Rising from the dead, Jesus was victorious over the consequence of our sin. In dying for us, he bore the consequences of our sin very personally. If he did not rise, our own hope of rising from the dead into heaven would not be real. No resurrection: no hope of heaven.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also…
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
1Corinthians 15:3-8, 12-19
Yesterday we considered the importance of the heart-belief that Jesus is risen from the dead, along with the proclamation with our mouths that he is Lord. These two things together result in our salvation. I promised to look more closely at the resurrection today, which is best considered with Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
The essence of the gospel is reviewed by Paul: Christ died for our sins, was buried, was raised on the third day, and appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, and then to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time. These things happened, Paul says, ‘according to the Scriptures.’ The Old Testament Scriptures predict and prophecy that Jesus will live, die, and rise again, all for us.
Paul considers it a contradiction to follow Jesus without believing the resurrection. People want to do this, though, don’t they? People want to pick and choose the teachings they want to believe or disbelieve, all the while following Jesus. Let’s see how that turns out. In the case of the resurrection:
If there is no resurrection, Christ is not even alive, which makes our faith in Jesus useless and futile. Why? Because we are still in our sins without the resurrection of the dead. We focus a lot on Jesus dying for us on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. This is true. Yet, if Jesus is not raised from the dead, there is no victory over death itself. And death is the ultimate punishment for sin. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
In rising from the dead, Jesus was victorious over the consequence of our sin. In dying for us, he bore the consequences of our sin very personally. If he stayed dead, and did not rise from the dead, our hope of our resurrection from the dead into eternity in heaven would not be real. If there is no resurrection from the dead, there is no hope of heaven. No wonder Paul calls our faith useless and futile without the power of the resurrection.
Jesus’ resurrection is the victory over death which gives us hope of heaven!