The Christian faith has experienced a tremendous amount of change over the past two thousand years. Some of these changes have been positive, such as the agreement of the doctrines of the faith. And some changes have caused havoc, confusion, and turmoil in the church. All these changes have added layers to the basic truths of Christianity. So when we strip away all these added layers what is the core of the Christian faith?
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time . . . Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-7.
The death of Jesus Christ, His burial, and His resurrection are the core, the root, and the foundation of the Christian faith. Paul said that those are “of first importance.” That does not mean that other doctrines of the faith are of lesser importance. We must recognize the humanity and divinity of Jesus, the incarnation, and the virgin birth, but the heart of our faith is the fact that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. These prove that Jesus was, and is, the Son of God.
Why are these so important? Without the death of Jesus, our sin debt remains. Without the grave, His death is a question, not a fact. Without His resurrection, we are trusting in a dead man with no power. But He is alive and He promises us that we will have life everlasting if we believe and trust in Him. There are many facets to the Christian faith and we do well to learn about atonement, justification, sanctification, grace, and the other great truths of Christianity. They are the building blocks of our faith. But before you start erecting the walls, Beloved, make certain you are on the rock-solid foundation of “first importance.” All other ground is sinking sand.