In 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, St. Paul is addressing those who doubted, or even taught, that there was no resurrection from the dead. He states as the foundation of his argument a fundamental of the Christian faith – the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If we believe and teach that Jesus rose from the dead, how can we think that the resurrection of the dead is not possible. If there is no resurrection of the dead at the end of time, then we must believe that Jesus did not rise again.
What if Jesus did not rise again on the third day? What then? What does that mean to us and our faith?
First, all that we have taught and preached is vain. If Jesus did not rise again, the Gospel has no heart to it. It is emptied of good news and becomes nothing more than a funeral dirge. It becomes a teaching of death for we only tell the story of a good man who once lived, but died…the end. If Jesus is not risen, our preaching is emptied of its power. It is only the history of a man who can save no one. The Gospel ceases to be the power of God unto salvation. If He did not win the victory over death, hell and the grave, then we are still victims and evermore will be. Unless Jesus lives to enforce the claims and provisions of the Gospel, it has no value at all. It takes the victory of an empty tomb and the power of a risen Lord to make the Gospel effective.
Secondly, our faith is vain and empty. All that we think we received by faith; sonship, forgiveness, eternal life, justification, an eternal future; we did not receive if Jesus did not rise again. Our faith is a delusion. Faith is impotent for it can only be as powerful as its object and He is powerless if He did not rise again.
Third, we are still in our sins! If Jesus did not rise again, His name has no saving power and we have no Savior! It takes the resurrection to show the justifying power of His death.
Fourth, if Jesus did not rise again, the Bible is a book of lies. The Apostles of truth are really apostles of falsehood. The authority of Scripture breaks down and we have no revealed truth to tell of God and salvation.
Fifth, Paul tells us that if Jesus did not rise those who have died with faith in Him are really eternally perished. All hope of resurrection and eternal life are gone. If He did not rise again, then neither will we. Our Christian life is robbed of its hope and joy.
But…HE IS RISEN! JESUS IS ALIVE!
Our preaching is with life and power. He is the enforcer of the claims of the Gospel and has risen and sent the Holy Spirit to make sure those claims are applied to us by faith!
Our faith is a powerful one because it rests in One who is alive and powerful! We can pray with absolute faith in Him, He is alive! He is alive praying for and with us and His prayers will not be ignored!
Our sins are forgiven and gone! His sacrifice is all sufficient to erase our sins. He died for us and the whole world and His resurrection proves that His offering of Himself was enough.
His Word is vindicated for He is alive to confirm and perform it. Nothing can change the Word. It is true!
Those that died in Christ we will meet again. We will all live in the risen one for eternity. Death is not final. And, our Christian life is one of joy because we have hope. Because He lives, we shall live also.
Praise God, He is risen! And being risen, He is the progenitor of a new race, the children of God. We have a new life, walk in a new and living way, because He died and rose again and is able to fulfill the claims of His new covenant with us. (Heb. 10:10-20)
Do you believe Jesus is alive? Would you like to receive forgiveness for your sins?
If you believe that the Bible offers truth about the way to salvation, but you have not made the decision yet to become a Christian, it's as simple as praying this prayer. You can pray by yourself, using your own words. There is no special formula. Just pray from your heart to God, and He will forgive your sins and give you a new life with purpose and you will spend eternity with Him. If you feel lost and just don’t know what to pray, here’s a prayer of salvation that you can pray:
I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.
If you're wondering what to do next as a new Christian, check out these helpful suggestions: Here are 4 essential steps to move you forward toward spiritual growth. Though simple, they are vital to building your relationship with the Lord.
Step 1 – Read your Bible daily.
Find a Bible reading plan that’s right for you. A plan will keep you from missing anything God has written in His Word. Also, if you follow the plan, you’ll be on your way to reading through the Bible once every year! The easiest way to truly “grow up” in the faith is to make Bible reading a priority.
Step 2 – Meet together with other believers regularly.
The reason we attend church or gather with other believers regularly (Hebrews 10:25) is for teaching, fellowship, worship, communion, prayer and to build one another up in the faith (Acts 2:42-47). Participating in the body of Christ is fundamental to spiritual growth. If you’re having trouble finding a church, check out these resources on how to find a church that’s right for you.
Step 3 – Get involved in a ministry group.
Most churches offer small groups and many ministry opportunities. Pray and ask God where you should “plug in.” It’s the people who really “get plugged in” that find their purpose and soar in their walk with Christ. Sometimes this takes a little time, but most churches offer classes or counseling to help you find the place that’s right for you. Don’t get discouraged if the first thing you try doesn’t seem to fit.
Step 4 – Pray daily. Prayer is simply talking to God.
You don’t have to use big fancy words. There are no right and wrong words. Just be yourself. Give thanks to the Lord daily for your salvation. Pray for others in need. Pray for direction. Pray for the Lord to fill you daily with His Holy Spirit. There is no limit to prayer. You can pray with your eyes closed or open, while sitting or standing, kneeling or lying on your bed, anywhere, anytime. So begin to make prayer a part of your daily routine.