If Christ Is Still Dead…Then

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If Christ Is Still Dead


Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you— (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NLT)


12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. (1 Corinthians 15:12-13 NLT)


14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:14-15 NLT)


            The purpose of these Lenten meditations is same as the Apostle Paul’s reason for writing 1 Corinthians 15. Paul wanted to remind his readers of the importance of what he called the Good News. This news is important because the Corinthians had welcomed it. They had accepted it. They had embraced it as one might a long-lost friend. Not only had the Corinthians welcomed the Good News, but they are standing firm in it. This standing firm means they are pledging allegiance to the message contained in the Good News. Next Paul makes a bold declaration about this Good News; it is important because it saves you.

            Catch the next word. This Good News saves you…if. Here is why Paul wants to remind them of the Good News he had preached, and they had welcomed. There is a condition, they must continue to believe the message they discovered in his preaching. What was this Good News? It is found in verses 3-4 and simply states that Christ died, Christ was buried, and on the third day he rose from the dead. That third statement is the sticking point and the reason that Paul is writing. He wants them to remember the importance of believing in the resurrection of the dead.

            Don’t read that last statement too fast and miss the point Paul is making. Paul is writing to underscore, emphasize, and to accentuate the importance of continuing to believe in the resurrection of the dead. Paul is defending the idea that Jesus rose from the dead. But he is also underscoring the importance of standing fast and pledging allegiance to our own resurrection from the dead. In verses 12-13 Paul is wondering out loud with his readers why, if he preached that Christ arose from the dead, then why are some of them saying there is no resurrection from the dead. The Corinthians were not abandoning the idea that Jesus arose. They were dismissing the idea that they would rise from the dead some day in the future. Why is this important? He says in verse 13, if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christ has not been raised either.

            Read slowly and think deeply about the following. Paul is saying that Christ’s resurrection from the dead cannot be separated from the fact that God will one raise us physically from the dead. The central point of the Good News is the resurrection; the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of those who have welcomed the Good News. Both are linked. They are inseparable. One happens, the other happens. If one does not happen, then neither does the other. If there is no resurrection, then verse 14 says that message which Paul had preached to them was useless. If his preaching is useless then their faith is useless.

            Don’t skim this next statement. Read it word-for-word and carefully consider what these words are saying. Our faith in God, our faith in Jesus, rests on the fact that God will one day raise us from the dead. If God does not raise us, then there was no reason to have raised Jesus from the dead. If God was going to let us die and then leave us to decay to become part of the circle of life, then there was no reason to send Jesus to die. Why? It would have all been useless. Look above at verse 15. Not only would his preaching have been useless, and their faith been useless, but Paul says that he and the apostles would have been lying about God. They would have been lying because their preaching was centered on the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead. But if no one rises then neither does Jesus and the Good News is just a lie.

            Being prepared for Easter means that we fully understand that Easter is about resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection makes our resurrection possible. Our resurrection is the Good News of the gospel message that Jesus died for our sins, was buried for our sins, and was raised to defeat the penalty and power of our sins. Resurrection negates the power of sin. Resurrection silences the charges against us. Resurrection is the evidence that God loves us and desires us.

            Don’t come to Easter just to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Come and celebrate your coming resurrection.