Years ago, I remember stating that if there were no heaven or hell I would still hold to the Christian life because of the wonderful nature of the life in Christ. When I think of what the life in Christ is like I think of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Paul emphasized the fruit (not fruits) God’s Spirit produces and ends by asking: who would ever pass a law against these?
That is exactly my sentiment. God gives us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We might not really want these for ourselves, but you know you wish the people around you had them.
That, of course, is my point about living the Christian life. The life in Christ is simply the best life to live.
Unfortunately, that view simply does not go far enough. Paul emphasized the essential nature of the resurrection. The resurrection is indispensable to faith and works which please God. It is the heart of the Gospel.
Paul stated what he received (by divine revelation) as of first importance. Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture (the Old Testament). He was buried. God raised Him from the dead according to the Scripture. For Paul, this is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, and it is essential for living the Christian life.
Paul said that if Christ has not been raised our preaching is in vain and so is our faith. We are still in our sins. This last statement brings us to Paul’s point. Without the Gospel, we have no part of Christ. If we have no part of Christ, we have no part of the Holy Spirit or the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Apart from Christ, we cannot genuinely experience love, joy, or peace. These are qualities which proceed from God the Holy Spirit.
God gives us these fruits because we abide in Him. Abiding in Him comes through the power of the Gospel.
Therefore, without the resurrection we are still in our sins.
Paul tried to please God by works of the law. It didn’t work for him, and it won’t work for us.
Genuine faith based on the work of Christ on the cross makes all the difference. Please let it make the difference in your life.
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