Belief in the resurrection is not optional for salvation. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Salvation is impossible if we don’t have a conviction about this.
All of Christ’s disciples considered His resurrection to be an essential part of the gospel that they proclaimed. Wherever they went, this was their main message. These men were eyewitnesses of His death and resurrection. They’d talked with Him and had seen the nail prints in His hands. They were totally convinced of His resurrection, and from that point on, nothing could dissuade them. All of them except John were killed for insisting that Jesus was the Son of God, who paid the penalty for sin with His death and was raised to life.
Two Possible Convictions
We can only choose between two possible convictions about the resurrection—either Jesus died and rose again, or it’s a fictional tale. We must each make a decision, and the consequences of our choice are eternal. Scripture says, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:23). Jesus died on the cross to pay this penalty for us and rose again to give us new life. It’s a free gift accessed through faith in Him, but if we reject His death and resurrection on our behalf, we must suffer the penalty for all our sins.
Jesus warned the crowd that followed Him, saying, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt. 7:21). If we have a lifestyle of disobedience and sin, it won’t matter that we claimed to know Christ because our actions prove otherwise. Genuine faith results in a changed life characterized by obedience.
We will all face God’s judgment after we die (Heb. 9:27). But for those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus and His death and resurrection, there is hope. Although our bodies will remain on earth, our souls will be with Jesus. And in heaven, we will see our loved ones who have died in Christ.
This article was originally published on July 27, 2016, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Your Convictions About the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.”