If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
1 Corinthians 15:14
What is the most important fact about Jesus; is it the prophecies about His life? Perhaps it is His death for our sins upon a cruel wooden cross.
All are important, because without one the others become false. For example, Paul cuts straight to the point and tells us our faith is empty if Christ was not resurrected. He goes a step further a few verses later:
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
1 Corinthians 15:17
What does this mean…we are still in our sins?
Before there could be a resurrection, there had to be a life and a death. In this study we will look at these three facts about Jesus that are unlike any other person claiming the be The Way, The Truth, and The Life!
If Jesus is true, all others are false, because He is clear there are not multiple ways, multiple truths, nor multiple paths to life.
Overview Statement and study verses:
In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The bodily resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow.
Last time we discussed good and evil and the great controversy between Christ and Satan. This is an ancient battle between Christ and His church and Satan and his followers:
And I will put enmity
Between you (Satan) and the woman (Eve),
And between your seed (Satan and his followers) and her Seed (Jesus and His followers-church);
He (Jesus) shall bruise your head (Satan),
And you shall bruise His (Jesus) heel.”
Here is the first prophecy of the enmity between good and evil (Satan and Christ) and the first coming of the Messiah to save the people from the wages of sin. It reveals the plan of salvation and gives Eve hope that her off spring would produce the Savior.
As humans on this planet, we have a problem. It is deadly…literally. This problem is called sin. Because all of our ancestors have sinned since the beginning of time, we are also sinners just as we are all human. God told Adam and Eve that their disobedience to His word would lead to death. Indeed, it did. We get paid for our inheritance and work of sin. Those wages are death.
For the wages of sin is death…
How many of us have sinned according to scripture?
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Where did sin begin?
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners
What is sin?
for sin is the transgression of the law.
Have you broken any of the 10 commandments? If you say no, you have broken the 9th one regarding false witness (lying)
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:10
There is no escaping the fact that we are all sinners and we are all destined to eternal death. But, this is where the good and graceful character of God the Father comes in. Also, it is where His character is demonstrated through Jesus! It is most beautifully expressed through the most famous of all Bible verses: John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Read closely and you will see that God makes a way of escape from perishing (eternal death). This “perishing” is a result of our ancestors and ourselves breaking his law of liberty. God’s law was designed to make man happy and free. In fact James refers to God’s law in these exact terms.
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
God’s law is not meant to keep you from enjoying life, but exactly the opposite. It is designed to give liberty and blessings. Happy are the ones who know this!
Let’s go back to some of the verses just quoted and the pivot point. They point out the problem and the solution all in the same verse!
Let’s start with Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, BUT (pivot point) the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wages is something you get paid for doing work, but God says, he is offering eternal life as a gift. But this gift is found through Jesus!
Another verse quoted earlier:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (pivot) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Romans 3:23 and 24
Again, it is in Christ alone where we can find justification meaning we can be accounted sinless through Jesus!
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, (pivot) so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
While Adam’s sin put us all under the curse of sin and transmitted the plague of sin, the obedience of Jesus will make us righteous! How does that happen?
Let’s summarize where we are so far.
1.) God’s love and grace for us provided a solution to the death penalty that He Himself pronounced upon the human race because of sin and disobedience!
2.) That solution is found in His gift of Jesus to us.
3.) Jesus lived a perfect life of obedience.
All of this shows that God’s law cannot be changed to deal with the sin problem. Otherwise, God could have said, “Well, I see you can’t keep the law, so I will make it easier for you.” He couldn’t say, “I will just do away with the law.”
My wife recently got a speeding ticket. If we dealt with breaking the law as some teachers say about God’s law. The cop would have said, “Look, I understand you can’t keep the law, so we are going to put the limit higher, say 120 mph. Does that work for you?
Or the cop could have said, “Since you can’t keep the law, I am just going to have the law thrown out.”
Or how about this one?
“I know you were speeding and broke the law, but if you keep it in your heart, I won’t give you a ticket.”
NO! These reasons to break the law of man is just as ridiculous when applied to God’s immutable 10 commandments. Just because the cop let us off because of his mercy does not free us up to disobey it!
Jesus obeyed the law perfectly. So many are tempted to say, “Since Jesus kept the law, I am free to break it because the law can’t be kept.”
But listen to the emphatic words of Romans 3:28, 31
we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. (v. 28)
Our justification (Jesus, makes it like we never sinned) is by faith in Him alone, but (pivot) don’t forget the rest of the verse:
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. (Verse 31)
The law is never thrown out by faith, it is established. As the prophecy about Jesus states. The life of Jesus made the law honorable
The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
So point number 1: It is the life of Jesus and trust/faith in Him that we can be accounted righteous/justified in the sight of God. It is His robe of righteousness that covers our sinfulness
He kept God’s law and did not sin unlike Adam. So as Romans 5:19 states. This one man, Jesus, many (not all) are made righteous!
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
We are commanded to obey, but it is not our obedience that will save us from the “perishing.” But, if we are truly saved, we have a new heart that desires to obey the will of God. The thief will stop stealing, the liar will stop lying, the adulterer will stop messing around on their spouses.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1: 22-23
Now let’s understand the importance of the death of Jesus
As mentioned earlier, the wages of sin and disobedience is death. Death has passed upon all of us. We see it every day. If you took an hour to read and study this material, approximately 6,000 people will die on planet earth. That is 55.3 million people per year! Even if you are a Christian, you will die…unless Jesus returns before that event.
The death that Jesus saves us from is “eternal death.” Death where there is no hope of a resurrection. Contrary, to the world’s teaching our soul is not immortal. Only God has immortality and the soul can die. This we can discuss at another time, but here are a couple of verses to support this Biblical fact:
the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality,
1 Timothy 6: 15-16
God alone has immortality, not the soul. Immortality is given to us at the resurrection as we will see shortly.
The soul who sins shall die.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Notice, that only God himself can (and does) destroy the soul of those who do not fear (respect) Him and it is done in hell. Hell is not a place of eternal living for the soul, but rather its destruction. Those who would attempt to call hell as a place of unending punishing do not understand that the soul and body is destroyed-hence eternal death and not eternal living demonstrates the soul is not immortal.
People confuse eternal punishment and eternal punishing. The Bible teaches a punishment that is eternal in that it is eternal in its effect, but not in its duration. To believe in eternal punishing would require a soul and body that could not be destroyed.
So, yes the soul is not immortal.
Jesus paid the penalty of “eternal death” when he died on the cross. He took our sins and paid the penalty for us! This is known as the substitutionary atonement for us.
Without His death, we would have no hope to live again. If not for Jesus we would have to pay the wages by never living again. It is said, that Jesus didn’t just die, but he died the death of a sinner without hope because he became sin for us:
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
2 Corinthian 5:21
This author brings to light the terrible death of Jesus. It was not all physical! Jesus was aware that he might be dying a death of no hope! A death reserved only for the lost and Satan himself.
“Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” Desire of Ages, P. 753 E.G. White
There are hundreds of Bible prophecies about the life and death of Jesus. His purpose for coming to this earth was to:
1.) Reveal the real character of God the Father;
2.)Live a life demonstrated as obedience to the will of God;
3.) Give wisdom about the kingdom of God;
4.) Pay for the sins of man
5.) Seal the truthfulness of all this by the most powerful event ever demonstrated on earth: His bodily resurrection from the dead!
6.) Become our Mediator and High Priest until he returns
When Paul tells us; “if Jesus is not resurrected, we are still in our sins,” it is in the context of the truthfulness of the life and death of Jesus!
If the resurrection is not true, then all other things about him is not true for He said he would be crucified and then rise the third day.
By Jesus being raised from the dead, it gives us the hope of the same. I have never read in the Bible where our hope is in dying and immediately going to heaven. This claim is not only not supported clearly by the Bible, it is also cruel. If my Mom is looking down on me and my struggles with life, is that heaven for her?
During the time of Paul, many people were expecting Jesus to come any day. But, in the meantime, many of the saints were dying. Listen to the comfort Paul gave them. Did he try to tell them to be comforted by the fact that they are in heaven? Read closely where he directed their worried minds:
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep (died), lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring (resurrect) with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
(Where are they? they are asleep in Jesus!) Paul then paints a picture of what happens when Jesus returns and where they are to find comfort.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
Do you see how we all go to be with Jesus at the same time! No one goes ahead! What a reunion day that will be! If we try to find comfort regarding our loved ones in any other way, it is not biblical!
It is the power of Jesus’ resurrection that gives us hope. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!
Paul told the Corinthians, who did not believe in the resurrection that we are of men “most miserable” if there is no hope of a resurrection.
But tell me this! Since you believe what we preach, that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying that dead people will never come back to life again? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ must still be dead. And if he is still dead, then all our preaching is useless and your trust in God is empty, worthless, hopeless; and we apostles are all liars because we have said that God raised Christ from the grave, and of course that isn’t true if the dead do not come back to life again. If they don’t, then Christ is still dead, and you are very foolish to keep on trusting God to save you, and you are still under condemnation for your sins; in that case, all Christians who have died are lost! And if being a Christian is of value to us only now in this life, we are the most miserable of creatures.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (TLB)
Paul makes it clear that if Jesus was not raised, then the dead will not be raised. They are all lost! And if this is the case, we are foolish to keep believing in Jesus. The last verse is right to the point. If all we have is this life as a Christian, we are most miserable of all creatures!
And another point, immortality is put on at the second coming and at no other time!
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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 Corinthians 15: 51-53
Is it not clear that our hope of immortality is given to us at the second coming of Jesus?
Rejoice! Jesus indeed arose and many saw Him as Paul explains:
I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me, that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, and that he was buried, and that three days afterwards he arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold. He was seen by Peter and later by the rest of “the Twelve.”[ After that he was seen by more than five hundred Christian brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now. Then James saw him, and later all the apostles. Last of all I saw him too, long after the others, as though I had been born almost too late for this. For I am the least worthy of all the apostles, and I shouldn’t even be called an apostle at all after the way I treated the church of God.
1 Corinthians 15: 3-9
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is historical fact, supported by ancient prophets and his followers who were willing to face torture and death for the truth in Christ. These facts turned timid men who ran when Jesus was arrested to mighty men of faith.
Many church-going Christians today do not have that faith. Why? It is because religion has become something you do once a week in a building. But, faith can come to the weakest every day. First we are to ask for it.
you do not have because you do not ask.
James 4: 2
Second, faith only comes through God’s word that leads you to a personal relationship with Jesus.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Do you want more faith in Jesus? Put more of His word in your heart and live by it!
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”
James 4: 4
And when the bad times come, and they surely will, you can put your trust in Him because you have His words hidden in your heart. You know Him! Then you will see the way to get your Answers From Scripture.
Blessings my friends as you search God’s word and as you put your entire life into the hands of the One who lived, died, was resurrected, and will return again for you to give you the gift of an unending life of happiness and joy free from the troubles of this earth!