1 Cor. 15:1–19
PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES
When Paul appears before the Sanhedrin, he appeals to his belief in the resurrection. This was a point of theology that divided the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees believed in a resurrection and the Sadducees did not. Paul’s appeal effectively split the Sanhedrin’s opposition to Paul’s teaching.
THE RESURRECTED CHRIST IN THE CHRISTIAN’S IDENTITY
However, I would argue that the doctrine of the resurrection was more than just a conveniently divisive point for Paul at this moment. Paul argues that the risen Christ is the foundation for the Christian’s identity (Gal. 2:20, Col. 3:1). And fundamental to this resurrected identity is the forgiveness that we have in Christ.
AND FORGIVENESS IS CENTRAL TO THIS IDENTITY
In 1 Cor. 15, Paul argues that the fact that Christ rose from the dead means that we are forgiven. The resurrection of Jesus is the central miracle of the Bible. And that resurrection is a testimony that another incredible miracle has happened – you have been forgiven of your sins.
And so, every accusation of guilt that is levelled against one of God’s saints must deal with the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. It is not surprising then that when the subject of his conscience comes up, Paul will constantly want to start talking about the resurrection of Jesus.
AN EASTER CONSCIENCE
The enemy’s primary power is that of accusation. Satan is an accuser. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has given us the greatest possible defence against these accusations. He has given us an Easter conscience. As one of God’s saints, you are called to use the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a weapon in your own sanctification.