TGC Q&A: What Would Be Different Without Christs Resurrection?

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Rico Tice: How would the world be different if Christ had not risen from the dead?

Scott Oliphint: Right. Probably the main difference if Christ has not been raised from the dead, is that there would be no hope for people at all.

I remember seeing a bumper sticker years ago on the back of a car. It pulled up at a light and it said, “I’ve given up hope, and I feel much better.” And I thought initially it was humorous and then I thought, imagine that. People can recognize that hope, in hope, has no content. So it feels better to give up hope.

Well, what is hope? It means that you have some sort of certainty available to you about the future and how can you have that if all you have facing you is death.

Well, the only way you can have that, because all of us will face death unless Christ returns, the only way you can have hope is if someone has conquered death. Death was the great penalty, wasn’t it? It’s a great penalty for Adam and Eve’s sin and it’s come to all of us who have sinned against God. So we deserve death but in Christ, we have new life because he’s the one who has conquered the last enemy.

Now, if you don’t have that certainty, I remember before I was a Christian, I was looking for certainty and all sorts of places. I couldn’t ever get my hands on it or when I thought I had it, it sort of sift away like sand. And when I finally came to Christ and understood that there is real certainty here because Jesus lives. Jesus who died now lives.

I remember realizing existentially, this is the only hope available to anyone in the world.

Rico Tice: Scott, you talk about that existentially and again, it’s precious to me. I remember when my mother died in Basingstoke Hospital. I said, “Goodbye. I love you.” And then I said, “I’ll see you again,” and that was more important to me than anything in the world. But tell me this. We can say that, but objectively, what are the roots of this hope? Because we’re talking about having this hope if He’s risen but what makes us certain it happened?

Scott Oliphint: Well, number of things make us certain. Number one, we have scripture available to us and we see what Christ has come to do and God announced it from the point of sin forward. God announced that there will be a time when he will take care of this. Only God can take care of the ruin that we have brought to his creation. We’re not able to do it because we’re subdued under it and so God is able then to take care of it and he does it through his son.

So because of what Jesus came to do, because Jesus came, lived an obedient life, died in obedient death, the Father accepted him as our substitute. He became what he was not, so that we could become what we are not. He became sin, so that we could become righteousness in him. The only way that can happen is if Jesus lived a perfect life, died a perfect death and then God raised him up on the third day and because God raised him up, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, those that who are united to him. He’s the first fruits. We come along after. Because he’s risen, we can be guaranteed that we will. [crosstalk]

Rico Tice: Yes. I love that picture of, it’s like he’s the needle pulling us through and we’re the thread that come behind. And of course that the New Testament doesn’t just talk about his resurrection from the dead, for which there’s good evidence. It talks about the resurrection of the dead. So that was what was so transforming, wasn’t it?

Scott Oliphint: It was. Yeah, absolutely right. Jesus rose, so that we might rise. Jesus was accepted, so that we could be acceptable. So he not only conquered death, but he conquered the sin that enslaves us when he was raised from the dead. There’s no hope without that.

Rico Tice: I love the way that the Bible works on that hope. The 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14. There’s a parallelism. We grieve but not like those who have no hope. And then it’s, Jesus died. Jesus rose. Christians die. Christians rise. So we’re just attached to him. Aren’t we in his resurrection?

Scott Oliphint: Yeah, that’s exactly right. If you don’t have, so we could put it this way I think Rico. If you don’t have the certainty of what God has said to us, all you have is the sort of relativity of what we say to one another and we cannot exist. We cannot exist on this horizontal plane. If I speak to you and you speak to me, something has to transcend that, something has to rise above who we are, in order to give us that hope.

Rico Tice: Scott, tell me, let’s move it a bit because the resurrection is a great hope but it’s also a great warning.

How’s it a warning? You know the question is here, how would life be different if Christ hadn’t risen from the dead because it’s a warning to people too, isn’t it? How has the resurrection warn humanity?

Scott Oliphint: Well, I think one way that it warns humanity is that there’s no point in setting your hopes, or your desires, or your sights on anything that is temporal.

The eternal, Paul tells us, is what lasts not the temporal. And so if you’re focused on yourself, on some other thing that you want to put your hope into that you know is temporal, the warning is, it’s not going to last just like we’re not going to last, unless and until we’re united to Christ by Spirit wrought faith.

So the warning is, trust Christ or there really is no hope, but that’s the beautiful thing. There is hope for you because Christ has done what he came to do.

Rico Tice: I love the fact that the warning of judgment too, isn’t it, you know, the Acts 17:31, is a lovely verse to me that he’s given promise of the judgment to come and the proof of it is he’s raised Christ from the dead.

So how do I know I’m going to be judged? Well, Christ was raised and that’s the proof you’ll be raised. So the resurrection’s a great hope but a great warning too. Isn’t it?

Scott Oliphint: That’s exactly right. It’s a great example too, is it because Paul’s in the marketplace and the philosophers get mad at him. Why? Because Luke tells us he was preaching Christ and the resurrection. So they take him to the Aeropagus and he talks to them about the majesty of who God… doesn’t need anything. He’s made from one man every and he set the boundaries and he gives you life and breath and all things and then what? Guess what? Paul goes right back to that thing that got him in trouble and he says, “He’s raised a man from the dead and he’s coming back and we’ll all be judged.”

You’re right. That’s exactly what Paul wanted the Athenians to understand.

Rico Tice: Great. So there we have it and of course he’s the creator, the ruler and the sustainer in those verses and because of that, he’ll judge us. He’ll say, “Did you know me and have you had your sin forgiven?”

Scott Oliphint: Exactly.

Rico Tice: So the resurrection’s absolutely key to Christian faith. Any last thing to sound out just as we close?

Scott Oliphint: Well, just to say, if you don’t have Christ, you have no hope but you can have Christ by trusting him.

Rico Tice: Wonderful.

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