Canyon Community Church

Resurrection Faith

Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (John 6:29)

It's been several years since my friend Dave passed into the presence of Christ.  Most would have considered him an unlikely candidate for salvation.  When I first met him, he told me so in no uncertain terms.

"I'm not interested in no religion."

But God has a way of softening even the stoniest of hearts.  It took several years, and some pretty awful life tragedies, but Dave finally let me pray with him.  After many more months, he let me read the Bible to him and I took the opportunity to lead him through the gospel of John. When we got to John 6:29, I paused to tell him, "See Dave, it's not actually about religion, it's about faith. You need to believe in Jesus."

Dave responded, "Well, what is it that I have to believe?"  (That's a very good question, by the way.) I took him to Romans 10:9:

... that 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. (Romans 10:9)

And there it is, directly from the Apostle Paul.  To be saved, one must 1) submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and 2) believe He was raised from the dead.

Dave told me, "I think I can call Jesus Lord, but I'm having a hard time with this being raised from the dead stuff.

It's not really surprising. The resurrection has been a stumbling block for many over the past 2,000 years. The Apostle Thomas certainly had his issues.

The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." (John 20:25)

But resurrection faith is absolutely essential.  Writing to the Corinthians, Paul says:

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. (1 Corinthians 15:13-14)

And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! (1 Corinthians 15:17)

If you are to avoid an eternity in hell, you must have resurrection faith.  Fortunately for us, Jesus will also graciously provide the faith we need to believe.  Jesus appeared to Thomas and allowed him to touch His wounds.  Clearly, that was sufficient.

And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)

For Dave, faith in the resurrection came in a more indirect manner.  When I first started praying with him, I'd grab his hand and offer my petitions, but he remained silent.  But after about 6 months, he began to offer short petitions himself.  And he always began those petitions by saying "Lord Jesus ...".  So, when Dave told me he was having trouble believing in the resurrection, I reminded him of how he opened his prayers.

I said, "Dave, do you think you've been praying to a dead Man?"

He gave me a startled look, and after a few moments of thought, he said, "Whoa, I guess I do believe He was raised from the dead!"

That will remain one of my most cherished memories until the day the Lord calls me home. I know I will see my friend again, because he came to have resurrection faith.

Do you have resurrection faith?  If not, it's okay to ask God for it, because faith is a gift offered to us by a gracious God. (Ephesians 2:8) And if you do have resurrection faith, you have much for which to be thankful, for you have a sure promise of your own resurrection.

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY." "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING? O HADES, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?" (1 Corinthians 15:51-55)

Soli Deo Gloria!

Ken