Monday, February 18, 2019

If Christ Has Not Been Raised

Today's Reading:
1 Kings 11:1-12:19
1 Corinthians 15:1-28
Psalm 91:9-16
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Focus Verses: 1 Corinthians 15:13-20
13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

If Jesus Christ did not raise from the grave—if the resurrection story is just a myth or wishful thinking, then Christianity is a sham. Apart from the resurrection, faith and preaching is worthless and the Apostles were misled at best and liars at worst. Without the resurrection, there is no hope for deliverance from sin, and all who have died with faith in Christ are lost. But Christ has been raised from the dead! The testimony of scripture, history, the church, and of changed lives all point to the veracity of Christ's resurrection.

Response and Action:
I believe in the resurrection of Jesus—my faith matters. Because I believe in resurrection, the study of scripture and learning as a disciple of Jesus are vital. Because I believe in resurrection, I have hope of something beyond my mortal life. Because I believe in resurrection power, I have hope of transformation and renewal in my life today. Because I believe in resurrection, I have hope that the world can change through faith and obedience to Christ. Because I believe in resurrection, I have hope of salvation. Because resurrection faith has changed my life, I want to help others find that same hope and salvation.

O God, thank you for raising Christ Jesus from the dead. Thank you that resurrection power is available to me today as I surrender to you (Romans 8). Help me to take hold of that power that I might be changed into the likeness of  Jesus in thought, word, and deed. Thank you for your promise to raise me on the final day, that I might spend eternity with you and all those who have believed in Jesus. Help me to be a witness and a blessing to everyone around me that others might come to salvation and be raised into a new life and a new hope. I look for the resurrection and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: 1 Peter 1:3-5
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

by N.T. Wright

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