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He is Risen! DAY 17

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins”

1 Corinthians 15:17

In the movie, The Case for Christ, journalist Lee Strobel, sets off on a quest to prove that Christianity is a hoax. Turning to one of his fellow journalists he asks where to start. “Prove that the resurrection never happened and everything comes tumbling down”. Strobel starts digging into the historical accounts, text criticism and various other angels to try and prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead. Long story short, he can’t. The more he tried to expose it as a hoax, the more he became convinced of the contrary. Strobel surrenders his life to this Risen Saviour and becomes one of the most prominent pastors and apologists of his generation.

As Easter weekend reached its climax on Sunday, the historical backed fact that Jesus Christ, claiming to be the Son of God and then proving it by defeating the greatest enemy, death itself, shines like a beacon in our desperate times. Never in my life has resurrection Sunday been so real. The hope of eternal life and the hope for me here and now, feels so tangible.

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins

When Paul is speaking to the same Corinthian believers two chapters later from the ‘love chapter’, he comforts them with the promise that this life is not everything and that ‘falling asleep’ as he describes death, is not the end. He then uses a negative statement introduced with the word ‘if’ to actually accentuate the contrary. Christ WAS raised and therefore our faith is NOT futile and we are NOT in our sins anymore.

God in all his infinite wisdom took the horrific events of the cross and used it to prove His power and love for a world that needed a Saviour who could swallow up death in victory. What does this mean to me, to you? First it means that faith is not futile. Futile means something is pointless and Paul says two verses later if He wasn’t raised “and if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. If in this time of uncertainty you might be shaken in your faith or even doubting if there is a God, then look at the empty tomb. Faith in Jesus is not futile. It is rather founded, grounded and solid as a rock.

Secondly, it means that sin is not our master anymore. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead, conquering the greatest force on earth, means that sin also lost its power. You and I do not have to be enslaved by sin anymore. When we put our faith in Jesus, that old habitual sin, that unforgiveness, that idol, that addiction can be broken by the resurrection power of Jesus. This gives me so much hope when I am struggling to defeat sin in my life. It points me to the cross and it points me to the empty grave. This is the utter relief of holiness. All of us would love to wake up one morning and be free from sin, to have that feeling of utter relief. That is actually our inheritance because He rose. Therefore we can today shout out and say: “Because Christ was raised, our faith is not futile and we are not in our sins anymore!”

Stay safe and stand strong.

Retief Burger

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