|Volume 17 Number 3 March 2015||
Christianity hinges upon whether or not Jesus was raised from the dead. Paul made clear that “…if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17). His resurrection is the very source of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). How can we know He was raised from the dead? We can know because God has provided a reliable source, inspired by Him, that sets forth the undeniable evidence. We can be sure of what God’s Word teaches; therefore, if it teaches Jesus was raised from the dead, then He was!
On the day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus, Peter preached the Gospel, and the theme of the sermon was the resurrection of Jesus, as without it, no one can be saved. As recorded in Acts 2, Peter appealed to specific evidences that day to make the case for the resurrection. Peter appealed to signs and wonders (2:22). Jesus performed undeniable miracles, and on one occasion, those “chief priests” even plotted to kill Lazarus since he was undeniable proof that Jesus was the Christ, as He called him from the dead (John 12:9-11; 11). Before Jesus raised Lazarus, He declared, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). The purpose of miracles was to confirm the Word (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4). These miracles proved Jesus was the Christ, and the resurrection was the crowning proof.
Peter appealed to Old Testament prophecy (2:25-35). The Jews present that day were familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures that pointed to Christ (Luke 24:44). Therefore, it was fitting that Peter appealed to those Scriptures to show that Jesus was indeed the One. Peter appealed to two prophecies of David and perfectly showed that they did not apply to David, but rather to Jesus Christ (Psalm 16:8-11; 110:1). The first was quoted in 2:25-28. Jesus indeed went to Hades (paradise), but His soul was not left there. Peter made it clear that the prophecy referred to Christ (2:29-31). Christ rested in the hope that God would raise Him to sit on His throne. The second is quoted in 2:34-35. David was not speaking of himself, but rather of Christ who would be raised from the dead and reign on the throne until death is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).
Peter appealed to witnesses (2:32). The apostles were not the only witnesses, as Paul affirmed that “he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once” (1 Corinthians 15:6). Paul further declared of that group “the greater part remain to the present” (1 Corinthians 15:6). Why were the apostles determined to follow Jesus to the death? They witnessed the resurrected Jesus!
The undeniable conclusion Peter made was, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter would later write that “There is also an antitype [referring to “saved through water” in the previous verse] which now saves us—baptism… through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). The evidence emphatically proves that Jesus was raised from the dead, and we are saved through that resurrection, and by no other way.
[Editor’s Note: Clearly, without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, no one could be saved since the resurrection of our Lord pertains to His power over death – brought about by Satan-incited sin – as well as the resurrection afterward permitted the coronation of Jesus Christ in heaven as King and Savior. Certainly, our Lord has done His part relative to human redemption, and yet, salvation is not unconditional. Each soul must cooperate with the Godhead by obediently participating in his or her own salvation according to divine instructions found on the pages of the New Testament. For instance, Jesus Christ will not and cannot save disobedient souls (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Romans 10:16; 1 Peter 4:17). Instead, Jesus is Savior to obedient souls (Hebrews 5:8-9; Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; Mark 16:16). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
When one is baptized into Christ, he is clothed in Him (Galatians 3:27). We were raised from the watery grave of baptism to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). We were raised with Christ through faith (Colossians 2:12). Since this is true (Colossians 3:1), we have died to the practice of sin (Romans 6:2). “For ye died and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Therefore, because of all of this, you must put sin out of your life and “put off the old man with his doings” (Colossians 3:9) and “put on the new man” (3:10).
The elect are identified as holy and beloved (Colossians 3:12ff). We are holy because God’s chosen ones are separated unto God for sacred service. In Christ, God’s holy ones are to exhibit a pure and godly character. Christians are identified as beloved simply because we are loved by God. It is a term of affection and refers to God’s true love for His children.
Putting off the old man of sin requires a change of heart and mind. It requires a change of conduct and pattern of life. We no longer serve self, Satan or sin. As Peter described it, we are now “children of obedience” (1 Peter 1:14). We must be servants of obedience unto righteousness (Romans 6:16).
After we “put to death” what is earthly and of the flesh (Colossians 3:5), we must get dressed for heaven. Paul said, “put on the new man” (Colossians 3:10).
We must “put on therefore…” certain characteristics (Colossians 3:12ff). We must put on “a heart of compassion” (ASV) or “bowels of mercies” (KJV). We are to feel with and for one another. We are to have genuine care and concern for others. We must put on kindness. We are to be considerate, especially for the needs of others, good and gracious in service. We must put on lowliness, which involves humility. We are not to be proud, haughty or arrogant. We must put on meekness, which is strength under control. Meekness is restrained power. Meekness is not weakness. We must put on longsuffering, which includes self-restraint. It is a quality of control and endurance in the face of provocation. We must put on forbearance. Forbearance is to endure, to bear with. We must put on forgiveness. We are to graciously “let go of” the offenses of others. We must put on love, godly love. It is “agape,” the thing that holds all the other spiritual garments together! We must put love on above all else. Finally, we must put on thankfulness. It is to be grateful, especially of the relationships we have with fellow Christians, with God our Father and with the Lord Jesus Christ.