What would it take for you to abandon the Christian faith? Is there anything that could make you walk away? This is a question I wrestle with from time to time, not because of anything I’ve read in the Bible. Rather, I have put myself in the shoes of those who have experienced some sort of personal trauma in connection with a local church. There are few wounds more damaging than those that come from someone bearing the name of Christ.
While I empathize with anyone who carries the weight of past abuse on their back, the Christian faith rises and falls with Jesus, not with those who do evil in His name, as horrible as such a thing is. In fact, when someone has been hurt by a professing believer, I don’t think anyone feels the pain so acutely as Jesus Himself.
The Christian faith hinges on one truth—that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The entire faith stands or falls on the location of Jesus’s body. If it’s buried in a tomb somewhere, we’re doomed. We’re stuck in our sins. We have no salvation. We are going to die, and there’s nothing after. We have no hope whatsoever (1 Corinthians 15:15–19).
But if Christ truly has risen from the dead, well, that changes everything. If Jesus is alive, our sins really are forgiven. If Jesus is alive, we don’t have to fear death, because it’s not the end for us. “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). If Jesus is alive, then one day we are going to rise with Him. He has gone ahead of us, but He’s not left us. Our lives are “hidden with Christ in God,” and He is our life. When He appears, we “also will appear with Him in glory,” and we will enjoy life with Him forever (Colossians 3:3–4).
In other words, because Jesus is alive, we have a reason to hope, no matter what we may have been through.
Honestly, if it weren’t for the hope that comes from Jesus’s resurrection, I don’t know what I’d do.
I need this truth, and so do you—not in the abstract, but in the muck and mire of everyday life. So let’s keep holding fast to this hope, reminding ourselves and one another that the gospel is true. Because no matter the situation or circumstance, we need to press into the truth.
Jesus is alive. We are alive in Him. Because of Him, we have hope.
Written by Aaron Armstrong