Robert Peterson – Christ’s Resurrection Saves

16 Jul

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1 Corinthians 15:14-19
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. – 1 Cor. 15:14, 17-19

If Jesus’s resurrection had not occurred, the apostles’ preaching would be a waste of time and effort. In addition, the faith of their hearers would be as big a waste. If Christ were still in the tomb, disastrous results would obtain for living and dead believers. Living believers would still be in their sins (v. 17). Those who trust Christ for salvation would in fact not be forgiven at all. Dead believ- ers would “have perished.” Though they died trusting Christ to save them, if he were a dead savior, he could not deliver them. If he were not risen, they would have died and gone to hell. In sum, “if in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (v. 19).

Paul’s frank ruminations are harrowing. We rejoice that “in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20). The fact that jesus is the “firstfruits” means that more are to come. Indeed, jesus’s resurrection is the cause of his people’s being raised to eternal life: “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (vv. 21–22). Paul contrasts the first and second Adams. Adam’s sin in the garden brought death to the human race (Rom. 5:12). Christ, “the last Adam,” “the second man” (1 Cor. 15:45, 47), brings resurrection to all who are united to him by grace through faith. And he does so as the (crucified and) risen one. His resurrection means resurrection and everlasting life to believers. It saves.

~Robert Peterson~


Salvation Accomplished by the Son (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2011) p. 131

Books by Robert Peterson

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