Christ's Resurrection And Forgiveness

Charles J. Aebi

Dear Aebi, Christ died for our sins; if He had not been resurrected, would our sins still be forgiven?

No. Paul says faith in the resurrecti "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, then Christ is not risen.  14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.  15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-if in fact the dead do not rise.  16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.  17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!  18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable."

Read verse 17 again! The ASV reads, "And if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." Again, Paul says in Romans 4:25, speaking of Jesus, "who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification" (ASV). Both the NASB and the NKJV translate this, "because of our justification," but the KJV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, and NIV all translate it, "for our justification." The point being made in Romans 4:25 is that Jesus died in order to forgive our sins, and he was resurrected in order to go into heaven as High Priest with his own blood as the offering to justify us or make us righteous. (Justified and made righteous are synonyms used to translate the same Greek word, dikaios).

The resurrection of Jesus proclaims Him to be the Christ; had He not come forth from the tomb, He would have been he just another man, even though a prophet. (Actually, He would have been a false prophet, for He said that He would be resurrected). The resurrection proves him the Son of God: Romans 1:4 "who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead ..." Saul of Tarsus was persuaded that Jesus was the Christ by seeing Jesus on the Damascus road and knowing that He had arisen from the dead. Acts 9, 22, 26.

The resurrection of Jesus assures us of our resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-26). It is a vital part of the gospel that Paul preached everywhere (1 Cor. 15:1-8). The apostles were selected to become witnesses of His resurrection, and they said His resurrection proved Him to be both Lord and Christ (Acts 1:22; 2:32-36).

The resurrection of Jesus is portrayed in baptism by which we are buried or immersed into Christ and resurrected with Him to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4). It is in this death and resurrection baptism that we are cleansed of our sins and become servants of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18). Notice that 1 Peter 3:21 points out belief in the resurrection as vital to our being saved by baptism.

Christ's resurrection is just this vital to Christianity: without His resurrection there would be no Christianity. It is essential to believe in His resurrection to be saved, according to Romans 10:9. His resurrection enabled Him to offer His blood in heaven for our atonement. His resurrection declares Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah, God's Son, and our Savior. 2660 Layman Rd., Vincent, OH 45784-9730.


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