How the Resurrection Changes Everything

He’s Alive!

Although we talk about the death of Jesus often, for some reason we have tended to only mention the resurrection at Easter time. Christians sometimes even say Jesus died to save us without mentioning that he also rose for our salvation. It’s time to redress the balance a bit and talk more about Jesus’s death and resurrection.

For Christians all over the world, every Sunday is Resurrection Sunday. We meet each week, among other things, in order to celebrate the glorious, wondrous fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus’s resurrection really did change everything. It changed the cross from a tragedy into a triumph, and it changed the Roman Empire into a Christian state. This was the most powerful divine event in the history of creation, and it ushered in a new age of the Holy Spirit’s activity and power in saving and transforming lives.

The Heart of Christianity

When considering if Christianity is true, it all boils down to whether Jesus rose from the dead. The lives of Christians today demonstrate that the resurrection is still changing people. It changes fear into love, despair into joy. The resurrection changes people from being spiritually dead to being alive to God. It changes guilty condemnation into a celebration of forgiveness and freedom. It changes anxiety into a hope that goes beyond the grave. It can change our sinful hearts so they want to follow the Lord Jesus, and the power of the resurrection is relentlessly killing sin in every true Christian. Because we neglect to emphasize this truth, many Christians have a meager expectation of the extent to which we can today experience resurrection life and victory over sin. The resurrection is far from being something we only benefit from in the future!

The resurrection is far from being something we only benefit from in the future!

John MacArthur1 claimed:

The Resurrection is the ground of our assurance, it is the basis for all our future hopes, and it is the source of power in our daily lives here and now. It gives us courage in the midst of persecution, comfort in the midst of trials, and hope in the midst of this world’s darkness.2

The Resurrection and the Holy Spirit

It is no accident that many of these things that MacArthur credits to the resurrection are elsewhere also attributed to the activity of the Holy Spirit—namely assurance (Rom. 8:16–24), a source of power in our daily lives (Rom. 8:4), and a comfort (John 14:16, 26).

Through his resurrection Jesus became “a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45), a whole new kind of human being, and enabled us to share in this new life. Also, it was only because of his resurrection and ascension that he was able to send the Holy Spirit into the world to carry out his special work in Christians (John 7:39; Acts 2:33). What the Spirit does for believers today is only possible as a result of the resurrection. Not only that, but Paul tells us in three places that Christians have already been raised with Christ:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)

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. (Romans 6:4)

God . . . made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him. (Ephesians 2:5–6)

Power for the Christian Life

Christians have therefore already been changed by Jesus’s resurrection. Jesus really is alive today. Because of this Christians are also alive in a whole new way. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is living in every true Christian. God wants us not just to believe in Jesus’s resurrection but to be transformed by it and to receive the power we need to live the way we know we ought.

1. Radio preacher, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and the leader of Grace to You ministries; see
2. John MacArthur’s Preface, in Gerard Chrispin, The Resurrection: The Unopened Gift (Epsom, UK: Day One, 2002), 6.

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