April 24, 2011

The Implications of the Resurrection

Posted in Encouragement at 8:06 am by abolick316

Happy Easter! What a wonderful thing it is to set aside a day in order to remember the triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World! May we never forget that the resurrection is not just some religious doctrine, and that Jesus was not just a good man. Rather, the resurrection is a historical event and Jesus was God come in the flesh. It really happened! The Creator of the universe really became a man, really died, really was buried, and really rose again to purchase the pardon of every man that ever lived. This is the good news–this is the gospel.

Brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand: by which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen […] of above five hundred brethren1 Corinthians 15:1-6.

Today, we don’t celebrate an event that we believe occurred because some guru told us that it did. We don’t celebrate some mystical revelation given to a single man thousands of years ago. We don’t celebrate a religious myth or legend. We celebrate a historical event, corroborated by eye-witness testimony: The resurrection of the God-man.

There is so much historical evidence that supports the reality of Jesus Christ rising from the dead that I won’t even begin to delve into it here. There are tons and tons of books on the subject (if you’re interested in reading some, I recommend Lee Stroebel).

However, you do not even need to study all the evidence for the resurrection to believe its historicity. We have the account of those who lived with Jesus while He was on this earth, who saw Him after He rose, and who chose to die for their belief in His resurrection rather than recant. Consider what Peter said shortly before his death to his fellow Christians about Jesus:

We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2 Peter 1:16

Peter wanted to make sure that those who would carry on the faith after his martyrdom would understand that Jesus was much more than a story. The resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate today, Easter Sunday, is the single most important event to ever occur in the history of the world. But why? What is it about the resurrection that makes it so vitally important? Books could be written to answer this question…but I’ll just offer a few points here.

When Jesus rose from the dead:

I. He Proved his Proclamation
It is very extreme for a man to claim to be God–and yet this is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus told his followers “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). It has been noted that, given this statement along with countless others, Jesus had to be one of three things: a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. If he claimed to be God when he was not, he could not be just “a good man,” like many say he is–he would either be an evil, pernicious liar, or a madman. If, however, we cannot accept that he is a liar or a lunatic, then the only other option is to believe that he was and is the Lord of all.

Many people throughout human history have claimed to be God. Many of them were liars. Many of them were lunatics. None of them were simply “good men.” ONE of them, however, really was who he said he was–Jesus Christ. We can believe his testimony because he, unlike anyone else who ever claimed to be God, “put his money where his mouth was,” by rising from the dead. He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he confirmed the fact that “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16).

II. He Purchased our Pardon
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not only the most important event to ever occur in history–it is the most crucial fact upon which the Christian faith stands. Saint Paul even wrote in his letter to the Corinthian believers that if it were not absolutely true that God raised Jesus from the dead, then it would be pointless to be a Christian. Consider his words:

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 1 Corinthians 15:14

The word “vain” there means to be empty, or void of purpose. Without a literal, historical rising of Jesus Christ from the dead, there is no reason to be a Christian–Paul himself said so! However, it also stands true that if the resurrection of Jesus Christ did indeed happen (which it did!), there is no reason not to be a Christian. Why? Look at what else Paul said about the risen Christ:

If Christ be not raised […] ye are yet in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17).

There’s not a person on this earth that has never sinned (For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23). It’s our sin that separates us from God; it’s our sin that stands between us and heaven. The only way to get into heaven is to go without our sin.

Read again what it says in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “If Christ be not raised […] ye are yet in your sins.” Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it would be impossible to have the forgiveness of sins—which means it would be impossible to enter heaven. That’s because when Christ died on the Christ, He paid the debt I could not pay and died for the sins that I deserved to die for. When he rose again, he proclaimed a victory over death,  showing that those who believe on him could have the same victory.

1 John 4:10 tells us, “Here is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The word “propitiation” means “the appeasement.” There are a lot of people on this earth that are trying to appease God for their sins–they go to church, they pray, they do good things, hoping that God will overlook their wrongdoing in light of their well-doing. According to 1 John 4:10, however, these efforts are unnecessary, because Jesus has already appeased God! That’s what the significance of the cross is–that’s why Jesus came to die. The only requirement on our part in order to benefit from the sacrifice of Jesus is that we stop trying to earn our own way to heaven, and that we instead rest solely in his cross as our only hope of eternal life.

It is truly wonderful to know that by resting only in Jesus I can have my sins fully forgiven. It’s also wonderful to know what I have to look forward to in the future because of that forgiveness.

III. He Procured Perfection

There is an awesome promise given to those that trust Jesus and his payment for sins as their only hope of heaven:

Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.

Because Jesus rose from the dead, those who trust him can be confident that they, too, will rise one day. Death is no threat to those who have placed complete trust in Jesus Christ–it is merely the precursor to our resurrection.

So, we’ve seen that the resurrection is a historical event. We’ve seen that when Jesus rose from the dead, he proved  we could trust his claim that he was and is God. He did all of the work that would ever need to be done to pay for my sin and yours. He demonstrated to those who put their faith in him that there would be a day when they, too, would join him in resurrection.

What amazing truths! When I think about the meaning of Easter, a verse that I quoted earlier comes to mind: Here is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. That’s what the gospel message really boils down to: love. When we go through difficult times, it’s tempting to wonder whether God really loves us; in reality, we never have to wonder about that, because he already made it clear at the cross. The greatest display of love ever made was when the God of the universe allowed his Son to die for our sins so that we could be forgiven and spend eternity in heaven. One of my favorite hymns illustrates this fact beautifully:

Here is love, vast as the oceanlovingkindness as the flood, when the Prince of Life, our Ransom shed for us His precious blood. Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise? He can never be forgotten, throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion, fountains opened deep and wide; through the floodgates of God’s mercy flowed a vast and gracious tide. Grace and love, like mighty rivers, poured incessant from above; heav’n’s peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love.

That same love, beyond all measure, mocked and slain by hateful men, lives and reigns in resurrection, and can never die again. Here is love for all the ages, radiant Son of heav’n he stands; calling home his Father’s children, holding forth his wounded hands.

It’s Easter. There’s nothing wrong with candy, or colored eggs, or bunnies, but none of those things can shine a candle to the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Let’s not forget the real meaning of Easter. Let’s not just celebrate a commercialized holiday.  Rather, let’s celebrate the real, personal implications of the resurrection that apply to every human being on the planet.

And let’s rejoice in them.

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3 Comments »

  1. […] The Implications of the Resurrection (marybolick.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] The Implications of the Resurrection (marybolick.wordpress.com) […]

  3. […] from their sins. God has reached out to man in an amazing way that I have written about here and here (you can read those posts by clicking on the links, for those of who are technologically […]


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