Faith In The Resurrection
The first and most basic principle of a Christian is faith that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God and that He came to Earth to teach and to be sacrificed upon the cross for the remission of the sins of all mankind. Included in this is the evidence based belief that Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day. Paul described it well in I Cor. 15: 1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, (2) by which also you are saved if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (3) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures”. Our faith as followers of Christ is based upon the truth contained in this gospel message. But what if there were no resurrection? What if Christ had not been raised from the dead? Where would that leave us in this life, and more importantly in eternity? In Paul’s day there was a group that believed that there was no resurrection of the dead. Notice verse 12, “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Now, think about Paul’s audience here, the church at Corinth. Paul refers to them in I Cor. 15:1 as “brethren.” Verse 12 he says that there are “some among you” that did believe in the resurrection of the dead. Those within the church didn’t believe. Paul knew the importance of addressing this problem and it explains to us today the importance and necessity of the resurrection of Christ in regards to the faith and hope that we have.
Paul explains in verses 13 thru 18 the consequences for mankind if Christ had not been raised from the dead. Notice verses 13 and 14, “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.” The resurrection of Christ from the dead confirmed that Jesus was the Son of God, that He was the Messiah that was prophesied about throughout the Old Testament. The resurrection provided proof that Jesus was the Savior that Isaiah prophesied about in Isaiah 53. If Christ had died and been buried and had never arose then our faith and hope in Him and His promises would be shattered. In I Cor. 15:17-18 Paul penned by inspiration, “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.” Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our “iniquities” or “sins” have separated us from God. Without the sacrifice of Christ we would be eternally separated from our Creator with no hope of heaven. II Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God has “reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ.” You see, there is no other way to have sins forgiven and to be reconciled to our God other than through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father. Without the resurrection we would have no evidence and no hope and sadly we would still be in waiting for the Messiah to come.
Thanks be to God that Christ did indeed rise and that we have evidence of His resurrection so that our faith is not in vain. Notice I Cor. 15:4-8, “and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, (5) and that He was seen by Cephas then by the twelve. (6) Ater that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. (7) After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. (8) Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” There were eyewitnesses of Christ after He had died, been buried, and risen from the dead. We have recorded for us their eyewitness testimony that provide evidence that Christ was truly the Messiah and has given all mankind hope. We may all take advantage of that great sacrifice and live this life on Earth with great faith and the hope and assurance of heaven if we simply live our lives in obedience to Christ and God’s written word.
- Garrett Alsip