THE LIVING CHRIST
“But now is Christ risen from the dead.” [I Corinthians 15:20]
In a dramatic, miraculous event, Paul met Jesus Christ on the Damascus road. So real was the appearance of Christ to him that thereafter he preached Christ crucified and risen from the dead.
The resurrection of Christ is the great capstone of Christian doctrine. If, as some suggest, there is no resurrection, the Gospel would be a most gloomy proposition. Preaching Christ would be false, and faith vain. Sin would be unforgiven, loved ones would have perished, and salvation would be temporal.
But Paul actually saw the resurrected Christ, and he sounded forth that glorious proclamation, “But now is Christ risen from the dead.” The resurrection of Christ is one of the best-attested facts in history. Paul refers to over five hundred witnesses who saw Jesus Christ alive on several occasions after His death on the cross.
In his glorious resurrection chapter [1 Cor.15], Paul also lists the blessings of the resurrection – life instead of death, victory for defeat, incorruption in place of corruption, glory for dishonour, power for weakness, and immortality in place of mortality.
Paul did not see the resurrection of Christ as just a past event with no practical application. Coming down from high and heavenly doctrine, he gave the Corinthians sound and practical encouragement. The resurrection means that Christ is alive and able to give us daily victory over the perplexing problems of this present world.
Paul encouraged the Corinthians, therefore, to be “Stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” knowing that their labour would not be in vain in the Lord. And so we would encourage you, dear reader,
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
“The resurrection is the Gibraltar of the Christian faith, and the Waterloo of infidelity and rationalism” [R.A. Torrey]
GOD DOES NOT FORGET HIS PEOPLE
“Thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me” [Isaiah 44:21]
Our Jehovah cannot so forget His servants as to cease to love them. He chose them not for a time, but for ever. He knew what they would be when He called them into the divine family. He blots out their sins like cloud; and we may be sure that He will not turn them out of doors for iniquities, which He has blotted out. It would be blasphemy to imagine such a thing.
He will not forget them so as to cease to think of them. One forgetful moment on the part of our God would be our ruin. Therefore He says:“Thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.” Men forget us: those whom we have benefited turn against us: we have no abiding place in the fickle hearts of men; but God will never forget one of his true servants. He binds Himself to us not by what we do for Him, but by what He has done for us. We have been loved too long, and bought at too great a price to be now forgotten. Jesus sees in us His soul’s travail and that He never can forget.
The Father sees in us the spouse of His Son, and the Spirit sees in us His own effectual work. The Lord thinketh upon us. This day we shall be succoured and sustained. Oh, that the Lord may never be forgotten of us! [C.H. Spurgeon]
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Five Bishops of the Anglican Church were burned at the stake for adhering to the Protestant faith. They were martyred under the reign of Queen Mary I and complicit with the Roman Catholic Church.
The martyred Bishops were John Hooper (burned at the stake February 9, 1555): Robert Ferrar (Martyred March 30,1555). Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley (Burned at the stake together on October 16, 1555). Thomas Cranmer, (Burned at the stake on March 21,1556).
Cranmer’s last words were, “I see the heavens open, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”
Bishop John Hooper ended his life in the fire with these challenging words, “I have settled myself through the strength of God’s Holy Spirit, patiently to pass through the torments and extremities of the fire now prepared for me, rather than to deny the truth of God’s Word.”
Remember these words in Hebrews 11:38, “Of whom the world was not worthy”