A Doctrinal Checkbox?
Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians about having confidence in the resurrection. For him, the resurrection was everything, and without the resurrection, our faith is nothing. Click here to read it.
I was reflecting on this passage with my clergy Bible study group and I commented that at St. John’s (and, I suspect, in their parishes), if I were to pass around a doctrine survey with the question: “Do you believe that Jesus was resurrected?”, the vast majority would check “yes”.
But for Christians, that is not enough. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins,” writes Paul. Today, as in Paul’s day, there were those who scoffed at the idea of the resurrection. Dead is dead. Dead people don’t come back to life on the third day.
Culturally, that may be a challenge, but the challenge we face as preachers and Christians is moving the resurrection from a 2,000 year old idea that gives us something nice to celebrate, and perhaps a sense of hope when facing death, to a life altering reality, as it was for Paul.
Okay, so you tick the “yes” box on your survey. So what? Do you allow that utterly unique reality to reshape and define your life?
For me, it is the resurrection that gives me the confidence to trust the rest of what Jesus has to say and to trust that He can deal with the problems I face. If I did not believe in the resurrection I would be, at best, a kind-hearted hedonist or, at worst, a completely self-centered prig.
It is the resurrection that gives me hope. I don’t mean hope as a vague, naive optimism that everything will work out, but rather an unshakable confidence that God is working His purpose out in my life and in the world, even if it doesn’t always look like it.
And in that confidence, I can live in ways that may seem counter to the values of the world (more in Sunday’s sermon on that topic…).
Have you allowed Jesus’ resurrection to move from a doctrinal checkbox to a life altering reality?
This column appears in the February 17, 2019 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here to read the current eNews.