“Victory In Jesus” (1 Corinthians 15: 55 – 57, HCSB) by Carley Evans


“The spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 15: 46) Paul writes of the sequence of the defeat of the last enemy, death. We are not born incorruptible; rather we are born “in corruption.” (1 Corinthians 15: 42)

In the sequence in which death is defeated, first comes Adam, then comes Jesus. In other words, writes Paul, first we “bear the image of the man made of dust” but later we “also bear the image of the heavenly man.” (1 Corinthians 15: 49)

“For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15: 53) When this happens, says Paul, then “death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15: 54)

Obviously death exists in the here and now. Anyone who claims that death is already swallowed up in victory has missed the sequence. Jesus defeats death in His body so that one day He will clothe us with immortality in a resurrected body, a heavenly body like His. At that time, death will be defeated and we will own our victory.

“Throw Off Every Burden” (Hebrews 12: 1-2, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Consider [Jesus] who endures from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12: 3)

Keep your eyes fixed on Him so you may be able to “run with endurance.” Throw off every burden, avoiding the “sin which clings so closely.” Look to Jesus, who is literally thrilled to accomplish His Father’s will; and so “endures the Cross, despising the shame.” By setting aside His terror and finding strength in His Father, He becomes “the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Now He is “seated at the right hand of the throne of God” where He intercedes for you and me.

Know that “in [our] struggle against sin [we] have not yet resisted to the point of shedding [our] blood.” (Hebrews 12: 4) Therefore, God disciplines us as His children and we are not to “regard lightly the discipline of the Lord.” (Hebrews 12: 5) God “disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.” (Hebrews 12: 10) Discipline “yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.” (Hebrews 12: 11)

Remember that “[we], who are dead in [our] trespasses and the uncircumcision of [our] flesh, God makes alive together with [Jesus], forgiving us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stands against us with its legal demands. This He sets aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2: 13 – 14)

“Therefore, as [we] receive Christ Jesus the Lord, so [we] walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith.” (Colossians 2: 6 – 7)

We walk in Christ by faith.

“Listen!” (Matthew 20: 17 – 19, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Jesus knows beforehand He is to suffer in Jerusalem, and He privately warns His twelve disciples. He takes them aside, and says emphatically, “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem.” Jesus is telling them to be prepared, to get ready for an event that alters His human life, their lives, and the lives of the rest of the world.

He says, “Get ready for the horrific events that are coming My way.”

Jesus also knows He is to be resurrected in Jerusalem; and is saying: “Get ready for the wonderful moment that is coming your way.”

After His crucifixion, His disciples are hiding, terrified having forgotten Jesus’ word, “Listen!” They are not ready, but the women — Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and others with them — are prepared before the Sabbath to bring spices and perfume to the body of their Lord, Jesus who is kindly taken from the Cross and entombed by Joseph, one of the Sanhedrin. They are not ready for His resurrection, but are dealing with an immediate need of His body.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, [the women who came with Jesus from Galilee] come to the tomb, bringing the spices they have prepared. They find the stone rolled away from the tomb. They go in but do not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they are perplexed about this, suddenly two men stand by them in dazzling clothes. So the women are terrified and bow down to the ground. ‘Why are you looking for the living among the dead?’ ask the men. ‘He is not here, but He is resurrected!’ ” (Luke 23: 56, 24: 1 – 6)

All are devastated, doubting, and then amazed at the events Jesus predicts for them before they go up to Jerusalem. Not one is fully prepared.

Jesus says to us, “Listen!”

“A Ransom For All” (1 Timothy 2: 5 – 6, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Christ gives Himself, of His own free will, as a ransom for all humanity. As a ransom, He is the one and only mediator between humans and God the Father. He is able to be this ransom because He is both God and human simultaneously — knowing God’s requirements, knowing our weaknesses and failures. Jesus becomes for us sin; and sin is destroyed as His body is destroyed. God the Father turns, then re-turns; His face darkening then rejoicing in His Son’s resurrection. Jesus leaves the tomb empty, and has an eternal victory over sin and its wage – death.

Love overwhelms wrath; God’s justice is fully satisfied in Christ’s death. Jesus is “a testimony at the proper time.” His testimony is true — that God desires our salvation, going to great length to achieve it.

“Heaven On Earth” (Luke 20: 38, ESV) by Carley Evans


Jesus tells us, “Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to Him.”

Paul writes, “Do you not know that all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into His death? We are buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ is raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too may walk in the newness of life. For if we are united with Him in a death like His, we are certainly united with Him in a resurrection like His.” (Romans 6: 3 – 5)

So, we live to God.

Jesus says, “I Am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11: 25)

He also declares many times, “The kingdom of Heaven has come near to you.” (Luke 10: 9, 11)

If Jesus is the resurrection and the life, then He is also the kingdom of Heaven. He walks among us, the full embodiment of Heaven on earth.

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if your hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put Me to the test and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known My ways.’ As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ” (Hebrews 3: 7 – 11)

Jesus is our High Priest, so we are able “to hold fast our confession” of faith. He is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses.” We are as such able to approach God “with confidence,” knowing that He Himself provides us with mercy and “grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4: 14 – 16, selected)

Jesus is our life. He is the kingdom of Heaven. We walk in this kingdom here on the earth with softened hearts, leaning on Him for mercy and grace and help in time of need. Let us lean on the Lord.

“Passed Out Of Death” (John 11: 25, ESV) by Carley Evans


“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3: 14)

Lazarus is dead; he lies in his grave, his body spiced and wrapped. He has been in the grave four days when Jesus arrives in Bethany. Martha meets Jesus as He approaches, saying to Him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” (John 11: 21) Jesus tells Martha that Lazarus will rise again. Martha figures Jesus is referring to the future resurrection to occur on the last day. But Jesus says, “I Am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live.”

The life Jesus gives is for the present time.

Jesus finds Mary weeping, and He is “deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled.” (John 11: 33) He weeps with Mary. At Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus commands the stone to be moved from the cave where Lazarus’ body is entombed. Martha is concerned about decay and odor for her brother has been dead four days. Jesus is focused on His heavenly Father’s glory. He calls Lazarus to come out. Lazarus does. Jesus says to Mary, Martha and others, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11: 44)

Jesus unbinds us from the grip of death; He loosens the ties and lets us go. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15: 55)

Jesus loves us. He tells us, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 13) He says, “I came that [My friends] may have life and have it abundantly. I Am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10: 10 – 11)

“The World Is Passing Away” (1 John 2: 15 – 16, ESV) by Carley Evans


“The world is passing away along with its desires,” writes the author of 1 John.
The author of Hebrews writes of Christians of great faith who “acknowledge that they [are] strangers and exiles on earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland… As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11: 13 – 14, 16)

Therefore, exhorts the author of 1 John, do not love the world. Why love the world which is passing away – why want the world and its desires?

“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith, Moses when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11: 23 – 26)

1 John’s author says, “For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world.”

Paul states, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish…that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3: 8, 11)

God has prepared a city for us, for those of us who have left behind the world to actively wait for our inheritance — even the salvation of our souls.