And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in our sins. I Corinthians 15:17

Today’s Scripture: One foggy night in London, a ragged man shuffled into a music shop. The man had reached the point of desperation and was now willing to part with his most prized possession.

“Sir, will you please buy this violin?” asked the man.

“I am sorry, but I have more than enough violins in my shop.” replied the owner.

“Please, I beg you. I just need some money for food. I can’t bear to go hungry another hour.”

The owner finally agreed to buy the dirty, old violin. He placed five pence in his hand, and the man quickly made his way out of the shop. The owner glanced down at the violin he didn’t need. Then he put it up to his shoulder and played it. Shocked by the beautiful, mellow tone, he looked inside to see who had made this superior instrument. It was then he realized he had just purchased a Stradivarius for five pence! He ran into the street to find the man, but it was too late. He had disappeared into the night.

Like the man who gave away the Stradivarius, the Corinthians also sacrificed something precious for something temporary. Blinded by their quest for satisfaction, they allowed the gospel to be polluted. Their doubt about the resurrection was their greatest sin of all. After all, if there is no resurrection, we cannot be saved (I Corinthians 15:12-19). The good news of the gospel, when tampered with, becomes bad news. The true salvation message is simple: Christ lived a perfect life, died to pay for the sins of mankind, was buried and rose triumphant from the grave. We are to place our trust in His finished work on the cross. No priest or good work is capable of saving us. It is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We should never sacrifice this priceless truth just to fit in or to be more accepted by those around us.

No matter what the world throws at you, no matter what popular preacher states otherwise, and no matter what family member contradicts you, stand strong. The power of God is the gospel. It is our hope, our mission, and our responsibility to present it as purely as it was intended to be presented.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.