The resurrection of Jesus Christ is presented in the New Testament as the factual basis for the Christian faith. If Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain. But what are the implications of this fact? For example, what is Paul getting at in Romans 4:25 when he says that Christ was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification”? The hosts will discuss this and other texts that unpack the significance of Christ’s resurrection on this edition of the White Horse Inn.
“Jesus is our intercessor. Paul says, ‘Who shall condemn us? He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died, more than that, who was raised, who was at the right hand of God interceding for us.’
“What a wonderful doctrine – to think that Jesus didn’t just finish it and go home. He went into the heavenly sanctuary where he had to cast out Satan, our accuser. So now, he is in the court room. We have a loving Father and a defense attorney and there is no prosecutor and he’s interceding every day for us. And because he has been raised, we will be raised as well.” – Michael Horton
Term to Learn:
“The Objectivity of the Faith”
To believe in something without first seriously reflecting on it or looking into it is not an act of faith, it is an act of foolishness. It is not, as some have held, a virtue to believe something without evidence or reason. The person who says, “You just have to have faith,” is really just proclaiming he has no idea what faith is. The whole point of Christianity is not that we have faith—that is no different from any other religion or worldview. If just having faith were the goal, all would be saved since everyone believes something. No, faith itself is not the object. In fact, what differentiates religions is the object of each faith. The content of faith ultimately is what matters. And the content of a faith is what must be investigated and then embraced or rejected.
Paul argued based on facts that could be investigated by anyone who was interested. He recognized that if Christianity was true, it must be rooted in facts. Paul saw the contact point in the historical, physical, temporal aspects of the life of Jesus. Jesus was a real person who did and said certain things in certain places at certain times. Witnesses to Jesus’ life and teaching could be found and questioned regarding these things.
Jesus’ reality—His historicity—is the foundation of Christianity. Without it, there is no Christianity. Paul was so sure of this foundation that he went so far as to point out the most vulnerable claim of the Christian faith [in 1 Corinthians 15:12–19].
If Jesus did not live, do, and say the things claimed by the apostles, then Christianity is false. If there is a better explanation for the resurrection, then Christians are simply wasting their time.
By pointing out this vulnerability, Paul was really pointing out the strength of Christianity. So convinced was he of the historicity and verifiability of the resurrection, the event that confirmed the claims of Jesus, that he pointed out how to prove it false—almost as a challenge. Christian claims can be investigated and tested. This challenge has no parallel in other religions. No other sacred text shows how to destroy its own claims.
The church fathers showed they understood the importance of Jesus’ historicity when they crafted the Nicene Creed, the universally accepted creed of the church. The creed says, “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.” Why mention Pontius Pilate? What doctrine is based on him? The answer is: none; there is no doctrine based on Pilate. He is mentioned to remind us that these were real events happening to a real person at a particular point in history. (Doug Powell, Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics, pp. 11, 16, 18)
(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)