Doctrinal Implications of the Resurrection

Galatians 1:1

The Christological significance of the resurrection is considerable. The fact that Jesus prophesied that he would rise from the dead on the third day has important implications for his Person. One who could do this is greater than the sons of men. Paul clearly regards the resurrection of Christ as of cardinal importance. ‘If Christ has not been raised,’ he says, ‘then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain.… If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins’ (1 Cor. 15:14, 17). The point is that Christianity is a gospel, it is good news about how God sent his Son to be our Saviour. But if Christ did not really rise, then we have no assurance that our salvation has been accomplished. The reality of the resurrection of Christ is thus of deep significance. The resurrection of believers is also important. Paul’s view is that if the dead do not rise we may as well adopt the motto ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’ (1 Cor. 15:32). Believers are not men for whom this life is all. Their hope lies elsewhere (1 Cor. 15:19). This gives them perspective and makes for depth in living.

Paul speaks of his desire to know Christ ‘and the power of his resurrection’ (Phil. 3:10), and he exhorts the Colossians, ‘If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above …’ (Col. 3:1). He has already reminded them that they were buried with Christ in baptism, and in the same sacrament were raised with him (Col. 2:12). In other words, the apostle sees the same power that brought Christ back from the dead as operative within those who are Christ’s. The resurrection is ongoing.

Morris, L. L. (1996). Resurrection. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 1012). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.