- A Place Of Grace published a newsletterReadEncounter Vol. 54A Place of GraceWhy the Resurrection of Christ Matters
One of the most informative passages in the Bible on the resurrection of Christ, and its implications for us, comes in 1 Corinthians 15. For the author, the Apostle Paul, the resurrection of Christ is the foundation of Christian life in the present and of hope for the future. He first establishes the historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection by noting his subsequent appearance to hundreds of disciples and ultimately to Paul himself (vv. 1–10). He then notes the universality of early Christian resurrection belief and the absurdity of non-belief for Christian faith (vv. 11–19). If Jesus did not rise, he was just another failed Jewish messiah (God’s chosen representative and substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world). But if he did rise from the dead, then God’s new kingdom has dawned. Next Paul reworks typical Jewish motifs (repeated themes or ideas) into a distinctly Christian perspective. Death came through Adam, resurrection through Christ, who now reigns in heaven having defeated his enemies (a distinguishing feature of the Messiah, though the enemies were normally identified as political; vv. 20–28). This should profoundly affect the way believers live (vv. 29–35). Paul then describes both the continuity and the difference between the present and future bodies using several analogies (vv. 35–49). The contrast is not between physical/material and disembodied/immaterial, but between different bodies, the present one animated by soul, the future one animated by spirit. The perishable flesh-and-blood body is transformed into an imperishable immortal body, and so death itself is swallowed up (vv. 50–55). Christ’s resurrection is thus the prototype of Christian experience.
Friend, there is no person who does not sin (Rom. 3:23; 1 Kg. 8:46; 1 Jn. 1:8). Man's inability to unshackle himself from sin and turn to God is evidenced in all places throughout Scripture. Any falling short of God's standard in act, thought, or character is sin. Sin touches every part of who we are: mind (Eph. 4:18), will (Rom.6:16-17) emotions (Tit. 3:3), heart: (Jer. 17:9), conscience (Tit. 1:15), and body (Rom. 8:10). All human beings are totally corrupt, and totally incapable of doing that which is acceptable to God, will not and cannot change their preference for sin, and cannot restore their relationship with God, apart from his enabling grace (2 Chr. 6:36; Ezek. 36:26; Rom. 3:9-12; 7:18, 8:7-8 14:23; Eph. 2:1-10, 4:18, 1Cor. 2:14; Heb. 11:6). But Jesus in his perfect obedience in life, his ministry, and substitutionary death, brings salvation and eternal life to humanity (Jn. 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 Pet. 2:21-24). Christ suffered the penalty of sin that all men should have undergone, and in taking humanity’s place, died on the cross as a sacrifice (Heb. 7; 9; 10:10, 12; John 1:29; 36) for the sins of the world. Thus, he fulfilled the demands of God's righteousness and His desire to show mercy, through the redemption and reconciliation of an alienated and fallen humanity unto himself (Isa. 53:4-6; Rom. 3:23-25, 6:6, 8:3; Eph. 2:16; 1 Pet. 2:24). And there is no salvation without the resurrection of Christ. This salvation is a gift from God (Exod. 33:19; Rom. 9:16, 11:6; 1 Cor. 4:7), available to all who repent and believe in Jesus as savior and lord.
Pastor Caleb Lenard
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