Results of the Resurrection
Tim Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to I Corinthians, chapter 15, as we continue with our verse by verse study of this book. For some time now we have been looking at I Corinthians, and we've seen that the church at Corinth in the first century was an outstanding church in many ways, and yet they had many problems. Because the problems were so typical of Christians in general, the Holy Spirit caused the Apostle Paul to write a letter to the Corinthians dealing with those problems. Because those problems have continued to be problems in generation after generation of Christians and churches, God has preserved that book for us as part of the Scripture.

Over the course of the last year or so we have worked our way through the book and through these various problems, and we are reaching the end of the book. It's interesting to find a problem here that we might not have expected, and yet one that really is very practical because one of the many problems at Corinth was the fact that some of the believers there had begun to question the doctrine of the Resurrection. They were having problems with that doctrine.

If you think back over the other kinds of problems that have been dealt with in the book of Corinthians, you might think that the Resurrection is a different kind of problem because, going back to the beginning of the book, he had dealt with the problem of pride and the problem of exalting human leaders, putting confidence in man, and he had dealt in the middle of the book with marriage problems and the kinds of problems that can come up in those areas of life. Now he has been dealing with the church practice and the kinds of problems that can come up in our actual worship services. So we come to this chapter which deals with the Resurrection, and at first glance we might think that that's an odd problem to include in this list of very practical problems. But as we go on through the chapter, I think you are going to agree that not only is this a practical problem in the same vein as those other practical problems that Paul has dealt with, but it is a basic problem; and if this problem is not dealt with, then the other problems of the book are not worth dealing with. So we want to think about the problem of the Resurrection as it is dealt with here in chapter 15.

We have divided the chapter into three parts. First, “The Reason for the Resurrection”, in verse 1-11. We talked about that last week. The reason for the Resurrection is that Christ died for our sins, and His work was completed, and because of His finished work of providing our salvation, God raised Him from the dead. So verses 1-11 are an eloquent defense of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and the fact that the Resurrection is the capstone of that. The reason for the Resurrection is the finished work of Christ. Then in verses 12-34, he begins a lengthy section that deals with the “Results of the Resurrection.” The third part of the chapter, and really almost a chapter in itself, is “The Reality of the Resurrection.”

The Historic Reality of the Resurrection

Today we want to get as far along in the middle section as we can dealing with the results of the Resurrection. What does it really mean to you and me that Christ rose from the dead? Perhaps if you have studied this chapter before, you realize how intensely important that is; but if you haven't really given it much thought, I think you are going to be surprised today to realize how very practical and how thoroughly underlying of the Christian faith the doctrine of the Resurrection really is. So as we think about the results of the Resurrection, we begin with a statement of false doctrine that we find in verse 12:

I Corinthians 15

12Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

Here is a statement of false doctrine. Notice the phrase in the beginning of the verse: “if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead.” That is a tie-in phrase. It's a reference to the things that are brought out in verses 1-11, and we talked about those verses last week, how that Christ died for our sins, how that is the essence of the Gospel because our salvation was completed. He rose from the dead, and there were witnesses to His bodily Resurrection, to His presence outside the grave after His death. All of that is wrapped up in this phrase, “if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead”. He is preached that He rose from the dead, and verses 1-11 give ample evidence of the truth of that statement.

Evidently in spite of that, there were some among them who were saying that there was no Resurrection, verse 12 tells us. Now probably they were not specifically saying that Christ did not rise. That was a commonly accepted fact. Incidentally, for those who reject the Resurrection in our day and time, those folks usually consider themselves to be quite intellectual, and they consider themselves above that kind of mumbo-jumbo, hocus-pocus kind of a doctrine. Sometimes they even refer to it in those ways, down-playing it, as if those of us who do believe in it are ignorant; but those who do not accept that doctrine need to realize that they are absolutely out of touch with the historical reality of the Resurrection.

It was not until the third century after Christ that anyone began to question the Resurrection, except for the Jews who were so anxious to not have it believed, but who did really have to accept it. Those first century Christians accepted it as fact, and if you read through the early church history, you will find that it was commonly accepted. The vast majority of believers and unbelievers alike believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Verses 5 and 6 deal with that. The fact was that there were eye-witnesses to His Resurrection. Verse 6 tells us that He was seen by over five hundred people at one time on one occasion. So they probably were not saying that there was no Resurrection in Corinth, because as I say that was a commonly accepted doctrine; but what they were saying was that, even though Christ rose from the dead, other human beings would not rise from the dead. God did something special for Jesus because he was God's Son, but that doesn't mean that we will rise from the dead. That's the specific problem Paul is dealing with. Why do we think that just because Jesus rose from the dead we will rise from the dead? Did you ever stop to think about it? What is it about Jesus' Resurrection that ties in with us? Why do we draw any hope from the fact that Jesus rose from the dead? That is essentially the question that Paul is going to deal with in this passage.

The False Teaching of Gnosticism

There was a false religion in those days known as “Gnosticism”, taken from the Greek word for “knowledge”. A cult had grown up around a worship of knowledge, and the Gnostics were promoting this idea that Jesus rose from the grave because He was special, but that nobody else needs to expect to do that. Regardless of the source, whether it's Gnosticism or something else, it's a good example of the contrast between human logic and God's wisdom. It may be logical to think that only Christ rose from the dead; but God's revelation, God's wisdom that is revealed in His Word, is that we also will rise from the dead. Let's look at what Paul says about that. In verses 13-19, we have the steps away from false doctrine. The statement of this false doctrine is in verse 12. Now Paul is going to take us through several steps away from that false doctrine and in doing that show us the truth. As we look at these verses, we might insert the phrase before each of these statements, “if there is no Resurrection”. “If there is no Resurrection,” he says, for example, in verse 13, “of the dead, then Christ is not risen.”

Paul is going to tell us in this verse the importance of the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We might not ordinarily think of this verse as a verse that deals with the humanity of Christ, but think about this for just a minute. What the Apostle Paul is saying is, “Listen, if you're going to say that human beings cannot rise from the dead, then you have to say Christ didn't rise either, because Jesus Christ was completely human.” Now He was also completely God, but He was completely human, and if there is no Resurrection of human beings, then that principle applies equally to the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a clear statement of what theologians call “the doctrine of the incarnation”, the fact that Jesus Christ became flesh and dwelt among us. We talk about chili concarne. That's chili with meat. The word “incarnation” means “becoming flesh.” It means “infleshment”, and Jesus Christ became flesh. He became a human being–so much so that if human beings can't rise from the dead, neither could Christ have risen from the dead.

The Object of Our Faith

At the same time, notice the stress on His Godhood. There is a very definite stress on His manhood, but notice the stress on His Godhood. If He did not rise, then everything else that we believe falls apart. The next verses are going to develop that more fully. That demonstrates the importance of the object of our faith. From time to time we come across this point in the Scripture, and it is a very important point to understand, and we have talked about it before. So for some of you, what I am about to say is going to be review. Whether it is new to you or whether it is review, it is very important that you understand it. That is the fact that people in general often talk about strong faith. They say, “Oh, I've got strong faith, and I believe God is going to take care of my situation because I've got strong faith.” Or we talk about someone else undergoing a tragedy or a time of need, and we say, “Well, I feel good about him and his situation because he is a person of such strong faith.” Let me tell you something today. It doesn't really matter how strong our faith is or how weak our faith is. What matters is how strong the object of our faith is.

Let me demonstrate it this way: Let's say that we lived in a part of the country where you could go ice skating outdoors. Those of you who have never been outside of Texas may not realize that ice skating is not just an indoor sport; it's not just something you go to the mall in Dallas and do. There are parts of the country where you can go outside and skate on a pond or even a lake in some places. But let's just, for purposes of illustration, say that late in the winter, as spring is approaching, you were to go out to a pond that you had been skating on all winter. You put on your skates and started out as you always did and you went out in the middle of the pond and you crashed right through the ice because the ice had begun to thaw. It didn't look so from the surface, but as you went on the ice, you broke through the ice.

Let's assume you got home safely, and the next day someone comes by and says, “Let's go skating.” You say, “Not on your life! I'm not going out on that ice again,” and someone says, “Oh, we won't go to that pond; we'll go to another pond that I know about. It's a smaller pond and the ice is still thick enough to skate on there.” Your friend is very persuasive and finally persuades you to go ice skating, even though the day before you had that terrible experience. Now today when you go out on that ice, you are taking your friends' word for it that the ice on that particular pond is thick enough to hold you up. But you don't have nearly as much faith today as you did yesterday. You go out there with extreme caution. You're not nearly as confident as you were yesterday before you fell in. Now your faith is very weak, but the ice today on this other pond is strong enough to hold you up.

You see, in that situation it doesn't make any difference how strong your faith is. If the ice is too thin to hold you up, you can have all of the faith in the world, and you are still going to crash through the ice. The next day you go out and you have very weak faith, but the object that your placing your faith in is strong. Listen, Jesus Christ is the object of our faith, and it doesn't matter if you have little faith in Jesus Christ or great faith in Jesus Christ. What's important is that your faith is in Jesus Christ. The object of our faith is what's important. And that's what Paul is dealing with here. If there is no Resurrection, then the object of our faith is inadequate. It doesn't matter how much faith you have in Jesus Christ. If He didn't rise from the dead, there is no point in having faith in Him at all. The object of our faith is what's important.

You can apply that same principle to climbing on a ladder that has some weak rungs in it. You step on the rung and you fall through it, and someone brings you another ladder. You're a little nervous about climbing on the new ladder because of what just happened to you on the other ladder, but this ladder has strong sturdy rungs, and even though you are very nervous, you step on the rungs of that ladder. Because the object is strong, even though you have weak faith, the ladder still holds you. The object of our faith is what's important.

Listen to me: Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He was marked as something special. He was marked as more than just a man, though He was completely a man, and He is a strong object. He is a completely trustworthy object for our faith.

The Testimony of Unbelievers

In Acts, chapter 5, there is a testimony of unbelievers to this very point. Let me give you the background of this story. There was a great philosopher and teacher in the Roman world by the name of Gamaliel. Gamaliel was highly respected. The Apostle Paul had been one of his students before he was saved. He was a very prestigious teacher, and in Acts, chapter 5, the Jews were having a great discussion about what they should do about the followers of Jesus, because by that time the disciples were beginning to stir up trouble. They were beginning to do things in the name of Jesus–healing people and doing amazing things. So the Jewish leaders were trying to decide how they were to handle this bunch of renegades. In Acts, chapter 5, down in verse 34, we read this story about Gamaliel:

Acts 5

34Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
35And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
36For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
37After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
38And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

You see, even this unbeliever understood that there was something special about Jesus, or at least possibly there was, and he said, “Here are these other men who gathered followings around them, but once the man died, the following fell apart. If Jesus Christ is just a man, his following will fall apart, too. We don't have anything to worry about. Time will take care of it, but if Jesus Christ was God, as he claimed to be, and as these followers are claiming that he was, then there is nothing we can do about it anyway.”

You see, the Resurrection proved that Jesus Christ was not just a man. He was a man–it proved that–but He was not just a man. No matter how great a man is during his lifetime, his followers sooner or later disperse after his death. They may still talk about him, and there may be some little group here or there who follows after him, but they don't continue in the sense that they do when he is alive. Obviously Jesus was not in that category.

The Resurrection Validates Our Faith

Now go back to I Corinthians, chapter 15. There is something else that is true if there is no Resurrection. If there is no Resurrection from the dead, verses 14 through 16 say, the operation of our faith is invalid. Look at verses 14-16:

I Corinthians 15

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:

Let's stop here with verse 16 for just a moment. Notice what he says. He says our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain also if the dead do not rise. Now why would he say that? A very important verse to remember and one on which a great deal of the activities here at Abilene Bible Church are based is Romans, chapter 10, verse 17, which says:

Romans 10

17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Why do we study the Word of God in all of our services at Abilene Bible Church? Why do we insist that everything that we do be tied in in some way with the exposition of the Scripture? It's because that is where faith comes from. We could get together and discuss on Sunday mornings relevant topics concerning the news. We could get together and discuss topics concerning moralty and goodness, etc., and we could have an enlightened discussion about those kinds of things. But listen, that's not what builds faith. That's what many churches do, and it's a very pleasant way to spend the morning. It may even be informative, but that's not where faith comes from. If you want your faith increased, spend your time studying the Word of God. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing the Word of God.” That's what is unique and that's what is special.

Preached By the Apostles

Now Paul says, “We have been preaching to you.” Paul, as an Apostle, when he spoke, it was the Word of God. We talked a few weeks ago about the gift of Apostleship, the fact that God gave to those original twelve disciples–eleven disciples; Judas, of course, had committed suicide–and to Paul the gift of Apostleship. As they taught, they were speaking God's instruction so that in effect Paul had been teaching them the Word of God even before the written Word of God was available. He says, “If Christ did not rise from the dead, then the Word of God is not true, because I have been speaking on God's behalf to you and saying that Christ did rise from the dead. I've been preaching that all over the place.” So if Christ did not rise from the dead, then you cannot put any confidence in the Word of God. The operation of our faith is invalid, our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain if there is no Resurrection.

The Old Testament even had said that the Messiah, who turned out to be Jesus of Nazareth, would rise from the dead. When you have time look at Job, chapter 19 or Psalm 19, and other places the Resurrection is touched on and hinted at, spoken of. The Apostles had all been preaching that He rose from the dead, and they had been quoting the Old Testament to prove that point. So there is nothing to it all if Christ did not rise from the dead.

Look at verse 14, and notice the word “vain”. In verse 14, “our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain.” That word is a translation of the Greek word kenon , which means “invalid” or “incorrect”. When we talk about somebody being vain today, we talk of them being proud and egotistical, but there is the usage that we still use in English in this sense also, of empty and pointless and invalid and incorrect. So the Resurrection was an integral part of the teaching of the Apostles. Since it was, nothing they taught was trustworthy if there was no Resurrection from the dead.

Look at verse 15:

I Corinthians 15

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.

“We've been lying to you in our preaching,” Paul said, “if there is no Resurrection.” Verse 16 emphasizes the humanity of Christ again:

I Corinthians 15

16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

Don't try to say Jesus was a special case. Jesus was a human being. He was also God, but if you're going to say human beings cannot rise, then you can not say that Jesus rose. And if Jesus didn't rise, then the whole thing falls apart. So either the Scriptures are wrong or the Apostolic teaching is wrong if there is no Resurrection.

It is an interesting paradox that there are churches in our country today that are named for the Apostles, and yet those churces deny the truth of the Resurrection. We mentioned this last week. The Apostolic tradition is that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that He rose from the dead. Don't let someone tell you that you are off base by believing that. They are the ones who are off base. They are the ones who don't know church history or ignore it. They are the ones who don't understand the traditions of the Apostles. That's what the Scripture says, and that's what church history tells us.

Resurrection Related to Salvation

Now in verse 17, another thing that's true if there is no Resurrection is that the operation of sin is increasing:

I Corinthians 15

17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

You are still in your sins. One of the most sobering statements in the entire word of God, is I Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 17. If Christ is not risen, your faith is empty. Your faith is futile. You're still in your sins. You see, you can't really talk about salvation without including the Resurrection. That's what Paul if saying in verse 17.

It's true of salvation, but think about it also from the standpoint of what we talk about at the Lord's table. Remember, there we talk about from I Corinthians, chapter 11, that God, because Christ had paid for our sins, cannot condemn us like He does those who do not accept Christ as Savior. He's rescued us from His condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus,” but God still has to deal with our sins, and so He has allowed us the privilege of judging ourselves, confessing that sin to Him, and knowing His forgiveness, and restoration to our fellowship within the family.

Listen, if there is no Resurrection, none of that is true either, and we not only have never been saved from our sins, but we continue in our day-to-day sinful activities. The Scripture tells us that the reason that we can have confidence in our salvation is that Jesus Christ ever lives to make intercession for us. If He didn't rise from the dead, then He is not alive today. But the wonderful truth of the Scripture is that He is alive today. Not only is He alive, but Jesus Christ sits, constantly reminding God the Father every time you sin that that sin has already been paid for. He ever lives to make intercession for us, the book of Hebrews tells us; and so if there is no Resurrection from the dead, you see, the operation of sin is just continuing. Not only that, it is increasing, and we are totally hopeless.

Resurrection and Eternal Life

Verse 18, brings out another point. If there is no Resurrection, the offer of immortality, the offer of eternal life, is impossible. Look at verse 18:

I Corinthians 15

18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

Another sobering statement. It's interesting that he refers to this as having fallen asleep. Those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. First Thessalonians, chapter 4, refers to it in the same way. Now some have taken that reference and have built onto it the false doctrine of soul sleep. The false doctrine of soul sleep says that when believers die, when anyone dies, they just go to sleep, and they don't go to Heaven or Hell. They just go to sleep, but that's not at all what the Apostle Paul means in this verse or when he uses that terminology in I Thessalonians. He uses that terminology because, to put it as simply as possible, believers are bound for Heaven; and because we are absent from the body and present with the Lord, it is no more significant than just having gone to sleep. Remember in I Thessalonians, chapter 4, we talked about it. I suppose that I refer to I Thessalonians, chapter 4, verse 13-18, at every funeral that I conduct, because it was specifically written for comfort. It says:

I Thessalonians 4

13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

You see, when a believer dies, because Christ rose from the dead, because that believer has accepted that, and that's why he is called a believer, then his death is nothing more than just going to sleep. He's absent from the body. He's present with the Lord, and Paul wound up that beautiful passage in I Thessalonians, chapter 4, by saying, “wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Resurrection and the Rapture

It has always interested me that many people seem to think that to talk about the Lord's return and to talk about the Rapture and to talk about the end times is something scary. You would think that I Thessalonians, chapter 4, verse 18, said, “wherefore scare one another to death with these words.” It's not a scary doctrine. God reveals that to us for our comfort, but Paul says in I Corinthians chapter 15, verse 18, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, there is no comfort whatsoever. We can't talk about seeing our loved ones again. We can't talk about the blessed hope of being with Christ. We do sorrow as those who have no hope.” At the time of the death of a loved one, of course we are sorrowful, but because of the Resurrection of Christ, we are not sorrowful like those who have no hope. If there is no Resurrection of the dead, then the Jewish death notice is correct. When the obituaries are listed in the Jerusalem Post, even now–at least up until a couple of years ago; I assume it is still true–the obituary would say: “So and so is no more. He's gone. So and so is no more.” Listen, if there is no Resurrection from the dead, that is the way to say it. They're just gone, and we will never see them again. And there is no comfort in that. We sorrow as those who have no hope. So if you're not going to accept the Resurrection, then you have a great sadness, and that's what verse 19 tells us:

I Corinthians 15

19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

A more accurate translation is, “we are most to be pitied”. But someone may say, “Wait just a minute, what about all those testimonies that people give that say the Christian life has been worth it, even if there is no Heaven or no Hell?” You've probably heard people give that kind of testimony: “It will be worth it, even it all turns out to be a hoax.”

There is a sense in which that is all true, because the Christian life is a good life; it is a moral life; it's a careful life. It prevents a lot of problems that might otherwise come along, but the real essence of the Gospel is not just getting to go to Heaven. The essence of the Gospel is, and the essence of the Resurrection is, as we have already touched on, the fact that Jesus Christ is still alive and He is actively working in our lives. The Holy Spirit lives within us, because of the Resurrection. Jesus Christ lives in Heaven to communicate with us through the Holy Spirit, and because of the Resurrection, our lives have been invaded with the supernatural and we are alive in Christ. But if there is no Resurrection, then none of that is true, and all we have is a system of rules and regulations. They may be good rules and regulations, and they may provide for good health and good financing and good morality. But that's all there is.

Christ, the Firstfruits

Listen, if there is no Resurrection, then this careful life we are leading really is pitiable. We are to be pitied. If there is no Resurrection, if there is no hope for the future, this life is all there is. But you see, none of that is true, because the Resurrection is true. Christ did rise from the dead, and that is what verse 20 tells us. It is a very beautiful conclusion. A statement of the faithful doctrine. In verse 20, he says:

I Corinthians 15

20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

The most important word in verse 20 is that little two letter word “is”. “Now Christ is risen from the dead.”

Have you ever had a bad dream, a nightmare, and you are terrified and suddenly you wake up? You remember what a relief it is to discover that it was only a dream. That is the sense of verse 20, as compared to verses 15-19. If there is no Resurrection, then it is a nightmare. We are of all men to be most pitied, but it's only a nightmare to think that way. It is true that Christ is risen from the dead. We don't have the loss of all those things that verses 15-19 talk about. What a wonderful realization! Paul is drawing a conclusion from that statement. If Christ rose, He is only the first of many to do so.

Look at that little phrase in verse 20. “Become the first fruits of those that have fallen asleep, those who have died.” In the Old Testament there was the offering of the firstfruits, and it was that offering by the Israelites, of the very first part of their harvest, the first fruits that they pulled from the trees. The firstfruit of their harvest was brought to the Lord, and it was called the “Offering of the Firstfruits”. You're probably familiar with that.

What Paul is telling us, what the Holy Spirit is inspiring Paul to tell us here in verse 20 is that when Christ rose from the dead, that God was making His offering of the firstfruits. In the Old Testament, that offering of the firstfruits signified that there would be a harvest to follow and that they recognized that God had given not only these firstfruits that they were bringing as an offering, but that God had given all of the harvest that was to follow. And now God has given an offering of the firstfruits. He raised Christ from the dead, and that is typical of the fact that He is going to give a great harvest of others who will rise from the dead. Christ is the Firstfruits. He's only the Firstfruits of those who have died. And that's why we say that we too can expect to have Resurrection. The next two verses comment on this.

In verses 21 and 22, we have a doctrinal summary of this whole section. In verse 21, we have the Doctrine of the Incarnation again. Remember God in the flesh? Chili with meat? Verse 21:

I Corinthians 15

21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

Notice it didn't say, “by God came the Resurrection”. The focus is on the humanity of Jesus Christ. Christ rose as a human. He rose because His work was finished and because God was satisfied with that work. When He rose, He went back to Heaven, but He rose as a human being, and it is a beautiful Scripture, too. “Since by man, came death…” Where did death come from? When Adam and Eve sinned back in Genesis, chapter 3, God said, “Dying thou shalt die.” That's where death started. Adam and Eve would have lived forever if they hadn't sinned, but by man came death; but by the second man, Jesus, came life, came Resurrection–the Doctrine of the Incarnation.

The Doctrine of Imputation

Then in verse 22 is the Doctrine of Imputation:

I Corinthians 15

22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The Doctrine of Imputation is a somewhat technical doctrine, and yet it is simple to understand if you think about it. The name is the most scary part of the Doctrine of Imputation. But the Doctrine of Imputation says that when Adam sinned, all the rest of us sinned, too. Why? Because we are descendants of Adam. We inherited sin. We inherited not only his tendency to sin, but we inherited his sin. The way I like to illustrate it, or explain it, is this way: When Adam sinned, Eve had already sinned, and then Adam sinned and therefore one hundred percent of the human race was sinful. One hundred percent of the human race had sinned at that point. Now, since that time, the numbers have increased geometrically;, the numbers have increased unbelievably, from two to however many billions there are in the world today, but the percentage is still the same. One hundred percent of the human race is sinful, because when Adam and Eve sinned, that was it. The race became sinful, and everyone born into the race, though it has increased the numbers, has not increased the percentage. One hundred percent of the human race is still sinful. That's the Doctrine of Imputation.

Alive In Christ

But look what it says: In Adam all die; even so in Christ shall all be made alive–every person who accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, from the very first person who recognized Him as Savior to the five hundred millionth or however many there are that accept Christ. We don't know how many believers there are in the world today, but the percentage is still the same. One hundred percent of those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior are free from sin, forgiven by God, invaded with the life of Christ, promised eternal life because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ–not because of what we have done, but because Christ's work was credited to our account.

As we conclude, let me ask you something: Have you ever stopped to think how empty and futile life is if there is no Resurrection? You see, it is the most practical of all problems, isn't it? If there is no Resurrection, then our faith is vain, empty and wasted. The preaching of the Bible is not true. Sin continues; we are still in our sins. All of those things are true if there is no Resurrection; but the fact is that Christ did rise from the dead, so we are not “of all men most pitiable, of all men most miserable.” In fact, we are of all men most blessed. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have the calm assurance that we too will rise, and we have the calm assurance that our loved ones who die have only in effect fallen asleep. Not a sleep, but as far as it's effect on us, it is no more than if they were just asleep, and we will see them again, and we will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Don't let anybody take that away from you. Don't let anybody tell you, as they were telling the Corinthians, and don't believe it, as the Corinthians did, that there is no Resurrection from the dead. Everything else falls apart if there is no Resurrection. The Bible attests clearly that the opposite is true.

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