Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Without the Resurrection there is no Christianity

The resurrection of Jesus Christ sets Christianity apart from mere religions for different reasons, but there is one that is particularly important.  It is not uncommon today to hear even those who claim to be Christians say that it doesn’t matter if they find Jesus’ bones in a tomb they would still follow his teachings; that Christianity helps them live a good life and so all that matters is that we try to follow his teachings and example.  It is precisely this error in thinking that marginalizes Christianity and makes it no better than just another religion.
One reason they make this error is because they think that Jesus came to just show us a good way to live.  But the Bible teaches that his primary purpose in coming was to secure the forgiveness of sins for all who believe.  He came and died and arose so that sinners could have peace with God.  Without this work his teachings don’t matter at all.  What difference does it matter how good I am if I am going to die like a dog?  It doesn’t really matter at all.  On the other hand the Buddhist doesn’t really need concern himself with whether Buddha ever lived or taught what he believes because all that matters is his teaching.  If he is following that then that is all that matters to him.  The same hold true with every other false religion; the important thing is that you follow the teaching.
But this is exactly backwards from what Christianity is all about.  What Jesus did literally in history in the flesh gives us the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life in Heaven.  Without his work we are still in our sins and without hope.  Another reason why it is necessary for him to be alive is because it is through his life by the indwelling Holy Spirit we are enabled to live godly lives and follow his teachings.  If he is still in the grave we are just deluded sinners trying to reform the outer man to make life a little better for a short time and we become just another useless religion trying to get men to do good but removes any higher reason than man.  We might reform man some but we can offer him no hope of ever being perfect.
Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15 that if Christ be not risen we are to be pitied.  We have denied ourselves for no good reason.  Take away the resurrection and we are still in our sins, we are unable to have victory over sin both in this life and the next. Take away the resurrection and you take away any useful aspect of Christianity and it just becomes another manmade religion that tries to reform sinners with no power but the power of our sinful natures.
The social gospel is only concerned with making this world better but doesn’t care if you ever repent and believe in Christ for the forgiveness of sins.  It sees all religions as basically the same, trying to get people to behave themselves.  But this is the very definition of false religion.  This makes man and his life the focus instead of the Holiness of God and its vindication from the rebellion of man as the most important pursuit.  In the end the social gospel and every false religion fails to prepare sinners to meet God.  Thus Jesus’ teachings are irrelevant if he isn’t real, didn’t come to earth as the God-Man, didn’t die on the cross and didn’t rise again as proof of the sufficiency of his sacrifice.  Being like Jesus but still dead in your sins will not prepare you to stand justified in the Day of Judgment.

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