himself the temple, the meeting place of God and humankind. The City where there is no darkness and no night, for the Lamb of God is its lamp and light. The city whose gates are never shut — never shut!

And into this City come the nations and kings of the earth, bringing their tribute with them (Revelation 21:24-26). They have been purified, for nothing impure can enter the City (v. 27). Throughout Revelation, they have been spoken of in the worst terms, but now they come into the City, purified, purged of evil. So, whatever happened to them in Revelation 19-20 is not the final word on them. Whatever happened to them was not to harm them but to heal and cleanse and purify them. (See After the Lake of Fire and Fire, Brimstone and Torment.)

Now, my interpretation is no more determinative of the meaning of Revelation 19 than yours or anyone else’s. But it is the one I see: Christ in his glory and goodness rescuing the world, even the most vile in it, for whom he has shed his own blood. In a word, what I see here is the gospel — I can only bear witness to it. And I am content that it is a Christ-centered, cross-shaped interpretation, which is as it should be.

Friday, April 24, 2020

A Christ-Centered, Cross-Shaped Interpretation of Isaiah 10:5-20


In a previous post, Luke 24 and Reading the Scriptures, I made the point that we ought always interpret the Scriptures in a Christ-centered, cross-shaped way. In this post, I seek to apply that to the interpretation of Isaiah 10.

In a literal reading of Isaiah 10:5-20, we see that God allows Assyria to come against God’s arrogant and oppressive people. Then he punishes Assyria for the willful pride and haughty eyes of Assyria and the king of Assyria. The “Light of Israel” will become a fire, the Holy One will be a flame that burns away proud Assyria. Then the remnant of Israel will return to God and rely on the “Holy One of Israel.”

Knowing Christ’s teaching, that the Scriptures are about him, and thus having the veil lifted from our heart, it is not difficult to identify Christ in this passage: He is the Light of Israel, the Holy One of Israel. And knowing that the Lord Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s being, in whom all the fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form, we must therefore reject any interpretation of Scripture that portrays God in any way that contradicts the revelation of God we have been given in Jesus Christ. God will not act in any way that contradicts how Christ acts and what Christ teaches, or else we should have to conclude that Christ is not really the full and perfect expression of God after all.

So if we read this passage as being about God taking retribution on his enemies, we are reading counter to Christ, who teaches us to love our enemies and do good to those spitefully use us. It is also counter to what Paul teaches us in Romans 12. Does God repay evil with evil? No! But God overcomes evil with good, which is precisely what Paul teaches us to do. So any idea of God doing harm to anyone runs counter to Christ and the gospel, and so, simply will not do. Otherwise, we end up worshiping a false god, a petty, Zeus-like deity. But the true God is like Christ.

But if we can only see in Isaiah 10 a god who does harm to anyone, then they are seeing a god who is not worth worshiping but a petty, jealous, self-centered, self-seeking deity who is quite different from Christ. For Christ loves his enemies, and love simply does not intend harm. Indeed, in the New Testament, we see, through Christ, that God is love. And harm is nowhere to be found in Christ’s example of love or in Paul’s description of it in 1 Corinthians 13. Christ does not overcome evil by hate or by harm but by the humility of the cross, and it is in the humility of the cross the we see the glory of God, grace of God, and love of God most fully revealed.

There may be several spiritual, Christ-centered interpretations about what is happening in Isaiah 10 and what Christ is doing there. But here is one that strongly impresses itself upon me: I see that there is a persistent theme of pride and arrogance, not only in the behavior of Israel but even moreso in the behavior of Assyria and the king of Assyria.

Willful pride and arrogance are spiritual enemies of the soul, and so enemies of the people of God. But God allows these spiritual enemies to test his people in order to break them of their own pride and arrogance so that they might return to God in reliance upon him. Then God deals with pride and arrogance itself through the one who is the Light, the Holy One of Israel. This is Christ, who is humble and lowly in heart, and who has conquered the pride and arrogance of the world through the humility of death on the cross.

I am reminded of Luke 22, where the disciples are arguing over which of them should be considered the greatest — they are behaving proudly and arrogantly. In verse 31-32, Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Satan wants to have at all the disciples, to “sift” and test them. Jesus does not prevent this, but he tells Simon Peter in particular that he has prayed for him that his faith will not be completely overthrown, so that when Simon recovers in his faith, he will be able to strengthen and stabilize the others in their faith.

This was on the night before the cross, and Jesus saw that pride and arrogance were testing his disciples. But, of course, through the humility of the cross, Christ destroyed the power of satan, the power of pride and arrogance.

In broad strokes, what I find in Isaiah 10 is God’s people are being sifted by pride and arrogance, but then pride and arrogance are destroyed by Christ, and the people of God return and trust in him. Spiritual enemies test them; the enemies are themselves destroyed; the people turn back to Christ; the people rely on Christ. The progression we see here is the progression we find in the Gospel.

This, then, is an interpretation that takes Isaiah 10 as being about Christ and is shaped by the contours of the gospel — it is Christ-shaped and cross-shaped, which is as it should be. And it does not portray God in a way that contradicts the way of Christ.

This way of interpreting is not a novel approach. The early Church Fathers approached texts like that in the same way I have done above. See, for example, how Origen interpreted the genocide texts in the book of Joshua (Reading With the Church Fathers (Part 3/3)). See also St. Gregory of Nyssa’s “Life of Moses” (it is not very long, and it can be found online).

Of course, no one is obliged to accept my interpretation of Isaiah 10, and I make no claim that it is the only legitimate one. In fact, I noted above that there may be many other legitimate interpretations. But any interpretation of Isaiah 10, or any other Old Testament Scripture, that portrays God in any way that contradicts the way and teaching of Christ ought to be rejected as unworthy of the Christian faith. That is because Jesus Christ is the perfect expression of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3). He is the one in whom all the fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form, so that whoever has seen Christ has seen the Father.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Luke 24 and Reading the Scriptures

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)
Luke 24 records two encounters that took place on the evening of the Resurrection, two encounters that are important for how we read the Scriptures (the Old Testament). The first was when Jesus came upon the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The second was after the Emmaus disciples came and found the Eleven disciples huddled in Jerusalem and told them what had happened; suddenly and inexplicably, Jesus was standing among them.

The Emmaus disciples had been downcast about what had happened. They had believed Jesus was a great prophet but were now very confused. Jesus had been crucified and was buried, and just that morning the tomb was found empty — and they didn’t know what to think. Now here was Jesus standing before them, though they did not realize it was him. Jesus told them how foolish they were not to believe all the prophets have spoken, about how Messiah must “suffer these things and then enter his glory.” It had all been in the Scriptures, but they had not recognized it. So Jesus interpreted Moses and the Prophets for them concerning all these things. This was no mere recital about bits and pieces scattered here and there; Jesus showed them that the Scriptures are about him, especially how he must suffered and enter into his glory — he showed them the Cross and Resurrection.

When they reached their destination, they invited Jesus to stay with them. Jesus accepted, and at table with them he took bread, gave thanks for it, broke it and gave it to them. In that eucharistic action, their eyes were “opened” (the Greek word is dienoigen, which means to open thoroughly) and they immediately recognized Jesus.
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened [dienoigen] the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:31-32)
Jesus vanished from their sight. They had not recognized him when he first encountered them, though he was clearly visible to their physical sight. But now they could see him clearly in the Scriptures and in the Eucharistic action. Notice the two movements here: Jesus “opened” (dienoigen) the Scriptures to them. Second, their eyes were “opened” (dienoigen) at the Breaking of the Bread.

Why did Jesus open the Scriptures to them? It was because they were closed. Was Jesus carrying around all the Old Testament scrolls and then he literally unrolled them? Of course not. Yet he opened thoroughly the Scriptures to them — not a little, but thoroughly — so they could see that they are about Jesus the Messiah. Before, they had not understood them. Now they did, and now they could see Jesus clearly in them. Before, the Scriptures had been veiled to them, though they had not realized it. But now Christ thoroughly opened them, and the veil was lifted.

In the second encounter, the two Emmaus disciples were with the Eleven in Jerusalem when Jesus suddenly appeared, standing in their midst.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened [dienoigen] their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:44-47)
Up until now, the Eleven had not understood the Scriptures. They knew them, they heard them read, but they had not understood them who they are about. They had been with Jesus for three years, hearing his parables and teachings, witnessing his miracles, but they had not understood the Christ-centered, cross-shaped nature of the Scriptures. But now Jesus thoroughly opened their minds to understand them and see they are about Jesus.

Christ thoroughly opened the Scriptures to them. He thoroughly opened their eyes to see him in the Breaking of Bread. He thoroughly opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He taught them that the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms — the whole of the Scriptures — are about him, about his death and resurrection and glory. And so Jesus teaches us, as well, about how to read the Scriptures: we look for Jesus in them because they are about him. But we will not find Christ in them by literal interpretation; Christ did not give us literalism as an interpretive principle, but he gave us himself as the interpretation of the Scriptures.

As we consider how the apostles and New Testament authors treated the Old Testament Scriptures, we see that they did not read them literally. When Paul speaks of Sarah and Hagar (Galatians 4), he is not giving a literal interpretation. When he speaks of the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10), he is not giving a literal interpretation. Or when he speaks of the Rock in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:40). No, he speaks of them all very differently from what a literal interpretation of the corresponding Old Testament Scriptures would yield. By the literal method, we would never see that the crossing of the Red Sea is about baptism, or that the Rock followed them in the wilderness, and that this Rock is Christ. Paul understood what Christ taught both the disciples and the Jewish leaders, that what Moses wrote was about Christ. “These things happened to them as ensamples,” Paul tells us. The word for “ensample” is typos. Paul expressly identifies them for us as types, which indicates that their meaning is about something else — and that something else is Christ. A type is

In Hebrews 10:7, the author observes that what is said in Psalm 40:7 is about Jesus the Messiah. Then he quotes the passage: “Then I said, “Behold, I have come — in the volume of the book [scroll] it is written of me — to do your will, O God.” The “scroll” here is the scroll of the Law, that is, the Torah. The phrase “volume of the scroll” does not merely mean there are bits here and there in the scroll of the Law that are about Christ, but it indicates that the whole of the scroll, everything wrapped around the spindle post of the Scripture scroll, is about Jesus.

It was not only the New Testament authors who treated the Scriptures as being about Christ, but so did the early Church Fathers. St. Irenaeus, for example, wrote Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, in which he shows how the Apostles and the Fathers preached Christ. The stunning thing about it is that the early apostolic preaching about Christ was not from the New Testament Gospels or epistles but from the Old Testament Scriptures. The Fathers did not arrive at this by literal interpretation but by spiritual interpretation shaped by Christ and the gospel.

Another example is St. Gregory of Nyssa, in his Life of Moses. In this book, Gregory goes through the Moses narratives in the Torah and shows that they are about Christ, the gospel of Christ and the body of Christ.

But here is a counter-example: There was one early Church figure who interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures literally, and that was Marcion. Are you familiar with him? What Marcion saw by interpreting the Old Testament literally was a portrayal of God that is quite contradictory to the revelation of God given to us in Jesus Christ. What he saw by a literal interpretation was a petty, hateful deity not worthy of our worship — and indeed, such a deity found by literal interpretation is a moral monster, hateful and petty, and not worthy of worship. So, Marcion pitched out the Old Testament Scriptures altogether.

But the early Church Fathers did not do as Marcion did. They did not abandon the Scriptures, because they understood something very important about the Scriptures that Marcion did not: the Scriptures are about Christ, through and through. So any interpretation that did not align with the revelation of God in Jesus Christ was rejected.

In Luke 24, we learn that the Old Testament Scriptures are about Christ, and until we read them in a Christ-centered, cross-shaped way, our understanding has yet to be opened to them; they remain veiled to us. But when we learn to read them as testimony to Jesus Christ, the Cross and the Gospel, we will learn to understand them the way the New Testament authors and the early Church understood them.

Below are a couple of examples of what a Christ-centered, cross-shaped interpretation of the Scriptures might look like.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Cross and Resurrection As Singular Event


The Cross and Resurrection are not two different events but two different views of the same event.Yet many Christians have thought of it as a two-step plan. They have been taught that the Cross was about “paying” for sin, like a debt that was owed, in order to assuage the wrath of an angry deity. Solving the sin problem is step one, and with that neatly handled, step two is solving the problem of death.

With that kind of thinking, many have not known how to adequately think of the Resurrection in relation to the Cross. Some have supposed that the Resurrection is the assurance or proof that the so-called “payment for sin” was accepted by God and his wrath was appeased. But that is not how the Scriptures speak of  either the Cross or the Resurrection. It is not how they present the problem, nor  how they announce the resolution.

The real problem was not sin but death. In Romans 5:12, Paul tells us, “Therefore, just as sin entered into the cosmos through one man, and death through sin, so also death pervaded all humanity, whereupon all sinned” (The New Testament translation by David Bentley Hart).

Death did not come upon all because all sinned. The Greek words eph ho in that verse simply do not mean “because,” though that it is how they have often been translated in this verse. Yet, of all the other places in the New Testament where eph ho is used, it is never translated as “because,” or as having that meaning. (See Whereupon All Sinned.)

The problem was not that death came upon all because all sin but that all sin because death came upon all. The early Church understood the true problem to be that of our mortality; that is, we all die.

We do not die because we sin; we sin because we die. The answer, then, was not to treat the symptom, sin — sin could be and has been forgiven. God demonstrated “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God did not need to be appeased in order to forgive us; God was already kindly disposed toward us, and forgiving of us. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). The Cross was not the purchase price of God’s forgiveness but the manifestation of it.

The Cross and Resurrection do not merely address the symptom (sin) but gets at the root of the problem: human mortality. The only way death can be overcome is by life, more particularly, by the One who is Life. It is through the Cross and Resurrection that death is defeated, by the life of the One who could not be defeated by death — because he is life, the source of all life from the creation of the world.

At the Cross, Christ did not go down to defeat, waiting to see if there would be victory, that is, the Resurrection. The Resurrection reveals that the Cross is the victory, that Christ disarmed the principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15), cast out the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), destroyed the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and through death destroyed the one who held the power of death (that is, the devil), and set free those who were held in bondage all their lives by the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15).

That is how the power of sin was broken, by breaking the power of death, and the power of the one who held death, thus breaking the bondage of the fear of death. (See Trampling the Fear of Death.)

In the Cross and Resurrection, Christ fully experienced death and death was overcome, inevitably, by Life. It is one event, but we see it in two different ways — and both of those ways are beautiful.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

God Suffers With Us


At the Cross, Jesus, in whom all the fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form, suffered for us, with us and as us — this is the truth of the Incarnation. God suffers with us.

Through the cross and resurrection, Christ has not only delivered us but has redeemed all the suffering we experience — even the sufferings of our present crises. It is all eternally redeemed by the cross and resurrection, from the beginning of time. For, in Christ, time and eternity are irrevocably joined together, and to undo this union would require undoing the Incarnation. So, even as we experience suffering in our time, it is already redeemed by the faithfulness of Christ through the cross and resurrection.

Notice, it is the crucified and risen Lord Jesus who encounters Saul on the road to Damascus and says, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” It was not, “Why do you persecute Christians,” or “Why do you persecute the Church,” but “Why do you persecute me?” Crucified and risen, yet Christ was nonetheless suffering persecution in and with his body, the Church.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Christ Trampling Death, Bestowing Life


Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life.

I love the icon of the Anastasis (Resurrection). Beneath the feet of Christ are the broken gates of Hades (the place of the dead) which could not prevail against him and his body, the Church.

See, at the bottom, that the “strong man” has been bound and his house has been plundered (Luke 11:21-22).

Christ has destroyed the one who held the power of death (that is, the devil) and set free those who were held in slavery by their fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15)

See Christ taking the hands of Adam and Eve, lifting them from their graves — and with them, all humankind. “For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Rejoice! And believe the good news of the gospel.