1 Corinthians 15:16-17 (ESV)
16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
In the early 20th century there was a common movement to take the supernatural out of the Scripture. This was the beginning of the modern theological liberal movement. The idea behind such a change was not to destroy Christianity, but to “rescue” it from the ridicule of a scientific world that no longer accepted the concept of supernatural acts.
However, a peek at 1 Corinthians 15 shows us that there is no way to rescue Christianity from the supernatural. The section above is a conclusion from Paul in a very simple piece of deductive logic. Paul was dealing with some in Corinth who were claiming that dead people do not live again—that there is no resurrection. Paul points out that, if they make such a claim, then they cannot claim that even Jesus came back from the dead. Then Paul concludes by telling the Corinthians, if Jesus is not alive—back from the dead—our faith is futile, useless, worthless, and we are still in our sins.
The truth is, Christianity is not a faith that we can ever rescue from the ridicule of the world around us. This is because we believe things that the world cannot fathom. At the heart of our faith is the understanding that God the Son came to earth, that he died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of God’s children, and that he rose from the grave. As I told my daughter yesterday, the fact that Jesus rose from the dead proves 3 things to us:
1. It proves that Jesus is who he claimed to be—Only God could come back from the grave, not an ordinary man.
2. It proves that those who believe in Jesus really are forgiven—If the wages of sin is death, and if Jesus came back from the dead, then we know that the wages of sin are fully paid out to Jesus for anyone who is under his forgiveness. Thus, anyone who trusts in the resurrected Jesus is truly forgiven, his sin-penalty has been paid.
3. It proves that those who trust in Jesus will live forever with God, even if they die—Jesus’ resurrection is a reminder for the people of God that, even if we die, we too will come out of our graves just like Jesus did so that we can live forever with God in the new heavens and earth.
But none of these things, none of these proofs, are available to a person who denies that Jesus has truly come back from the grave.
One thing to learn here, Christians, is that we must not try to make our faith more acceptable to the world. We believe things they do not. That is what makes us different. We are not different than the world because we are better. We are different because we have been brought by God to trust in a miraculously risen Savior. We have been given a faith that is reasonable, but which is well beyond scientific proof. We have been brought by God to a faith that is supernatural, and which only makes sense to us once we have it. Let us not hide that faith, but share it with those who need the mercy of our Lord.