Resurrection, part 6
For a lot of Christians, the ultimate hope is to die and go to heaven. That’s it. I think that’s a mistake. While I agree that we experience a disembodied existence immediately after death, that state is temporary, and our ultimate hope is a physical resurrection from the dead. I think that’s what the Bible conveys.
In Romans 8 Paul said, “But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who indwells you” (Roman 8:11). Starting in verse 18, Paul begins to explain that not only ourselves, but the whole cosmos has been subjected to futility “in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption.” Not only does the whole cosmos groan, but “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Then Paul said, “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” So that’s it. The resurrection—the redemption of our body—is the ultimate hope that we are waiting for. Then, we’ll be freed from the effects of aging, sickness, and death.
The resurrection of Jesus is absolutely essential to Christianity. It is contained in the very definition of the gospel. Paul said, “I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you,” and then he recites it:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)That’s the gospel. And Paul hangs everything on the resurrection of Jesus. He says,
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? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise, if in fact 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 worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:12-18).The reason Jesus’ resurrection is so essential, is because if he has not risen, then he can’t be the Christ, and if there’s no Christ then there’s no Christianity. I’ll elaborate on that point when I do my series on “Christ/Messiah.”
to be continued... Part 7