• johned@aibi.ph

Why Believe in the Resurrection?

Like many articles this one was prompted by a readers letter. As he put the problem very well I am including the main paragraph from it.

"Why is Jesus' resurrection so critical?" - that first might seem almost blasphemous but its a nagging question that always pops up in my mind at Easter. Let me explain my question further... if our sins were taken by Jesus as the supreme payment and sacrifice, our sins were covered at that point and then why did He have to rise from the dead? I guess I'm likening his death (probably wrongly so) to the OT sacrifices which I realize were incomplete and not perfect or final but this still doesn't completely explain why the resurrection is so crucial to our faith. Once we die and move onto into eternal life, would not our sins have been covered whether or not the resurrection occurred? Again, I know and feel that I'm missing a fundamental here but am confused as to where it is."


Please read the following with a Bible in hand, the quoted Bible verses are very important. Feel free to print this out and study it just hit "Print" on your web browser.

There are seven main reasons why we need to believe in the resurrection.

1. It declared Jesus to be the Son of God in power. (Romans 1:4)By being raised from the dead God declared Jesus to be His Son. While this was also done at the baptism and the transfiguration the difference here is the phrase "in power". By overcoming death Jesus was declared to be more powerful than death, decay and this natural order. Without the resurrection Jesus would be just a good moral man, a great prophet and an example of suffering for others. But He would still be "under" the natural order and subjected to death and of no use as a Savior from these things. The fact that He has risen again and conquered death means that He has the power to rescue us, is not just another man, but is the Son of God.

2. It gives us a sound historical basis for a future hope. (1 Cor 15:12-55, John 11:25,26, 1 Thess 4:14)(1 Thessalonians 4:14 NIV) We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.The fact of Jesus' death and resurrection gives us cause to believe that when we die we also will be raised from the dead. Our future hope is based on an historical fact. It's a case of "we believe A...so we believe B". A is firmly founded on the testimony of many witnesses. The resurrection is one of the best attested of all historical facts.See the book "Evidence That Demands A verdict" by Josh McDowell if you would like more information on the historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

3. Unless Christ is raised from the dead then we won't be either. And if we are not raised from the dead then we are "of all men most to be pitied". If there is no resurrection then the pragmatic "best policy" is to eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. (1 Cor 15:12-18, 32)If Jesus could not rise from the dead then what hope would we have? Death would be final for all. If then our only reward is in life then live it up - "eat, drink and be merry" . It would make the martyrdom of the early Christians (and present-day Christians) seem foolish and unwise they would be "of all men most to be pitied". However that is not the case. There is a resurrection from the dead and we will receive an imperishable reward.

4. It declares that God has accepted Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and our sins have been atoned for. (Romans 4:24,25)If Jesus had just died on the cross and not risen from the dead then how could we know for sure that God had accepted the sacrifice and that our sins were completely forgiven? By raising Jesus from the dead God showed that He had "justified" Jesus and with Him all who believe in Him. At the cross the slate was wiped clean, at the resurrection we were given a credit balance, we were justified.

5. There is more to the Christian life than just having your sins forgiven and going to heaven. There is living in the power and victory of God and this is possible because of the new life Jesus brings with the resurrection. Paul calls it "the power of the resurrection". (Romans 6:2-11, 8:11, Phil 3:10) The resurrection moves us from zero to positive in the Kingdom of God.

(Romans 5:8-10 NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! {10} For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Paul, in Romans, says that while we were yet sinners we were forgiven - but wait there is more - now we are forgiven there is a wonderful salvation to be lived out. "We are saved by His life.." Christ's resurrection life in us is the basis for a powerful Christian testimony.(Philippians 3:10 NIV) I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,The power of the resurrection is the powerhouse for a great Christian life!

6. When Christ was raised we (believers that is) were also raised "in Him" and seated with Him in the heavenly realms so that we have victory over the powers and principalities of this demonic world. (Ephesians 1:20, 2:6,7 Colossians 2:12-15, 3:1-4) For more on this topic go to our article on "Demons Defeated". The resurrection leads to the ascension. When God raised Jesus from the dead He also raised believers "with Him" so that we now have authority over principalities and powers. This authority is given to us not because of anything we have done but because God is gracious. It is an amazing outpouring of His kindness to us. (See verses above).

7. Faith in the resurrection is necessary for you to go to Heaven. (1 Cor 15:1-3, Romans 10:9-13, Hebrews 6:1-3) Whenever the fundamentals of the Christian faith are mentioned the resurrection is listed among them. The resurrection is at the heart of the gospel - that is what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Whenever the apostles preached they testified to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is a "key fact". When Paul boils the gospel right down to its essentials the resurrection is there. Belief in the resurrection is one of three things we need to do to be saved. The other two are declaring Jesus to be Lord and calling on His Name.

(Romans 10:9-13 NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. {10} For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. {11} As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." {12} For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, {13} for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."


This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.