April 13, 2020
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
In this passage, Paul reminds the Corinthian church that, without belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus, we believe in vain. In our modern era, especially with a surge in buffet-style religious preference, it can be tempting to only look at certain parts of the Bible. It’s easy to quote Jesus when he says, “Love your neighbor.” It’s harder to quote him when he says “Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Probably don’t lead with that second one when talking to someone about Jesus.
Paul’s clearest statement in this passage is this; there are fundamental aspects of faith. They cannot be ignored for our convenience or preference because the whole of the gospel is built on those truths. We have plenty of easy and convenient truths in the Bible that are used and quoted by those who have no Christian faith whatsoever. The golden rule, reaping what you sow, and turning the other cheek are all well known examples. But Paul says we believe those things in vain if we do not also believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Today, try to see a comfortable aspect of your faith through the uncomfortable lens of the resurrection. How does Jesus’ resurrection change the comfortable concept that God is love? How does it color the care and affection you show your neighbors? Let your easy beliefs be challenged by the difficult image of a crucified and resurrected Christ.