The resurrection substantiates the claims of Jesus.

The resurrection substantiates the claims of Jesus.

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain."

Having established the centrality of the resurrection within the gospel and its historical reality, Paul now points to the significance of the resurrection. There were present within the church false teachers who taught that there is no resurrection of the dead. The Greek religions influenced this view in Corinth and Athens that rejected the belief in the body's resurrection, thus making it impossible for Christ to have been raised from the dead. In response, Paul not only affirms the resurrection of Christ, but he goes on to point out the significance of the resurrection as the foundation of the Christian faith. In his response, we find the Christian faith's distinguishing characteristic that sets it apart from all other religions.

Paul affirms the resurrection of Christ to be the foundation upon which Christianity stands or falls. Today, our culture has embraced religious pluralism, which believes that different religions can co-exist, but each is equally valid. No one specific religion possesses sole and exclusive truth. Instead, every religion contains some truth and thus has spiritual value. However, Paul points us to the distinguishing factor of the Christian faith. Our faith is grounded in the historical resurrection of Christ. If Christ was merely a religious leader who taught spiritual truth but died like all other religious leaders, then the Biblical story is false, but all of Christianity is false. To accept the message of Christ without accepting to the totality of his message, that he was the Son of God come in the flesh, who died for our sin and rose victorious from the grave, is to follow a delusion. If the resurrection story is not true, then our faith is worthless, for there is no message of salvation and forgiveness of sin (14). Not only does it nullify the person and message of Christ, but it also annuls the whole message of the apostles (vs. 15). For Paul, the hope and certainty of our salvation are grounded in the reality of the resurrection. If Christ died like all other people, then there is no forgiveness of our sin and no hope for salvation. Christianity does not promise eternal life. At best, it only serves as a panacea for the present. If this is the case, then we are most to be pitied, for we are pursuing a delusion without any hope.

However, if Christ rose from the dead, then it changes everything, for it confirmed not only His message, it validated His redemptive work on the cross. If Christ rose from the dead, then He indeed is the only savior of the world. Not only does this validate the message of Christ, but it also nullifies every other religion. This is the point that Christ makes when he states, "I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 6:14). This was also affirmed by Peter when he stated, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." In the resurrection, God placed his stamp of approval upon Christ and "declared the son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness" (Romans 1:4). In an age of doubt about the certainty of truth, we can have confidence, for we follow one who proved that He was, in fact, the God through the resurrection from the dead.

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