C. S. Lewis once said that all of
Christianity could almost be condensed to one doctrine and one fact. The
doctrine is salvation by grace; that seems obvious enough. But the fact
he cited is not the Resurrection. It is the Incarnation.
It is the teaching of the church
from its earliest days that Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, was (and is) God in
the flesh. The importance of the fact can be seen this way:
all of the heresies inflicted upon the church center upon the idea that Jesus
could not have been what He so plainly claimed to be. The heretic says
that He is either not God or not Man. Dozens of variations exist—but this
is the core: Who do you say that Jesus is?
He is not God, he is not sinless—for all of Adam’s children have sinned.
If He is not sinless, then He cannot be the acceptable, unblemished sacrifice
demanded by the justice of the righteous God.
He is not Man—His favorite title is Son of Man—then His death, burial and
resurrection are frauds, mere play acting.
What He did depends on Who He
is. The purpose of the Incarnation is the Atonement.
The common heathen of today is a
much simpler man. He has no example before him of a church willing to die
in the thousands and even millions rather than deny her Lord. He
therefore sees no evidence of the Resurrection, and takes comfort in thinking
that the Resurrection is a miracle—or would be, if science allowed such things.
Since miracles are unscientific, they don’t happen. Since they don’t
happen, there is no evidence that they ever did. Therefore there are no
miracles, and therefore there is no Resurrection.
That argument is a simple logical
fallacy; circular reasoning. But it comforts the heathen mind.
Today’s heretic has a different argument: “Yes, but…” This is
followed by one of the common heresies of the early church.
But if there is no resurrection,
then we are fools fit for pity. We also die in our sins, and face the
judgment alone and guilty. So, then, the point is important to us.
But the Resurrection does not
stop there. The church has taught from its earliest days that Christ will
return—in power. God’s justice will come with it—reward, for those who
have served so faithfully. Punishment—a lot of outstanding debts will be
paid on that day.
When? Soon. When will
that be? In His good time, when we least expect it.
Remember, then, that when you
take this cup and eat this bread you proclaim our Lord’s death—the Atonement—until
He comes again. It is your testimony to the Incarnation, to the
Atonement, to the Resurrection—and to His soon return.