12Now 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.
18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Contrary to what many within Christianity believe, without a firm conviction that Christ was raised from the dead, our faith is in vain and we of all men are most miserable. The cross represents the atoning death of Jesus necessary for our redemption and salvation. But, without the resurrection of Christ from the dead, the salvation Jesus gave His life for could not be appropriated to man and man would have no hope. If Christ were not raised from the dead, those who die simply perish.
Without the resurrection of Christ from the dead, there would be no hope of us being raised after we die. Without this hope, all we have to live for is this life only. If all we have is this life only, why waste it promoting a dead Jesus? Should we not spend it eating, and drinking and making merry with our friends? Should we not devote every waking hour to making a name for ourselves, making our fortune and living with no rules except to please ourselves?
Jesus Christ is our LIVING Lord and Savior. God raised Jesus from the dead and crowned Him Lord of all. The risen and exalted Christ is who we serve and is the true source of our life. It goes without saying that Jesus had to suffer and die to pay for sin as God's perfect sacrifice. In no way am I diminishing the importance of the cross. I am simply trying to show that without the resurrection, that which took place on Calvary IS diminished.
When God raised Jesus from the dead, He quickened (made Him alive) with eternal life spirit. In the resurrection, Jesus Christ conquered the last and greatest enemy which is death. Because of this, God gave Him the name which is above every name that every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God.
The vast majority of Christians place the greatest emphasis on the birth of Jesus, then His death and finally (as an afterthought) the resurrection. The entire Christmas season was once devoted entirely to celebrate the birth of our Savior. When Christians think of Easter, they usually think of the cross instead of the empty tomb. The spiritual reality of our faith is that because God raised Christ from the dead, we who believe that He did, are saved and given the promise of being raised ourselves to enjoy eternal life.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
Our salvation is based on our willingness to confess out loud that Jesus is our Lord and deep within our heart believe that God raised Him from the dead. Anyone who doubts the resurrection cannot be saved. Anyone unwilling to make Jesus the Lord of their life cannot be saved. In light of this, it behooves us to know and understand who Jesus is, what He accomplished through His death, the significance of the resurrection and what it means to really make Jesus our Lord.
To this end, I believe one of the reasons God did not call me home in September is for me to share some of the wealth of knowledge and understanding I have amassed over the past 45 years on these matters. I am an ignorant and unlearned man according to the world, but by God's grace and mercy He has allowed me to comprehend quite a few things about making Jesus our Lord and why the resurrection of Christ was and is so essential to our faith. God willing, I look forward to sharing with you what I know about matters in the days and weeks to come.