"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)

Because He Lives … I Am Assured

In the previous post, we looked at what it would mean if there had been no resurrection – if Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead.  The keynote passage was 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

As it turns out, we can use the same passage to gain some insight into what has happened because there was a resurrection.  Let’s remind ourselves of what the passage said … 

  • “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? 13 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. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have a]fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

It is clear what Paul is saying would not have happened IF Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead.  However, if we put a negative spin on what Paul said, then we can understand what some of the benefits of Jesus Christ’s resurrection are. 

For example, in verse 14, Paul says “if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty.”  If we put a negative spin on that, then we can see that the apostles’ preaching was not empty or in vain.  In other words, because Christ is risen from the dead, because He lives, what the apostles said is based on truth and will produce good fruit in the lives of those who believe and act upon what the apostles said.  That’s the first thing we can glean.

The second thing we can glean from the passage is that our faith is not empty or futile.  Paul said, in verse 15, that “if Christ is not risen … your faith is also empty” and, in verse 17, that “your faith is futile“.  Because Christ is risen, however … because He lives, our faith is not in a falsehood; we have not believed in vain.  The hope that we have, based on the faith that we have, is justified.

The third thing we can glean from the passage is that the apostles were not false witnesses of God.  Paul tells us, in verse 15, that if Christ is not risen, then “we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up.”  The fact that Jesus Christ is risen, however, means that God did raise Him from the dead.  Their testimony of God is true, so they are not false witnesses of God. 

In verse 17, Paul tells us that if Christ is not risen, then “you are still in your sins!”.  Given that Christ is risen, the opposite must be true, which is to say that we are not still in our sins.  The fact that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead means that God accepted Jesus’ death as the perfect sacrifice … as payment for our sins.  Because Christ is risen … we can be confident that our sins have been completely forgiven.  

We come now to the fifth point, which is based on what Paul said in verse 18.  According to Paul, if Christ is not risen, then “those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”  The term “fallen asleep” is a euphemism for “died” and the word “perished” means, essentially, “died without hope”.  So what Paul is saying is that if Jesus Christ were not raised from the dead, then all those who died in Christ, and who were hoping for their resurrection and glorification (Romans 8:30), would have died in vain.  Because Jesus Christ is risen, however, those who have died in Christ have not perished.  Because Christ is alive, they did not die in vain.  Because He was resurrected, they will be resurrected.  Because He lives, they will live again, when He returns.  Because He lives … their hope will be rewarded. 

Paul concluded the passage by saying, in verse 19, that “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” If Christ is still dead, then our trust was misplaced, our faith is futile and we would deserve to be miserable. Because Jesus Christ is risen, however, we are not to be pitied.  Because Christ is risen, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).  Indeed, because He is risen, we would deserve to be envied. 

Because He lives, we can conclude by saying that the apostles were not false witnesses and their preaching was not in vain.  Because Christ is risen, our trust is not misplaced …  our faith is not in vainour hope is not futile.  Because Christ is alive, our hope is not in this life only … Because He lives, our hope extends beyond the grave

 

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