Why We Should Believe…
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. – 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (NLT)
Paul tells his readers that this message will be considered foolish to many in the world. Foolish because human reasoning cannot understand it. Foolish because human intelligence cannot comprehend it. Foolish because human religion considers it an absurdity. Paul is not saying that God is foolish by any means, rather, his hyperbolic statement entices humanity to consider the limits of our own understanding and intelligence. The greatest philosophical minds could not conceive of a omnipresent and omniscient God coming into humanity, with all our flaws and failings, and choosing to love and redeem us in order to bring us back to Him. God the Son came to reveal the truth of the Father, become the final sacrifice for the sins of man, and rise from the dead in order to reveal to us the future plans of His Kingdom. The resurrection is everything! It is the redemption of our bodies cursed by death. It is the restoration of God’s intended purpose for humanity. It is the end result of God’s grace and providence.
If it’s not true, then what?
And we apostles would all be lying about God-for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. – 1 Corinthians 15:15-19 (NLT)
Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15 give us great assurance for our faith in the resurrection. If, in fact, this is not the truth, then are sins are not forgiven and we have been lied to and should be pitied. If the resurrection is not the truth, then our faith is in vain, His Word is false and we are still lost. The weight of everything rests on the resurrection. The early church martyrs gave their lives for the truth of the resurrection. They valiantly endured torture and death for the promise of resurrection. The great early church father, Tertullian, stated that “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Surely death and persecution should have put an end to the “Way” or the sect of those who follow Christ, but in fact, it only served to radically grow the church of believers. The hope and truth of resurrection was the fuel for early preaching and missions. Not only because the apostles believed it, but because they were witnesses to this awesome miracle. If it’s not true, then they were in fact the best deceivers this world has ever known, and for whatever reason, were willing to die for the apparent deception they were perpetuating. No one is willing to die for something they do not fervently believe in! How could we imagine that that the apostles and early church believers died for a lie!? The only possibility is that the resurrection and truth of Christ is a reality that these brave soldiers of God willingly gave their lives for in order that He may be gloried and that His truth may be made known to the world.
In light knowing of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our response is threefold. First, God desires that we believe. 1 Timothy 2:3 tells us that God desires for all to know the truth. The Bible is very clear that no one is neutral in acknowledging the truth. One is either for God, or set against Him. No one is caught in between a neutral zone between darkness and light. It’s either a choice for one or the other. Jesus outlines exactly what a follower should do in Mark 8:34-38. The language is clear: one is either His follower or not. So His desire is that we become one of those followers. Second, we are to recognize that we are undeserving of this grace and love. The Scriptures clearly teach that man is incapable of producing salvation. David exclaims, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; you have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You” – Psalm 73:26-27 (NASB). We are unable to save ourselves, but what is impossible for man, is possible for God! Hence we are deserving of this grace, and a recognition of this should draw us deeper and deeper into devotion to Him. Our last response should be to proclaim His message to everyone; no one is to be excluded from this glorious message! Jesus’ words in Mark 16:15-16 give us the final command; “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” We who believe have been chosen to bear witness to His truth. And His truth is the resurrection! The ancient Nicene Creed (amended at Constantinople in 381 AD) gives us this statement of faith:
“Who (Christ), for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.”
I pray the truth of the resurrection with bring you joy this week and I pray that if this is not something that you have accepted and put your faith in, that God would quicken your heart to see His truth and hope of salvation for mankind. Take care and have a great week in the Lord!
In Hope of New Life,