Paul informed his readers right from the beginning that the Old Testament carried the overarching theme of the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah came in the person of Jesus Christ, just as the Gospels document. He begins the book of Romans with that assertion in Romans 1:2-3. The Gospel of God was about Jesus, who “was promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures.” Now that Messiah had come, Paul goes on in verse 4 and points out an essential doctrine of Christianity. He writes, …and (Jesus) was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead….” God proved the identity and character of Jesus through the resurrection.

 After Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, the movement begun by Jesus of Nazareth was over. The fishermen went back to their occupations. The two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus discussed the action in the past tense because, to them, it was over. The women went to the tomb to embalm Jesus’ dead body. You embalm bodies to preserve them for as long as possible in the grave. To them, Jesus’ life was over. But they found an empty tomb! The resurrection changed everything. The church did not begin during Jesus’ life or at his crucifixion. The resurrection started the church that has remained in existence for well over 2000 years and will continue until Christ returns.  It began over the evidence and unwavering confidence in the resurrection. It’s the key doctrine of Christianity. Without it, nothing matters. Paul tells us what it would be like in his first letter to the Corinthians if it were not true. If there is no resurrection, then Christianity is false. According to Paul, if Christ were not raised, then Christian preaching is false and useless because the object of the faith, Christ, is not whom He said He was. If the resurrection is not true, there is no forgiveness of sins, the Apostles are liars for testifying to something that didn’t happen, and those who died believing held on to their faith for no reason. Further, without the Resurrection, it is clear that there is no point for Christianity to exist. “However,” as one blogger explains, “we know that the resurrection of Jesus is true because it was attested to by hundreds of eyewitnesses, and the empty tomb in which He was buried provides irrefutable proof that He is the Saviour of the world.”[1]

There is no escaping this truth. It is the resurrection that sets him apart and authenticates his claim to deity. The claims made in His teaching would seem ridiculous if the resurrection is not true. His miracles of healing, forgiving, and raising the dead would be some kind of “slight of hand” trick. He would remain in history a pitiful figure of a deluded individual remembered only as a Jewish moralist who had some incredibly inflated ideas about His identity. However, if Christ did indeed rise from the dead, then his teachings are vindicated, his miracles are divine, and He has proven himself to be the one and only Son of God with power, as Paul writes. C. S. Lewis wrote: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.” Mounce closes his comments on this verse by saying, “Verse 4 ends with a clear declaration that this Son of God is none other than ‘Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah, God’s anointed Redeemer. He is also ‘our Lord.’ He is our master; we are his subjects.”[2]


[2] Mounce, Robert H. 1995. Romans. Vol. 27. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.