And IF Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile:you are still in your sin.
I Cor. 15:17
Many in our society today respond to the good news of the resurrection of Christ from the dead as Paul’s hearers in Athens did; they greeted his witness to the resurrection with sneers. To many today the idea of the resurrection is sheer nonsense. There is — they believe — no historical evidence or proof of anything like the resurrection ever happening. Many would ascribe it to a cooked up story by Jesus followers, or part of the Biblical myth.
The Apostle Paul would boldly declare the resurrection to be a true historical fact.
As Nancy Pearsey writes in her book, “Total Truth”, “Historical Christianity teaches spiritual truth which is firmly rooted in historical events.”
This is what Paul is setting forth in this passage when he states,“if Christ’s resurrection has not happened in real history, if there is no empty tomb, then our faith is of no value, it is useless.”
As Pearsey continues, “Paul declares some 500 people are eye witnesses to the fact that Christ was alive after the crucifixion, which means Paul was treating religious truth as susceptible to the ordinary means of verifying historical events. To Paul this means the resurrection is the final factual guarantee of the trustworthiness of the gospel.”
If Jesus is not risen we are, as the Hymn writer aptly puts it, “Shackled by a heavy burden, neath a load of guilt and shame,” — and with no hope to escape our tragic end, the wrath of God. But as the song writer continues, “he touched me and O the joy that floods my soul.”
Our only hope is to be touched by the love of Jesus, as he witnessed to John in Rev. 1:5, “to him who loved us and has freed us from our sins by his blood;” and Paul adds to that testimony in Rom.5:9, “Since we now have been justified by his blood how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath.”
If there is no resurrection then we are to be pitied above all for we are still shackled by our load of sin with no hope to be freed from God’s judgment; which would mean the hatred of man is stronger than the love of God.
For as John writes, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” It is the Son who testifies, “Do not be afraid, I am the first and the last, I am the living one; I once was dead , and behold I am alive for ever and ever. And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” ( Rev.1:17,18)
Amen, Hallelujah, He is risen, He is risen indeed.
~Pastor Jack Matheis