The Meaning of the Resurrection - RR274M23b
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Let us worship God. I will come into the house in the multitude of Thy mercy. And in thy fair will I worship towards Thy holy temple. Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight oh Lord my strength and my redeemer.
[Man speaking] Let us pray. Almighty God our heavenly Father we thank us for Your goodness to us each day. We thank You for the duties of Thy creation that we can enjoy in this home and we pray that we would acknowledge You not only for the great things that we see before us, not only for Your salvation but also for the beauty that we see around us each day and the several joys that we have [unintelligible] because of Your goodness. We pray this day for Thy saints everywhere especially for those who are persecuted for Thy sake. We pray that You would be with all of our families including those that are not with us this morning, we pray that You would be with all of our family members who are not with us, we pray that You would encourage them, we pray that You would work in each of our lives, we pray that You would cause us first of all to seek Thy face and we pray that You would help us then to apply Your word to every area of our lives and our family’s and our employments and in the world around us. Encourage us in Your service, we thank You that You’ve given our life meaning and hope and we thank You that You’ve gathered us together because we all have meaning and hope and purpose because of Your son. Give us grace this day as we study Your word, may we use it to encourage us and exhort us to follow You more closely this coming week and always. We ask this in Christ our Saviors name, Amen.
[Rushdoony] Our scripture is First Corinthians 15:12-19. Our subject: The Meaning of the Resurrection. First Corinthians 15:12-19.
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, 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.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is a very blunt one. And it is marked by plain speaking from first to last. This raises a very important question. Why then is First Corinthians so widely misunderstood, century after century? [00:04:26]
It is in its language clear and blunt...
It is in its language clear and blunt. So the fault is not Paul’s, the problem is here as elsewhere people want a minimal religion. They want maximum benefits while believing as little as possible. The question and issue is the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. The Greek world was ready to believe in the immortality of the soul but not in the resurrection of the body and the resurrection was basic to the gospel in a double sense. First, it was an article of faith and of history. That Jesus Christ rose physically from the dead, he was resurrected in the flesh so that he destroyed the power of sin and of death. Then second because Jesus Christ was both God and man by His resurrection He as a man overcame the power of sin and death for all His new humanity. So that our future means the resurrection of the body in the new creation. Without this hope our faith is in vain. Our sins are not atoned for. So a gap separates us from Jesus Christ and His relevance to us is then diminished. Then third precisely because Christ’s resurrection means our resurrection also we have a remarkable hope. We are the people of victory over sin and death, a postmillennial hope and faith means the triumph of the new humanity both in time and eternity. We are not losers but victors. This does not mean that we are spared the battle. From Paul on the great examples of this hope of victory have been especially hard hit by the forces of the fallen world, precisely because they are the people of victory. Our text thus is very important to our faith. Paul tells us that the resurrection is basic to the preaching of the church. But it cannot be isolated from the life of the faithful. We are the people of the resurrection, it is our future. The resurrection of the body signifies the transformation of history by the power of the triune God. [00:08:02]
Sin and death are replaced step by step in our lives...
Sin and death are replaced step by step in our lives and in our history by grace and life. A fallen world is redeemed to become the kingdom of God and then at the last even the power of death is destroyed. As the last enemy death too is wiped out by the power of God, the Son and by the power of His salvation. Paul is emphatic against the unity of Christ’s bodily resurrection and our own resurrection from the dead. To deny the resurrection is to deny the gospel. All but is left then of our Christianity is the vague faith in the immortality of the soul. And one that then resembles the Greek mystery religion. It is interesting that the belief in the immortality of the soul was quite widespread in antiquity but it was a miserable belief. It was believed that the souls had a kind of half-life in Greek writing as in the works of Homer to enable the dead souls to speak, the hero must sacrifice a living animal so that he can drink the blood and have enough strength to speak. It was a half-life. And without the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead man’s faith in the world to come weakens and wans. In the perspective of these cults for example the immortal souls lived a pale and trifling life envious of those who were in the world of the living. Well the doctrine of the resurrection declares is that the fullness of life comes with the defeat of sin and death and the resurrection of the body. It follows Paul says, first if this doctrine is not true that our preaching is in vain as is your faith also, victory is then denied because death prevails and death is the consequence of sin. Then second, Paul witnesses to the risen Christ and his witness is then false because Christ’s resurrection from the dead is inseparable from our own if we deny the one we deny the other. [00:11:28]
Third, we cannot separate Christ’s resurrection from...
Third, we cannot separate Christ’s resurrection from our own, He was indeed unique in his incarnation but in His life and death He was a vicarious substitute and our head as the last Adam. Paul speaks of Christ as being raised up from the dead, that is as passive in this great miracle as are we. Jesus Christ has to die in the faith that the horror of crucifixion would be followed by the glory of His resurrection and the spirit. So we too must live and die with a like faith and trust in the resurrecting power of God. As Paul says in verse seventeen if Christ has not been raised, our faith is vain, you are then yet in your sins. It follows then too that Christians who have died simply perished, then fourth if we have hoped in Christ in this life we are of all men most miserable. Our hope in Christ is for time and eternity. In other words Paul makes clear no resurrection, no gospel, no Christianity. Well clearly many of our churches today are no longer Christian because they deny either the resurrection entirely or they limit meaning to a unique event in the life of Christ. But Paul places the resurrection at the center of the Christian faith. Here, he insists, is what our faith is about, it’s a belief that what God has done in Christ He intends to do in us. [00:13:52]
Now the Greek word translated in to English as resurrection...
Now the Greek word translated in to English as resurrection is anastasis and from that word comes the name Anastasia, it means raised up. It is passive; it refers to an act of God. If there be no resurrection then Paul says there is no gospel and all the apostles are guilty of being liars. Christianity then is not the good news, no longer the good news it purports to be, the truth about life and the future but is in vain. If there is no resurrection then the truth about life is bad news only, not good news as the gospel. The Greek perspective was thus a grim one. The stoic answer about the meaninglessness of life or the active evil of life in history was a grim matter. Virtue is its own reward was the stoic saying which meant ‘well, there’s no reward, there’s no value in anything so if you have virtue it’s because you like it and therefore its own reward’. But virtue in the stoic view was self-defined; it had no basis in the nature of things so it had no essential meaning. It became little more than a withdraw from life so that stoic virtue was not unlike death. A true stoic, that is a true virtuous man was someone who really did not care about anything so if you brought him news that this house had burned down, he would say well that was it, that his wife and children had died in the fire, well that was it, that was regarded as virtue! To be unfeeling! Paul in verse nineteen ties the expectation of life after death to morality. A perspective which is denied by modern thinkers but clearly verified by experience. Man is accountable to God and his accountability is a restraint upon his behavior. The stoic view and logical development of the Greek perspective replaced accountability with self-sufficiency. [00:17:04]
You didn’t care what happened to anything because you...
You didn’t care what happened to anything because you only cared about yourself. That was stoic virtue which to us is total evil-ism. Clearly it is a mind of the modern view of autonomous man and the flagrant immoralism which has resulted. Modern man’s insistence on autonomy and freedom from God is for Paul a miserable outlook. It is no wonder that over the century’s converts out of paganism has seen the resurrection as the most glorious fact and a truly holy article of faith. Let us pray.
Our Father, we thank Thee that Christ’s resurrection means our resurrection from the dead. We thank Thee that as He is, so we too shall be, thy children, perfected men and women serving Thee forever. Bless us in Thy service; give us patience in tribulation and patience with ourselves and one another. And make us ever strong by Thy spirit, in Christ’s name, Amen. Are there any questions now about our lesson?
We shall continue next Sunday with more of this fifteenth chapter which is the great exposition in all the ramifications of the meaning of the resurrection because Paul refuses to allow us to see it merely as a part of life of our Lord, we have to see it as a part of our life, something tha tis our future. Only then can we understand the resurrection. Let us conclude with prayer.
‘Our Father we thank Thee for this Thy word, for one another, for Thy so great salvation. We pray for Thy blessing upon those of our number who are away, give them traveling mercies and bless especially we pray the special seminary meeting this day in Modesto. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.