Wednesday, 11 March 2015
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 1 Corinthians 15:17
Paul, just prior to this verse, noted that “if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.” The logical result of this would be the most terrifying of all news. The premise of the resurrection comes from the truth that “the wages of sin is death.” The Bible notes that “all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.” It is an all-inclusive statement because sin is not only some offense which has been actively committed, but it is also something that has been inherited by all people.
Because Adam who sinned at the beginning is our federal head, and all people are born from Adam’s line, then all people are born in a state of sin. As an infinitely holy God cannot have fellowship with fallen, sinful creatures, then all must be condemned. Christ came to undo this terrible state. The resurrection of Christ would imply that He was, in fact, sinless. If He was sinless, then His death could be a suitable offering for our sins. But “if Christ is not risen,” then our “faith is futile” because it would indicate that He died in sin.
Logically, if “the wages of sin is death,” and Christ remained dead, then He died in sin. The word “futile” is the Greek work mataia. It is a different word than that translated as “empty” in verse 14. It signifies something fruitless. It indicates a difference between “reality and result’ (Vincent’s Word Studies).
Therefore, His death could not be a sin-offering, our sins could not be forgiven, and thus Paul notes that “you are still in your sins!” There is nothing magical or mystical about the work of Christ. Rather, it is exactly what is needed to free fallen man from the guilt he bears. Christ came to do that. In the cross, the Christian finds release from his sin-debt only if Christ rose again. The resurrection proves the offering was accepted by God, it proves Christ’s sinless perfection, and it proves that those who call on Him are truly forgiven – once and for all.
Life application: The resurrection proves that the work of Christ at the cross was effective. If there is no literal, bodily resurrection of Christ, then there is no “Christian faith.” It would be the greatest of lies. Further, there would still be no hope of reconciliation with God. All humanity would still be in their sins and destined for hell. Therefore, if someone tries to teach you that Christ didn’t rise, or if they tell you that Christ didn’t rise bodily, then tell them, “Take a hike, heretic. I stand on the truth of the Bible. Christ is risen! I believe!”
O God, it is an amazing story! Adam sinned; I was born of Adam; and therefore, I bear Adam’s sin. As the wages of sin is death, I was destined for a terrifying place of eternal separation from You. But in Your great grace and mercy, You sent Your Son into the world. Because You are His Father, He bore none of Adam’s sin and was thus qualified to take Adam’s place as a perfect, sinless Substitute. As His life became a sin-offering for me, I am freed from Adam’s guilt. And to prove it is so, He came back from the dead – never to die again! I believe! The guilt is gone. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God who took away my sin. Hallelujah! I believe! Amen.