I have heard MANY Christian say: “All that matters is that we know and believe that Jesus died on the cross and forgave my sins. Why get lost in all the details?”
Yes, I have heard this statement from even so-called “seasoned” Christians. For many, what they believe is believed because they have been told WHAT to believe. The authority of Jesus Christ to forgive and atone for sin is IN THE DETAILS!
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has had an enemy whose purpose for existence has been to topple the Gospel. And one of the ways the enemy uses in his efforts to to pervert foundational principles of the gospel including the divinity of Jesus, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
ARGUMENT FOR BODILY RESURRECTION (1 Corinthians 15:1-58)
In the days of Jesus there existed the “ruling class” of Jews that came to be called the “Sanhedrin”, which was a group of between 23 to as many as 71 men appointed in cities throughout Israel. They were an ad hoc “council” that dealt exclusively to the religious matters of the people of Israel. It was the Sanhedrin that first tried and condemned Jesus Christ and sent Him for sentencing to Pontius Pilate. The members of the Sanhedrin were made up of scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.
The Sadducees were a Jewish sect that emerged from the Babylonian Captivity after the reconstruction of the Second Temple in 516 BCE. Assuming the role as the Temple priesthood . The Sadducees introduced to the Jewish people the concepts challenging Moses’ teachings of the Resurrection of the Dead . Here are a few facts concerning the beliefs of the Sadducees:
• They only held to the ‘Law of Moses’ (not the “Oral Laws”).
• They rejected the traditions of the Pharisees and did not agree with them. (check out Jesus, Pharisees and Parable of Great Feast)
• They did not believe in the ‘resurrection of the dead’.
• They believed that “Souls die with the bodies”. (According the Jewish historian – Josephus)
• They denied the resurrection of the body in Mat 22:23, Luke 20:27, Acts 4:1-2, 23:8.
• They did not believe in the existence of Angels or Spirits. (Acts 23:8)
It is important to note that Paul was a Pharisee before his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, and unlike the Sadducees who rejected the Mosaic teachings to which Jesus pointed concerning the resurrection of the dead (Mark 12:24-27), the Pharisees held to the teachings of bodily resurrection (Acts 23:7-8).
Nearly 60 years after the bodily resurrection (as Jesus proved to Thomas and the other disciples- John 20:19-28) and ascension of Jesus Christ, the heresy of the Sadducees has found its way into the church in Corinth.
Bodily resurrection is one of the essential underpinnings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the bodily resurrection affirms the Deity of Jesus Christ. The Sadducees’ condemnation of Jesus was their way of un-Deifying the Son of God as well as diminishing the power and authority of God over the living (Mark 12:27).
That facts of “bodily” resurrection are made abundantly clear in the Scriptures:
• Jesus Christ demonstrated His Deity and His power and authority over death with the bodily resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:17-27)
• The bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the first resurrection (see Matt. 28:1-7; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18)
• Shortly after the resurrection of Christ, some other tombs were opened and several “holy people” were raised (see Matt. 27:50-53)
• The resurrection of Church-age believers before the beginning of the Tribulation period (see John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-53)
• During the Tribulation, God’s two witnesses will be raised (see Rev. 11:11-12)
• The Tribulation martyrs will be resurrected so that they can rule and reign with Christ (see Rev. 20:4-6)
• Old Testament saints will be resurrected to enter the millennial kingdom (see Dan. 12:1-2; Isa. 26:19; Ezek. 37:13-14)
• At the end of the millennial reign of Christ, the final resurrection will consist of all of the unbelieving, wicked dead. They will be found guilty at the Great White Throne judgment and cast into the lake of fire (see Rev. 20:11-15)
Paul argued the facts of “bodily” resurrection in the Corinthian church as follows:
1. Prophetically Factual: Vs. 15:12 Paul reminds the Corinthians that the Messiah (Jesus) has been preached in accordance with prophecy as having been raised from the dead (Hosea 6:2);
2. Lawfully Factual: Vs. 15:5-6 Paul’s testimony greatly exceeds God’s standards concerning corroborating witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15)
3. Historically Factual: Vs. 15:20 Paul reiterates the facts surrounding the bodily resurrection as reported by the disciples, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (John 20 – 21).
4. Physically Factual: Vs. 20-23 Jesus points to the physical deaths of past, present, and future as flesh being physically baptized in death as “corruptible” and a new flesh physically resurrected as incorruptible! (1 Corinthians 15:42)
5. Spiritually Factual: Vs. 43:49 The analogy of the “first” Adam and the “second” Adam is made and we, like Jesus, will wear the same heavenly flesh as our Lord and Savior wears (! Corinthians 15:48-50).
6. Eternally Factual: Vs. 15:53-57 “…For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality….”
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
- So, how do YOU know that the messiah / savior YOU are following is God’s anointed? Are you simply “hoping” that you have “picked” the right one?
- What makes you think that the “Christian” version of the “way” to God REALLY is the “right” way?
- If “faith and belief” is all it takes, then what makes you think that your Muslim neighbor’s faith and belief? Is his faith and belief in Allah and Muhammad any more or less profitable than yours just because your neighbor “picked the wrong one?
We all must one day come face-to-face with the reality that until we know…REALLY know…the “object” of our faith and belief, we are easily persuaded by deception and easily blinded by heresy.
Unless and until we humble and devote ourselves to intentional and prayerful study of the Word of God, we remain ignorant of the “object” of our faith and belief and susceptible to the infection of deception and heresy.
THINK ABOUT THIS, CHRISTIAN! It was Scriptural ignorance that crucified Jesus Christ: “…But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers…” (Acts 3:14-17)
Ignorance in the 21st century church will lead to an even greater falling away that is likened to Jesus Christ being crucified over and over again. “…For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame…” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
The TRUTH is in the DETAILS!! Consider Cain and Abel, both sons in the family of God, both having lived under the umbrella of the grace of God upon Adam and Eve. Two sons of the same parents, of the same grace…but, evidently, not of the same heart!
The one whose heart was RIGHT, did right. Abel was “saved” not by his offering, but by his heart.
Cain was condemned not by his offering, but by his heart.
Obedience (or disobedience) did not produce salvation! Obedience did nothing more except to give evidence of what was true in the hearts.
You see, the “object” of Cain’s faith was the offering. The object of Abel’s faith was God.
SO…WHAT DOES THE RESURRECTION MEAN TO ME AND YOU AND OUR ETERNAL SECURITY?
what is the “object” of our faith and belief?
A self-appointed “messiah”? In other words, the messiah of our own choosing, i.e. the Jesus of the Christian Bible or the messiah of the Islamic “bible”?
If you do not know the differences between the Jewish carpenter and the Arabic merchant, what is the foundation of your faith and belief?
Does “saving faith” come from simply having “guessed” the right choice?
Does your “savior” need to:
- have been from the beginning,
- been descended from David
- been born a virgin,
- have lived sinlessly,
- to have been crucified innocent,
- to have been buried dead,
- and to have been bodily risen from the dead to be trusted?
Or do you trust in yourself enough to have made the right “guess”? The truth is in the details!