Happy Easter to you all. I hope you all had a good time, whatever you got up to. Me? I slept in, did homework and played games... well I do that every Sunday. Meh. However, since it was Easter, again I feel compelled to write on something in relation to the resurrection.
And it feels almost troubling in a sense how we sometimes have a tendency to neglect the resurrection. I'm not sure how many of you will agree with me on that, I know there are millions of professing Christians in the world and I'm sure there are many who do incorporate this phenomenon far more than myself.
But just roll with me on this one.
How often do we hear people say "God loves you so much that He died for your sins"? It has to be the most common phrase used when it comes to sharing the Gospel. Of course, its necessary in order to share the Good News.
But how often do we hear people say "God loves you so much that He resurrected His body for you?"
That almost sounds a little weird. Sure, its in the Gospel message, but notice Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19,
"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." (NIV)
If we do not have the resurrection, we were never new creations.
If Christ had not risen, we would never make it to Heaven.
If that the cross was the end of it, then we may as well not be Christians.
This is the truth of the matter with the resurrection. This is how crucial it is to our faith.
Let's back up for a moment to the cross where Jesus hung. On that cross, He bore the sins of the world, yours and mine. He received the full blow of God's wrath so that we wouldn't have to receive the punishment.
But here is our predicament. When Adam sinned, when he ate the forbidden fruit, we were brought into a state of depravity. For all intents and purposes, we died spiritually and came into bondage with death and sin.
Now, when Christ came and died, His death first made the way that we needed. It provided the atonement, the covering of our sin. It provided that intercession we need with God, but there was still this bondage to sin and death in our lives.
It was not enough for Him to simply die. Our God is a holy God and we couldn't be reconciled to Him without the bondage being broken.
For the wages of sin is death, and Christ died. But it is through His resurrection that He broke the curse.
This is the importance of the resurrection because it is vital for our renewal in Christ. We are called as Christians to DIE to ourselves so that we may LIVE in Christ.
And this doctrine is incorporated into one of the most common Christian practices.
Why do we get baptised? To symbolise death to self and resurrection in Christ.
Romans 6:5-7 say, "For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin."
We are united with Him in the resurrection so that we are no longer slaves to sin.
Now, this is essentially all doctrine. But what about the application? I personally find a sermon frustrating when I'm not provided with a reason why the message applies to me and my spiritual life (or the audience in general) so I don't intend to leave you hanging.
The application I give to you is found in 1 Corinthians 15:20. After Paul has provided all of these arguments as to the importance of the resurrection and its necessity to our faith, the simplicity of his conclusion is amazing.
"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead." (NIV)
That's it. The undisputed claim that He has been raised from the dead.
This is the confidence God calls us to and it is this very same confidence that can lead us to worship and sing,
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
So the next time you find yourself recalling the love of God shown through the crucifixion remember also that the cross on which Jesus hung is an empty cross. And the grave in which He lay is a hollow tomb because not only did God love you enough to die for you, He desired you enough to free from you from bondage by breaking the curse through His resurrection.
God bless you all.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NIV