Thoughts on the Resurrection of Christ
What comes to mind when you meditate on the resurrection of Christ? Often the first emotion for a believer is gratitude. Because Jesus arose from the dead we have eternal hope. Our future is secure, not because of anything we have done, but because of the price our Savior paid and the victory He won over death, Hell and the grave. But what if Christ had not risen? Suppose, just for a moment, that all we believe about the Savior is only an encouraging story designed to provide false hope to those who are facing death and their loved ones who remain. What would that mean?
The Apostle Paul addressed that very issue in I Corinthians 15:14-19:
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (Emphasis added)
The apostle mentions five specific consequences that believers must face if the resurrection is simply a “feel good” story.
- Our preaching is vain – We are wasting our time in worship services. Why worship a dead Savior?
- Our faith is vain (repeated twice) – What good is faith in something that did not occur?
- We are found false witnesses of God – We are guilty of promoting a lie.
- We are yet in our sins – Salvation does not exist, we will personally pay the debt for our sins.
- They also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished – They are already paying their sin debt.
Not a pretty picture, is it? That scenario offers no promise, no hope, and is heartbreakingly fatalistic in scope. If that is true then the humanistic philosophy espoused by the rich man in Luke 12:19 to “eat, drink, and be merry” seems most appropriate.
Paul makes one more important statement, however, in I Corinthians 15. In verse 20 he declares emphatically “But now is Christ risen from the dead!” It is true, our salvation is secure, our future is settled and our message provides hope for all who are willing to believe.
Hallelujah, Christ Arose!