LOOKING UP: How important is the Resurrection?
Friday, 20 April 2012 by JOE BAISDEN
Come with me as we look in on the Corinthian church as the Apostle Paul writes to them about something very important.
The thing that we need to understand is that he is not addressing pagans in Chapter 15. He is writing "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours" (1 Cor. 1:1).
Chapter 15 begins with a reminder and a warning. "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures . . . "
Verse 12 brings the kicker. "But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how come some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?" With this question Paul launches into the most profound argument for holding on to this essential element of the Christian faith.
Continuing in the Scripture: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith . . . your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."
With those words Paul paints a disastrous picture. To throw out the resurrection is to let the air out of the tires and leave us stranded in despair in this earthly journey in which we are engaged. We go to the cemetery and grieve without hope.
Then comes the affirmation of verse 20. Tears of joy are blurring my eyes as I type the words: "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead."
Jesus told the grieving sister of the departed Lazarus: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whosever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26).
May we not be people who deny the resurrection. Rather may we be people who affirm it, not just in word, but also in life.
More Scripture: "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God . . .. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" (Col. 3:1-3,5-10,12-14).
"Because I live, you also will live." – John 14:19