‘ … if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
‘… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 20 (NIV)
Paul’s logic in 1 Corinthians 15 is such that he tells the Corinthians that if there has been no resurrection then
- his preaching is useless (pointless);
- their faith is also useless
- their faith is futile, because
- they are still in their sin i.e. they have not received forgiveness.
To Paul, Christianity without the resurrection would be an impossibility. To him the resurrection was central to the gospel. Without it there is no gospel. Nothing to share, no good news!
We know that the resurrection is hard to believe in, particularly as we all know that people don’t ordinarily rise from the dead. The Corinthian church (like many today) was tempted to put aside the reaurrection so as to make the gospel more appealing.
Yet Paul was convinced that the resurrection was true. Why? He had heard firsthand the testimony of those who had been present with Jesus throughout his ministry, the testimony of those who had witnessed the resurrection, he had personally encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, and he also knew the Scriptures that prophesied the death and resurrection of the Messiah. The weight of evidence convinced him. Perhaps more importantly, he had a day-to-day relationship with Jesus and he knew the life-changing power of the gospel in his own life and the lives of those to whom he preached.
Thankfully our faith is not futile or pointless and our sins have been forgiven. Christ has risen! Hallelujah!
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