Living in the Imperfect Tense


I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received; that Christ died for our sins,…that he was buried, that he has been raised on the third day…and that he appeared to Cephas and then the twelve. I Corinthians 15:3-4

Paul has handed over to his brothers and sisters in Corinth what he also received.

These are sure and certain facts. That he died…that he was buried…that he has been raised…that he appeared.  Four time he uses “that.”

His dying and burial are in the past tense. His death and burial are in the past, over and done with, never to be repeated.

However, “that he has been raised” is in the perfect tense.  His condition of resurrection remains.  His last great act in his ministry was to raise Lazarus.  But Lazarus would die again in the future.  Jesus has been raised and death and grave remain in the past.  Jesus will be resurrected.

When we were baptized into Christ we were baptized into his death and resurrection.  But for now, we live in the imperfect tense.  What happened to us in the past, in baptism, continues, though in an incomplete sense.  Our eternal death is behind us, and yet physical death lies ahead.  We will not be living in the perfect tense until we are resurrected when Christ returns.  Then we will be alive with Christ forevermore.  It will be said of us, “He/She has been resurrected” and so it shall be for eternity.


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