Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
(1 Corinthians 15:1-11)
Our Time In Exile
Given the stakes, a full investigation of life in our Christianity in our current times is in order. What is a Christian? What does it mean to claim Christ? What is the cost of doing so? Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ.” Is that true? And if so, if the cost of discipleship is truly the cross — alienation, disdain, opposition, and, for some, persecution — how to make ready? How to batten down the hatches? How do dig in one’s heels now? What hopes shall we carry? What standards raise? What songs shall our hearts sing in our time of exile? We turn to God’s word for answers.