We all know the Gospel that Paul preached by now: That Christ died for our sins, that He was entombed, and that He was roused the third day. Most Christians claim to believe this, of course, but the truth is that very few actually do. I’ve gotten into other reasons why in other posts, so I’m not going to rehash those here, but there’s one point in there that many gloss over, and because of it they end up missing some majorly important details. That point, simply put, is that “He was entombed.”
Most Christians believe that, when Christ died, He went off to a place called paradise (misunderstanding the grammar of His statement to the thief on the cross, as well as the fact that “paradise” is simply a reference to a future state of the earth and not to an ethereal afterlife realm for ghosts), which they believe was a compartment within “hell” at the time (although, as those of us in the body of Christ know, “hell” doesn’t actually even exist, since “hell” is a mistranslation in certain English Bibles of various Hebrew and Greek words, none of which mean what most Christians think of when they use or hear the word “hell”) in order to free the righteous dead and take them to heaven (Christians also refer to this “paradise” compartment as “Abraham’s bosom,” based on a misunderstanding of a particular parable). The problem is, if this were true, Paul’s Gospel would instead be: That Christ died for our sins, that He went to another dimension while leaving His body behind on earth so it could be placed in a tomb, and that He re-entered His body so it could be roused the third day.
Why is this so important? Because if someone isn’t truly believing Paul’s Gospel, it means they haven’t joined the body of Christ. So if someone believes that Jesus went to another dimension when He died, it means they don’t believe that A) He actually died after all, but that only His body did, and B) that He wasn’t entombed as Paul said He was, but only His body was while He Himself was somewhere else altogether, and that means they haven’t believed the Gospel of Paul.
On top of that, it also means they don’t understand what the faith of Christ that saves us is. To quote Martin Zender:
So who cares whether Christ really died or He didn’t? You do! Only when you realize that Christ truly died can you appreciate His faith in going to the cross. He knew that, unless His Father roused Him, He would have stayed dead forever. It is this faith that saves us:
“Yet now, apart from law, a righteousness of God is manifest, yet a righteousness of God through Jesus Christ’s faith, for all, and on all who are believing” (Rom. 3:21-23).