published. The issue was addressed through the text Ecclesiastes 7 verse 2. The challenge that came from this verse was that the living should take to heart wisdom that may be gleaned from the topic of death.
In the latter part of the first article, I closed with the encouragement that we now have life beyond the grave because of the sacrifice of Christ.
There is even more wisdom that we can gain by studying this topic of death. The focus of this article will be 1 Corinthians 15 verses12-20 (NASB).As we explore this scripture, I encourage you to read it as soon as you are able.
My comment on this scripture passage is that, it speaks not only to the resurrection of Christ but also to a reality that is formed based on our understanding of this fact. Paul the Apostle makes logical conclusions that address every thought that we may have about Christ being raised from the dead.
In analyzing this scripture, I will explore the eternal perspective that also needs to be taken to heart. This is the central focus of this piece.
To the matter at hand
In Paul's letter to the church in Corinth mentioned above, he makes the point that, as Christians, our view of Christ's death and resurrection governs how we live. In verses 12-13, especially in verse 13, he links Christ's death to the general concepts of death and resurrection.
"12 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? 13 but if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised".
Here Paul informs us that if death and resurrection in a plural sense are not true, then Christ's death and resurrection are untrue thus inextricably connecting the two. Paul is arguing the case here, that 'if the dead cannot be raised; then Christ is obviously not risen" (verse 16, NASB).
He uses this example to address a saying that was popular during the time that he wrote this letter. This saying was "There is no resurrection". We know this because Paul himself addresses the Corinthians and says "...some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead..." (Verse 12, NASB).
Now Paul's argument from verses 13-19 flows from the premise "...if the dead do not raise, Christ is not risen" (verse 16, NASB). Paul mentions the results that would logically follow from this belief, culminating in our faith in Christ being worthless and pitiful. However, in verse, 20 Paul makes an important statement that will form the essence of our takeaway: "Christ has been raised from the dead"' (NASB).
All of the statements that followed the initial premise can now be seen conversely. Paul has cancelled the first premise by declaring it null and void. He has now presented the right and true premise to build from, one built 'on the rock' as it were.
Christ is risen; therefore the dead can be raised.
It stands to reason that we should live our lives with an eternal perspective at the forefront of our minds. The truth of the matter is that any belief we espouse will have actions that follow, because of this, we must be certain that these beliefs and, by extension, the actions that are birthed from them rest on a solid foundation.
The lessons Paul teaches
Christ is risen indeed, therefore our preaching and faith cannot be in vain. In other words, it cannot be meaningless content. To live with a full awareness of the truth of Christ's death and resurrection we must keep in mind a few things.
Firstly, the words that we speak are not empty consolations to the broken, but words teaming with hope and life.
Secondly, because Christ is risen, as Paul affirms, our preaching and witness should be vibrant and full of conviction because they have as their platform the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, being fully persuaded that Christ died and rose from the dead, we are able to withstand persecution.
Paul writes this section of the Corinthian passage in a rhetorical manner. He does this to show that, with an eternal perspective, we are able to withstand all harm because it cannot destroy us; "...why are we also in danger every hour?" (Verse 30, NASB). The meaning of this particular verse comes to light when read in the context of chapter 15, verses 20 to 32. Again, I encourage you to read it.
Lastly the resurrection from the dead gives us a sure promise that motivates us to focus on ultimately being rewarded by Christ and him alone. Paul says "...if from human motives I fought..." (Verse 32, NASB), the end will be sheer futility. But in the face of the resurrected Christ, tomorrow is never all we have; it is never a daunting reality.
If we are to die tomorrow, there is the promise of life with Christ. It is reserved only for those who have lived wisely by taking this to heart.
Paul Lewis is a Staff Worker for Inter School's Christian Fellowship in Kingston Jamaica, where he also resides. He has aspirations of becoming a Christian Apologist and he loves reading especially topics like: History, Philosophy and Theology. You can follow him on twitter @VeritasDeiVinci
Paul Lewis' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/paul-lewis.html