Saturday, April 19, 2014
The Apostle Paul: This Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message . . . . Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, He was seen by more than 500 of His followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then He was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw Him. . . . Since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. . . . and you are still guilty of your sins. . . . But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another Man (Jesus Christ). Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when He comes back. After that the end will come, when He will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until He humbles all His enemies beneath His feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. . . . The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second Man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly Man. . . . But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15: 2-8, 12-14, 17, 20-26, 45-49, 57-58 (NLT)
The resurrection! The day of Easter celebrates annually and every Sunday celebrates weekly the resurrection of Jesus Christ from complete death by God the Father through His Holy Spirit. Thus, the resurrection involves all of God – God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:30-35; Romans 1:4). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the center of the Christian faith. In fact, the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 gives the heart of the Good News that all humans must believe to receive salvation: that Jesus Christ died for our sins (not for His own sins), that He was buried (really dead), and that He rose from complete death (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Jesus Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23) and was “raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20) is the only hope for sinful humanity to “inherit the Kingdom” of God (1 Corinthians 15:50, 53-57). Because of Jesus Christ’s life, sacrificial death and resurrection, He is indeed Lord and Son of the living God (Mark 15:39; Romans 1:4). “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11, NLT).
Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection are so important, that all four Gospels and most of the New Testament speak repeatedly of this important and world-changing event. Without the wonderful death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there would be no hope for sinful humanity (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). Yet, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was real and eye-witnessed by many people (see 1 Corinthians 15:5-8). The Apostle Paul assures us that many people saw Jesus Christ after His resurrection: Peter; His disciples; more than 500 believing Christian (most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote); James (Jesus' brother); all the apostles; and finally Paul himself.
Through our faith and trust in Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection, we have hope – hope of salvation, eternal life, forgiveness, righteousness, and reconciliation with God (Romans 4:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:17; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, 17-22). In fact, we are made alive – to live forever – and delivered from sin through faith (Ephesians 2:1-7). Because Jesus Christ rose from complete death, He is our life-giving Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). In other words, Jesus Christ's resurrection is the source of our new spiritual life as He is Life (John 14:6; see also Acts 3:15). Jesus Christ is not only Life but He gives life to all who believe so that death will never triumph over them (John 1:4).
Everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. . . . There is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when He comes back. 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 (NLT)
Believing Christians know there is life beyond the grave and that our life on earth is only a preparation for our life that will never end. Because Jesus Christ’s resurrection, we also will live (John 14:19). Jesus Christ’s resurrection conquered all evil, including sin, sickness, and death (Acts 2:24; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, 54-57; Colossians 2:12-15; Hebrews 2:14-15; see also Revelation 20:11-15). When Jesus Christ returns again, He will present God the Father with a perfect new world (1 Corinthians 15:24). Indeed, Jesus Christ’s resurrection is VICTORY to all who believe!
Jesus Christ: I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes (trusts) in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes (trusts) in Me will never ever die. John 11:25-26 (NLT)
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Packer, J.I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 1993.