The Solution

In the last weeks we have paid attention to original sin, temptation, acts of sin, and at the question of inevitability to give into sin for 1) the believer and 2) the unbeliever. Today we want to spend some time on the solution the Bible offers to the sin problem – our problem!
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 the apostle Paul writes:
Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.
For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, this is the way we preach and this is the way you believed. (ESV)
The following is adopted and slightly altered from an earlier post (http://afoolsthought.blogspot.com/2011/04/resurrection-of-jesus-christ-1.html). In vv. 1-2 Paul tells the Corinthian believers about the critical importance of the gospel. This is the gospelPaul proclaimed in Corinth, which they received, on which they stand, and by which they are being saved. In these brief verses we see both divine sovereignty and human responsibility (see especially v.2b; chart from David E. Garland,  1 Corinthians. BECNT [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003], 682):
The Announcement of God’s Act in Christ
The Believers’ Response
the gospel I preached
which you received (past)
in which you stand (present)
through which you are saved (present/future)
with what word I preached
if you hold fast
unless you believed to no avail
Paul then reminds them of the apostolic tradition of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (vv. 3-7). All these things (except the burial which might indicate the definiteness of Jesus’ death or emphasizes that the body was laid in the tomb) happened “according to the Scriptures.” There was and is Jewish expectation that in the last days (i.e., the Messianic kingdom) dead bones will return to life (Isa 40; 52-53; Jer 31; Ezek 36-37; Dan 9; Psalm 10; 22; 41; 42; 68); but Paul might just generally talk about OT fulfillment.
The sin problem is dealt with on the cross! It is the God-man Jesus who came, being born of the virgin Mary, to die so that we might live. But death did, does not, and will not have the last word. The reason Christianity exists, lies in the resurrection of our Messiah!
About the resurrection of Jesus in connection Paul talks in verse 12-34 in the same chapter. Paul assumes the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the fact is presupposed. This argument confirms what believers already hold to.
In 15:12-34 Paul speaks about the consequences of the resurrection of Jesus in regards to his followers. Or stated differently, he reasons with the Corinthians about the consequences of their (only some; Gr.: tines) denial of the resurrection of the dead (especially vv. 12-19). In his argument Paul assumes the resurrection of Jesus Christ; this fact is presupposed. This argument also merely confirms what believers already hold to.
The problem is stated in v. 12. Some of the Corinthian believers say that there is no (bodily) resurrection. But what are the implications of such a belief? The implications of this belief are stated in (vv. 13-15). The first implication is that if there is no resurrection of the dead then Christ has not been raised from the dead; the apostolic preaching is useless (implication two); the faith of the Corinthian believers is in vain (implication three); and the fourth implication is that the apostles misrepresent God and are false witnesses about Him.
In 1 Corinthians 15:16-19 some of the implications of such a denial are repeated and intensified. Again implication one is that Christ has not been raised from the dead followed by the second assumption that the faith of the Corinthian believers is useless. This is intensified by the phrase “and you are still in your sins”; i.e., without the resurrection there is no base for the forgiveness of sins. The third implication is that those believers who have died are utterly lost. Verse 19 then states the final absurdity of the denial of the resurrection of the dead, namely that Christians are to be more pitied than anyone else.
Yet (v. 20) Christ has been raised from the dead.
The bodily resurrection of Christ Jesus is a necessary belief so that there can be forgiveness of sins. We are awaiting our Lord, the firstfruits of the resurrection. When he comes back one day, God will be all in all! AMEN!

What can we learn from this passage; especially in this season of where we look back at Jesus’ birth and forward to his coming? We need to be careful in our proclamation of the gospel that it is in tune with the apostolic teaching of the New Testament! Further care should be taken to nurture and firming the faith of the believer – the gospel is not a one-night stand but good news everyday and all days!

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