By Jerry Harris
Just one thing.
That’s what it all comes down to. Paul made it abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19:
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 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. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
The resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus—“the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, King James Version)—is the one thing that separates us from false religions. Without the resurrection, the cross doesn’t matter. Paul tells us it would be only a cruel tombstone atop a heap of lies told by a false teacher. But with the resurrection, the cross becomes a bridge to our heavenly Father and the blood shed on it is sufficient to wash away the sins of the world.
The cross is a stark picture of our spiritual debt before a righteous God. It is a vivid reminder of our moral bankruptcy, our broken state, and our inability to save ourselves from our inevitable eternal future. But the resurrection holds our hope. It provides the proof that the payment was enough, the debt is canceled, and the slate is wiped clean. The stone that covered the tomb has not only been rolled away, it is missing altogether. The remaining gaping entrance has now been redefined as an exit—an exit for Jesus on that resurrection morning and an exit for all who would follow him out of death and into life.
The resurrection is the one piece of incontrovertible evidence that pushes us to answer either yes or no. The only remaining option is to attempt to ignore it entirely, but desiring ignorance and believing it might save us from the cost of following Jesus is only selfish delusion. Saying yes to the fact of the resurrection rolls away a stone of darkness into the light of day in our lives.
Christ has been raised! Our preaching is not only useful, it is life-giving! Our faith is firm! Our witness is true! Our predecessors abide in glory! Our sins are gone! The lost are found! Our hope in Christ is sure! And it’s all because Jesus is alive . . . our one thing.