Friday, August 22, 2014

Jesus Is Risen

And we are raised with him
According to the historical record of the New Testament, after Jesus died, he rose again. The risen Jesus appears in the four gospels and Acts, and all of the epistles assume that Christ is alive. The New Testament Christians based their hope on the fact that Jesus who died for their sins had also been raised from the dead. As Paul writes,
. . .if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . [I]f Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17 ESV)
Without the resurrection of Jesus, there would be no Christianity at all. While Jesus's death lies at the heart of his saving work, his death wouldn't be effective without his subsequent work of resurrection.

And the resurrection really is the work of the Son. Although the Son shared this work with the other members of the Trinity (see Acts 2:24 and Romans 8:11), he also raised himself by his own power. "I lay down my life," he said, "that I may take it up again. . . . I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again" (John 10:17-18).

The resurrection of Jesus was not a return to the kind of life he had before he died, but a whole re-creation of his human life. His original humanity, which was subject to weakness and death, was transformed into a new kind of incorruptible humanity with no possibility of weakness or death. He arose in a glorified body, perfectly suited to live forever in heaven, where he is living right now in the same glorified body.

The Resurrection Saves

Without the resurrection of Jesus, there would be no salvation. For one, the resurrection is proof that Jesus's death worked exactly as intended. If the reason Jesus died was to pay the penalty for our sin on our behalf, once the penalty was completely paid, how could he remain dead? No more penalty, no more death, right? I suspect this is what Paul means when he says Christ was "raised for our justification "(Romans 4:24). Jesus is risen, so we know we are no longer under penalty of death for our sins; Jesus is risen, so we can be forgiven.

And what better way to demonstrate the victory over death accomplished through the death of Jesus than his resurrection from the dead?

The Resurrection of Jesus and The Believer's Future Resurrection

What's more, just as believers are united with Christ in his death, they are also united with him in his resurrection, and there are saving benefits that come to them from this. First, that we have been united to Christ in his resurrection assures us that we too will rise again:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 ESV)
Christ’s present resurrected life is a promise that those who believe will be brought with him into the same kind of resurrected life when he returns. Christ’s resurrection included the resurrection of his body and so will ours. Christ's resurrection body is imperishable and our will be, too (1 Corinthians 15: 42-49). We will be raised with glorified bodies to live forever with the One who includes us with him in his resurrection. This is the believer's future hope.

The Resurrection of Jesus and the Believer's New Life Now

Second, the resurrected life that comes into completeness at the believer's glorification already exists within us. We have been made alive together with Christ and a new sort of life has begun—a recreated life:
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:4-5 ESV)
Our new life is grounded in our association with Jesus's resurrection. Even now, we have begun our lives in the realm of the resurrection and sin no longer has dominion over us. Our changed lives come to us because we have been united with the risen Jesus. This is another of the saving benefits of the resurrection.

Based on our new reality, believers are called to live a new kind of life.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you . . . . (Colossians 3:1-5a ESV)
Paul urges us to put aside the things we once loved as the old kind of people we used to be. We are living new lives with resurrection power over sin, so we are called to have new loves and new passions—to seek heavenly things. We can do this knowing that there is no reason for sin to defeat us as we work out the victory over sin that has already become reality in Christ's resurrection, a victory that will come to its consummation when we are raised with him when he comes again.

Learn More

Here are a few ways to learn more about the resurrection of Jesus.
  1. Read the biblical accounts of the resurrection found in Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24, and John 20. 
  2. Study 1 Corinthians 15, which contains more teaching on the resurrection, both Christ's resurrection and the believer's resurrection, than any other chapter in the Bible, and Colossians 3:1-17 on living the new life as one who has been raised with Christ.
  3. Read up on the resurrection of Christ in your favorite systematic theology. It's in chapter 28 of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. You can read the section on Christ's state of exaltation from Berkhof's Systematic Theology online.
  4. Listen to Wayne Grudem teaching on the resurrection: The Resurrection, Part 1; The Resurrection, Part 2.

This post is the latest in a series of posts on truths every Christian woman should know. Here are the previous posts:
  1. God Has Spoken (posted at the True Woman Blog)
  2. God Is Three and God Is One
  3. God Is Who He Is
  4. God Had a Plan
  5. God Created the Universe
  6. We Are Made in God's Image
  7. We Are All Sinners
  8. God Saves
  9. The Son Came
  10. Jesus Lived and Died

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for another installment in this excellent series, Rebecca. As I watch my parents age, the hope of the believer's resurrection because of Christ's resurrection is becoming much more meaningful to me.