Volume 14, No. 3 (March 2019)
Almost all of us go through life constantly suppressing the truth from our own minds that death is coming for each of us. The mortality rate is 100%! The Bible says that something is not right with the world, in fact is terribly wrong: and that is the problem of sin, and of death that comes as a result of sin. Sin reigns, and death is our greatest enemy.
The glorious message of the Bible is that through all this darkness and despair there shines the blazing light of Jesus Christ; Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that His resurrection from the dead has guaranteed salvation, hope and victory for all those who give their lives to Him.
1. The resurrection of Christ guarantees our SALVATION, if we trust in Him.
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you. (15:1-2)
The Gospel Paul preached was the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (15:3-4)
Because Christ died on the cross and paid the penalty for sin, all who trust in Him and His substitutionary death receive eternal life. Christ was raised from the dead by the Father in demonstration of His satisfaction with His Son’s payment for sin. The power of sin and death has been broken.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. (15:18-19)
Paul makes it very clear that it is crucial for our salvation not only that Christ died but that He rose as well.
2. The resurrection of Christ guarantees our HOPE.
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (15:19)
If Christ allowed us only to be better people here and now, to be religious, to help others, but gave us no hope and face of the relentless approach of death, what would be the use?
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (15:20-23)
For all who belong to Him this brief life is just the prelude to a glorious future. Because Christ is gone first, we who belong to Him will follow.
3. Because the resurrection of Christ guarantees our salvation and our future hope, it also guarantees our VICTORY over the greatest of all enemies: death.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (15:26)
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” (15:51-54)
Triumphant words! Victory over death becomes possible because of Jesus Christ, His payment for sin on the cross, and His victory over death at His resurrection.
As the old hymn says: “Jesus lives, and so shall I.”
Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our salvation, our future hope, and our ultimate victory if we belong to Him.
That’s why life’s most urgent question is, “Are you ready to die?” The answer is found in Jesus Christ. Unless we know Him personally we are not ready to die—or to live. He offers forgiveness, peace, joy, life, and victory over death simply by trusting in His death on our behalf.
This is the glory of the events we remember and celebrate in the Easter season. This is a true call to worship, a call to grateful praise of the Christ who died for us and of the Father who gave His only begotten Son for our sakes. A call to turn from all the competing “worships” that vie for our attention and allegiance—all of them “broken cisterns that can hold no water”—and to instead to worship the “fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 2:13), the Creator and Redeemer, the only One worthy of our praise.