Results of the Resurrection
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures . . . 1 Corinthians 15:3,4
In simplest terms, what does the resurrection of Christ mean for the believer on a daily basis? It means at least four things: It means our justification before God is assured. It means our faith is not worthless. It means we will live our lives differently. It means our own resurrection is coming.
Of course there are many more great truths about Christ's resurrection to be savored, but here are four that are portable - you can put them in your pocket and take them with you as you go on about your day. After all, resurrection has meaning for every day of the year.
1. Resurrection means our justification before God is assured. For every person who has turned to Christ for the forgiveness of sins, God says, "YOU ARE NOT GUILTY. You are free from the guilt of sin and its penalty." It’s important to be justified!
So, what’s the connection to resurrection? Well, Romans 4:25 says that Jesus “was put to death for our sins and raised for our justification.” When Christ was raised from the dead, it was Gods’ declaration of approval of Christ’s work of redemption which said, “This work is complete, there is no more penalty to pay for sin, no more wrath of God to bear." Christ’s resurrection is the closed case on our standing before God. Remember when Jesus said, “it is finished?" His work was done and accomplished. He had done all that he came to do. And it’s as if at his resurrection, God the Father was saying, "Yes! Yes it is indeed!" And you, my friend, if you have turned to Christ, are not guilty any longer.
2. Resurrection means our faith is not worthless. There will be days in your life, maybe it’s today, maybe it was last Tuesday, when those thoughts creep in that say, “this is pointless. Why do you even believe?” Life has a way of trying us. Different days bring different doubts. We might wonder if our faith is really doing us any good. Paul even admits that our faith is useless and we're still in our sins if Christ hasn't been raised (1 Corinthians 15:14&17). However, "Christ has indeed been raised!" (1 Corinthians 15:20)
The work we’ve done, the time we’ve spent in prayer, our giving to the church, the energy we’ve spent resisting sin and temptation, the time we’ve carved out to spend reading our Bibles, all that we’ve given in so many ways for the sake of Christ - it’s all banked. It’s invested, not worthless! There is an eternal weight of glory that outshines all of our labors and troubles here in this life. You are building something eternal when you exercise and live out your faith.
3. Resurrection means we will live our lives differently. Later on in 1 Corinthians 15 as Paul further develops his case for resurrection, he coins the phrase we’re all familiar with: "If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" IOW, if death were the end of the matter, he says, "Party today, tomorrow might be the end.” But Paul’s radical obedience, even his welcoming of suffering, was possible because he was convinced of Christ’s resurrection. The hope of resurrection freed Paul from earthly ties and earthly cares.
Hope of resurrection frees us, too. It frees us from materialism and consumerism. It gives us the power to go without things that a lot of people feel they must have in this life.
Because when you know where you’re heading, it changes your attitudes and your actions. When you frequently focus on and call to mind the end game and the promises of God, you will find yourself more steadfast. You’ll feel not only the obligation, but also the strength, to stop yielding to sin in your life. Your hope will become fuel for the fight.
Remember that 1 John 3:3 says quite simply,“Everyone who has this hope within purifies himself just as he is pure.”
4. Resurrection means our own resurrection is coming. When Jesus rose from the dead, it was unlike any other resurrection that had happened before. Others in history had been brought back from the dead: Lazarus, the son of the widow woman raised by Elijah, the son of the Shunnamite woman raised by Elisha, a boy from a town called Nain in Luke 7, and Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5.
But for Jesus, things were different. All these others would continue to age and be subject to weakness and eventually die again. But Christ was what the Bible calls “first fruits” (1 Corinthians 15:20) of a new kind of life: life in a body that has been made perfect, with no weaknesses, no aging, and no more death. And what Jesus acquired in terms of a resurrected body is a hint of what is to come for us!
1 Peter 1:3 says that we have “been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” If you're a believer, and you’re breathing, you have hope. And when you stop breathing . . . all of God’s promises to you are fulfilled as "living hope" transitions seamlessly into "hope fulfilled."
1 Cor 6:14 says that “God raised the Lord and will ALSO raise us up by his power.”
It can’t be stated any more simply than that! Remember, as has been stated in previous posts, if you're a Christian, the worst is over and the story only gets better!
So, friends, here we have a call for us to look at our present lives to see if they are shaped by the hope of the resurrection.
Do we make decisions on the basis of gain in this world or gain in the next?
Do we take risks for love’s sake that can only be explained if there is a resurrection?
Do we lose heart when our bodies give way to the aging process, and we have to admit that we will never do certain things again. Or do we look to the resurrection and take heart?
May the Spirit remind us every morning, "Christ has indeed been raised!"