During this Easter season I have heard a number of Bible teachers say that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central issue to the Christian faith. What makes Christ’s resurrection so important? Consider these words from the Apostle Paul.
1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Paul lists six terrible realities that would be if there was no resurrection. In order to best understand them, I will list them in what I believe to be a logical order:
1) If Christ be not risen – we are still in our sins
The resurrection of Jesus provided proof that God had accepted His sacrifice for our sins and therefore He is legally just to forgive us of our sins. If Christ is still in the grave, His death meant nothing.
2) If Christ be not risen – our faith in Him is useless
What good does it do to believe in a Savior that can’t save? Christianity is no different than any other form of religion if our Savior is dead.
3) If Christ be not risen – our preaching of Him and His gospel is useless
What good does it do to go into all the world and to share His gospel with every creature if He can’t save us? The Gospel is not good news. The Gospel is just a story.
4) If Christ be not risen – those who testified that they saw the risen Savior are liars
Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” (see Acts 2:32) If Jesus is still dead, Peter, Paul and the rest of the New Testament witnesses are all fakes and frauds. If they did not see a risen Savior, they were responsible for initiating a movement that is built on nothing more than a lie.
5) If Christ be not risen – Christians die and remain in the ground
If Christ did not rise from dead, than neither will any of us as well.
6) If Christ be not risen – Christianity is nothing more than a ‘feel good’ fairy tale
But what if there was a resurrection? What if Christ is alive? Consider these realities:
1) If Christ be risen then there is a God and Jesus is His Son
Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
Today many mock the resurrection of Jesus and say that it is nothing more than a fable. Yet the Bible says that Peter stood only a short distance from the empty tomb and with boldness proclaimed Christ’s resurrection. If it had been only a story, then those present could have easily proved it. Yet the Bible says that 3,000 turned to Christ and received Him as their Savior that day.
Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear… 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,
2) If Christ be risen then there is only one way to heaven
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Why would God send His Son to this earth to die on a cross if there were other ways for men to get to heaven?
3) If Christ be risen then there is forgiveness and eternal life
1 Corinthians 15:3 Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
4) If Christ be risen then there is hope not only for today, but for tomorrow and all eternity
John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
5) If Christ be risen then there is also eternal doom for all those who do not receive Him.
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Just as there is hope for those who believe in Christ, there is doom for those who don’t. If there is a resurrection, then Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to heaven, therefore anyone who does not receive Him as their Savior are destined to spend eternity in hell.
6) If Christ be risen, then sharing His Good News is the greatest thing any of us can ever do.
Luke 24:46 Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.