God’s Word is very clear on this. Salvation is by the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8). That faith is believing in the Person and works of the Lord Jesus Christ—believing that He is God and that He came to earth and lived, died, was buried and rose from the dead to conquer sin and death and give eternal life.
Can a person be a Christian if they don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead? The answer is an undebatable, NO. While the cross paid the penalty for sin and opened the way for forgiveness of our sins, the Lord’s resurrection from death is what conquered the grave and opened the way for our eternal life.
Since the fall of man, there have been people who do not believe God’s words. In a time when we have easy access to every word God has given to man, it seems the number of skeptics is growing—both inside and outside the church. Some don’t believe the creation or the flood records. They’re simply myths, they claim. In decades past, some people denied that Jesus ever existed. That’s foolishness in our time. Historical and archeological evidence offers proof that Jesus of Nazareth lived in the first century BC. There’s also exhaustive evidence that He was crucified on a Roman cross. Therefore, today, the focus of many skeptics is not to deny His life or His death, but to deny His resurrection. They do so only by denying the historically documented evidence that, following Jesus’ death on the cross, He was placed in a sealed tomb and three days later the tomb was empty, Jesus was alive and He lived among many witness for 40 days.
I’m going to share with you a recent Facebook post from a minister who denies the resurrection. In his post, he speaks sarcastically of the “bad news” of what he’s been told his denial of the resurrection will mean for him.
It’s sad that this man calls himself a Christian and yet denies our Lord’s glory in the resurrection. Even more sad is that he is in a position of teaching others and he is teaching heresy by denying that Jesus rose from death. As you read this minister’s Facebook post, remember that we cannot truly judge his heart—only God knows for certain the condition of his soul. But we can judge his fruit—both his words and his actions. His words here reveal that he does not have a saving faith. Belief in the risen Lord Jesus Christ is required for salvation (Romans 10:9). Read his “bad news” and you’ll find that this minister needs to come to understand the truth of the Good News—the life, death, burial AND resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Facebook post by a minister in a large denomination.
December 25, 2015
MY BAD NEWS
I received some bad news this week. Apparently, because I don’t believe in a literal resurrection, I’m not really Christian. This unfortunately also means I won’t be going to heaven with many of you.
Of course, this is a hard thing to learn at Christmas time. As I share meals with my family, I have to face the fact that while they are enjoying the heavenly banquet, I will be screaming in unending torment along with Jews and Democrats and the evil college professors who teach evolution.
And it’s particularly embarrassing to be a [denomination name] minister bound for hell. I’ve been such a fool. I was trying to live as Jesus taught when I should have been reciting the Apostles Creed like a cockatiel.
In my hard-heartedness I asked one of my accusers if, instead of being a one time magic trick, the resurrection might not be understood as a poem about the whole life process. Like Jesus before Pilate, my accuser was silent.
I asked, if the virgin birth and resurrection were essential to Christianity, why the earliest versions of Mark’s gospel had neither. Again, my accuser would not be sullied by giving a response.
I asked my accusers if they would also follow Hitler if he were to rise from the dead. I asked if love were not what makes anything divine?
My accusers explained to me that I had it all wrong. They said I did not understand the gospel. You see, the earth was once a paradise. The dinosaurs were actually gentle and friendly. But then Adam and Eve stole a piece of fruit. God got very angry. So God invented cancer and hemorrhoids to punish human beings for our treachery.
And God’s righteousness is infinite, so God couldn’t just forgive us or teach us how to do better. What might seem to some like a first time misdemeanor of shoplifting fruit, was actually an irreversible irredeemable sin.
You see, God loves us very much, but mindless obedience is VERY important to God, So God decided to barbecue us eternally for the mistakes of our ancestors. But God has a son named Jesus who asked God to abuse him instead. And so God killed Jesus in our place. And we call this story, the “good news.”
We don’t have to be loving or kind like Jesus to be saved from God’s wrath. In fact we don’t have to do a single thing Jesus commanded us to do. All that matters is that we admit that we are worthless trash, but that Jesus likes us anyway. Oh, and we have to LITERALLY believe Jesus’ corpse got up. If you believe all the above you will get to be with God in heaven. Let’s just hope God has a handle on that anger problem by now.
So, anyway, if you believe the “good news,” your physical cadaver will get up too. Hopefully someone will remember where you are buried and come dig you up. I’m not really sure how clothes rise from the dead, so everybody may be naked; but try not to think about that. In fact, learn from my sad example and try not to think about anything too much.
Just know while you all are enjoying the heavenly banquet, I will be: rotating on the rotisserie of the reprobates, bobbing in the boiling broth of blasphemers, and weeping on the wok of woe.
So, as we go our separate ways, me to eternal torment with Gandhi and Socrates; you to an eternity sitting in worship services with televangelists and ethical monsters who happened to believe in the literal resurrection, please go on and have a good time in heaven without me. Don’t give me a second thought. I’ll be fine.
I’ll try to keep down my screams of agony.
It’s hard to understand how someone who reads the Bible, and teaches about how Jesus lived, clearly does not understand the gospel of saving grace. This man seems to think we need to “be loving and kind like Jesus to be saved from God’s wrath.” Jesus said, “…you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Mat 5:48). We can’t do that…so we thank God that Jesus lived the perfect life for us.
Remembering What You Know to be True
I am confident that the people who regularly read the Got Questions? column belong to the Lord Jesus Christ and they know Him well and love Him deeply. You have been saved by Him because you believed that He is God and you trusted in His love for you and His work on your behalf (including His resurrection from the grave).
I know that I am “preaching to the choir” here, but we all need to remind ourselves of the great gift we have been given. Jesus lived the perfectly righteous life and when He saved us He gave us His righteousness so we are perfect in God’s eyes (2 Corinthians 5:21).
We know that Jesus rose from the dead because we have a relationship with the Living Christ. We are called Christians because we are His and He is ours. We are in Him and He is in us, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We don’t try to live like Jesus to please God. We desire to surrender to God’s will and let the Holy Spirit work in and through us. We live in light of Jesus and we live to share His love with others. His Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16)and empowers us to live our daily lives in honor to the One who lived and died and rose from death.
While we know all these things, it is important the we continually remember and refresh our minds with these truths—lest we be deceived and believe a lie.
Why the Resurrection is True and of Utmost Importance
Our faith stands on the resurrection of the Lord of Glory. If Jesus had not risen from death, He would have been both a liar and a fraud. Jesus prophesied and promised that He would die, that His body would rise from the grave and that He would thereby conquer death. He lives, He forgives sins and He gives eternal life to all who come to Him in faith.
Paul was clear in his teachings that if Jesus had not risen from the grave our faith would be meaningless (1 Corinthians 15:14). Paul also taught that saving grace came through believing in both the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His works (His life, death, burial and resurrection).
Romans 10:9-10 …if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
1 Corinthians 15:1-5 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you; unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by… [many]. (verses 5b-14)
Responding to the Bad News
I removed the minister’s name and the mention of his denominational affiliation because that is not what’s important here. We live in troubling times and there are many false teachers. While we need to be aware of them and we need to know and defend God’s truth, what’s important here is that this man is a lost sinner with an eternal destiny in hell…unless his heart changes. Please pray for this man. Ask God to put people in his path who will open the truth of the Scriptures to him. Ask for God’s mercy and grace for him, and ask that God will reveal Himself in a way that he will come to confess with his mouth and believe in his heart that Jesus is the risen Lord (Romans 10:9). Salvation will change this man’s life and the lives of all who listen to him preach and teach.
The minister closed his Facebook post with, “Don’t give me a thought. I’ll be fine.” NO he will not be fine. Please pray for him. We don’t want anyone to go to hell. Lord have mercy on this man.
And remember, we live in troubling times of growing apostasy and increasing attacks on Scripture. Beware of false teachers. Read and study the Word of God. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s power and strength. Fellowship with other believers. All these things will equip you to stand strong in your faith.
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Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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