What does it mean to us?
“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
The resurrection of Christ is one of the most important truths of the Christian faith. It not only bears weight on the truths themselves, but also how we, who believe these truths, live our life. That is to say that it affects these truths in almost every aspect. If Christ has not risen, as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, what we know, believe, and do would be futile.
So what kind of significance does this truth have in particular?
It insures our regeneration. Peter wrote that Jesus “caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet.1:3). Likewise, Paul wrote that, by resurrecting, Jesus “made us alive” (Eph. 2:5) and we are raised with Him in order to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Thus, if Jesus did not resurrect, we would not be reborn.
It insures our justification. Jesus’ work on the cross was to offer Himself as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of man. The fact that Jesus was raised from the dead proves that God the Father accepted His sacrifice. It was approved and there was no need to be dead. Therefore, His resurrection is a sign that the elect have been justified (Rom. 4:25).
It insures our resurrection. Paul made an unbreakable connection between Christ’s resurrection and that of the believers. To him, you could not have one with the other. So if you deny one, you have denied the other. He wrote, “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised” (1 Cor. 15:13).
It motivates us to do good. After an intense argument for the importance of the resurrection, Paul ends with a short call-to-action. Since the resurrection is true, we must “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
It motivates us to seek heaven. Since the resurrection of Christ (and of believers) is a reality, we can be hopeful of the reward of heaven. So Paul wrote, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,” because “your life is hidden with Christ in God” and “you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4).
It motivates us to flee sin. Since we have been born again in newness of life in Christ in His resurrection, we are no longer alive to sin, but dead to sin. Therefore, we should not live in it. Paul wrote that sin has “no dominion over you” who are saved. Therefore, we must present ourselves “to God as those who have been brought from death to live.
Paul made all of this clear when he wrote, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). My hope in this is that we see the importance as well as the significance of the resurrection of Jesus. It is because of it, that we can be sure of Him and His work. And now, we can live a worship motivated life.