The Effects of Denying the Resurrection

by Mike Ratliff

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:8-14 ESV)

The Doctrine of the Resurrection is a target of our enemy. He does not want God’s people to understand it or to have hope in it. I have received some very strange comments on the posts on the Resurrection lately. I have not posted them because the challenge from them was couched in arguments that were either pure humanism or from a spiritual slant that was entirely pagan. Tragically, a few were from professing Christians whose concept of the Resurrection read more like a fairy tale or a horror story than what we find in the Bible. In this post we will look at the effects of denying the Resurrection.

“Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” (1Corinthians 15:29-34 ESV)

The word “otherwise” refers back to Paul’s statement from vv20-28 which concludes with, “When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” All is under God’s sovereignty. What does it mean that people are being baptized on behalf of the dead? The Bible no where teaches that baptism saves anyone.

“This difficult [passage] has numerous possible interpretations. Other Scripture passages, however, clarify certain things which it does not mean. It does not teach, for example, that a dead person can be saved by another person’s being baptized on his behalf, because baptism never has a part in person’s salvation (Ephesians 2:8; cf. Romans 3:28; Romans 4:3; Romans 6:3,4) A reasonable view seems to be that “they…who are baptized” refers to living believers who give outward testimony to their faith in baptism by water because they were first drawn to Christ by the exemplary lives, faithful influence, and witness of believers who had subsequently died. Paul, then, is saying that if there is no resurrection and no life after death, then why are people coming to Christ to follow the hope of those who have died?” – John MacArthur

Paul states that he risks his life every hour, he dies to self daily. Why? What motivates him? He has the hope of life after death. If he did not have this hope, would he risk his life this way?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” (1Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

Paul is stating in this passage that those who have the blessed hope of life after death are willing to serve God no matter the temporal risk. However, those who are backslidden or deny the resurrection do not have this hope and would rather hold the philosophy of life of, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Also, hope in the resurrection is sanctifying which leads to godly living instead of corruption. On the other hand, those who do not have the blessed hope are a corrupting influence on believers because their view is on the temporal alone.

The visible church is made up of both genuine believers and those who do not know God. Those who do know him have been regenerated and they do have the blessed hope of life after death. Those in the visible church who are nominal (unregenerate) cannot have this hope. Instead they view the resurrection as if it is something fictional and, therefore, fair game for their foolish speculations.

Those who are genuine believers are New Creations. They are the regenerate. They are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who has placed God’s truth in them. They have been justified by God and are now being sanctified. The pressures of this evil place to become temporally focused must be overcome and resisted. God must be our all in all. He must be first in all that we think and do. We must worship Him with our entire beings by becoming Spirit-filled in obedience by His grace. If we do then we will be willing to die every day for His sake.


13 thoughts on “The Effects of Denying the Resurrection

  1. Thanks for this Mike. Those who deny the resurrection are not born of the Spirit, despite their claims. If they were born-again the Spirit would testify the truth of the Scripture to them.

    That isn’t said to be exclusive or antagonistic, but descriptive. You can’t deny the foundation of the faith and simultaneously claim to be of the faith.



  2. I still don’t know why God had to sacrifice something or someone to relieve people of their sins. Why…even how can another creature take on our sins? Why must we need to sacrifice another of God’s creatures, pure and innocent, for the mistakes we made? How can a “righteous, loving” God eternally damn us for a finite sin, knowing full well his (or her for you feminists out there) own creation had the will to make mistakes?

    Plus, the Messiah derives from Nazareth (to say one is “of Nazareth” means he was more than likely raised AND more than likely born there as well, for people rarely moved more than 10-20 miles from their birthplace in that era), is not from the tribe of Judah (his true father was not Joseph, and adoption seems too much like a cop-out), Scripture never mentions some Second Coming, and, well…


  3. Jersey,

    Jesus was not a normal man. He is God so He did not have a sin nature like we do. Therefore, he was sinless. He was perfect lamb of God. Someone had to pay the price or penalty for our sin, but no man could because we are all corrupted by sin. Sin lives in us, but not Jesus. His death as God poured out His wrath on Him as He imputed our sin to Him satisfied God’s wrath against us. Therefore, all who receive Christ as Lord and Saviour, believing He died for them and rose from the dead on the third day, are saved.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  4. The baptism reference is obscure and has had many twisted interpretations. When the meaning of a verse seems as unclear as this, then the overall chapter and book context must be relied upon more heavily than usual. Many teachers, I as well, believe the dead refers to Christ if He is not risen.

    It is important to start with the clear when interpreting the unclear. The clear teaching of Scripture is that baptism is for the living and not the dead. The clear teaching of I Cor.15 is the resurrection of the dead. So it makes sense that verse 29 is adding to that discussion and surely not veering from it by adding a doctrine which cannot line up with the rest of Scripture.

    You will note, Mike, that a book by Marcus Borg and John Crossan suggested that Jesus’ body was buried in a shallow grave and eaten by wild dogs (The Last Week). It is also interesting that Brian MacLaren recommomended that book as a great resource and Rob Bell has MacLaren fill his pulpit. My point being that even some who espouse the resurrection attack it by their alliances.

    Surely the last days…


  5. Jesus is our propitiation because He turned the wrath of God away from us and towards Him, the only One who was capable to meet God’s judicial standard.

    God is loving, but He is also just. The cross demonstrates His love for us in providing a Savior when we could not, but it also demonstrates His hatred for sin and how He provided a means in which His justice would be satisfied as well.

    A good judge can’t just “let a criminal go because he loves him,” that would be a corrupt judge, not a loving one. However, the judge could find the criminal guilty, and then pay the fine for him; both demonstrating the integrity of his justice and his love for him. That is what God did for us on the cross.



  6. Jersey,

    Men are born with corruptible natures. We are enemies of God by birth because of it. This sin problem is overcome when man puts on the nature of God (incorruptible nature). Jesus Christ is the only man who was born with an incorruptible nature, meaning that he could not commit sin. Jesus is a consuming fire, while man is not.

    Our fallen nature (Adamic nature) is crucified when we die to Christ. We die to sin and self as well. The gift of eternal life and knowing God is not something which man can earn or achieve by works. I found that when I tried to “impress” God by doing a bunch of good works, I still had a strong desire to sin. It wasn’t until I was literally dead to the world, that I could experience regeneration. When I say that I had to literally die to the world, I am saying that I had followed my original sin nature to its fullest and fallen short of God’s glory all of the time. God had to live through me by his power instead of me trying to copy him through my own efforts. I had to be crucified with Christ (spriitually) myself, while taking on the new nature through genuine repentance.

    I die daily to Christ, and he is able to raise me up 7 times 7. He is able to raise me up because he is a consuming fire.


  7. I will testify that my Savior is alive, and has answered many prayers (of mine and others).
    Only a risen Christ could have such a dramatic effect on my previously miserable life.
    We are to be able to give a reason for our faith at any time, and my reason is that He has proved to me that He is alive, and is not just the Savior “up there”; He is the Savior down here also.
    Anyone who doubts this, just needs to talk to those of us who have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord. We can attest to His life-changing power.


  8. >”Those who deny the resurrection are not born of the Spirit,
    >despite their claims. If they were born-again the Spirit would
    >testify the truth of the Scripture to them.”

    >” You can’t deny the foundation of the faith and simultaneously
    >claim to be of the faith.”

    Does this mean that anyone who died before Jesus was resurrected is now in hell? If you read the Bible more carefully, you will notice that Jesus directly told people that could be saved simply by believing in him. Jesus never said that they must wait for his death and resurrection and believe in that. This is one of many logical quagmires that Christians currently practice.


  9. Mark,

    No it doesn’t mean that. All believers prior to Christ, the genuine ones like Abraham, were saved by believing God just like New Testament believers. Their sins were taken care of on the cross just like mine were. The body of genuine believers extends from Adam through time to whenever God chooses to bring this age to an end. Jesus died for them.

    I believer is one because of God giving them the faith to believe Him. All of these things are what those believers do after that. Salvation is by Grace through faith. Not the other way round.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


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