The Holy Spirit, speaking through the pen of the Apostle Paul, has spoken volumes about the importance of Christ’s resurrection. Space only permits us to skip a stone across the surface of this deep pond, or do a ‘helicopter-birds-eye-view-flyer-over,” of the treasures found there in 1 Corinthians 15:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Years ago, the leader of a very large denomination announced that Christ did not rise from the dead, there was no resurrection. Others, supporting his view, suggested that Christianity and being a follower of Christ did not require a belief in the resurrection of Christ; rather, Christ was to be an example for us. After all, science suggests that bringing the dead back to life is impossible. Supporters suggested that the Gospel was “bigger” than the resurrection. These announcements challenged many Christians to reconsider and wonder about their beliefs.
The Apostle Paul dealt with similar assertions in his day. There were some who said there was no resurrection of the dead. Some suggested Christ was a gifted teacher whose ethic should be admired and followed. But, as anyone reading Paul’s letters, especially 1 Corinthians 15, can tell, Paul was having none of that. He reminded the Corinthians of how just important the resurrection was to the gospel, to God, and to them.
The resurrection and the gospel are inseparable (vv. 1-4). The resurrection and the Scriptures are inseparable, as Christ’s resurrection was in accordance to the teaching of the Scriptures (v. 4). If there is no resurrection and if Christ didn’t rise from the dead their faith and our faith is in vain—useless (v. 14). Moreover, if Christ, as some say today, was only a good teacher who’s example we are to follow in this life only, then we are to be pitied (v. 19). After all He promised to rise from the dead. He claimed to be God. He claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life---the source of eternal life. Anyone who would follow someone who promised to rise from the dead and did not rise from the dead is to be pitied as a naïve fool.
But, as Paul points out, the fact is Christ did rise from the dead (v. 20). He conquered death for us (vv. 25-26). Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection guarantee that all who trust in Him will be made alive (v. 22). Because of this, we can be reassured and confident that our faith is not in vain and that our devotion to Christ and seeing the lost saved is not a fool’s errand (v. 58)!
The message is simple: no resurrection; no gospel; no gospel; no salvation. But the fact is Christ did rise, those who trust in Him do have eternal life, and will see Him in heaven. You see, the resurrection is supremely important to the gospel, to Christ, to you, and to me. The resurrection reminds us that in Christ we have life. That life stems from the fact that the One who died for our sin and, defeating death, rose again shows us that we can trust in His promises and His power.
The resurrection also speaks to the love of God the Father for Jesus and for us. For God so loved the world He gave His Son for us and believing on Christ we have eternal life. Because of the life we have in Christ and the love for us God exhibited through Him and the love for Him the Father demonstrated in the resurrection, we have hope. Such hope is not like “I hope it won’t rain” hope. On the contrary, God’s kind of hope goes beyond wishful thinking to a certainty. This hope is a certainty that heaven is our home and that Christ has defeated death for us and made those who believe on Him and receive Him children of God, heirs with Him. We share in His reward and we share in His labors for the lost while we remain on earth: “58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
So, as Easter Sunday approaches, let’s remember we’ve got work to do, you and I. And this labor will not be in vain. We’ve got to tell others about Christ, the life He brings, the love He gives, that hope that is found in Him, and the heavenly reward in the life to come. And the proof that it is all true and not a pipe dream is the miracle of the resurrection. That’s why the resurrection is important. So let’s get cracking. We’ve got a lot of people to pray for, invite to church, and tell about Jesus between now and Easter Sunday. Our labor will not be in vain.
Posted on Mon, April 7, 2014
by Sam Petitfils