CLXXI. Christ the Firstfruits.

1 COR. xv. 20. “But
now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits
of them that slept.”

THESE words are the conclusion of an argument, not a mere
assertion. The argument is divided into two parts.
1. The enormous amount of testimony there is to the
facts.
2. The moral proofs. If Christ be not risen—
(a) Our preaching is vain, and your faith is vain.
(b) The preachers are liars.
(c) Those who have fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
(d) We are of all men most miserable, because we have
been deceived, and the truth belongs to the worldly, the
unbelieving and the sensual—which would subvert the
moral foundations of the universe.
I. The historical truth of the resurrection of Christ.
No one has ever denied that this Epistle was written
by Paul no more than twenty-five years after the death
of Christ. This is undeniable proof that the resurrection
was believed in by the apostles, was the substance of
their teaching, and was the foundation on which the ear-
liest Christian Churches were built. There is no fact in
the history of the world for which there is such an accu-
mulation and variety of evidence as for the resurrection of
the Lord Jesus from the dead.
II. Not only an historical fact, but by it Christ became
the firstfruits of them that slept. The Jews on the second
day of the Paschal feast presented before the Lord in the
Temple the first sheaf cut from the barley then ripe in
their fields. It was an acknowledgment that the whole
harvest belonged to God. Now Jesus rose from the dead
the day after these firstfruits were dedicated, and the
thought seems to be—this resurrection of Jesus declares
that all the dead belong to God.
To deny the resurrection of Christ is to take away the
foundation of our hope in immortality.
G. S. Barrett, B.A.

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