The four lessons
It is Easter Sunday 2011, the day which commemorates the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. I insert the adjective “bodily” to distinguish myself from those who would understand the resurrection story to be nothing more than a metaphor for renewal and hope.
In 1 Corinthians 15:14, the Apostle Paul tells us that without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” The Apostle tells us in Romans 1:4 that the resurrection of Jesus is a powerful declaration that Jesus is the Son of God. Belief in the resurrection is foundational to historic Christianity. If you do away with the resurrection, we have nothing to believe.
The question is, what difference does the resurrection make in my life? How can an event that happened close to 2000 years ago affect me? Does it really make a difference?
The answer is yes, it does make a difference and I am writing this post to remind myself and my readers of some ways that resurrection should change our minds and attitudes. Here are four applications that I would like to explore in this post:
- Despair is never an option
- Sin can be overcome
- Renewal is available
- The grave is not our final destination
Despair is never an option
I am grateful that Tony Campolo brought attention to a sermon entitled, “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming” by African American preacher S. M. Lockridge. The point is that no matter how bleak it looked on that first Good Friday, the events of the following Sunday made all the difference in the disciples’ outlook.
The resurrection demonstrates to me that no matter how bad things might look right now, God has the power to change me and/or change my circumstances. God remains in control and as I look to him, I can be assured that he will arrange the outcome according to his plan. Paul tells us this in Romans 8:28, but a few verses later in that chapter (Romans 8:38-39), he assures us of God’s love for us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because of God’s power and love, I should never despair.
Sin can be overcome
One of the best short descriptions of what Jesus accomplished on the cross is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus took our sin and gave us his righteousness. The resurrection proves that Jesus has the power to accomplish this. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” The converse is that if Jesus has been raised then we can be freed from our sin.
Ultimately, sin will be overcome when Jesus returns, but until then sin is being overcome in believers. God is working.
I should never think that there is any sin that the cross and resurrection cannot overcome.
Renewal is available
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 tells us that “in Christ shall all be made alive.” Not only can our sins be removed, we can be renewed in our thinking and in our behavior if we are in Christ. The resurrection demonstrates the power of God to bring renewal. In Christ, I have the power available to become what God has intended me to be.
I should always remember this and be doggedly, unrelentingly, seeking from God this renewal.
The grave is not our final destination
In John 14:1-3, Jesus tells the disciples that he is going to prepare a place for them and that “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” This is true for all believers.
The resurrection proves that Jesus has the power to live up to this claim. He will come and take us to himself and we will dwell with him.
I should always live with the knowledge that this life is not all there is and that any struggles now will be forgotten in the glory that is to come.
What lessons have you learned?