Tuesday, 09 December 2008 20:15
Life after death?
Is it really true? Is there life after death? It is part of what is known as "the Apostles' Creed": "I believe … the resurrection of the body." Christians find it comforting to be able to affirm this when standing at a grave for a burial. But how sure can we be of the resurrection? Might the Christian hope turn out to be nothing more than a dream? In the church at Corinth in the 1st century A.D., there were people who did more than just doubt the resurrection. You can read about that in 1 Corinthians 15:12. They came right out and said "there is no resurrection of the dead."
Christ's resurrectionDenying a physical resurrection from the dead has drastic consequences. It affects the heart of the Christian faith. Paul makes this quite clear when he responds to this matter. "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:13-14). Everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It makes no sense to be a Christian if Jesus Christ died and never arose again. Think, for example, of what he once said to a woman called Martha after the death of her brother Lazarus. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies" (John 11:25-26). If Jesus Christ did not arise from the grave, then that promise given to Martha means nothing. Worse yet, it would be a lie. If you can't trust Jesus Christ to tell the truth concerning life after death, what part of his teachings can you accept?
The Bible tells us that death is the result of man's fall into sin. Man has broken the bond with the God of life. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world to suffer and die for sinners. His resurrection testifies that the price for sin has been paid. It forms the guarantee of eternal life for all who put their trust in Him. This is why it is important to see that whoever denies the resurrection is "dead wrong." What are the teachings of Jesus worth if you cannot believe that he arose from the dead? There would not be much left that makes sense anymore. Faith in Jesus Christ is an "all or nothing" proposition. As Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 15:32, "If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" Jesus Christ arose from the dead. The apostle Paul stresses that this really happened. It was not just a figment of someone's imagination. He writes in 1 Corinthians 15:4-6, "that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…" Because there is a resurrection, life lived for God has meaning. Through faith in Jesus Christ as the Saviour of sinners, we learn to live in fellowship with God. We also learn to look beyond the troubles of this life. God promises to be with us and to guide and help us. We look forward to being with Him forever.