SIMPLE TRUTH: Because Jesus Christ is risen

Published 7:30 pm Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Charles Christmas

The Apostle Paul’s great treatise on the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ is 1 Corinthians 15. The foundation of the saving gospel is the certainty of the resurrection of Jesus. The facts of the Gospel are that Christ died for our sins in fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in fulfillment of the Scriptures (verses 3-4). The certainty of the resurrection is “He appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James (his brother) and then to all the apostles. Last of all he was seen of me, the Apostle Paul, (many years later on the Damascus Road) by a divine intervention, the most unworthy of sinners because I persecuted the church of God” (verses 5-9). The effectiveness of the Gospel was the fact that “Whether it was proclaimed by the eye witnesses to the risen Christ or by Paul who saw him by divine intervention: the people heard the Gospel, believed and were saved” (verse 17).

Having proved the certainty of the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle Paul points to this certainty as the sure foundation for our faith, for our forgiveness of sins, for our personal testimony, for our message as God’s saving message to all persons, for our fulfilling hope in this present life, for our personal sure hope beyond death and for the assured better life now for believers who have died before us.

Out of our sure foundation of the resurrection of Christ, Paul lifts up four challenges to every believer: (1) Understand that there is nothing that will be without foundation, empty, vain, disappointing or end in shame relating to a believer’s Christian faith and life. (2) The only shame would be for believers to not live a righteous life before persons who do not know God (verses 33-34). (3) Any self-denial or suffering will pale in the light of resurrection reality (verses 30-32). (4) Our steadfastness and continuing to work in the Lord’s strength and for his glory will never prove to be an empty, useless or a vain experience.

And this is all ours because “Jesus Christ is risen.”

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.