COLUMNS

A great statesman, but lacking in hope

Doug Boock

Thomas Jefferson was a great statesman - one of our country's best.

But being a good countryman doesn’t secure happiness, and I can’t help but think that Jefferson must have lived a sad life.

The reason: He had no basis for hope. He didn’t believe Jesus rose from the dead.

Jefferson had an interest in the Bible. He studied it to some extent. In fact, he edited a version of it into his own words. But when it came to describing Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, Jefferson omitted it, intentionally.

But Scripture strongly disputes that. It says - in many, many places - that Jesus not only rose from the dead, but was seen by many after doing so.

I Corinthians 15:3-6 puts it this way: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that he was seen by over 500 brethren at once.”

Thankfully, that’s true, I believe. The alternative is bad.

Here’s how I Corinthians 15:17 says it: “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

In other words, if Christ were still in the grave, we’d still be “in our sins” - we’d have no hope of forgiveness from God, and no possibility of going to heaven. That’s the main message of Christ’s resurrection: He arose to bring us forgiveness and to make us right with God.

Without the resurrection, there’s no basis for hope. Apparently, Jefferson didn’t know that. If so, he must have been sad indeed. Without a Savior, what hope is there?

*****

"But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive."  (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)