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1 Corinthians 15:12-20 We have living hope in Christ’s resurrection!

Last updated on April 1, 2024

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I remember in grade school my teacher gave us an assignment to write out the steps for blowing a bubble from a piece of bubble gum. At first it sounds simple to write out the steps for blowing a bubble from a piece of bubble gum, but when you give your written list to someone else to follow to the letter to blow a bubble, the importance of each step becomes clear.

Missing a step in the bubble gum bubble directions will not yield the intended result. Once my classmates and I had written out our individual lists of the steps for blowing a bubble from a piece of bubble gum, we were each asked to go in front of the class to read and follow what we had written down. The results were quite comical as we realized the impact of missed steps. For example, if one of us left out the step of unwrapping the piece of gum, then it had to be chewed with the wrapper on it. The demonstrations caused lots of giggles, but we also took away an important life lesson that all the steps matter to get to an intended result.

Jesus’ resurrection was a crucial step in his mission to save the world. To show the importance of Christ’s resurrection in the steps he took to save the world, the Apostle Paul asked a question in 1 Corinthians 15 to show what would happen if Christ’s resurrection was missing from the steps to save the world, 12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

Paul recognized the rejection of the resurrection by the worldly-minded unbeliever who sees a finite end in death and does not recognize God, who created and sustains all life. The problem with a worldview that denies any resurrection from the dead is the fact of Christ’s resurrection. It is a fact upheld by the many eyewitnesses of the New Testament, the lack of a body or tomb ascribed to Jesus, extrabiblical sources attesting to the resurrection, Jesus’ followers and skeptics who became his followers being willing to be condemned to death based on faith in the fact of Christ’s resurrection, the immediate abandonment of centuries of a strict Jewish sacrificial system for faith in the resurrected Lamb of God, etc. The fact of Christ’s resurrection means resurrection from the dead is a reality.

This fact is similar to what we read in Psalm 19, 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. So, in the same way that the result of the universe attests to the existence of God as the Creator, Jesus’ resurrection attests to him reaching his goal to save the world from death.

Jesus is the power to bring us back to life. Paul listed a series of connected steps after asking this question in 1 Corinthians 15, 12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? Paul wrote those steps to show the negative ripple effect if Christ’s resurrection did not happen. Then, he answered the question, which erased the crippling effect of Christ not being resurrected by stating, 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

So, we can take what Paul wrote between his question and this bold statement and list the positive results achieved for us by Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s resurrection means there is a resurrection of the dead, our preaching and faith are useful, the many witnesses of Christ’s resurrection are true, you are no longer in your sins, those who died with faith in Christ are found in heaven and our hope in Christ goes beyond this life looking to heaven, so we are of all people most to be respected. Christ’s resurrection step as the “firstfruits” guaranteed a harvest of fruit will be gathered from the graves of all who hope in him.

We have living hope because we hope in the living Christ. Christ’s resurrection means we will be raised from the dead and go to live with Christ in heaven forever. Along with our hope of living because Jesus lives, our living hope fights against our doubts. In those moments when we are confident of Jesus’ resurrection, we may still struggle with whether we are raised to be with him in heaven or separated from him in hell because of our sins. We often draw these kinds of conclusions that if I keep on sinning and my whole life and every moment of my life has not changed, and does not measure up to other Christians, then I must not have faith, be forgiven, be saved and going to heaven.

The antidote to that doubt is that your forgiveness is not dependent on you. In the same way that it is God’s power that will raise you from the dead, your assurance of forgiveness is from God. Stop looking to yourself for assurance of your forgiveness. Look at Jesus’ sinless life for assurance because that is what God looks at to accept you as his own. You have living hope in Christ’s resurrection that saved you from death and sin, so that eternal life in heaven is yours.

To achieve a specific result, all the steps must be in place. Unwrapping the piece of gum is an important step if you want to blow a bubble out of bubble gum. There are times when the world chews up and spits out our faith in Christ’s resurrection, and there are times when we also struggle with the truth of Christ’s resurrection. Paul testified to the forgiveness of sins, the many witnesses of Christ’s resurrection, the necessity of preaching Christ’s resurrection, our own resurrection, eternal life in heaven and the truth that we have living hope in Christ’s resurrection. Amen.

Gunnar Ledermann, Pastor Divine Peace Church

Gunnar Ledermann

I’m passionate about Rockwall’s vibrant community and actively engage with local non-profits and community organizations, including the Rockwall Chamber of Commerce, the City of Rockwall, and the Downtown Rockwall Association. My background includes a bachelor’s degree in Classical Languages and a master’s degree in divinity. Currently serving as a pastor at Divine Peace Church in Rockwall, I also enjoy spending time with my wife, Marinda, and our three children.

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