Originally posted here.
With Easter over a month gone, it’s not too early for our minds to begin to wander from our focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For example, as believers, we have the Christian life to live. We are to be pursuing holiness and reflecting godliness in all that we do, which can be quite consuming for the mind, allowing the foundations of our faith to suffer neglect. On the other hand, we can get so engrossed in the study of other doctrines of the Christian faith that we neglect these essentials.
What is the remedy?
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, declares:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”
The remedy for neglecting the death and resurrection of Christ for the sake of living out the Christian life, studying other doctrines or because Easter has now past is to remember that Christ’s death and resurrection are of first importance.
What does it mean for the death and resurrection of Christ to be of first importance?
Of First Importance for Christian Living
While there are many aspects of the supreme importance of the Christ’s death and resurrection that could be mentioned here, we will only focus on three. The first is that Christ’s death and resurrection are of first importance for our living out the Christian life. This may sound strange, but it is essential. Without the death and resurrection of Christ we could not live the Christian life. Romans 6:4 states, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” It is because of Christ’s death and resurrection that all who repent and believe may die to sin and have new life. Paul continues in the passage, saying in verses 10-11, “For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Before Christ, sin (our fleshly desires, demonic temptation, and worldly influence) was our master. Once in Christ, through salvation, we have died with Him to sin, and have been made alive to God. This means that we no longer have to sin. We can now, in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, obey God, turning from sin to righteousness and holiness. Without the actual death and resurrection of Christ this would be impossible. Not only that, without continual remembrance of the death and resurrection of Christ our obedience becomes lifeless, loveless, and legalistic. It is not that we have to live out the Christian life to be saved, it is that we now can and will live out the life we were meant to have because we have been given life and we want to do so out of gratitude and worship of our Lord and Savior.
Of First Importance for Understanding All Biblical Truth
The second aspect for which the death and resurrection is of utmost importance is the study or learning of other biblical truths. It is easy to get caught up studying many of the glorious essentials of the Christian faith that we neglect the death and resurrection of Christ, but to do so is to neglect the very foundation on which much of Christianity stands. We must be careful in our learning and love for God’s truth that we never leave behind that which is of first importance. To leave behind the truths of the death and resurrection of Christ for the study of other essentials of the faith is to strip the very foundation on which those other truths are secured. For example, the forgiveness of sin can be focused on so much that the necessity of death and resurrection of Christ is neglected if not forgotten. Much of mainstream and liberal “Christianity” has fallen into this error. They have separated God’s forgiveness from that which made it possible for God to forgive, the death and resurrection of Christ. Colossians 2:13-15 declares, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” And as 1 Corinthians 15:17 states, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” The Bible is clear; it was absolutely necessary that Christ die and be raised for us to be forgiven and so much more. Praise God for His wisdom and might.