IF CHRIST IS NOT RISEN
“And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” (1 Corinthians 15:14 NKJV)
In a swift and decisive move to forestall Jesus’ resurrection the chief priests and Pharisees gathered to Pilate requesting that Jesus’ tomb be made secure until the third day, for they were afraid of the great impact the news of Jesus’ resurrection would have on the people.
How mistaken they were!
For it is impossible for death to hold Jesus, the Prince of life, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Hallelujah!
Having received the permission from Pilate, the religious leaders made Jesus’ tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard – many soldiers to watch the tomb.
But, when the set time came for the Prince of life and the King of glory to rise from the dead, having accomplished His mission to the dead, the earth shook and the guards watching the tomb shook for fear and became like dead men. The pangs of death were loosed and the stone against the tomb was rolled away (Matt. 28:2-4). Hallelujah!
Then, the Prince of life arose and strode confidently out of the tomb, triumphing over death, holding in His hand the keys of Death and Hades (Rev. 1:18). Glory! Hallelujah!!
Jesus, our Lord and King, has risen from the dead!
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55 NKJV).
Our Lord Jesus Christ is no longer among the dead; He has risen from the dead. He now lives and reigns forever more.
Let us proclaim with the angels, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? “He is not here, but is risen!” (Luke 24:5 NKJV). Hallelujah!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is very crucial to Christian faith. Its significance or spiritual implications cannot be over emphasized.
Let us try to examine what would have happened if Christ did not rise from the dead as He had promised.
The main thrust of this piece is to show the significance of Christ’s resurrection to God’s plan of redemption of the fallen human race and to the Christian faith.
First, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then we are still in our sins:
Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the valid evidence or proof that God accepted His death as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Under the Old Covenant, the return of the high priest alive from the Holy Place where he goes once in a year to present to God the blood of the sin offering as an atonement for the sins of the entire nation of Israel signifies that God accepts the sacrifice and has forgiven the sins of His people (Lev. 16).
Similarly, it is Christ’s resurrection from the dead that confirms to us that our sins have indeed been forgiven by God and that we are now justified from all our transgressions or offences.
Paul states that Christ “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” (Rom. 4:25 NKJV).
If Christ is not risen, there is no justification for us!
Paul writes, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Cor. 15:17 NKJV).
But thank God that Christ, our High Priest, rose up from the dead. Therefore, we have been justified and we are no longer in our sins. Praise God!
Second, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then there is no gospel or good news to preach or proclaim to sinners:
Jesus Christ still saves sinners today from their sins because He rose from the dead and He is alive forever more.
The Scripture states, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25 NKV).
Christ is still able to save because He always lives to make intercession for us!
Third, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then there is no hope of rapture or resurrection to life for the Christians:
Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the first-fruit of the resurrection of the believers who have fallen asleep and a strong assurance that God will likewise raise them from the dead to reign with Christ at His second coming.
Paul writes, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Cor. 15:17-19 NKJV).
Christians are the greatest fools and losers on earth if Christ is not risen from the dead. But thank God, Christ rose from the dead!
Fourth, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then our hope or faith in God is dead, useless, and in vain.
Paul writes, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” (1 Cor. 15:14 NKJV).
It is through the resurrection of Christ that we now have a living hope, confidence or faith in God that He will fulfil all His good and eternal promises concerning us.
Peter writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Pet. 1:3 NKJV).
Our hope of receiving eternal rewards for all our labours of love, sufferings or persecutions for the sake of Christ and reigning eternally with Christ at His second coming is dead if Christ is not risen from the dead.
Fifth, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then Satan and Death have not been totally conquered and defeated:
By rising up and striding out triumphantly from the dead Christ has demonstrated His perfect and permanent victory and power over Death and “him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb. 2:14 NKJV).
Christ’s resurrection clearly shows that Jesus Christ is indeed the Lord of lords, the Master and Ruler over all beings or things!
Undoubtedly, Christ’s resurrection is a valid proof that He is indeed the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). Having conquered death for us, Christ declares, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Rev. 1:18 NKJV).
Therefore, we are eternally delivered from the fear of death, for in and through Christ we have defeated Death. Hallelujah!
Sixth, If Christ is not risen and still living, then the believers will not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them today:
The Scripture reveals that Christ sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers after He ascended into the heaven and was seated on His throne at the right hand of the Father.
Luke writes, “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32-33 NKJV).
The Holy Spirit is indwelling, abiding and working in us today because Christ rose up from the dead. Hallelujah!
Lastly, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then He is not different from any mortal man:
Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the ultimate proof that He is indeed the Son of God, the Messiah, sent by God into the world to be the Saviour of the world.
It is Christ’s resurrection on the third day according to His prophecies and those of the prophets of old that distinguishes Christ from any mortal man, prophet or leader. Christ’s resurrection attests to His deity, sovereignty or preeminence (Acts 2:22-32). Praise God!
Beloved, you have every reason to rejoice and celebrate the resurrection of Christ Jesus. If He is not risen from the dead, then your faith in Christ is useless and worthless and you are without a living hope in this life. If Christ is not risen, then Sin and Satan are still your masters and you are doomed forever.
But thank God, Christ rose from the dead triumphantly as He had promised. It is indeed good news that Christ is no longer dead but risen and living and reigning forever more.
Share this good news with someone today!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for raising my Lord Jesus from the dead for my justification, and to give me a living hope and comfort. I declare today that I am totally, perfectly, and permanently free from the fear of death, for my Lord Jesus has conquered death for me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.