Friday, April 2, 2010
If Christ Be Not Raised
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Cor.15:17)
“If Christ be not raised…” Boy, that's a big “if!” For the very reasons that Paul gives. If Jesus never rose from the grave, our faith is groundless, His death ineffective, and we are still under the penalty of sin. Any onslaught against Christmas pales in comparison to the attempted marginalization of Easter and the Resurrection.
Notice the verse does not say our hope of salvation is dependent on the death of Christ, but on His Resurrection. Of course, the latter assumes the former; but not vice versa. All men die, but not all men rise from the dead. That is a supernatural occurrence that involves Divine intervention. Jesus’ Resurrection was different from others we read about in the Bible because He was God, the Son, designated by God, the Father to be the Sacrifice for the sins of the world.
The Old Testament sacrifices died, but they did not come alive again. For that reason, they had to be repeated. But Jesus Christ “offered one sacrifice for sins forever,” then rose from the dead, and is now sitting “on the right hand of God” (Heb.10:12). In short, there would have been nothing good about "Good Friday," had there not been a Resurrection Sunday. This is the most important reason to be more concerned with Easter than Christmas. But there is another one.
Although the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ has been under fire from a few days after its occurrence (Matt.28:12-15) till this present day, the new interest in so-called “ancient manuscripts,” seen, for instance, in all the hype about the book and movie, The DaVinci Code, has served to move “higher criticism” from Academia to the front room. Such false claims can be answered, if one is willing to take the time to do the research, but how many will? For the average man, woman, and especially young person, the high-sounding language used by these supposed “experts” will raise doubts. As Romans 16:18b says, "...by good words and fair speeches [they] deceive the hearts of the simple."
This is critical.
The Babe in the manger, and the Man who “went about doing good,” working miracles, truly lived; and it is important to recognize this. Bu the fact is, the Man Christ Jesus, who, died and rose again is the only One who can save us from our sins and give us eternal life. This is reason why we, as the early believers, worship together on Sunday, not Friday.
When we celebrate His Resurrection, we should sing “He Arose” with twice the exuberance as when we sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem. We should raise our hearts (and hands, if you like) in worship to our Savior; for Paul does not leave us with that threatening “if.” He changes that "if" to an "is." Three verses later, He assures us: “But now is Christ risen from the dead…” (emphasis mine).
No, child of God! We have not believed in vain, and, Praise God, we are not in our sins.
The Door to Heaven may have been hung at Calvary; but it only hinges at the Empty Tomb!