The Resurrection: A Central Doctrine ()
It is obvious from a cursory reading of that the resurrection is an important, even central, doctrine of the Christian faith. However, is the Gospel comprised only of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as some have alleged? Or does the Gospel consist of more than these fundamental facts?
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures " (). This brief statement introduces Paul's extended treatise concerning the resurrection to the Corinthian congregation. Notice how he prefaced this remark: "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved " ().
The gospel was preached, it was received, and it was something in which the Corinthians were challenged to stand. The death, burial and resurrection are facts, historical facts, of the Gospel. Facts can be believed, but in the strictest sense facts cannot be received except as one directs his affairs in harmony with the facts indicated. The death of Christ does not demand anything of those who merely hear the facts concerning it. The burial of Christ asks nothing of those who are made aware of its occurrence. Neither do the facts of the resurrection demand anything of those who hear the story. These are just facts facts to be considered and either believed or disbelieved. For those who believe these facts, they also have a choice as to whether or not they will receive them. To receive the facts of the Gospel is to accept the requirements that the Gospel levies on its adherents. To stand in the Gospel is to believe and order one's life in accordance with the principles and precepts that Jesus taught; one cannot stand in facts except by acting in a manner consistent with what those facts imply.
In the case of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, there are scores of implications. The resurrection proved that Jesus was the Son of God. The resurrection demonstrated that the teachings of Jesus were of Divine origin. The resurrection of the Lord provided positive verification that there is yet to be a general resurrection in which the natural bodies of deceased people will be changed from corruptible into incorruptible. The resurrection of Jesus provides irrefutable evidence of the authority which Jesus possessed and that which He vested in His holy apostles and prophets. The resurrection of Jesus confirmed once and for all that the system of faith which He died to establish was superior to the Mosaic Covenant. The resurrection of the Messiah demonstrated that God is yet in control of the affairs of this earth and no amount of pleading to the contrary will remove Him from that position.
What is the Gospel? Well it certainly consists of facts, but it consists of more than facts. It contains commandments to be obeyed, and it contains promises that are to be received by those faithful to its commands. Believe the Gospel? Yes! But do more than believe obey it!
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