Summary: Because Christ has been bodily raised, the resurrection of the dead is the new reality for man. The resurrection of Christ means the resurrection of humanity for they are inseparably linked. If Christ is raised, then there is a resurrection for all
[RESURRECTION REALITIES SERIES]
I CORINTHIANS 15: 12-19
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION
Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the USA, was a deist-one who believed in the God revealed in nature. Congress once printed a special edition of Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, in which he had cut out all references to the supernatural. He confined himself solely to Christ’s ethical teachings.
The closing, somber words to Jefferson’s Bible are these: "There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the mouth of the sepulchre and departed."
Jefferson apparently did not believe in the resurrection from the dead, unlike Benjamin Franklin who was a fellow deist. The fifteenth child in a family of seventeen children, Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706. At the age of eighty-four on April 17, 1790, Franklin died in Philadelphia.
Franklin wrote his own epitaph which reads:
The Body of Benjamin Franklin Printer (Like the cover of an old book Its contents Torn Out And stript of its lettering and gilding) Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost For it will (As he believed) Appear Once More In a new and more elegant edition, Revised and corrected by THE AUTHOR.
Because the resurrection is the cornerstone of the gospel, it has been the target of Satan’s greatest attacks against the church. If there is no resurrection the life-giving power of the gospel is eliminated, the deity of Christ is eliminated, salvation from sin is eliminated, and eternal life is eliminated.
A lady wrote in to a question and answer forum. "Dear Sirs, Our preacher said on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.
Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross. Hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear thru his side...put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens. Sincerely, Charles.
The Apostle here contemplates some dismal consequences that would arise if we only had a dead Christ. [We would have nothing to preach, we would have no Gospel. All hope of deliverance, from sin would fade away. The one fact which gives assurance of immortality having vanished, the dead who had nurtured the assurance of life have perished.] If Christ did not rise from the dead, then those who believed, believe an empty gospel, and nourish an empty faith, and die clinging to a baseless hope. [We are far more to be pitied, than men who had less splendid dreams and less utter illusions."If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied" (1 Cor. 15:19).]
If Christ did not live past the grave, those who trust in Him cannot hope to live either. But because Christ has been bodily raised, the resurrection of the dead is the new reality for man. The resurrection of Christ means the resurrection of humanity for they are inseparably linked. If Christ is raised, then there is a resurrection for all the dead [CIT].
I. A RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, 12.
II. CONSEQUENCES OF NO RESURRECTION, 13-18.
III. NO RESURRECTION, NO HOPE, 19.
In verse12 we learn that the admission of the resurrection of Christ is inconsistent with the denial of the resurrection of the dead. Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
Paul says that what has happened, can happen. Christ has forged the way to a bodily resurrection from the dead.
[Christ is one with His people. There is no salvation apart from Christ. Our salvation, our new life, come from being united with Christ in His death and in His resurrection. Without being united under the headship, the lordship of Christ we cannot participate in His life. Salvation cannot be realized outside of Christ. But if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, so will we be united with Him in the likeness of His life (Rom. 6:4-8). An essential part of that likeness is the bodily resurrection from the dead. The argument is since Christ rose, those made righteous by identifying with His death, must rise also.]
A key to this section is found in the statement in verse 12. ‘Some’ among the Corinthians were saying, ‘There is no resurrection of the dead.’ We infer that some persons were denying the general resurrection of the dead at the end of history. But for what reasons?
Materialists or Darwinist believe in utter extinction, total annihilation. Nothing human, physical or otherwise, survives after death. Death ends it all. Some religions teach reincarnation, wherein the soul or spirit is continually recycled from one form to another—even from human to animal or animal to human. Others teach we are returned to the universal consciousness. In all of these human person-hood and individuality are forever lost at death. Whatever, if anything, survives is no longer a person, no longer an individual, no longer a unique being.