The month of March 2014 is easily the busiest I have known in a long time, with meetings and conferences booked solid. So, I’ve decided – with his blessing – to pass on to you some of my favorite graceEmails from a friend mine, Mr Edward Fudge, author of The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment. 3rd ed. (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2011). Edward is a retired lawyer and a fine biblical theologian, from the Church of Christ. Enjoy!
The Age of Reason was dawning, and an anti-Christian intellectual named Lepeau was desperate for advice. He had created a rational new religion, Lepeau told French Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, but, despite its superiority to Christianity, it had failed to catch on. Might Talleyrand have any suggestions? “M. Lepeau,” the diplomat dryly replied, “to ensure success for your new religion, you need only two things. Arrange to have yourself crucified, and three days later rise from the dead.”
New religions recoil with horror at the suggestion and respond with derision when anyone says it aloud, but Jesus’ resurrection is the linch-pin of Christianity, without which it crumbles and disintegrates before our watching eyes. It identifies Jesus as the conqueror over death (Rev. 1:18), the world’s Savior, and the Jews’ Messiah (Acts 3:17-26). By raising him from the dead, God declared powerfully and publicly that Jesus is his Son (Rom. 1:4). By the resurrection, God ordained Jesus as the great shepherd of God’s sheep (Heb. 13:20-21), and consecrated him as the high priest who intercedes for us in the heavenly sanctuary (Rom. 8:31-39). Because Jesus is risen, we know that he will be our judge when he appears again in power to make all things new (Acts 17:30-31).
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all preaching is empty, faith is worthless, the apostles become liars, sins remain unforgiven, Christians are pitiful fools, and dead believers have simply perished (1 Cor. 15:13-19). It is no wonder that Paul calls the resurrection of Jesus Christ a matter “of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3). Indeed, if Jesus was not resurrected, nothing flows from Calvary but the memory of a travesty.
Photo credit: Edwardfudge.com