Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know — Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it (Acts 2:22-24).

Believing that the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead is essential for Christians. Merely recognizing that He died for our sins is not enough; we must accept His resurrection to receive eternal life. Christ paid our debt, but His sacrifice on the cross means nothing unless He possesses power over the grave. In vanquishing evil and death, the Lord made our salvation possible.

Jesus’ resurrection proved He was able to remove sin and its penalty. Assuming Christ remained dead would mean accepting the opposite — that believers are still in sin. And the inevitable end of a sinful life is death. Consequently, a person who denies Christ’s eternal nature looks toward a void future. Bertrand Russell, a famous atheist philosopher, offered this sad description of such hopelessness: “Brief and powerless is Man’s life; on him and all his race, the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark.”

Instead of enjoying Christian liberty and anticipating a home in heaven, those who reject resurrection are slaves to the present, with no real hope or meaning in life. Career, family and good works can offer fleeting pleasure but not the kind of joy that comes from knowing we are right with the Lord and working in His will.

Resurrection is not a denominational issue or a point for theological debate. Either we believe Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, or we do not. If we reject His victory over the grave, we deny ourselves a place in eternity. But if we accept the truth, we will be saved.

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Allen Tilley is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Carthage.

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