The resurrection is essential to the Christian faith because without it the gospel is incomplete. According to Paul, the death and resurrection of Jesus is a package deal; you cannot have one without the other. In 1 Corinthians 15:13–17 Paul writes, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (emphasis added). Without the resurrection we benefit nothing, but with the resurrection we not only gain forgiveness but the hope of eternal life.
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection stands as the bedrock of the Christian faith and message; a message that has continued to spread across the globe for the past two thousand years. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world and proved His authority by conquering death through the resurrection. In John 10:17–18 Jesus said, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” The resurrection of Jesus is important because without it we have no hope of escaping the fallen state we find ourselves in.
Those who doubt the reality of the resurrection do so not because of a lack of evidence but because of its implications. If God has revealed Himself in Jesus, who offered His life as a sacrifice for our sins, then it is only through that act of sacrifice that we can be redeemed. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” As such, Jesus is the only hope of salvation for humanity.
Some deny this truth, wanting instead to live life as they want and not be accountable to a higher power of any kind. Others deny the resurrection from what they feel is a more scientific perspective saying, “I don’t believe in the resurrection because people simply don’t rise from the dead.” This objection is an assumption based on a naturalistic worldview that presupposes miracles don’t happen. Science, however, is based on evidence, and if the evidence points to the reality of the resurrection, then it is possible even if it is unexplainable.
Still others may be angry at God due to a tragic experience in their lives. These people are called emotional doubters and hold God responsible for an unfortunate event and refuse to turn to Him for hope. This particular approach to God raises the question, “If God is good and all powerful, then why do bad things happen in life?” This is a question we will address in a future lesson.
Part of lesson 4 from the class Apologetics Basics by David Frees
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