Is that all there is?

1 John 5:4-5 “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Are you familiar with the song, “Is That All There Is?” It’s a song (it’s actually part storytelling and part singing) that was released by Peggy Lee in 1969. It’s a melancholy story about how this woman looked at life and all it offered, both good and bad, with the response, “Is that all there is?” She first talks about a fire that destroyed her home when she was a child. In this devastating tragedy her response is one of resignation. In essence she says, “oh well, so what, what does it matter in the long run.” And then this refrain:

“Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is”

She uses this same refrain after she talks about going to the circus and experiencing all that it had for her. In essence it’s the thought that entertainment, in whatever form, is never enough. Of the circus she says, “I had the feeling that something was missing, I don’t know what, but when it was over I said to myself, “is that all there is to the circus?”

She then talks about falling in love “with the most wonderful boy in the world. We’d take long walks down by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes. We were so very much in love And then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t. And when I didn’t, I said to myself, is that all there is to love?”

Finally, in her look at the vanity of it all, she says, “I know what you must be saying to yourselves. If that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all? Oh, no, not me. I’m not ready for that final disappointment ‘Cause I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you, when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath, I’ll be saying to myself,

“Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is”

It’s such a hopeless look at the world. It’s an idea expressed in the Bible so well by the words that make great sense to us if “that’s all there is,” i.e., “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). It’s the idea expressed by Solomon throughout the book of Ecclesiastes as Solomon recounts how he had experiencing everything that the world at his time had to offer. And his conclusion? “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

And so the question, “IS that all there is?” Is life, in all that it has to offer, essentially meaningless, and because of that, lets just “party hardy” as long as we have breath? Well the surprising answer the Bible would give us is “yes,” but on this one condition: “If the dead are not raised,” for that’s the one condition that Paul lays before us in 1 Corinthians 15:32 when he concludes that if this is indeed true, then, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” It’s the pessimistic but realistic conclusion one will inevitably reach if they think deeply about this life if THIS life is all there is. But is that true? Is that all there is? Or is there more than this. What does God say about it?

His answer. There’s much more than this! We’ve told in God’s Word that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Jesus proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). But immediately Jesus follows this with “do you believe this?”

So the question is, “Do YOU believe this.” I can assure you that the apostle Paul did, for otherwise he would never have said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). You see, Paul believed this because he had seen the risen Christ with his own two eyes. He was willing to die for this fact. He was willing to tell everyone he knew that this is NOT all there is. There is much more, very much more.

But then on the flip side of this, what if what Christians believe is NOT true. What if Peggy Lee was right when she asked – and gave the fatalistic answer to “Is that all there is.” Well, Paul addressed this too. And what did he say? Just this: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, WE ARE OF ALL PEOPLE MOST TO BE PITIED” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). And why is this? Because for a person to live as if this life really matters, when it really doesn’t, and to live like this moment counts forever, when it really doesn’t, is a pitiful and miserable condition. While this world in its pessimistic outlook may be miserable, at least they’ve made efforts to deaden the pain by their fleshly pursuits. Meanwhile, the Christian misses all that worldly fun.

But Paul goes on in 1 Corinthians 15 with this: “BUT IN FACT CHRIST HAS BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

It is for this reason, the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that the believer has, in the words of 1 John 5 above, “overcome the world.” We’ve overcome the world and its pessimism, narcissism, fatalism, and every other “ism” that rightly fits our existence if the answer to “Is that all there is?” is “Yes.” But that’s NOT all there is, not for a moment. There is an eternity that awaits the saints of God. For the believer in the resurrected Christ, the life that is lived, above all, to glorify Him, will be worth it all, in the end.


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