1 Corinthians 15:17-19. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
If there is no resurrection, then this is all a sham. Stop reading. Find something better to do right now! But if there is a resurrection then thinking about Christ’s ongoing life and your union with it will never be a waste of time.
We believe that the gospel is not hollow, empty or futile. We believe that we are not still in our sins. The resurrection of Christ has made his atoning death effective for all who believe. It has brought us into new life- the very life of Christ himself. It unites us to Christ, and identifies us with him. The resurrection won for us the blessings of Christ that he already had- the blessings of forgiveness, justification, reconciliation- and passed them on to us through the substitution of his life for ours. Every spiritual blessing we enjoy, we enjoy because of the resurrection of Christ and our co-resurrection with him.
This substitution also grants to us the victory in this life and the next. The victory over sin and death that Jesus won for us, brings with it a new life of holiness and love that we live by grace through faith. The resurrection empowers us right now, today! We will never live a pitiful life again. We are empowered to live confidently, boldly proclaiming Christ as King and declaring his love and grace to all.
Without resurrection there is no hope for this life. The dead aren’t asleep awaiting awakening. They have perished. And that is a pitiful end to this pitiful existence. No eternal glory. No eternal love. No eternal goodness. Just death. How sad.
But in fact resurrection is our story.
1 Corinthians 15:20. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Thank God we don’t have to live in the great sadness. “To live is Christ” means we can live in triumphant joy. We have experienced the reality of the resurrection spiritually; we are alive inside with the life of Christ. And we will also experience the reality of the resurrection of the dead bodily. We will live forever physically, spiritually, soulically (is that a word?), with Jesus and with those we love that have trusted in his imputed righteousness for the forgiveness of their sins. What a glorious story!
Do you believe that this is your reality? That your story begins and continues through the resurrection of Jesus? Do you believe that God is able to raise the dead, starting with Christ? How does union with Christ make the realities of the resurrection yours? How can you begin to live from resurrection power, and stop living from pity?