“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”(I Cor. 15:12-17)
Consider how Paul’s reasoning here with the Corinthians is just as relevant in our day and time. Like some of these among the Corinthians, many in our day likewise readily accept the fact that Christ truly arose from the grave while at the same time believing that many of those for whom Christ lived and died shall not be resurrected, but rather shall perish unless they presumably do something to seal the deal. If even one for whom He died and rose again fails to be resurrected into heaven’s glory, then it would have to follow that Christ must not have truly risen from the grave for (or because of) their justification (Rom. 4:25). I pray God will show men and women the illogical, God-dishonoring contradiction of believing that Christ arose while at the same time imagining that any could perish for whom He lived, died, and arose? Sadly, any who cling to such notions might accurately have attributed unto them the same indisputable conclusions that Paul related to the Corinthians – that such a faith is indeed vain (empty, useless, worthless) since apart from the full and complete satisfaction He rendered to justice which merited and demanded His resurrection, all sinners would be left in their sins.
"WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED"
Any view of our being in Christ or being righteous by our union with Him that minimizes our death with Him and His death for us is error. If we could have been saved simply by being "in Him," He would not have needed to come into this world and die the death of the cross in our place. He had to come and die because of our sins. The wages of sin is death. That's why the true gospel is not about Christ as some mystical person but about "Christ crucified." It isn't about what I don't do in Him but about what He did for me. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Why? "It is God that justifieth" "so who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died." (Rom. 8:1, 33,34)
The Rock of Salvation
"Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up to glory." ( I Tim. 3. 16.) There was absolute necessity for the Immortal Word to assume our nature without sin in the womb of the Virgin, that in that nature He might bear all our transgressions away, die for our iniquities, and shed His precious blood for the remission of our sins; that sin might be condemned in His flesh; that is, in the holy soul and body of the immaculate Jesus. Paul says, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." (Rom. 8. 3.) "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." (I Cor. 15. 3) The awful and solemn death of Jesus, His crucifixion and blood-shedding, is the pillar of the Christian religion, and the grand foundation of the church of God. The sinner who is awakened to see and feel his lost, ruined, and undone state; to behold the inflexible holiness and justice of God, and brought at the same time to feel himself sinking within under the terrors of God in a broken law - that poor guilty, sin-condemned wretch, has nowhere else to look for peace, comfort, or rest, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. He died for our sins. He "was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification."
Now this is the very gospel the apostle Paul preached; therefore he lays such emphasis upon it in that memorable chapter, I Cor. 15. Let me read a few verses of it. He says, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand: by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." (vv. 1-3) The solemn and awful death of Jesus, the incarnate God: His blood-shedding for the remission of our sins, and His resurrection from the dead, is the foundation upon which God's church is raised for eternity.