‘He is risen!’ – Part 5
To believe means turning to Christ as a living person, Who is our Redeemer from sin, our Saviour from damnation and the Lord of our lives. It means believing that He is the Son of God sent by the Father and that all He said is true and authoritative for our lives. It means believing that He forgives our sins, makes us His children, gives us the Holy Spirit, and is present with us always to help, guide, comfort and lead us to heaven.
• Saving faith is much more than believing truths about Christ. It causes us to draw near to Him, remain in Him, and commit our troubled lives to Him with assurance that He, His Word and the Spirit will lead us through this life to the Father’s eternal presence.
What are the consequences, if Jesus did not rise from the dead? What if He had remained dead in the grave? What if there was no empty tomb?
The significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is of monumental importance. The plain fact is that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, He would have left behind a group of disillusioned disciples, who may have dispersed or at best, raise a club of people, who heard about a good man or an ordinary prophet who once lived in history, who was murdered but was ignorantly deified by His disciples. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, there will be no New Testament in the Bible, no Church and no Christianity, as we know it today. The resurrection of Christ is the greatest miracle in the history of the universe and is of monumental importance to (i) the true identity of the divinity of Christ, (ii) the inauguration and continued existence of the church and (iii) the sure-footed identity, lives and destination of those who believe in Jesus Christ.
“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact, the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Cor 15:13-19)
15:13-18: The resurrection of Christ is the centre of the Christian faith. Because Christ rose from the dead, as He promised, we know that what He said is true—He is God. Because He rose, we have certainty that our sins are forgiven. Because He rose, He lives and represents us to God. Because He rose and defeated death, we know we will also be raised.
15:19 Why does Paul say believers should be pitied if there were only earthly value to Christianity? In Paul’s day, Christianity often brought a person persecution, ostracism from family, and, in many cases, poverty. There were few tangible benefits from being a Christian in that society. It was certainly not a step up the social or career ladder. Even more important, however, is the fact that if Christ had not been resurrected from death, Christians could not be forgiven for their sins and would have no hope of eternal life.
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