“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ only in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-19
Richard Wurmbrand, the persecuted 20th-century Romanian pastor, told the story of an Italian Cistercian monk who had recently given a television interview. This particular order of monks devoted themselves to silence, allowing themselves to speak only when singing and confessing sins. In this interview, this monk was asked, “What if you were to realize, at the end of your life, that atheism is true? That there is no God. Tell me, what if that were true?” And the monk responded, “Holiness, silence, and sacrifice are beautiful in themselves, even without the promise of reward. I still will have used my life well.”
While the monk’s response may sound virtuous and self-sacrificing, we must ask ourselves this question: If we were to get to the end of our lives as Christians and realize that there was no God – that Christianity was a hoax – even if we had led exemplary lives, would that have still been a life well-lived?
Paul answers with an emphatic, “No!”
He goes on to say that if the resurrection did not happen, the entirety of Christianity is worthless and our sins have not been forgiven. Not only that but if Christianity is not true, Paul says we should be pitied. Bottom line: Either Jesus died for our sins and rose again, or He didn’t. With all the questions you may possess about Christianity and following Jesus, none of them matter if the resurrection is not true.
You see, the truth of the resurrection of Jesus changes everything!
- First and foremost, it proves that our sins have been forgiven, restoring to us a right relationship with God.
- Second, the resurrection gives Christians hope that however dark this world may get, eternal life and light awaits the Christ-follower.
- Third, the resurrection gives value and worth to this physical world. Jesus was raised in a physical body, demonstrating to us that this physical reality matters. Even as our bodies break down with age and disease – along with the rest of creation — they will be renewed when Christ returns.
Do you believe in the resurrection? Do you wake up every day and allow the truth of what it means to give purpose and meaning to your day? Put this simple discipline into practice: Each morning, as you roll out of bed, think to yourself, “The resurrection literally happened; how does that affect my life today?” Then, live your life in light of the reality of that resurrection. We echo the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But the fact is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Praise be to God for the hope we have through the resurrection of Jesus!
Written by Austin Baker, Teaching Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church