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Erik Lutz, AiG–U.S., discusses why our sins would still be counted against us if Christ did not rise from the dead.
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! (1 Corinthians 15:17)
Today’s big question: why would we still be in our sins if Christ was not raised?
Hindus try to live a good life in hope of being reincarnated to a better position and ultimately obtaining liberation from the cycle of rebirth. Muslims follow the five pillars of Islam, such as daily prayers and times of fasting, to gain entrance into paradise after death.
Like these, other religions focus on achieving some form of “salvation” through works. However, Christians understand we cannot do anything to save ourselves from sin or earn heaven because we are all sinners under condemnation (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Since we are powerless to make ourselves acceptable to God, we have to rely on the righteousness of someone else—Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, who offered Himself as the sacrifice for our sins.
When we believe in Jesus Christ by faith, God credits His righteousness to us. That’s the key—salvation is by faith. But what does our faith depend on? Today’s verse shows us that unless Christ bodily rose from the dead, our faith is futile; “you are still in your sins!” But if Christ’s death was our sacrifice for sin, why was the Resurrection so important?
If Jesus did not rise, then He would have lied many times over when predicting His Resurrection on the third day (Matthew 20:18; John 2:19). If He lied, He could not have been God, nor could He have died for our sins because He would have needed to die for His own sins. Furthermore, if He did not rise, He would not have sent the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin (John 16:8), nor could Jesus serve as our Mediator and great High Priest who makes a way for us to come before God.
In His death, Christ paid the debt for our sins that we could never pay. We have offended the infinitely holy God, and our sins require infinite punishment, which Jesus describes as “everlasting fire” (Matthew 18:8). This is why we needed Jesus Christ, the infinite Son of God, to take our place. His Resurrection was necessary because it proved He had fully satisfied the wrath and justice of God, so that we can be justified.
Our response to this amazing truth is simple: “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
Today’s big idea: the Resurrection of Christ proves He took away our sins by His sacrificial death on the Cross.
What to pray: praise the Lord for giving you new life through the Resurrection of Christ.