1 Corinthians 15:14 & 17 “14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain….17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the focus of celebration this Sunday for many Christian congregations around the world. Why is the resurrection of Jesus such a big deal?
We will look at a couple of the reasons the Apostle Paul shares with the church in Corinth that clearly state the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. False teachers and heretics infiltrated the church. The heresy they are propagating is that there is no resurrection of the dead bodies of believers. However, the connection between the Lord Jesus and His followers is inseparable. To claim there is no resurrection of the dead is to assert that Jesus Christ has not risen from the dead. No resurrection of Jesus brings catastrophic ramifications. Let’s consider two that Paul presents in verses 14 and 17.
First, “14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:15) If there is no physical resurrection, this means the resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen. If Jesus is not physically alive, the message Paul and others are sharing is vain, meaning it is a message that is hollow and empty. An empty and useless message produces an empty and useless religion. The hope of the Christian faith is founded on the reality of the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. If one part is useless, it is all useless. Sharing the gospel and trusting the gospel become pointless.
Second, “17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) Not having a physically resurrected Lord and Savior means we remain unforgiven, condemned, and dominated by the power of sin. Paul ties the importance of our faith in the resurrection of Jesus to our righteous standing before God in Romans 4:23-25. “23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Additionally, Paul connects our union with the resurrection of Jesus to our victory over the power of sin in Romans 6:4. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christians are helplessly wicked and weak.
On this Resurrection Sunday, we celebrate the physical resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With thankfulness and joy, we abide in His resurrection power. Because of His resurrection, we have faith, forgiveness, and fruitfulness. Hallelujah!